Arizona spends a majority of its welfare budget on the Department of Child Safety. The agency then investigates many poor parents, sometimes removing their children for reasons stemming from their poverty.
Last year, on a monthly basis, Arizona denied an average of 3,709 out of 4,277 applications from poor families seeking cash assistance. Just 6% of all families in poverty here get such help, compared with a national rate of 23%.
A big part of the reason is that Arizona spends only 13% of its welfare funding on welfare itself, and none on child care or pre-K. Meanwhile, it diverts 61% of the dollars to the state’s child protective services system, which amounts to more than $150 million repurposed in this way every year, a ProPublica review of budget documents shows.ProPublica.org