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A Spot of Good News: The Number of Kids in Foster Care is Dropping

Little girl cropped photoSome good news from the Department of Child Safety (DCS): The number of children in foster care has been declining with children moving to permanent homes from foster care and fewer children entering care. As of December 2016, there were 17,149 children in foster care down from a high of 19,044 in February.

Another promising sign is that DCS is succeeding in its goal to reduce the number of open reports and to close old reports (aka “the backlog”). These focus areas allow for the reduction of caseloads and help diminish the trauma and expense of foster care.
The number of children living with unlicensed relatives has been growing and is higher than the number living with licensed foster families. Relatives who are able and willing to open their hearts and homes help children maintain family connections and grow up strong. Governor Ducey has supported several steps to give these kinship families who are struggling a little bit of help. Arizona can gain big by continuing to improve the security of these families.

In June 2015, the Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago released its Independent Review of DCS as commissioned by the legislature. The initial report discussed findings and provided 26 recommendations to improve the operations In February 2017, Chapin Hall provided an assessment of the progress reported by DCS. The vast majority of the recommendations are in the process of being implemented and Chapin Hall points out that DCS has a long way to go in bringing change to scale – both geographically and substantively.

 

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