Arizona nonprofit CEO expects rise in foster care abuse cases after virus ends
PHOENIX — The head of an Arizona nonprofit that supports foster care children said Tuesday he expects a rise in the amount of reported abuse and neglect cases following the end of the coronavirus outbreak.
Dan Shufelt, president and CEO of Arizona Helping Hands, said he doesn’t believe abuse and neglect are being seen as often right now since people are staying home and are away from places where cases are usually reported, such as schools.
“The common consensus is that when we come out of this crisis, there will be things that appear that we aren’t quite prepared for,” Shufelt said.
Shufelt said there are more than 14,000 children currently in Arizona’s foster care system.
He said he’s interacted with families struggling through the crisis that are dealing with added pressure in their home lives.
“Children in foster care who have problematic life circumstances are really in a state of crisis right now,” Shufelt said.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey declared May as Foster Care Awareness Month in an effort to bring attention to the issue.
Shufelt believes more attention needs to be spent on making sure foster children are placed in good situations, especially after the end of the coronavirus outbreak.
“The idea is that foster care is an issue in our society that is deserving of attention and children in foster care need help in many forms and fashion,” Shufelt said.
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ali Vetnar contributed to this report.