Restore supports for all Arizona kinship families
Nancy and her husband faced a real challenge when twelve years ago they stepped in as informal caregivers to raise two grandchildren. As Nancy describes,
“Twelve years ago the bio-mother of our granddaughters then 2 and 3 years old, called to tell me that she would have to put the babies into foster care because she had to go to Texas to be with a man she met online playing World of Warcraft. The children’s father, our son, was unemployed and sleeping on the floor of an apartment of a friend who reportedly sold drugs—so not a parenting option.
We said that we would take them—but only if we obtained legal guardianship to ensure that we could access medical care and school for them.
When I went to get them and some of their clothes and toys from the apartment where they lived with their mom, there were bugs jumping off the floor, old pizza on the floor, rotten food in the refrigerator, and insects everywhere. Needless to say, we left all of their belongings and started from scratch purchasing new clothes, toys, beds, diapers, and everything else.
Since then, we have been the full-time caregivers of our grandchildren. Since they were not placed with us through the child welfare system, we had no help navigating the system and had to figure it out ourselves. There has never been any financial help. We have spent our savings and retirement to care for these children and we do not regret it at all.
However, I worry. I am almost 71, and work three part time jobs. My husband’s employer went out of business a few years ago, and he has not had employment since. I have no idea what would happen if I became unable to work.
This is one of many reasons I strongly support changes that would help keep kids out of the system and help other families like ours.”
Research shows that supporting kinship caregivers often costs less to the state, and helps prevent children from entering foster care. Help families across Arizona like Nancy’s by asking your legislator to pass Senate Bill 1144. Find your legislator here.