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Improving Arizona's foster care and adoption systems

In the United States, nearly 400,000 children live in foster care, including about 11,000 in Arizona.

Unfortunately, Arizona's foster care system is characterized by frequent placement changes, which puts foster children at increased risk for mental health problems.

  • A 2021 report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that 38% of children placed in out-of-home care through the welfare system have been placed more than twice.
  • However, adoption and kinship placement can help alleviate this problem. Unfortunately, not enough children are placed with kinship in Arizona.
  • IN 2021: 7,160 or 52% of foster children were placed with relatives, but 3,409 or 25% were placed with families without relatives.

On average, more than 800 youth in Arizona leave foster care each year at age 18, leaving the system with little support. Those who age out are more likely to be homeless and suffer from mental health issues than children who have not spent time in foster care. To reduce the number of youth who leave foster care without finding a permanent home, Arizona must take steps to increase adoptions and reunification of children from diverse backgrounds and experiences.\t

TO IMPROVE CARE AND ADOPTION SYSTEMS, ARIZONA SHOULD

  • Protect the religious freedom of religious foster families Care and adoption providers such as Arizona Faith and families And Christian family care. Neglect Protecting religious freedom means less adoption providers and more children getting stuck in the system.
  • Introduce expanded and simplified adoption tax Loans for foster families. Adoption in Arizona The $3,000 tax exemption is lower than the federal tax exemption Credit.
  • Support and use programs to reduce the number of children placed in foster families, connecting needy families with churches and Communities like CarePortal.
  • Better support for foster parents through comprehensive support programs that include: Pre-training to prepare foster parents with the necessary skills to care for children with different backgrounds and experiences.
  • Improving mental and psychological health care for Foster children through regular screenings, Providing timely treatment and sharing trauma-informed Health care reform like that of Illinois Public Law 099-0927.
  • Review and eliminate burdensome regulations. Improving communication between agencies and Foster parents to ensure effective recruitment and Matching processes for children and adopted children Parents.
  • Maximize functionality and public perception of data systems such as the Adoption in Arizona Exchangean online database that enables potential adoptive parents to create profiles and search for children available for adoption.

Anna Harden

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