Arizona Department of Child Safety’s (DCS) director, Mike Faust, has issued a handful statements on the COVID-19 pandemic. As recently as April 10, 2020, DCS was not allowing in-person visitation to occur between a parent and their child in DCS custody.
Since COVID-19 forced schools to close, reports of child abuse in Arizona have decreased by about twenty-five percent (25%). At first, this seems like one of the few silver linings of the pandemic (outside of Tiger King and attending business meetings without having to wear pants). However, after 20 years of litigating child abuse and neglect cases, I don’t believe this statistic is cause for celebration.
The Boston Globe recently published an important article analyzing every state's compliance with Federal Child Abuse and Treatment Act of 1974 ("CAPTA"). Shockingly, the article concludes that no State is fully compliant with CAPTA's requirements. However, Arizonian's should be especially concerned because Arizona was the ONLY State that refused to share information regarding its CAPTA compliance, calling it "a time consuming, lengthy, non-value added survey."
The Department of Child Safety's enforcement of confidentiality is peppered with exceptions — particularly when the public is paying attention.
DCS wanted him to admit to child abuse to get his kids back. Instead, he fought the charges — and won
In the news this week, the Department of Child Safety violated Arizona law by interviewing a child without parental consent, according to a report from the Arizona Ombudsman.
During the past several years, the Arizona Supreme Court has adopted restyled Rules of Evidence, Civil Appellate Producer, Protective Order Procedures, Civil Procedure, and Criminal Procedure. In December 2016, Chief Justice Scott Bales directed a Task Force to review the current family law rules, to identify possible changes that would confirm those rules to modern usage, and to adopt a new set of family law rules.