The decision to become a foster parent is not to be taken lightly and the proceeding is difficult, but if you desire to be of help in the life of a child who may be experiencing the greatest difficulties in their young life you will not only be doing a great service to the child and their family but also to the community. Arizonans for Children report on their website that as of April 2021 there are over 13,400 children in foster care in the state of Arizona and as of December 2020 there were 1756 children in group homes. These children desperately need love and support.
Arizonans for Children report it is generally believed that once neglected and maltreated children are removed from the abusive environment they had been in, life becomes better for them and they can look forward to a “normal” childhood. Yet when a child goes into state protective custody and into foster care, a whole new world of problems can open up for them as they find themselves helpless and isolated from their family and siblings. This challenging journey within foster care can result in multiple moves that further impact the child’s healthy development through family instability, emotional trauma and inconsistent care giving. This is why becoming a foster parent should be entered into with understanding and commitment.
In Step 1 you are thanked for considering foster care, encouraged to watch a video and given a contact number 1-877-KIDS-NEEDU (1-877-543-7633) to speak with someone while making your decision. It is important to remember that foster care is considered a temporary situation with the goal of being a safe place for a child until reunification into their own home is possible. Adoptions do happen after fostering a child, but becoming an adoptive parent is not the focus of fostering. It is required that a foster parent is 21 years old, single or married, and if married, both partners will need to complete all requirements. All adults in the household must have a FBI and local criminal background check and have a level one Fingerprint Clearance Card.
To become a foster-parent, you will need:
to successfully complete training,
be medically qualified by a health professional,
be able to meet your living expenses,
participate in an extensive interview process,
pass a home safety inspection,
and be lawfully present in the United States. “Lawfully present” means you are a US citizen or national or alien authorized by an appropriate federal entity or court to be present in the US.
The remaining steps specific to persons wanting to become foster parents and other orientation videos can be viewed on the website.
Additional agencies such as Human Resources Training (hrtaz.com) offer assistance in applying and gaining additional information on foster parenting as well as a course in the training required. This website also offers a variety of services to families involved with DCS or the family court system including Family Preservation, Reunification, Parent Aide and Supervised Exchange and Visitation services and Parenting Classes.
Adopt Us Kids (ADOPTUSKIDS.org) is another agency that is happy to walk you through the foster care and adoption process in Arizona. They answer your adoption questions and assist you in making the process a positive experience. On their website you can also find state contact information, foster and adoption licensing requirements, costs to foster and adopt, agency contact and orientation information, post-adoption support services and information on Arizona’s children.