The Arizona Legislature has quickly approved a special $6.8 million appropriation that will let the state's child welfare agency to hire 192 new workers right away.
The Senate and House of Representatives voted Thursday on identical bills authorizing the spending.
"Providing funding for additional Child Protective Services caseworkers was the right thing to do today, but it cannot be the only thing we do," said Rep. Chad Campbell, state House Minority Leader, in a press release from the Arizona State Senate Democratic Caucus. "This agency needs reforms that ensure accountability, and that provide caseworkers with the resources they need to do their jobs effectively. We can’t keep propping up CPS with one emergency funding bill after another."
The money is a key part of Gov. Jan Brewer's effort to remake the agency. The proposal shifts $1.1 million in the current budget and gives the agency another $5.7 million.
Brewer pulled Child Protective Services from its parent agency on Jan. 13 and made it a stand-alone department reporting to her.
Also winning approval was a $1.46 million request for the Independent Redistricting Commission and $100,000 to fight subpoenas issued to current and former lawmakers about their communications concerning 2010's Senate Bill 1070.
Arizona Public Media staff contributed to this report.