ASA Now is on a mission to Educate and Encourage Arizona to foster and to adopt. As of February 2016, the number of children in foster care reached 19, 044. Of these, 2,753 children were living in congregate care (primarily shelters and group home) due to the lack of family foster homes. We
We hope that each one of you will find it in your hearts to help in any way that you can. This is why our community center is needed. We want to hold orientations to encourage and walk besides families who are willing to foster.
After becoming a licensed foster parent and having our first child placed with us, I quickly realized how complicated the system can be and I felt lost. I knew if I was going to effectively advocate for my foster daughter, it was critical that I educate myself to ensure I understood my rights as well as hers. Attending Jacob's Law training was wonderful for answering some of my questions, validating some of my concerns and providing some tangible steps on how to proactively seek out the resources she deserves.
I have been a supporter of Jacob's Law (HB2442) since I first heard about it. I knew that the children in the system needed more supports as well as us foster and adoptive parents. I have eleven adopted children in my home. All of my children have had DCS involvement and suffered from significant abuse and neglect. As a result of early childhood trauma most of our children have behavioral health needs.
For seven years I have done nothing but fight for behavioral health services for each child that entered my home. Many times we hit brick walls, and were turned away, being told that with time my children would get better. With time they actually got much worse. When I returned for behavioral health services we were made to wait for services that sometimes never came. I'll give an example. My son, K, was in our home for the first year of his life. He then reunified with his parents only to come back into care eighteen months later. He came back severely traumatized. He was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Reactive Attachment Disorder at two and a half years old. He had been locked in a room for hours on end, not fed properly, and physically and sexually abused. We requested trauma therapy immediately for him and a behavior coach as he was having extreme behaviors. A full year later he still didn't have one single service. His behaviors had improved a tad so we dropped the request for the behavior coach. We waited another six months (a full eighteen months) before he was reassessed and referred for trauma therapy. It was a full two years and three months from the time he returned to our home before he was able to start trauma therapy. He received therapy for four months and his therapist left the company. He never received another therapist until Jacob's Law was passed. I was able to use this new law to get my son referred out to a therapist that can finally give him the help he needs to address his past trauma. Three years after returning to our home and he finally has a trauma therapist. Because of Jacob's law, not only does K finally have the correct services, but three of my girls do as well. I attended one of their training sessions and learned so much in one sitting. I was able to advocate for each of my children entering behavioral health services because I was given the tools on how to navigate the system in regards to Jacob's Law.