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New program to reduce number of Arizona children in group homes, shelters

(Facebook photo)

A project called “Fostering Sustainable Connections” from The Arizona Department of Child Safety has the goal of reconnecting children in foster homes with people the child used to know, including family members.

“This program helps to identify and reconnect children with people who may have been important in their lives,” said Katherine Duffy with the Arizona Department of Child Services. “It could be a relative, maybe one that they know, maybe one that they’ve actually never met.”

It could also be a teacher, a former coach or a neighbor.

“We meet with the children and the caregivers of these children and perhaps their parents,” she said.

The process can include identifying a family home for the child and the necessary support services the family needs to provide a permanent home.

“Not only to get them out of congregate care and out (of) foster care but also to give them those connections with important people throughout the rest of their lives,” Duffy said.

Arizona is one of 25 states using federal Department Of Health And Human Services funds to find ways to safely reduce the number of children placed in the system.