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Dept. of Child Safety Data Show Stress on Families and the Agency

little girl with bear croppedThe number of children in Arizona’s foster care system has reached an all-time high while the number of staff available to work with them continues to drop.

As of February 2016, the number of children in foster care reached 19,044. Of these, 2,753 children were living in congregate care (primarily shelters and group homes) due to the lack of family foster homes.

The Department of Child Safety (DCS) made some progress in reducing growth in the number of children in foster care in November and December 2015. But in January, the number of children entering foster care once again exceeded the number exiting. In February, 1,048 children entered foster care compared to 759 exiting, the greatest difference in the last 14 months.There is a bright spot, however; the Department is responding faster to cases than before, more than 80% getting an initial response within the required time frame (data from July 2015 – Dec. 2015), compared with 63% from the same period the prior year.

Because of turnover, DCS has the fewest number of case-carrying staff since January 2014. The number of case carrying staff peaked in April 2015 at 1,096 but has declined to 923.

See this link for charts and graphs showing trends in the Department of Child Safety.

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