Children thrive in families, not institutions. This is especially true for foster children who have experienced trauma. Research provides "strong and conclusive causal evidence that children exposed to early deprivation benefit from high-quality family-based care, and, more broadly, that the nature of the early caregiving environment has an extensive and lasting impact on development."¹ Conversely, research also shows that that congregate care facilities have inherently detrimental effects on the healthy development of children.² While foster children of all ages do best with families, it is especially important for young children.
Yet, Arizona places more young foster children in congregate care than any other state. Nearly 11% of Arizona’s foster children under 12 are placed in a congregate care setting. The national average is 3%. Arizona’s over reliance on group home placements drives the high rate of congregate care placements for young children.
Fostering Advocates Arizona (FAAZ), a group of young policy advocates who have experienced foster care, and Children’s Action Alliance are teaming up on legislation to curtail the placement of young foster children in group homes and institutions. Senate Bill 1458, sponsored by Senator Bennett, would limit the use of congregate care for foster children under the age of 12 by requiring Director approval prior to placement, an independent assessment of the child’s placement needs, and ongoing court approval and oversight. FAAZ board members understand the lasting impacts of foster care and know that placement with a family rather than in a group home can make all the difference.
SB 1458 will be considered by the Senate Committee on Transportation, Technology and Missing Children on Monday, February 12th.
Please show your support for SB 1458 by asking your Senator for their YES vote!
Download factsheet here.