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Greetings Dedicated Foster Parents,
The Masai, a fabled and accomplished African Tribe, were known for their fearsome might and intellect. Despite their recognition and prowess as formidable warriors, the safety and wellbeing of their children reigned supreme. Hence the standard greeting among its people, "Casserian Engeri," translation, "And how are the children?" They placed a high value on the peace and safety of their children acknowledging the health of their community depended upon the proper care and protection of the young and vulnerable. This was their culture's greeting whether a person had children of their own, or not. The traditional reply was, "All the children are well." This affirmed their society was functioning properly and responsibly for the future health of all.
So ask me today, "And how are the children?" Sadly I reply, "Only some of the children are well." Which means, only some of our communities are healthy. Only some of us assume the responsibility for ALL the children in our communities. Only some of us realize that the future health and wellbeing of our State and its people is dependent upon our children. Yet we have over 19,000 dependent children relying on an overwhelmed system while societal ills continuously degrade their hope for healing. I call upon you because you have accepted the charge that every adult among us is responsible for children in need. You have cared for the children of others and provided much needed healing. For this I am eternally grateful but humbly, I ask that you do more. At this moment, the below listed children need your help. These children have no safe place to call home. They need love, safety, warmth and peace that surpasses the trauma they are experiencing from detachment. I ask you all to please open your hearts and your homes if you have availability. There are more than 10,000 licensed beds in Arizona, and we still simply don't have enough beds for all of the children who need one. Through no fault of yours, we are told no availability exists for these children. Perhaps people have preferences on the child they want to receive (age, race, gender); or, your license prohibits certain factors; or, records are not reflecting real time availability when in fact, open beds do exist. I am asking you all to survey your situation and if able, please extend a hand.
We at Arizona's Department of Child Safety live and breathe to bring necessary reform to our child welfare system. We understand the future health of our shared communities depends upon the children who depend on us. But, we cannot do it alone. This needs to be a statewide effort where ALL people join in the effort to answer the greeting the right way. The way that brings prosperity, growth, health, vitality, and safety. The greeting that replies, "The children are well." Please help us make the children well. Thank you for all you have done in partnership with us, thank you for all the children you healed, and thank you for what you will continue to do to make our communities the best in the country.
Very truly yours,
Gregory McKay, Director
Arizona Department of Child Safety