There’s a foster bed shortage in Arizona. We’re Robert and Kathey Raskin and we want to tell you more about this alarming development. There aren’t enough cribs for infants either. There are over 21 private agencies operating in central Arizona. While it’s true that foster beds are always in demand, the shortage is more prominent because they’re simply unable to find foster families. There are checks and balances in place. For example, Child Crisis Arizona is one shelter in Mesa that handles the overflow of intakes when the Department of Child Safety can’t locate a foster bed. Yet, there was no room in their facilities to handle the multitude of children coming through the system. Strangely enough, of 200 foster homes that agency gives licenses to, none of them had open beds.
Drop in Applications
Something’s wrong statewide when there’s a significant drop in new foster-home applications. DCS has been offering $200 gift cards to current foster parents who send referrals their way. All they must do is complete foster-care training and get their license. A private agency named HRT offers a $75 bounty for successful referrals. It’s sad that you have to incentivize the life of a child to get people interested.
There are more than 1,200 foster homes with on hold licenses, meaning they’re unable to continue being foster locations. This is offered when families want to take a break, go on an extended vacation, or dealing with other extenuating circumstances that prevent them from being fully committed to their duties. While understandable, DCS should stay aggressive and on top of their game, knowing that lulls in availability are possible. We implore the State of Arizona to take a deeper look at their current system.
Streamline the Process
It’s been said that it typically takes four to six months for prospective foster parents to complete the needed training, background checks, and home inspections. So why wouldn’t they have done their research and realized that the DCS preference for moving older children out of group homes and into foster placements is more than likely what caused the kink in the pipeline? They should have had the foresight to know that when you focus on one area, another becomes lax. We should always account for bumps in the road when it comes to our children. Arizona has let them down.
Arizona is making plans to fix the system but let’s see how far they get. Stop DHR is on the lookout for improvement and once we see results, we’ll tell you more.