The month of May was first designated as Foster Care Awareness Month in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan. It is a time to recognize all foster parents who have opened their homes to foster kids and families in need.
This initiative is led and promoted by the United States Government’s Office of the Administration for Children and Families Children’s Bureau.
For social media posts, stories and more visit our National Foster Care Awareness Month resources page here.
History of the ACF Children’s Bureau and Foster Care
The United States Government’s Office of the Administration for Children and Families Children’s Bureau has been around for over 100 years focusing on improving the lives of children and families.
This federal agency is referred to as simply the Children’s Bureau and was founded in 1912 during the presidency of William Howard Taft.
Before the Bureau, religious and other private organizations oversaw child welfare and foster care.
On April 9, 1912, Congress changed this by passing an Act that created the Children’s Bureau. Congress ordered the Children’s Bureau to investigate and report on all matters pertaining to the welfare of children and child life among all classes of people.
Some of the social issues the Bureau has tackled include:
- Infant and maternal death
- Child labor
- Child health and recreation
- Delinquency and juvenile courts
- Family economic security
- Abused and neglected children
- Foster care
Check out the Children’s Bureau video series. To watch the series and learn more, click the button below.
After the Children’s Bureau was founded in 1919, the Bureau worked on creating and publishing standards that affirm the importance of keeping children in their own homes with their own families. If this was not possible or safe for a child or children then foster care support would be provided through foster parents to create a safe home for foster kids in need.
Then in 1923, the Children’s Bureau published Foster-Home Care for Dependent Children, which established a preference for foster kids to be with a foster family rather than institutional care.
Between 1939 and 1945, during World War II the Children’s Bureau oversaw the nearly 8,000 children that came from Europe to the United States and placed them into the foster care system.
In 1970, the Children’s Bureau published The Rights of Foster Parents in its journal, Children and also sponsored the National Conference of Foster Parents.
Two years later, National Action for Foster Children Week was honored and President Nixon helped raise awareness of the needs of foster kids and the need to recruit more foster parents.
In 1973, The Bill of Rights for Foster Children was published.
You can find more details on the Office of the Administration for Children & Families website.
Foster Kids in Arizona
There are nearly 14,000 children in the Arizona foster care system. According to the Department of Child Safety, as of December 31, 2020 there are 1,756 children living in group homes in Arizona. There is a great need for more foster parents. If you feel called to this ministry or care to learn more attend one of our free information sessions. You can find our next in-person meeting and a link to attend virtually by clicking on the button below.
Average Ages of Kids in Foster Care
The majority of kids in foster care are between three and nine years old. What we have learned is that the “school-age” child between seven and 17 years old are oftentimes the kids who are less likely to be adopted and often stay in the system the longest. Below is a chart that breaks down the different age groups of kids in care.
Arizona Department of Child Safety, “Child Welfare Reporting Requirements Semi-Annual Report for the Period of January 1, 2021, through June 30, 2021”
Arizona Department of Child Safety, “Child Welfare Reporting Requirements Semi-Annual Report for the Period of January 1, 2021 through June 30, 2021”
Here is a link to the DCS Child Welfare Report.
When Do Foster Kids Age Out of Care?
A child in foster care “ages out” when they turn 18 years old.
At eighteen, a child in foster care is instantly considered an “adult.” They can either sign a ‘voluntary’ agreement to stay in foster care and receive ongoing support from the state until they’re 21 or, they start life outside of the foster care system.
Services Foster Children Receive as They Transition Out of the System and Afterwards:
One of the services we offer for foster kids aging out of the system is our Project Starfish Program.
Project Starfish aims to help youth transitioning out of the foster care system develop their own goals, identify supportive relationships, and access the community resources necessary to be successful as they transition into adulthood. The program will help these individuals navigate life outside of the child welfare system through the development of life skills, access to community resources, client-driven services, and supportive relationships.
Youth and Young People Eligible for the Starfish Program Include:
- Current foster youth between the ages of 15-21
- Former foster youth between the ages of 18-21
- Youth who were adopted from the foster care system between the ages of 16-21
The Starfish program is designed to support individuals looking to actively participate in their own service planning and work towards accomplishing the goals they set for themselves.
If you are interested in mentoring a client in the Starfish Program click the button below!
DCS Young Adult Program (YAP)
The Arizona Department of Child Safety has its Young Adult Program as well.
The goal here is for the state to provide services to youth aging out of the foster care system. These services are aimed to help youth have a successful transition into adulthood.
Services become available to kids in care once they turn 14 years old. The services are available until the child turns 21 years old.
The Young Adult Program (YAP) offers these services to youth in transition out of care:
- Independent Living / Life Skills Training
- Educational Support and Assistance
- College and Vocational Training & Support
- Employment Support/Assistance
- Emotional Support
- Youth Advocacy
- Youth Rights
- Extended Foster Care for Young Adults 18 Through 20
- After Care Services
- Health Care
- Resolving Conflict and Filing a Grievance
- Housing Vouchers for Young Adults 18-24
- CAA Chafee Program Funding for Foster Youth
To learn more about these individual series visit the YAP website.
