When a youth in foster care turns 18 years old, and does not voluntarily remain in foster care, he is on his own. AzCA works with Child Protective Services in southern, western and northern Arizona to ensure that youth in the foster care system have the skills and resources they need to make it on their own. Keith*, an 18-year-old youth, has benefited greatly from our Independent Living Skills program. The program teaches educational goals, vocational goals, hygiene, personal safety, crisis management and family planning to youth in foster care beginning at age 13. Keith speaks to CPS workers about his experiences in foster care. "He's doing great things for himself," said Jennifer, program manager in the western region. "He graduated from high school and has been accepted at ASU. We actually have quite a few of our kids in college right now."
Students at the Davis Monthan Leadership School in Tucson have been identified as future leaders for the Air Force. There is a long-standing tradition that each of the classes select a community service project. Arizona’s Children Association was the fortunate beneficiary of a picnic for our foster families from one class earlier this year. The most recent class also selected AzCA and all 56 students recently spent the day working on projects at Las Familias and The Parent Connection. “The whole point of this work is for the students to see and experience, first hand, how their good work benefits the community,” said Master Sergeant Rhea, director of the Davis Monthan Leadership School. Click on the "Volunteer" tab to get your group involved.
For Rachel and Mark, it’s the little things that make a difference in the lives of their foster children. “Every child who comes to our home takes away their own personal memory,” said Rachel. “One 14-year-old girl couldn’t get over having meals at a table” The Gongawares have been a foster family for more than six years. “We thought that doing foster care would be fun and interesting,” adds Rachel. “We’ve discovered that we’re really making a difference in children’s lives.” An added benefit for the Gongaware family is the other wonderful foster families they’ve met. “We’re our own little community,” said Rachel. “Some of the very best friends I’ve ever made are the other foster families I’ve met.” To find out more about foster care and adoption, click on the "Permanency Programs" tab.
Seven-year-old Felipe has suffered unimaginable trauma and neglect and has been in and out of the foster care system since age two. Now he is living in a therapeutic foster home and has a potential adoptive placement. Felipe and his foster parents and adoptive parents are clients in the Meet Me Where I Am program through Arizona’s Children. Everyone is focused on one goal - a successful adoptive placement for Felipe. Meet Me Where I Am (MMWIA) is a statewide behavioral health program dedicated to increasing support, rehabilitation and case management services available to families across the state, especially those with complex needs. Services are driven by the needs of families. Arizona’s Children provides MMWIA services in the northern and mid-central region.
When Thomas* came to AzCA he had numerous suspensions from school, was doing poorly in classes and had charges pending for making threats toward peers. Over the past two months, his family resource assistant from AzCA has met with Thomas each week at school for approximately a half hour each time to teach and enforce skills that help Thomas cope with anger in a positive way (i.e. cool down methods, changing patterns of thinking, etc.). She also consistently offers praise for the good choices Thomas makes. Thomas’ father speaks very highly of the positive changes he has seen. According to Thomas’ dad, Thomas has made a “complete turnaround and we couldn’t ask for anything more.”
*Some names have been changed to maintain confidentiality.