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(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
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Department of Child Safety says number of Arizona kids in foster care is dropping

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that nearly 428,000 kids are in foster care nationwide, and the number went up for three straight years between 2012 and 2015. The department also said Arizona has one of the highest growth rates.

But the director of the Arizona Department of Child Safety says things are turning around in the state.

Greg McKay says the number of kids in Arizona foster care had been on the rise.

“Back in June of 2013, we were at about 14,500. By the time you got to June 2015, we were up at over 18,000,” McKay said.

He added that the number topped out at 19,000, but has dropped back to just over 18,000.

McKay also said that the backlog of inactive cases of kids in foster care continues to drop.

“Our backlog is now just at about 4,000 from a high of 16,000-plus, and we’re looking to be done with our backlog by the end of January in the new year,” he said.

McKay said that giving caseworkers more tools to do the job has led to the drop. He claims that at one time some case workers were handling as many as 400 cases at a time, and that some of them are now handling as few as 10.

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