José Cárdenas: Chicanos por la causa parenting Arizona promotes strong and thriving families through parents education, multi-cultural family support and community collaboration. Joining me to talk about CPLC Arizona is Julie Rosen. Give me a quick history.
Julie Rosen: Parenting Arizona was taken over by what's really acquired by CPLC in 2004 . Prior to that it was parents anonymous. Since then we have been working to incorporate ourselves in other parts of the state and make a huge difference for families.
José Cárdenas: I understand it's been around for 34 years.
Julie Rosen: That's right. We have a long history. We have been around since 1977 but part of La Familia since 2004.
José Cárdenas: You are the executive director.
Julie Rosen: Yes.
José Cárdenas: Give us a sense for the geographic areas that are served by parenting Arizona.
Julie Rosen: Parenting Arizona serves a lot of the state. We're in Tuba City, Winslow, Flagstaff, and many cities up in the Navajo Nation. Caliente, Guanado, fort defiance, window rock, Chinle. We also go out east to Holbrooke and Joe City. In Maricopa County, about half of our business and we go all the way from Globe to Wickenburg. It's a very large part of the state.
José Cárdenas: We talk about business. How many families do you serve?
Julie Rosen: Every year we touch up to 30 thousand families including our direct care and our outreach. In terms of the actual individual families that we provide comprehensive services to, it's 5,000 families a year.
José Cárdenas: What kind of resources to do you have to provide those services?
Julie Rosen: We do four types of services. One is home visitation and up in the Navajo Nation we go into the homes and deliver prevention programs, predominantly we teach three things, the importance of positive parenting, the importance of early childhood knowledge, and the third one is the importance of literacy. We really are trying to get kids to really learn to read. We do those three services in four different settings. One is the home visitation, the other setting is community based. We deliver classes at different types of libraries, domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters. We do it at Fresh Start, all over the valley with different collaborators. So there we're teaching the class to the parents and the community. We also have resource centers in the school and in the community. We have one in Guadaloupe, four in Flagstaff, one in Loop, Arizona. Those resource centers have the exact same mission. Child development, knowledge, positive parenting and early childhood literacy, those are the three things we are really doing to prevent child abuse from going on.
José Cárdenas: That's ultimately the goal.
Julie Rosen: Exactly. We want to do two things. One is to give families the tools they need to really have healthy, thriving children that are ready to read when they start kindergarten. The reason that this is so important is that if we have readers by third grade their high school graduation rate is very high and then they will move to college. That third grade reading level determines so many factors in a child's life. Our job is to really get them ready to read when they start kindergarten, but if they are not prepared by kindergarten they are for the going to hit the benchmark of third grade which means their chances of high school graduation drops dramatically.
José Cárdenas: In terms of the importance of the work you do to prevent child abuse, you and I talked off camera about a recent fatality report that really illustrates the need.
Julie Rosen: Yes. Every year the state of Arizona produces a fatality report that identifies every single child that died in the state of Arizona. CPLC Parenting Arizona is interested on the section that talks about deaths related to maltreatment. Maltreatment is a death that can be preventable and that happens as a result of murder, really. Some type of neglect or if you will just a fatality.
José Cárdenas: Most of these by parents, sadly.
Julie Rosen: That is the saddest part of the whole report. A lot of times when people think about child abuse they think it's the boyfriend, it's the lost uncle, someone else. We know for a fact that 87% of all fatalities in 2012 were at the hands of biological parents. 60% were the mother, 27% were the father. These are the actual biological parents of the child. That's why the work that we do is so important. We're giving these parents the tools that they need to really make a dramatic shift in the way that they are parenting. A lot of times parents learn to parent from their parents and if they grew up in poverty with substance abuse, with domestic violence that becomes so ingrained in their brain that they think that's normal. So our job is to intervene with high risk families to really turn that around and give them the tools that they need.
José Cárdenas: You touched on some of the problems that can lead to child abuse, substance abuse is one of them. You mentioned that in the past, teenage pregnancy. How do you deal with those issues?
Julie Rosen: One of the things that we do is we continually educate the parents on the importance of child development knowledge. If they know that when they need it then their expectations will be realistic. We make a lot of referrals. We work with partners that address the substance abuse, the domestic violence. Our scope is giving them the tools that they need to raise healthy kids that are ready to learn. That's what we do through those five or six methods I mentioned earlier.
José Cárdenas: Talk about funding. It's a big issue now with problems at CPS. How big is your budget?
Julie Rosen: We have about a 3.2 million dollar annual operating budget that covers all the services. With that money we have 50 team members that are providing services to these 30,000 families across the state of Arizona. In addition to that we also have 69 volunteers that help promote the mission and that work with us to really advance the cause. About half of our funding comes from First Things First. We're very grateful for the funding that they have been able to offer us. This is tobacco revenue. They are initiatives that were votary proved in and has done a fantastic job making an enormous difference in early childhood education. The other half of our funding I would say comes from the DES, the state of Arizona. They fund our services. The services that they fund are also prevention services but some are treatment services where we work with families who have already been involved in CPS. The bulk of it, however, is really preventing abuse from occurring. That's the main thing that we do. The funding is definitely something that is constantly at risk because prevention programs are the first to be cut. In 2008 there was a very large financial crisis in Arizona and our programs were slashed in half in 24 hours. I couldn't believe it. I remember being on the phone all day.
José Cárdenas: But you have since recovered.
Julie Rosen: We have.
José Cárdenas: Speaking of funding, we have to wrap up the interview, it's that time of the year when another important source of funding is available, tax credits.
Julie Rosen: Yes. Arizona is lucky to have a working poor tax credit. This year for the first time ever folks can contribute to a qualifying charity which CPLC parenting Arizona is a qualifying charity. You don't have to itemize. That's the best part about the working poor tax credit. An individual can donate $200. A married couple can donate $400.
José Cárdenas: On that note we have to wrap up. Hopefully we'll generate a lot of donations.
Julie Rosen: I appreciate it.