Friday, October 10, 2014

Foster Kid Statistics - Youths Flooding Arizona's Foster Care System

(video link is below)

I know that a lot of our readers live in Arizona so you'll probably be interested in the latest foster care statistics. In an interview this week, Kris Jacober, executive director of the Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation, shares that Arizona is losing the fight to lower the number of foster kids coming into the foster care system.

Foster kid statistics reveal that the state has roughly 20,000 children in foster care. As the article describes, "That's more than the total population of Sedona and Winslow combined." That's a lot of displaced children.

To put this alarming number into perspective, it is almost double the number of Arizona foster youth in 2010. Texas is the only other state where the number of foster children has increased from years ago. 

There has been a lot of upheaval in Arizona since the beginning of 2014 because of publicized failures by the Department of Child Safety. Many include Governor Jan Brewer felt that the state's foster care system was broken. The article implies that this influx of kids into foster care is due to the Department of Child Safety having closed 6,500 outstanding child welfare cases within the last month or so.

Jacober's organization supplies items that the state doesn't provide to its foster kids. In 2009, Arizona made significant, "brutal" cuts in the foster care budget causing a strain on many non-profits that have tried to pick up the slack.

One of the crippling side effects from Arizona's reduced foster care budget is the lack of funds to support efforts to locate foster kids' family members. This deficit means that many foster youth who could be moving out of foster care don't because a relative was located and wanted to take in the child are simply not contacted. Instead these children are spending many more months and years in the state system.

The irony is that by investing in more thorough efforts to locate relatives, more foster kids would be processed out and placed with family members. The monthly support payments to these relatives is very modest as the support amount was also a casualty of the 2009 budget cuts. Bottom line: Arizona would save millions of dollars by doing more to locate relatives.

Foster care agencies and the politicians that sign off on their budgets need to take a step back and look at the big picture. Officials need to start identifying those procedures that will save these agencies money while still providing the necessary support to foster children and those caring adults, such as Gia Heller, social media marketing guru and soon-to-be foster mom, who step up and give these children a forever home. This is the only way real progress will be made so less children go into foster care in the first place.


Richard Villasana

Richard Villasana
Find Families In Mexico

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