Arizona's Foster Children

 

Arizona's Foster Children

It is a sad fact that as of December 2016 there are over 17,500 children in foster care in the state of Arizona. These children desperately need our love and support. The Arizona Republic published these alarming statistics about the plight of foster children in Arizona from reports by Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS):

  • Arizona leads the nation in the number of children per capita in group or shelter care. 600 children a month are removed from their homes, and the number is growing at a rate of 100 per month.

  • 1,300 children waiting in emergency shelters for a family more than three weeks.

  • DCS caseload average of 26.7 exceeds national standards (15) by 78%

  • DCS staff turnover is 20% and the vacancy rate among case managers was 17%.

Foster ChildernThe Children’s Defense Fund reports that one child in Arizona is abused every 2 hours with child neglect the most prevalent form of child maltreatment. It is believed that once neglected and maltreated children are removed from the abusive environment they are living in, life becomes better for them and they can look forward to a “normal” childhood. This is not always the case. When a child goes into state protective custody and into foster care, a whole new world of problems opens up for them as they find themselves helpless and isolated from their family and siblings. This challenging journey through foster care often results in multiple moves that further impact the child’s healthy development through family instability, emotional trauma and inconsistent care giving.

Arizonans for Children is dedicated to improving this deplorable situation. By supporting AFC, you can help improve the lives of these children and make our community a better place for all of us to live

Arizona Department of Health Services Child Fatality Review Annual Report - The Arizona Department of Health Services' Child Fatality Review Team recently released its annual review of child deaths in the state, indicating that while the overall mortality rate in 2014 had dropped from the previous year, there are still too many Arizona children whose lives could have been saved.  In total, 834 Arizona children died last year, most of natural causes (disease, prematurity, etc.).  The number of children who died from maltreatment, including abuse and neglect, was 75 in 2014 – down from 92 in 2013.  According to the report, 100% of these deaths are preventable.  

Maltreatment Deaths (Deaths due to Child Abuse and Neglect) Nine percent  of Arizona child fatalities in 2014 were due to maltreatment. There has been a 24 percent increase in mortality rates due to maltreatment from 2009 to 2014. From 2012 to 2013 the mortality rate increased 30 percent from 4.3 deaths per 100,000 children to 5.6 deaths per 100,000 children but decreased by 18 percent from 2013 to 2014.

In 2013, 92 children died due to maltreatment compared to 75 in 2014. In 59 percent of the 2014 maltreatment deaths physical abuse such as intentional trauma, suffocation and drowning was the cause of death. Child neglect was the cause of 36 percent of the deaths. However, it is important to note that while the number of maltreatment deaths has gone down in the last year this does not necessarily indicate that overall incidences of child abuse and neglect have been reduced.

Males represented 49 percent of the maltreatment deaths, versus 51 percent among females.  Seventy-nine percent of the children who died from maltreatment were less than five years old.

In 2014, 36 of the 75 children who died from maltreatment were from families with prior involvement with any cps agency (48 percent). Among the families who had prior involvement with a cps agency, 11 of the 36 families had an open case with a cps agency at the time of the child’s death (31 percent); 25 of the 36 families had a history of cps agency involvement but the case was closed at the time the child died (69 percent). The number of children from families with prior cps agency involvement decreased from 49 in 2013 to 36 in 2014. The number of families with an open cps case at the time of the child's death decreased from 21 in 2013 to 11 in 2014 . Less than six of the 75 maltreatment cases involved a Tribal cps agency or involved out-of-state cps agencies.