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It’s about feeling better…

Have a Happy and Healthy New Year – we hear it often at the start of each year. Thousands of us will make New Year’s resolutions to get more exercise, lose weight, and take better care of themselves. But being healthy needs more than good wishes or willpower. It means being able to get the medical treatment you need when you need it.

graciela montenegro screen captureWith all the media noise about Obamacare, we worry that people forget that having health insurance coverage is essential to having good health. This is true for kids and teens, adults and seniors. For many years, CAA has been at the legislature fighting for health insurance coverage for kids – and even with the Affordable Care Act, there is still more work to do.

Here is Graciela’s story about having health coverage in order to save her daughter’s life. Without insurance, young Samantha wouldn’t have treatment for her high blood pressure. Watch Graciela’s story here.

Your donation today will give CAA a stronger voice at the legislature so we can continue to improve children’s access to healthcare.

Thank you.

A grandmother’s love…

A grandmother’s love is special. A grandfather’s kindness is a blessing. But sometimes, when parents are unable or unwilling to raise their children, a grandparent’s care is truly lifesaving.

laura jasso screen captureThousands of Arizona grandparents have stepped up to the task of raising their grandchildren, often when they are in their retirement years on a limited income. They do the best they can with limited resources and lots of love.

In 2013, one of CAA’s legislative accomplishments was the passage of $1 million in new state funds approved for monthly stipends for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren so they can afford school supplies and other necessities. This happened because, with CAA’s help, hundreds of grandfamilies spoke up to Governor Brewer and their legislators.

Today I’m sharing with you Laura’s story that shows some of the joys and challenges of raising grandchildren, and why CAA’s work with grandfamilies is so important.

Your donation today will help continue that work and will give grandfamilies a stronger voice at the legislature so we can build on our success.

Thank You.

What is the Arizona Youth Opportunities Initiative?

frank smith video capture

Click Above to Play the Video

Thousands of children growing up in Arizona have family connections that are troubled and shaky. Today there are more than 15,000 abused and neglected children living in temporary foster care. For those who grow up and “graduate” from foster care when they turn 18, young adulthood can be extremely challenging and even dangerous without a permanent family to lean on.

Children’s Action Alliance is proud to be a leader of the Arizona Youth Opportunities Initiative, a collaborative project to connect former foster youth with opportunities for education, health care, housing, jobs, financial stability, and personal connections.

Here is the story of Frank Smith, a dynamic young man who is working with Children’s Action Alliance to build a better future for alumni of foster care like him. Please donate to CAA today so we can continue this work to create an Arizona where traditions, love and security are celebrated by all.

Thank you.

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CPS Forum Transcript and Recommendations

Sad boy in yellow smallMany thanks to all of you who have offered thoughtful comments and suggestions to improve protection of Arizona’s children from abuse and neglect. Policymakers are listening! On Monday, we shared with Governor Brewer and members of the CPS Legislative Oversight Committee all of the input we received at the CPS Community Forum on December 3 as well as copies of the statements and email suggestions we have received since then. Tomorrow we will share those with members of the Governor’s CARE Team as well.

The ideas from foster and adoptive parents, retired and current CPS staff, grandparents who are raising their grandchildren, concerned parents and taxpayers, and experienced social workers in our communities show strong and consistent themes. Our clear messages to Governor Brewer and legislators are:

1. Reinvest in prevention and community support, so fewer families ever reach the breaking point. Child care assistance, mental health services and coaching for struggling parents would go a long way.

2. Increase Child Protective Services (CPS) staffing, training, compensation, supervision, and resources to bring caseloads down and give dedicated caseworkers the chance to succeed.

3. Repair CPS systems for prioritizing and responding to reports.

4. Build real partnerships with foster families, grandparents and other relatives caring for children, and community-based social services agencies to help children recover and build successful lives. Today, we’re letting these assets go to waste.

5. Create new and better ways to give neglected children safe and healthy families. Many overwhelmed parents who have committed no crime but have crossed the line into neglect can get back on track with proven support strategies in the community.

CAA has put together a booklet of materials from the Forum and beyond that you can view below:

Arizona CPS update: Botched cases update set for CPS oversight panel