Prevent Child Abuse Arizona recently presented Morrison Institute policy analyst Erica Quintana with its “Everyday Heroes Award” at its annual conference held at the Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park. Quintana is the author of a five-part series of reports on child neglect in Arizona titled “Spotlight on Arizona’s Kids.”
“We chose to give Erica our 'Everyday Heroes' because of the work she has done to advance understanding of child neglect in Arizona,” said Clarie Louge, director of training and outreach for Prevent Child Abuse Arizona. “We know that Erica’s research will be utilized to inform solutions to preventing child neglect in our state, and for that, we are grateful.”
The series explored how neglect is the primary cause of children coming into the state’s foster care system. Quintana examined 800 child abuse reports made to the Department of Child Safety between 2013 and 2015. Her findings shed light on the nuances and circumstances surrounding neglect, including issues such as parental substance abuse, domestic violence, juvenile delinquency and financial hardship.
Quintana shared her research findings with community leaders and child welfare professionals throughout the state. The results of community meetings in Cochise, Coconino, Pima, Yavapai and Yuma counties were summarized in a report that highlights how each community is dealing with the issue.
“This award is a testament to Erica’s inclusive style in which she presents original, objective data and then engages with community leaders to seek their localized interpretation and understand what it might mean for strategic prevention efforts at a local level,” said Andrea Whitsett, director of the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University. “Her extensive research on child welfare has tremendous potential to improve targeted prevention services statewide.”
Quintana's research at the institute focuses on poverty and homelessness in addition to child welfare policy. The “Spotlight on Arizona’s Kids” series was made possible by a grant from the Arizona Community Foundation.