Rev. Jarrett Maupin speaks during an Arizona Department of Child Safety protest on June 16, 2017, at Second and Van Buren streets in Phoenix.
Two people were arrested Friday during a downtown Phoenix protest about the Arizona Department of Child Safety.
About two dozen people blocked Van Buren Street outside The Arizona Republic offices to air complaints that the agency wrongly takes children.
People like Thomas Beil complained his children were taken for alleged “neglect,” with no elaboration of the harm they reportedly suffered. DCS removes most children for neglect, but doesn’t delineate the various types of neglect.
Protesters carried homemade signs that charged DCS “kidnaps” children and demanding “let my children go.”
Aside from demanding that the state return their children, they said the agency and the courts need to respect due-process rights.
Others advocated for a warrant requirement prior to the removal of a child from his or her family home. They believe such a program would reduce the number of removals.
The agency removed 5,669 children in the six-month period ending last September, according to its most recent report.
Cynthia Weiss, DCS’ communications director, noted the agency is working with the courts on a warrant system. She said it was regrettable that the protesters see only a negative aspect of the agency.
“We want to be seen as the agency that helps families,” she said.
The protesters were arrested and accused of blocking a public right of way after occupying one lane of westbound Van Buren Street for about 15 minutes.
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