Kristi's Kids

Dec 12, 2012 7:00 PM by Kean Bauman

Dozens rally over child welfare programs

TUCSON - It was out-of-the-blue last week when C.P.S. announced far-reaching cuts to critical programs. Non-profit agencies, that provided supervised visits and parent training, will no longer be funded.

Tutoring and mentoring programs will also be put on hold.

C.P.S. says it cannot afford all of these services provided by outside agencies due to a dramatic spike in abuse and neglect cases.

On Wednesday morning many of those involved, including the families, held a rally outside the C.P.S. main office located downtown.

Participants in the rally want you to know it's the supervised visits that worry them most.

13 -year-old Mercedes Chacon and her mom Anabelle were separated for seven months. Mercedes remembers the visits well.

"It would help because we had to see how we did better, with interacting," says Mercedes. "That's how the visits do better because you need to see how the family is together now."

Mom gets emotional thinking of how far they've come.

"Keep fighting don't give up on your kids. That's it," Anabelle says as she fights back tears. "It means a lot to have my kids back.

And she agrees the visits were key.

"That was the most important because I got to see my kids. You know, I looked forward to the visits and I think it helped them better communicate with us and stuff."

Those who work with these families are worried too. What happens now? Will the visits fall into a C.P.S. worker's lap?

Morian O'Conner is with Aviva Children Services.

"The case workers and case aids are already overloaded and overworked and visitation will not occur in many cases."

And that worries Kim Campbell. She had four kids in C.P.S. custody for two years.
They are reunited now, she says, because they worked-out a lot of problems in those visitations.

Kim worries about the timing for families still in the system.

"It's hardest for the families to not have their visits with their kids and just before Christmas, it's got to be especially hard."

Kristi's Kids requested a telephone interview with D.E.S. Director Clarence Carter.

We're told Director Carter is out of town on business.

C.P.S. says it has nothing new to say only that there haven't been any budget cuts.


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