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For first time in 7 years, more children leaving Arizona foster system than entering

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PHOENIX — For the first time in seven years, more children are exiting the Arizona childcare system than are entering it.

Around 17,400 children in Arizona were in foster care in 2017, down from peak numbers in the range of 19,000.

Christina Corieri, a senior policy adviser with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s office, said his office is looking to do more to support grandparents and other extended family to raise children. He made the same point during this year’s State of the State Address.

“We want to focus on most needy kinship families and make sure that they have the money that they need with a little assistance from the state to be able to care of those children,” she said.

Corieri said, while investigative backlogs at the Arizona Department of Child Safety are down, Ducey’s office sees the aforementioned extended family option as a great way to raise kids who would otherwise end up in foster care.

However, those families are underfunded. Ducey’s office wants to work to change that.

“The governor wants to add additional funds to help these families,” she said. “You know, when we have licensed foster families, they’re given assistance from the state, but our unlicensed kinship care families receive very little assistance in comparison.”

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