News

SB 1458: Because Children Thrive in Families, Not Institutions

Arizona places young foster children in group homes and institutions at a higher rate than any other state in the nation. We must change that - and we can with SB1458.

Congregate care placements have detrimental effects on the healthy development of children, especially young children. Experts agree that children do best with families and that congregate care (group homes, shelters, and other institutional settings) should only be used when there is no less restrictive setting that can meet a child’s short-term need for therapeutic services.

Senate Bill 1458, sponsored by Senator Bennett, is a collaboration between Fostering Advocates Arizona, a group of young people with lived experience in foster care, and Children’s Action Alliance.

The bill, which passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support, will now be considered by the House of Representatives. The legislation aims to reduce the placement of young foster children in congregate care settings by requiring the Department of Child Safety Director's Approval before such a placement can be made for a young child.

At close to 11%, Arizona’s rate of congregate care placement of children under age 12 is the highest in the nation and much higher than the national average of 3%. ¹ Arizona children deserve better.

Requiring Director Approval is a nationally recognized best practice included in Ending the Need for Group Placements, a collective effort of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Casey Family Programs, and community partners nationwide that identified actions to reduce the use of congregate care.

Our first priority at CAA is to support families so they can safely thrive together. When that isn’t possible, and a child must enter the child welfare system, it is imperative that each and every placement of a child attempts to reduce trauma and strengthen safety. SB1458 is an important step in doing better for Arizona kids.

Watch this short video to hear how the City of Philadelphia’s Congregate Care Approval process helped reduce its congregate care population from nearly 1,000 to just 255.

Learn more about the campaign to End the Need for Group Care and check out the full video.

 

¹ https://cwoutcomes.acf.hhs.gov/cwodatasite/sevenOne/index

More News

News

Arizona Releases First-Ever Report on Adolescent Health

Children’s Action Alliance (CAA), in collaboration with Affirm and the Arizona Alliance for Adolescent Health, is excited to release the inaugural State of Adolescent Health in Arizona report. Recognizing that adolescence is a critical phase of growth and development for establishing a foundation for…

News

Nearly 103,000 Arizona kids lost AHCCCS, but KidsCare expansion brings hope.

Since the end of the public health emergency a year ago, 103,000 fewer Arizona children are enrolled in AHCCCS coverage with the return to regular renewal requirements, according to a new report from Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. AHCCCS and its companion KidsCare provide child-specific…

Arizona Preschoolers Are at Risk of Being Left Behind

Last Thursday, the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) released its annual State of Preschool Report. The report is a state-by-state comparison of preschool program funding, access, and best practice policies. This year’s report notes that preschool programs are at a critical juncture….