Thousands of Arizona teens left waiting as fewer people become foster parents amid pandemic
PHOENIX — A Valley nonprofit that provides housing for vulnerable youth in the state says teens are slipping through the cracks and that fewer people are going through the process of becoming a certified foster parent due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are more than 14,000 children in the foster care system, according to Child Crisis Arizona, and 6,000 of those are teens.
“There are a lot of teens in the system that need foster parents or independent living or group homes and so that’s something that we have definitely seen trending up over the years,” Torrie Taj, CEO of Child Crisis Arizona, said.
This as Taj said the nonprofit saw fewer people applying to become certified foster care parents once the pandemic began.
“Many people were hesitant to go through the training and to become a licensed foster care provider and to open up their homes and their hearts during this very uncertain time,” she said.
In addition, Taj said certified foster families stopped taking kids in as a precaution of the pandemic.
“The families were concerned about opening their homes during the pandemic, just to have less children and less people in the house,” she said.
Taj said a lot of families are willing to take in the younger kids, but that’s not the same case for the older kids.
Those who are interested in becoming a foster parent can find out how on the nonprofit’s website.