“I just want my Mommy!” 

“I just want my Mommy!” These are the most common words I hear from children in tears when they come into the Arizona Department of Child Safety’s Child Placement Center.  It doesn’t matter if they are three years old or 10 years old, they just want their mommies.

I cannot imagine how they feel.  Being taken out of their homes or schools and brought to a place where they don’t know anyone.  They are scared, sometimes angry, and full of emotions.  We would be the same if someone pulled us from our home or school or place of work.

These are good children in bad situations and powerless in their situations.  But then they find hope and kindness by the people working and volunteering at the Child Placement Center.  Within hours, the room is filled with laughter and hugs!  Children adjust quickly, and their speed of trust is amazing.   Maybe it’s because they get a bath, clean clothes, food, a bed to sleep in and toys to play with.  Maybe it’s because they see the appropriate love and care offered to them for the first time.  I can’t say what the exact reason is, for each child it must be different.  Overall, they seem grateful to be there.

Some will later tell me again, “I want my Mommy” and all I can say is “I want my Mommy too.”  That seems to help them relate because here’s a grandma-lady wanting her Mommy too.  It seems to give them the ok to feel the way they do with the separateness.

I cannot fix the situation from which these children come, but I can offer a little glimpse of hope and love through my volunteer hours with one-on-one time.  They radiate with a big smile whether I’m playing a game, coloring, just sitting with them or making them a snack.  It doesn’t take much to please a child.  A kind word and even just a smile can bring on a hug from them.

And sometimes…I still “just want my Mommy” at 56 years old!


Pam Mills

Child Placement Center Volunteer


Every day over 30 kids come in to care with not enough places to put them, you can help by volunteering!

If you are interested in volunteering at the Child Placement Center, please contact:

Pedro Calvillo

Program Project Specialist

Department of Child Safety

Office: 602-255-2920


AZDCS Website





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