Foster Parents in Arizona
There are more than 14,000 Arizona children in foster care, but there are only about 4,500 licensed foster families. This shows us the great need we have for more foster families. According to DCS, there are roughly four children in foster care for every licensed foster family.
How to Become a Foster Parent:
Have you ever been interested in getting more information on becoming a foster/adoptive parent? Whether you are looking to get started in the process, or just exploring your options and gathering information, please come to this no-obligation meeting and find out what it takes to become a Foster/Adoptive Parent in Arizona! Click here for dates and times or contact Julie Mohline at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive upcoming dates with a direct Zoom link.
Foster Parent Requirements
To become a licensed foster family in the state of Arizona, you:
- Must be 21 or older, with good references and a physician’s statement verifying your emotional and physical health.
- Need enough living space for a foster child (including a separate bed) and enough income to support your own family’s needs.
- Pass a background check
In addition, at Christian Family Care, we partner with married or single individuals who agree to our statement of faith and are actively involved in the Christian community.
How Long Does It Take to Receive a Fostering License?
While there’s no financial cost to receive your foster family license, a considerable investment of time is required. The process usually takes about four to five months and includes training, a home study by Christian Family Care, and a home inspection by the Arizona Office of Licensing and Regulation. We’ll walk alongside you in each stage of the journey and assist you in keeping your license compliant with the state.
Is Financial Compensation Provided?
When a child is placed in your home, the state provides you with a monthly subsidy and an annual stipend to cover room, board, clothing, and other necessities. Medical, dental, prescription and mental health expenses are also covered by the state. Working parents may be eligible to receive childcare assistance from the Arizona Department of Economic Security.
What Is the Goal of Foster Care?
The purpose of our foster care ministry is to provide safe, Christ-centered homes to at-risk, hurting children. During that time, the children’s birth families typically (though not always) work with the Arizona Department of Child Safety in order to have their children returned.
It can be extraordinarily difficult for a foster family to say goodbye to a child they’ve grown to love. Those who undertake this ministry make that sacrifice to honor God and bless the child. The sincerity of a family’s love through such trials can demonstrate the Gospel more powerfully than words ever could, leaving a lasting imprint on the hearts of wounded children.
For some children, reunification with a birth family is not possible. Those children may need an adoptive home, and many foster parents do adopt their foster children. In such cases, there’s little to no financial cost for families adopting from the foster care system.
Foster Parent Training:
At Christian Family Care, we provide a number of state-required, pre-service classes that offer training and support to those families wishing to foster or adopt. Pre-registration is required before starting these classes.
Click on your county for dates and locations of Foster Parent classes offered:
Support for Foster Parents
To ensure the family and foster child thrive, Christian Family Care provides extensive support that far exceeds the requirements of Arizona’s Department of Child Safety.
When you begin your foster care journey with Christian Family Care, we provide extensive training and guidance to prepare you for the challenges ahead.
You’ll begin with training through Foster Parent College. But these services don’t stop when a child enters your home. On the contrary, our commitment to you grows.
- A Christian Family Care Family Specialist will regularly visit your home to provide support.
- You’ll be invited to participate in our foster and adoptive family support group where you can learn from other families, CFC experts, and find community. You can find the latest dates and topics here.
- Eligible working parents may receive childcare assistance from the Arizona Department of Economic Security.
- There’s also a respite program to provide your foster child with short-term care, so that you have time to run errands, rest, or take care of other personal needs.
After a child is placed into a home the state will pay the family a monthly reimbursement to cover the cost of room, board, clothing, and supplies for the child. Rates are based on the age of the child and the extent of the care required. Arizona will also pay for the child’s medical, dental, prescription drug, and therapy expenses.
At Christian Family Care, families have access to our professional counseling and Christ-centered support services. We’re there to encourage you, to pray with you, and to respond to unexpected challenges or emergencies. By providing professional support services at no cost, we’re giving every family the tools they need to succeed. When a family is successful, then every child will have the best chance to experience a stable, Christ-centered home.
By God’s grace, this strategic approach to foster care has transformed the lives of thousands of traumatized children and the families who welcomed them into their homes.
If you have questions about partnering with Christian Family Care to foster children, please email Julie Mohline at JMohline@CFCare.org.
If you are a foster parent in need of immediate assistance, please reach out to your assigned Foster Care Family Specialist or their supervisor by calling 800-939-5432. If you need help during non-business hours, please call 602-930-5127.
For social media posts, stories, and more visit our National Foster Care Awareness Month resources page here.
If you would like to join an information meeting, click here for the calendar.
Download pre-formatted social media posts you can share with friends, family and church.
This 60 second video is a great introduction to some of the key statistics currently in the Arizona Foster Care System.