The state of Arizona has come out with a new strategy in order to keep children out of shelters and group homes and permanently placed in a loving home. As you may have read from my first article that was based on the benefits of child adoption and foster care, there is a serious push from a lot of people that there needs to be more focus on the subject. Children need a stable and healthy home to live in and develop. Arizona attempts to be a front-runner in the effort the keep children off the streets, away from illegal activity, and growing up with a family that cares for them.
The list below comes from the Arizona Department of Child Safety:
- Train families who have successfully navigated the child welfare system to mentor others currently in the system.
- Help parents and children in struggling families deal with the effects of trauma in their lives.
- Teach “motivational interviewing” techniques to help child welfare workers encourage and better engage with troubled families.
The proposals that Arizona recently submitted are part of an ongoing effort to acquire more flexibility with federal funding. This funding is intended to help decrease the number of children in shelters and group homes. Just this last August, the Department of Child Safety asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for a waiver that details how it spends money on foster children. As you can imagine the request for the waiver was granted but, it was 100% contingent on the state setting up a plan to reduce congregate care numbers.
The Casey Foundation, a private charitable organization dedicated to helping build better futures for disadvantaged children in the U.S., recently put out another report entitled “Every Kid Needs a Family.” This report outlines three main recommendations for minimizing care numbers for children. I have taken the liberty of providing this information for you below.
- Provide more clinical services to families in danger of removals
- Focus more funding and attention on building foster and kinship family networks
- Create more placement decision-making teams to better determine whether a child needs to be removed in the first place.
All in all the Arizona plan is being pushed forward it would seem. It will be very interesting to read more reports as they come through and who is in support, versus who is against the outlined ideas for bettering child foster care and adoption.