Stateline Southwest: Using Court Orders to Slow Child Removals in Arizona

The Chronicle of Social Change’s rundown of child welfare and youth-related news from across the Southwest.

In the past, the decision to remove a child from their family’s home was made by social workers in Arizona. But now the state requires that a worker get a court order before a child is removed – with some exceptions.

Those exceptions are being debated now, but the state will implement the new process starting July 1. Arizona’s new policy has been the existing standard in many states for years.

As reported by the Arizona Republic, some advocates view this as a much-needed brake to slow or prevent child removals. Arizona’s foster care population was close to 9,000 in 2009, and skyrocketed to nearly 19,000 in 2016.

Others worry that the “exigent circumstances” that allow a worker to make an emergency removal a without a court order will be too lax. Little research exists on the proportion of removals that are made without a court order. In New York City, a report from the Office of the Public Advocate noted that in one month in 2015, 51 percent of all removals were done on an emergency basis.

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Christie Renick
About Christie Renick 123 Articles
Tucson-based Southwest Editor for The Chronicle of Social Change. Follow @christiejrenick.