In this informational guide, we’ll be discussing the process of becoming a foster family in the state of Arizona. Topics covered will include:
- Things to keep in mind if you’re considering providing foster care for a child
- The differences between fostering, adoption, and kinship care
- Requirements for Arizona foster parents
Did you know that there are more than 13,000 children in Arizona’s foster care system, but less than 3,500 licensed foster families available (AZ DCS)?
The need for foster homes in Arizona is significant. If you’re considering opening your home to a child in need of a safe, caring environment, understanding the basic requirements for fostering in Arizona is key to making an informed decision.
Create a Brighter Future for Arizona Children
Children of all ages are in need of loving homes that can provide temporary care until family reunification or adoption can be achieved. In many cases, the state of Arizona is named the child’s official legal guardian, whether due to neglect, abuse, or other factors that have created an unsafe living environment.
Do I Have What It Takes to Foster or Adopt?
When you volunteer as a foster or adoptive parent, you are committing to providing more than just a place for the child to live. Ultimately, you are promising to meet the child’s daily needs in your care, including supporting their physical, educational, developmental, emotional, and social growth.
There’s no question that fostering and adopting come with great responsibility – but it also provides the incredible opportunity to reshape a child’s present and future with the power of compassion and love.
Fostering, Adoption, Kinship Care: What’s the Difference?
Depending on each child’s specific situation, there are a few different placement scenarios that may occur. Some children experience all three of these scenarios, while others only spend a short time in one form of care and are reunited with their families.
- Kinship care refers to the care of children provided by extended family members (or in some states, close family friends). For example, many children that cannot be cared for by their biological parents are raised by their grandparents, aunts/uncles, or even adult siblings.
- Foster care is a temporary care arrangement intended to ensure the health and safety of a child while their parent(s) are unable to provide proper care. This form of care is frequently provided in the form of private homes/foster families but may also be facilitated by group homes/wards.
- Adoption is the process by which a child is legally made a permanent member of a given family, transferring all rights and responsibilities from the biological parent(s) to the adoptive parent(s).
Arizona Foster Care Guidelines
The process to become a foster parent in Arizona is highly involved because it is of the utmost importance that the children are entrusted only to families that can provide safe, healthy, and loving homes.
Foster parent requirements in Arizona state that you must:
- Be 21 or older
- Be able to care for children
- Pass a criminal background check and qualify for a fingerprint clearance card (this requirement applies to all adults in the household, as well as any adults who will regularly come into contact with the child)
- Complete a home study and home safety inspection
- Pass a physical exam and receive a doctor’s statement that they are sufficiently healthy to provide care
Arizona Friends of Foster Children is happy to connect Arizona adults considering becoming foster parents to additional information and support.
How Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation Helps Children in Foster Care
AFFCF supports Arizona foster families by providing easy access to helpful resources. This includes a comprehensive directory of the local, statewide and nationwide programs that support children in foster care and their foster parents/caregivers. We encourage both new and experienced foster caregivers to browse our resources to discover the various forms of support that may be available.
Additionally, AFFCF currently operates several different programs that aim to create better outcomes for children in foster care, including:
- Financial Awards that enable children in foster homes to participate in a broad range of educational, social, and athletic activities and experiences
- Keys to Success, a program intended to help teens and young adults transition from the foster care system into a fulfilling future as an independent adult
- Scholarships that give youth growing up in foster care a path to post-secondary education
- Pension Fund, which provides emergency financial assistance to young adults who have recently aged out of the Arizona foster care system
Make a Difference in the Lives of Children in AZ Foster Care
When you become a foster parent, the compassion and care you provide for children in need change lives every day. Even if you aren’t able to commit to foster placement right now, you can still make a positive impact for Arizona’s children in foster care.
A donation to the Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation – no matter the dollar amount – directly funds programs and services for children in our state’s foster care system. Since 1984, we have been providing children in foster care the quality experiences and opportunities they deserve. And when you contribute to our Arizona non-profit organization, you play an active role in supporting our mission.
For more information about how to help children in foster care, we invite you to contact AFFCF today.
Image Source: Dmytro Zinkevych / Shutterstock