ARIZONA NEWS

Number of Arizona kids in foster care has dropped over 8 years, DCS says

Sep 6, 2022, 4:35 AM | Updated: Sep 7, 2022, 9:11 am
(Facebook Photo/Arizona Department of Child Services)...
(Facebook Photo/Arizona Department of Child Services)
(Facebook Photo/Arizona Department of Child Services)

PHOENIX — Arizona was once the worst in nation when it came to the number of children entering the system, but over the past decade the department has lowered that number, officials said.

Michael Faust, director of the Arizona Department of Child Safety, told KTAR News 92.3 FM when Gov. Doug Ducey came into office the department had just become a stand alone agency.

“On top of that, we were really strapped with what was the fastest growing foster care population in the nation,” Faust said.

From 2004 to 2014 Arizona’s foster care population grew by about 95%, making it the worst in the country, according to the department.

Faust said in March 2015, there were 19,044 kids in the care of the state, including kids under 18 and over 18.

“In the calendar year of 2016, 1,077 kids per month on average entered foster care, so you had this large number of kids entering care, you had not enough kids transferring home safely, you had a strapped workforce,” Faust said.

He added that foster parents and kinship caregivers could not keep up with the demand because more kids were entering foster care each day than exiting.
“I think under Gov. Ducey’s leadership, and with the support of [former] Director [of the Department of Child Safety Greg] McKay, the team of professionals that worked in the department really started to work on meaningful systemic reform,” Faust said.

The department addressed these issues by reducing hold times for the child abuse hotline, eliminating the backlog of 16,000 inactive cases and reducing the number of open reports to investigate.

“There was a point in time where the department had 33,245 open reports to investigate. You’ve got about nine months backlog reports,” Faust said, noting that it took about 18 months to get through the backlog.

The department said starting in 2017, it began seeing fewer kids entering foster care, with on average of about 800 a month.

“Right now, we’re averaging just below 600 kids a month entering care, so about a 40% reduction of the number of kids entering care each month,” Faust said.

“That has coupled with our efforts to transition kids home safely to either their birth parents or permanency through adoption or guardianship.”

There are now fewer than 12,000 children up to age 17 in the system, the lowest level since March 2012, according to a press release from the department.

Faust tells KTAR News a lot of this work has been possible due to Gov. Ducey’s leadership and have worked to make sure the work that’s been done outlives past Ducey’s administration.

“We’ve really worked diligently with everything we do to make it not people based, but process based so that way it’s replicate-able,” Faust said.

According to Faust, the department will now focus on preventive work by doing a more effective job reaching out to the community.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Mark Brnovich, a Republican, smiles as he talks with people on the floor of the Arizona House of Re...
Associated Press

Arizona announces $85M settlement with Google over user data

Arizona AG Mark Brnovich said his office reached an $85 million settlement with Google to resolve a lawsuit that accused the tech company of “surreptitiously” obtaining user data to sell advertisements.
18 hours ago
(Arizona Humane Society Photo)...
Alex Weiner

139 rabbits rescued in Glendale, in need of foster homes

The Arizona Humane Society is in need of foster homes for 139 rescued rabbits that were hoarded in Glendale.
18 hours ago
Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images, File)...
Associated Press

Jan. 6 committee attorney says Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward pleaded Fifth

Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward asserted her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination during a House Jan. 6 committee deposition, according to an attorney for the panel.
18 hours ago
Canyon State Academy (Google Street View)...
KTAR.com

1 dead, 2 hospitalized after possible drug overdose at Queen Creek school

One student died and two others were hospitalized after a possible drug overdose Monday night at a residential school for at-risk boys in Queen Creek, authorities said.
18 hours ago
Protesters march around the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix after the Supreme Court decision to overturn...
Kevin Stone

Doctors group asks court to make 15-week abortion ban the law in Arizona

The Arizona Medical Association wants a court to make a 15-week abortion ban apply statewide rather than a pre-statehood near-total ban.
18 hours ago
Arizona Republican nominee for governor Kari Lake greets an attendee during a Sept. 20, 2022, campa...
Kevin Stone

Kari Lake, Arizona’s GOP candidate for governor, says abortion should be rare but not illegal

Kari Lake, the Republican candidate for governor in Arizona, said Tuesday she would like abortions to be rare and safe, but not illegal.
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
Number of Arizona kids in foster care has dropped over 8 years, DCS says