The judge sided with the Arizona Daily Star, which sued for release of the reports, and State Representative Jonathan Paton, who has schedule hearings regarding the CPS penchant for keeping secret the files of children who die while their situations are under investigation by the agency. A story in Sunday’s Star reveals that hearings might be a very good idea at this time. Paton, quite correctly, plans “on asking CPS directly what it needs to do to improve.”
State Representative Steve Farley was on the John C. Scott show whining about hiding the files from the public eye in order to protect the safety of children. Of course Scott (Mr. Wiffleball) did not ask the obvious follow-up question of how do you protect the safety and welfare of a dead child. Farley likes to point out that he is eminently qualified on matters relating to CPS because he went on a ride-along. (I will let the absurdity of that comment stand on its own.)
Farley also moaned that any hearings regarding CPS should be held by Pete Hershberger and the Human Services Committee. Maybe house leadership decided that after SEVEN years in the legislature working on children’s issues a fresh perspective was called for. To say nothing of Hershberger’s obvious conflict of interest overseeing an agency to which he so closely linked. When you build your campaign around the message “I care about children” you invite people to measure the actual outcome of your performance. (I personally sat through a Republican LD-26 meeting a few years ago where Hershberger droned on about how proud he was of a bill he worked on that would fix the problems at CPS. The children in question died well after Hershberger’s “fix.”)
Thank you to the legislators who believe that a life lost is worth investigating instead of quietly sweeping the CPS file under the rug.