DCS (CPS) Families Rally
On June 16th, 2017 A group of families who have had their children seized by the Department of Child Safety (DCS/CPS) and other activists took to the streets of Phoenix, AZ. Many of them just want their story heard and for their children to be returned safely.
This is a huge issue here in Arizona. The state of Arizona doesn't have to have warrants to seize children unlike other states. DCS is loosely regulated and there are stories of abuse of power in various forms during investigations. This has had media coverage for the last year but legislatively nothing has been accomplished. Between 2011 and 2015 there was a sharp increase of children being taken away. 4,500 more children were taken away in 2015 than in 2011. If you look at the numbers you can tell there is a problem. However this is more than just about numbers. This is about rights of parents as well as children. Without seeking warrants (for non life endangered cases) to remove children from their parents homes and severing parental rights this goes against the 4th amendment. There's been cases of abuse in group and foster homes. Some of the abuse has been severe and those numbers continue to rise. While the department has been in trouble before for letting family abuse cases go in the past, they have turned the other direction where they are taking children away for simple issues in the family care. There are many sides to this issue but are these numbers and stories alarming to you?
Above is the start of the Rally going into the detention of a family member Beth Young Breen and AZ Gubernatorial candidate/activist Merissa Hamilton. They were held for most of the day at Maricopa County Jail in Downtown Phoenix after blocking the street during an order to disperse out of the street. Bond was paid and both of them were released by June 17th.
There was a point where we had to wait for light rail and a signal. This is where parents decided to speak a little on their thoughts on DCS and children being taken from their parents.
This was a meeting that Sami Stone (Chief of staff for Councilmember Sal Diciccio) was hearing the families of the children taken by DCS. This was mostly telling their stories of the seizures and cases.
For more information and media coverage you can check out the links below.
AZ Central media coverage
AZ Central Story on Current policy
Graphs and data on DCS
More media coverage on the High rates of Seizure
Alex Love is an independent journalist from Lynnwood, WA / Phoenix, AZ. He is a community servant and activist who also runs a non profit called Love 4 Liberty.