You may have seen recent Arizona media coverage about the decline of licensed foster families in Arizona creating bed shortages for kids and teens. This is a serious issue, but there is more to the story.
A foster family provides a stable environment for a vulnerable child who has been removed from his/her home because of abuse and/or neglect. It is an important part of keeping children safe. However, for children whose parental rights have been severed, these children need more than a foster family. They dream about a loving, forever family and a healthy, happy home. They dream about their futures while longing for the opportunity to be a kid like every other kid – to ride a bike, have a birthday party, celebrate holidays with family, stay in one school and one home… and the list of what they long for goes on.
The media can be very helpful in raising awareness for important topics. They’ve covered the hardships foster kids experience while in the system and the harsh realities foster children face if they age out of the system without ever being adopted (787 children have aged out to so far in FY 2019 according to DCS). In addition to educating us on what is wrong with foster care, it’s important to educate the public on how to be a part of the solution. Many Arizonans are unaware that the foster to adopt process is unnecessary. There are approx. 3,000 Arizona foster children whose parental rights are severed that can be directly adopted without the need for foster care licensure.
With a growing population and booming economy, surely our citizens will open their hearts and homes to 3,000 vulnerable children who have already suffered so much?
Why don’t we as citizens collectively agree that there will be no orphans in Arizona? Then, let’s employ the plan to get that done.
What you can do? Consider adoption of a foster child. Find out more about requirements and processes here. Volunteer at one of numerous non-profits that are selflessly serving foster children. Be an advocate – share the information about the need with family, co-workers, your church, and your civic organizations. Go here to find more ways to help.
And, of course, share this article.
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