Children and their families have suffered false accusations by DCS in collusion with hospitals and schools, immigrant activists alleged on Monday. A spokesman for DCS said the agency simply does not collude with others.
The organization "Comites de Defensa del Barrio," translated to mean "committees in defense of neighborhoods," held a media conference Monday morning to announce a campaign to bring awareness to what they consider discrimination by the Arizona Department of Child Safety.
"Families are terrorized and children are traumatized by the actions of DCS and it must stop now," said Sylvia Herrera, a longtime immigrant activist.
A spokesperson for the child welfare agency said the idea of collusion between DCS and others is "preposterous."
"DCS has to follow state law and our own policies and procedures to determine if a child must be removed," said DCS spokesman Doug Nick. "Intervention is done to ensure the child's safety."
Herrera alleges children have been separated from families after false allegations are made against them by school employees, hospital administrators and neighbors.
"We see neighbors who don't like their Mexican neighbors and so they call DCS," Herrera said. These families are not provided information as to why their children are being taken away, Herrera said. She alleges DCS does not have Spanish-speaking translators available to communicate with parents.
To that criticism, Nick said DCS has many Spanish-speaking staff members.
"If a Spanish-speaker is not immediately available, translation services are provided at State cost. Our forms are also in Spanish," he said.
12 News is seeking comment from DCS about the allegations.