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Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice

We promote policies that support communities and families and prevent children from entering a child welfare system—including the juvenile justice system. When system-involvement is necessary, we aim to ensure that resources are available within communities so that families and children can get the help they need where they live and avoid unnecessary separation through foster care or juvenile justice involvement.

Through policy and advocacy, we strive to ensure that the child welfare and juvenile justice systems are informed by data, utilize best practices, provide culturally relevant services, and confront inequity. Many of our efforts are directed toward families and youth who most often experience the poorest outcomes, including people of color, older youth, expectant and parenting youth, and LGBTQ+ young people. We work to advance policies that allow all children impacted by system involvement to heal, grow, and succeed.

14,000

Children in foster care in Arizona.

44%

Of foster children in Arizona are placed with grandparents and other kin. This is higher than the national rate of 33%.

4x

In Arizona, Black children are 4 times more likely than White children to enter foster care.

2020 Priorities

Our child welfare and juvenile justice legislative priorities are to:

  1. Restore supports to grandparents and other kinship caregivers who step in and prevent children from entering foster care when parents are unable to care for their children.
  2. Help abused and neglected children placed with relatives by DCS get the financial help they need.
  3. Ensure young people who are exiting from foster care have the supports and skills they need to successfully transition to independence.

Our Timeline: Advocating for child welfare and juvenile justice

2009

Amid the Great Recession, budget cuts hit. DES announces that not all potential risk reports to the hotline will be investigated, staff layoffs begin, monthly foster care payments decrease, and prevention services and substance abuse treatments are cut.

Our Timeline: Advocating for child welfare and juvenile justice

2010

Following several high-profile child abuse fatalities, the public and media call for reform. CPS staffing is low, and the agency struggles to respond.

Our Timeline: Advocating for child welfare and juvenile justice

2011

While other states begin to recover from the Great Recession, Arizona sees an even steeper increase of children into foster care.

Our Timeline: Advocating for child welfare and juvenile justice

2013

The foster care population has skyrocketed to more than 15,000, with more than 6,000 reports that had not been investigated.

Our Timeline: Advocating for child welfare and juvenile justice

2014

Governor Brewer disbands CPS and creates the Department of Child Safety.

Our Timeline: Advocating for child welfare and juvenile justice

2016

Arizona’s foster care population reaches an all time high of 19,044.

Our Timeline: Advocating for child welfare and juvenile justice

2018

Arizona’s foster care population reaches a post-crisis low of 13,763.

Our Timeline: Advocating for child welfare and juvenile justice

2020

Arizona’s foster care population ticks up to 14,247.

Read the latest

News

The impact of COVID-19 on youth aging out of foster care

Fostering Advocates Arizona (FAAZ), a group of young leaders with lived experience in the child welfare system, conducted two surveys during the pandemic: one of foster and former foster youth ages 14 to 26 and one of adult providers and allies. Some of the results: Over 1/3 of young people reported that…

Mohamed and his son in his grocery store, Phoenix Mini Market
News

KIDS COUNT Data Book is the only source to focus on statewide trends about Arizona’s children

News

The Time is Now for Arizona to Reimagine an Equitable Child Welfare System that Supports Children within their Families and Communities

Grandparent raising grandchild
News

Bipartisan House Bill Will Provide Critical Supports to Help Transition-Age Foster Youth and Kin Navigate Pandemic

News

Support Fostering Advocates Arizona TODAY