Just a few years ago Arizona Child Protective Services was well-funded and able to accommodate any children that needed a safe place to stay. That's no longer the case, CBS News reports.
With fewer and fewer people signing on to be foster parents and funding decreasing, Arizona CPS is facing new difficulties. Due to a lack of space, a Phoenix branch of the Child Crisis Center has been forced to turn away children who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned, according to CBS News.
“We do need foster parents. We're in dire need of that,” said DES Adoptions Manager Deidre Calcoate. The lack of foster care options means that many children in need of a safe place aren’t getting the help they need.
“It broke my heart to know there are so many children out there, to know that you’re helping what you can, but you know there's so many more children that you can’t,” Calcoate said.
A lack of foster parents isn’t the only problem CPS is facing. CPS generally places many of the children it removes from abusive or unhealthy living situations into shelters, like the Child Crisis Center. The shelters, however, are now running out of space.
“Lately we have been having to turn away many of the children, especially the younger ones, because we don't have the beds for them,” said Terri McGhee with the Child Crisis Center.
In incidents of child abuse, once an investigation has been conducted and it’s been determined that a child has been abused, Child Protective Services often intervenes and removes the child, placing him in a foster home or temporary shelter. In addition, CPS maintains a central registry of child abuse cases, in order to keep a record of children’s history of abuse.
Terri McGhee doesn't expect Child Protective Services’ lack of foster parents and shelter options to get better anytime soon. If you would like to help, call 877-KIDS-NEEDU.
- Find a Phoenix Family Law Attorney (FindLaw)
- CPS Squeeze: More Children in Need, Fewer Foster Homes (The Arizona Republic)
- Child Abuse Information by State (FindLaw)
- Child Abuse Penalties and Sentencing (FindLaw)