Kristi's Kids

May 6, 2014 10:37 PM by Kristi Tedesco and Edgar Ybarra

Kristi's Kids: Foster parent outrage

TUCSON - When a child is removed from their parents, due to abuse or neglect, the only way back home is for their parents to fix what's broken.

Until then, the child goes into a group or foster home, where someone takes care of them.

There are nearly four thousand foster homes in Arizona that are in crisis.

A foster mother we are calling 'Barb' says, "The system is broken, it's not just CPS workers and parents, it's everybody."

A dramatic drop in preventative funding for things like daycare sent Southern Arizona into the 'perfect storm.'

While parents work to clean up their act, there has been a 20% loss in foster pay. More cuts for child clothing and school supplies, and foster parents paying out of pocket for things like vacations.

Foster mother Nicole has seen it all when it comes to the parents visiting their child, she says parents show up drunk and stoned, "...and they still get to see their child, what a waste. You're telling me you're not even clean and you're going to give the parents the right to hold the baby when they're shaking like this and it looks like they're going to drop them?"

According to Nicole many parents are outsmarting the system by faking urine tests.

Charles Flanagan heads the states newly-formed Division of Child Safety and Family Services, he says top to bottom the system is broken, and he is concerned that there's virtually no follow-up when a child is returned and the case is closed. He also says in cases of substance abuse the cycle, often repeats.

Flanagan says he'd like to see cases evaluated for risk. He wants children watched closer in state care and depending on risk, followed more carefully when they go back with their parents.

Flanagan is very thankful for the foster parents, "Thank God for the foster parents, the willingness to do this."

If you would like to become a foster parent please visit this link:

https://www.azdes.gov/dcyf/adoption/Becoming_a_Foster_Parent_Review_Requirements/

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