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Foster family: Child welfare services drops off kids, disappears

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Mark Studzinski of Mesa and his wife agreed to foster four children whose father had been arrested for child abuse. (Source: CBS 5 News) Mark Studzinski of Mesa and his wife agreed to foster four children whose father had been arrested for child abuse. (Source: CBS 5 News)
MESA, AZ (CBS5) -

As Arizona's new Division of Child Safety and Family Services works out its new program, some bumps in the road can be expected.

But, basic levels of care and service must still be met in the division previously known as Child Protective Services.

However, a first-time foster dad says that's not happening in his case.

"I got a call from CPS that stated the kids don't have any family here at all in the states," said Mark Studzinski of Mesa. "They don't have any friends in the neighborhood or anywhere to go. They said we're all that they knew."

Studzinski and his wife have six children of their own.

To prevent four siblings from being split up, they agreed to foster the kids – whose father had been arrested for child abuse.

"If my wife and I - something happened - I would hope to God my kids could stay together," he said.

The case worker told Studzinski the family would receive money to provide food and clothing for the children, and that she would be in contact.

"I haven't heard from her since she dropped the kids off," he said.

Eight days later, after six calls placed to the case worker and four to two supervisors, Studzinski is still waiting for some guidance.

"I am frustrated, gosh," he said. "It's difficult."

To make matters worse, the children were dropped off without extra clothing or any of their belongings.

So, without the resources to pay for them, the four children were outfitted Wednesday by Helen's Hope Chest – which provides free clothing, shoes, blankets, backpacks, and other supplies to children in foster care.

"What I'm doing here is, I truly believe this is the best thing for those kids," said Studzinski. "But, I also believe the state should make it easier for us, not harder."

CBS 5 News spoke with a representative from the state's Division of Children, Youth and Families, which oversees CPS, who quickly began looking into the matter Wednesday evening and issued the following email response:

"After some follow up, I have confirmed there has been action taken by the agency on this case but we are trying to reconcile the information you received with what our CHILDS database system shows. Regardless, Director Flanagan is now involved in this situation and he has directed staff to contact this family first thing tomorrow morning.

"As you know, the Division of Child Safety and Family Services is in the process of a significant transition. Director Flanagan and I remain concerned about many aspects of CPS and what you have described is clearly unacceptable.

"Thank you for bringing this to our attention to ensure that this family receives the support they need. Our foster families do so much to help our children and it is critical that we provide them every support we are able."

Stay with cbs5az.com and CBS 5 News for updates on this developing story.

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