PHOENIX (Tuesday, August 18, 2015) – The Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) and the Arizona FIRST Advisory Commission have launched a website to provide comprehensive information, resources and answers to questions for Arizona foster parents.
AzFamilyResources.org answers the questions most commonly asked by both new and experienced foster parents. The website contains a long list of local resources in multiple counties, and the Commission expects to list more resources available in every county.
Launching the AzFamilyResources.org website is the first official act of the Arizona FIRST Advisory Commission, which was established on May 26 by DCS Director Greg McKay to improve the way foster families experience the system and reshape each touch point into a more positive interaction.
"When a family is asked to open their home to a family member's child, that child is dropped off by a caseworker with very little information about the child, the case, or the system," Commission Chair Ron Adelson said. "This website answers those first questions, 'What do I do now?' and 'What can I expect?'"
"Both new and experienced foster parents who have begun using the website have told us that this website is a valuable resource," said Adelson. "Foster parents now have immediate access to information and resources."
"The AzFamilyResources.org website is a great first step," said Director McKay. "Commission members gathered information and worked with agency staff to clarify policies, define expectations and organize resources into a single one-stop website where foster parents can find most of the information they need without waiting for a caseworker to call back."
The Commission will continue to examine the way foster families experience the system and create data-driven interventions to improve the consistency of quality interactions for foster families. By ensuring that foster families feel respected, trusted and empowered across multiple interactions, the agency can rebuild trust with foster families and increase the number of children in family environments.
"The website is the beginning for our commission. Providing this much-needed information resource empowers foster parents. Next, we will begin working directly with DCS leadership to examine, streamline and improve processes," said Adelson.