Governor Ducey Announces Resignation Of DCS Director Greg McKay

News Release

July 9, 2019

McKay To Join Childhelp After Successful Turnaround Of Arizona’s Child Safety Agency

PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey today announced that Greg McKay will resign as Director of the Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS), after more than four years leading the department, to join the non-profit Childhelp USA as Chief Operating Officer. Upon taking office, Governor Ducey appointed Director McKay in 2015 to lead the overhaul of the department, resulting in a transformation from one of the most broken agencies in the country to a national model. Today, Arizona leads the nation in finding kids safe and loving homes, and DCS continues to be recognized for its results-based innovation that has led to positive outcomes across the board.

Director McKay will remain director of DCS until September 1, 2019, when he will take on the role of Chief Operating Officer of Childhelp, a leading national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping abused, neglected and at-risk children.

“When I first took office, Arizona’s child safety agency was one of the most broken in the country,” said Governor Ducey. “Director McKay stepped up to lead when few wanted the job. He brought a passion and dedication to improvement and results. Thanks to his leadership and the tireless efforts of countless caseworkers and individuals who have dedicated their lives to protecting children, DCS is not only on a path for continued improvement, but is setting the example for other states to follow. Arizona is grateful for Director McKay’s leadership and vision. We wish him much success in his new role at Childhelp.”

“It’s been an honor of a lifetime to serve the people of Arizona,” said Director McKay. “I’m grateful to have worked alongside an amazing and dedicated team at the Department of Child Safety, without whom none of the Department’s success would be possible. My thanks to Governor Ducey for the opportunity and challenge of working to ensure the safety and wellbeing of Arizona’s most vulnerable children. I will continue to be an advocate for Arizona children and those who protect and serve them.”

Under Director McKay’s leadership:

  • Arizona moved from last place to first in safe foster care reduction. The number of children in out-of-home care had grown by 92 percent from 2007 to 2016. Arizona reduced the number of children in out-of-home care by 25 percent, from a high of 19,044 children in 2016 to under 13,500 in January 2019.
  • Arizona’s Child Abuse Hotline on-hold times decreased from 12 minutes in February 2014 to 31 seconds today, helping fast-track abuse reporting.
  • DCS reduced investigative caseloads of DCS caseworkers by approximately 70 percent, resulting in an average caseload of 13 cases today.
  • Arizona expanded the kinship care stipend in 2017, resulting in 1,900 more families and loved ones, an increase of 270 percent, caring for children in uncertain circumstances.

The number of DCS open reports dropped from a high of 33,245 in April 2015 to 6,342 today, while the number of inactive cases, those exceeding the 60-day closure deadline, declined from a high of over 16,000 in January 2015 to 166 today.

Since being appointed in 2015, Director McKay has received growing national recognition for his efforts at DCS. He received the Maricopa County Justice for All award, the Casey Family Programs’ Excellence for Children Award for Exceptional Leadership, and the Childhelp Voice of Children Congressional Award for his work and leadership in protecting Arizona’s children from abuse and neglect, and four separate awards for DCS’s innovative cloud based IT system replacement.

Before being appointed to lead DCS, Director McKay served out a twenty-year law enforcement career, with an emphasis on criminal investigations of violent crime. In 2012, he was named Arizona’s Investigator of the Year for solving high profile child murder cases. In 2012, McKay was tapped to build the legislatively enacted Office of Child Welfare Investigations which focused on protecting child victims of criminal child abuse and neglect. In 2013, he was awarded Childhelp USA’s Heart of an Angel Award, recognizing his distinguished career in child advocacy, investigative expertise, and removal of child predators.