In 2014, Gov. Jan Brewer created the Department of Child Safety (DCS) to address the state’s woeful support of children living with abuse or neglect. But three years later, things have barely improved, particularly for older children aged seven and above.
As of September 2016, there were 2,141 kids in this category living in group homes and residential-treatment centers. Yet only 60% of the 11,000-plus foster-home beds are filled. Clearly, there is plenty of room available for these vulnerable children.
Licensed foster home parents are ready, willing and able to accommodate older children, and give them a loving home that enables them to focus on school. Many have reached out to DCS with requests to house older children, only to have their inquiries ignored.
As a parent and teacher, I’m passionate about helping these kids. And as a member of the State Legislature, I would commit myself to ensuring that DCS works with licensed foster care homes to give these children the loving homes they desperately need.