When kids come into foster care, the state begins looking for a place for them to live. The state is required to do their best to place kids with family or friends that they already have a connection with (kinship placement). This does take time as the state processes background checks on the adults in the home, a general safety inspection, and a written safety plan to help ensure the safety of the child placed in a kinship home. While this happens, children can be placed with foster families, shelters, or group homes. Currently 45% of kids in care live with a relative (8,506 kids).
The next best option, after kinship placement, is placing children with foster families but there continues to be a lack of beds available in foster homes. The most recent report released in June showed an increase in families fostering, 4,681 compared to 4,551. With almost 19,000 kids in care, group homes and shelters have been taking in more kids than ever before.
Shelters are designed to be a temporary place for kids to go until a more permanent place becomes available. The most recent report showed 974 kids lived in a shelter more than 21 days. It also showed that 1,961 kids are currently placed in group home care which is the highest number in Arizona’s foster care history. Our hope is to see this number decrease as more kids are cared for in a family setting with kinship and foster families.
Thank you for your great question! If you have questions, send them to #youaskedfa or Kim@fosteraz.com