From the little spark may burst a mighty flame.
Children in foster care can't wait for reform. Together we can create the spark for change.
We help you
Children in out-of-home care come with unique challenges. Foster parents and professionals require more than introductory training to deal with some situations. We help to bridge the gap.
From curriculum sensitivity training for educators to LGBTQ cultural competency training, and more, we offer ways to make your home or workspace as safe and welcoming as possible. We are always looking for experts interested in helping to build curricula. If you are interested in trainings, but not looking to volunteer at this time, visit our ACT page to view upcoming trainings.
Did you know we also do policy review work? Social workers, therapists, foster parents, child lawyers, advocates: you are the experts on foster care. Let's work together! We would love to share in your expertise. Consider joining our advocacy and education efforts and we can make a change together.
A child shouldn't have to be resilient.
Children in foster care are stuck on an endless merry-go-round of bureaucratic failures.
According to the Arizona Auditor General, a lack of standard investigations protocols leaves too many Arizona children in dangerous homes while removing too many others from safe homes.
With caseworker turnover skyrocketing, caseloads are more than double the recommended number. At a recent oversight hearing, it was revealed that many caseworkers have unopened file-boxes under their desks left by previous caseworkers. These files belong to real children who may be in real danger.
Although children in foster care are diagnosed with PTSD at twice the rate of combat veterans, mental health services for children in foster care are regularly denied, have long waiting lists, and are often provided by underqualified paraprofessionals.
When family reunification has failed, severance hearings are being scheduled months or even more than a year out due to overloaded court dockets, leaving children lingering in foster care when they are ready for adoption.
When children and families arrive in court for a hearing, the hearing is too often being postponed simply because the Attorney General's Office did not file required motions or notifications.
Children are sleeping in Arizona DCS offices and languishing in shelters and group homes because of a crisis-level shortage of foster families. Families are closing their foster licenses as quickly as new families are recruited, primarily because of frustrations with the brokenness of the system.
abandoned by the system
Bloodied and bruised across her body, Emma's friends told the teachers what had happened. Then, the day quickly became a blur. First, the school nurse. Then the police. Then, two social workers.
Mute with fear, Emma was too overwhelmed to take in what was happening. Finally, a police officer drove her home where the small group of officers and social workers spoke with her parents.
Emma watched them drive away, leaving her to be punished for bringing the authorities into her parents' home. Emma remembers only, "Blood was everywhere."
Emma says she learned the lesson well, "Never tell. Never trust.."
Emma feels isolated and forsaken.
adrift in the system
After a weeklong stay in the hospital, Joshua went home with a loving foster family. Three years later, as Joshua was finally beginning to feel safe for the first time in his life, his caseworker moved him from the foster family he had come to love and trust to a new foster family.
His foster family hired a lawyer but because of Arizona law, they had no legal standing. There was no independent review of the case. Losing him felt like a death in the family. They continue to wonder what happened to him.
Since then, an angry and mistrustful Joshua has been kicked out of three other foster homes. He does not know his first foster family fought to keep him.
Joshua feels unwanted and unworthy of love.
between two worlds
Over the last 3 years, Hannah has been sent home from foster care four times. Each time Hannah goes into foster care, her mother completes the requirements: rehab, therapy, anger management, drug tests. Like a checklist: check, check, check.
Hannah's home is filled with needles and smoke. She has mastered the art of gathering food from nearby dumpsters. People come and go at all hours. Hannah sleeps upright to see when someone approaches.
Hannah lived with one foster family twice. They let her take ballet classes and took her to shows. She had pretty clothes. She felt safe. She always had food there.
Hannah loves her mother and feels disloyal for loving her foster family, too.
No child should be going barefoot in America in this century. Yet, just a couple of years ago, Mackenzie went to school barefoot for 2 months while in foster care.
After Mackenzie was adopted, she continued to want to help those she left behind. She set a goal to collect 17,000 pairs of shoes—one pair for every child in Arizona foster care at the time - and produce an awareness video.
Mackenzie, with the Foster Children's Rights Coalition and many local and national partners, collected 18,500 pairs of shoes - 1,500 more than her original goal!
Thank you to our community and national partners who have exceeded Mackenzie's collection goal and are helping her dream come true. We are currently working on editing our video to help raise awareness and will let you know the moment it is ready for screening!