Maricopa County lacking space in homes for foster children
PHOENIX– A serious crisis for foster children across Maricopa County has been looming for months, but now, the situation has become more serious.
Child Crisis Arizona reported there are only two open beds in 200 foster homes currently licensed with the agency. Those two beds could be filled within the next week.
“We are one of the larger licensing agencies in Maricopa County,” CEO of Child Crisis Arizona, Torrie Taj, said in a press release.
“We usually see a steady flow of new families coming in once experienced foster families decide it is time to close their license. But recently we’ve seen that flow of new families decrease and now as children are coming into the system we are unable to assist them.
“We have no homes for any more children.”
Despite the number of kids in foster care decreasing since 2016, over 13,000 children are currently in the state’s system. When a family member’s home or foster care homes have no available space, the Department of Child Safety needs to place children in shelters of group homes.
“There has never been enough foster homes in Maricopa County to address the need,” Taj said. “We need to do more to raise awareness that there are children in foster care who want and need a healthy family to care for them.”
Becoming a licensed foster home takes approximately six months. During this time, potential foster providers are required 30 hours of training, interviews, inspections and background checks.
“We really do our best to ensure our families they are not in this alone,” Taj said. “Children are going through a lot when they come into foster care and we want our families to be prepared to love and support them so that the children aren’t further traumatized.”
Child Crisis Arizona holds foster care and adoption information meetings twice a month, one in Phoenix and one in Mesa.