Jul 19, 2012 8:00 PM
TUCSON - There's such a critical shortage of beds in Pima County, some of our abused and neglected children are having to sleep in CPS offices.
Numbers vary, depending on who you talk to, but CPS says the average is six-to-eight kids per week, sleeping in a CPS office. This, of course, means CPS workers are having to sleep at the offices too. It's a dire situation.
No surprise, the offices aren't equipped with comforts of home. Some children have cots, and some are sleeping on the floors. Tamra Shea, a volunteer with "In My Shoes," mentors older kids in foster care. She tells Kristi's Kids, "there's no place to shower. There's no place to cook a meal. There's no tub to bathe them in." She also says, "I don't believe it's the fault of CPS. They're doing their job. They can't leave the children in the homes."
Kristi's Kids spoke with Melissa Perillo, a registered nurse in the UAMC Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She says, the bed shortage is so bad, substance-exposed newborns are having to stay in the hospital an extra day or two because they have nowhere to go. Perillo says, "probably in the last 6 months it seems like it's gotten much worse. It's more regular and steady."
Right now, in Pima County, there are about 750 licensed foster homes. One official tells Kristi's Kids, we'd need a hundred more to end this crisis.
If you'd like to learn more about becoming a foster parent, please call 1-877-KIDS-NEEDU.
If you'd like to donate grocery store or restaurant gift cards, bottled water or children's clothing, please call Aviva Children's Services at 520-327-6779, ext.13.