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Introducing: Fostering Advocates Arizona!

The name has changed, but the goals remain the same. Welcome Fostering Advocates Arizona (formerly the Arizona Youth Opportunities Initiative).

340x100px_FaAZLogoThe Initiative’s Young Adult Leadership Board has been hard at work leading this name change that shares the importance of having the voices of young adults who have experienced foster care at the center of our advocacy work. The voices of Fostering Advocates Arizona can influence state practice and policy decisions to connect more young people in and from foster care with the critical education, employment, and health resources they need to be responsible adults and leaders in our community.

Fostering Advocates Arizona is also excited to announce the launch of the Opportunity Passport™ in Maricopa County. The program helps young adults transitioning from foster care to become financially capable by providing interactive classes on asset building, credit, and money management. Participants receive assistance in opening a savings or checking account in their name, in addition to financial coaching, and the opportunity to having their savings matched to purchase approved assets that will help them transition successfully to adulthood — like a car or books for college.

For more information on how your organization can host an Opportunity Passport Training or for participant eligibility, click here.

As the Fostering Advocates Arizona work moves forward, stay tuned for the launch of our new transitioning youth resource website in the New Year!

Child deaths from maltreatment rose in state during 2013

Arizona child maltreatment deaths rise

Arizona’s Children and the State Budget Deficit

Dec 3 Community Forum_FINAL 300 pxYour Voice Matters!

Let your Legislators know your priorities when it comes to children and the state budget.

Join us on:

December 3, 2014
from 6-8 pm
at the Tucson Jewish Community Center
(3800 E. River Rd.)

Arizona Legislators will be in attendance to hear from you.

All voices are welcome.

Registration opens 5:30.
Snacks Provided.
Families welcome.

Report Recommends “Two-Generation Approach” to Tackle Poverty in AZ, U.S.

Kids Count Policy Report Releases Child Poverty Numbers, Arizona 5th Highest In Country

New KIDS COUNT Policy Report

With almost half the nation’s young children growing up in low-income households, a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation calls for a comprehensive effort to lift kids out of poverty. The KIDS COUNT® policy report, Creating Opportunity for Families: A Two-Generation Approach, focuses on the importance of delivering high-quality early childhood education while simultaneously providing parents with access to job training, career paths and other tools that enable them to support their families.

KC_PR_2gen_twitter_ad06Here in Arizona we’re working on several two-generation approaches: rebuilding child care assistance to prevent child neglect, delivering a range of family support strategies through the dedicated tobacco tax at First Things First, offering parents professional mentoring in their own homes to improve parenting skills and workforce participation, and helping families connect to health coverage plus other critical benefits through one coordinated electronic application – known as HEA Plus.

The Arizona statistics in the report show the importance of these efforts and the critical need to reach more families:

  • More than half (51%) of Arizona children age 8 or younger live in low-income families. Only Mississippi, Arkansas, New Mexico and Idaho have higher percentages.
  • Nearly one out of four young children in Arizona living in low-income families had parents who said that child care issues affected their jobs: they had to quit a job, turn down a job offer, or greatly change their job because of problems with child care. This is the second highest rate in the nation.

For more information on the conditions that Arizona families are living in click here to go to the KIDS COUNT Data Center.

Budget Requests Part 2: DJC and DHS

State agencies have submitted their funding requests for the next fiscal year which begins July 1. Over the next few weeks, CAA will continue to provide you with a snapshot of requests submitted by many of these agencies. Here, in our second installment, is a snapshot of the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections and the Department of Health Services (DHS).

Most of the DHS budget request concerns the creation of integrated services programs for two Medicaid populations in the behavioral health system –  individuals with serious mental illness and individuals who receive general mental health and substance abuse services.  Since these integrated programs require moving responsibilities and funding between the Department of Health Services and AHCCCS, we will report on all Medicaid programs in a separate e-news .