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One-stop shop to encourage more AZ foster parents is in the works

With more than 18,000 children in foster care in Arizona, advocates say it is hard to believe there isn’t a one-stop shop to help streamline services for Az foster parents and families or people interested in fostering.

az foster parents

One man, who asked that we protect his identity because of his situation, said he had no intention of fostering right now. But one day, he was driving home from work and noticed a 12-year-old boy lying in some bushes. He sparked a conversation and learned that boy was being neglected.

“I could tell by the way he looked at me, he was reaching out without actually saying, ‘I need help,'” said the man, who we will call Ryan. “I was a single guy with a dog one day, and the next minute, I’m now guardian and parent to a young child.”

Ryan said the process to find resources and answers to his questions became very tedious and complicated.

“I have to spend four, five, six hours a day making phone calls to figure out, what do I do,” Ryan said.

“Sometimes agencies will have the approach that, they do their thing, and that’s all they want to do,” said Dan Shufelt with Arizona Helping Hands. “We believe cooperation is everything.”

Arizona Helping Hands provides necessities like beds, toiletries, clothes and birthday gifts to foster families.
Shufelt said the need is so great that the waiting period for a bed is two weeks long right now.

Another great project that they offer is:

Birthday Dreams

These personalized birthday gifts are wrapped and decorated with love by our volunteers and include a toy, a book and sometimes even a bicycle to make a child’s birthday special for a boy or girl in foster care. Any foster parent with a Notice to Provider from DCS can fill out our on-line application 2 to 4 weeks before their child’s birthday.  We can presently provide gifts for boys and girls age 1 to 12.

Support AHH with your foster care tax credit

Support our birthday dreams (or toy drive) program through direct purchases from dollar days-http://dollardays.com/azhelpinghands/wishlist.html

Collect new, unwrapped toys these kids
Collect wrapping paper and decorations for our packages.
Volunteer your creative energy to help us package up a dream for Amy, Jimmy, Suzie and so many others in foster care.
LIKE us on FACEBOOK and spread the word of the work we devote ourselves to every day – TO EASE THE BURDEN OF BOYS AND GIRLS IN FOSTER CARE IN ARIZONA

But Shufelt envisions a space twice as big as their current warehouse, called the Foster Care Resource Center of Arizona – a crash-course in “Foster Parenting 101.”

“We have not found models for this type of organization throughout the country, so we’re trying to develop it ourselves,” Shufelt said.

From extracurricular activities to parenting tips, to working with the Department of Child Safety, Shufelt said he sees this becoming a reality in the next year or so, so long as the community supports it like Ryan does.

“I would do it again absolutely in a heartbeat,” Ryan said.

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
Source: Vision of one-stop shop to encourage more AZ foster parents in the works