AZ Budget Invests In Adopted Children, Foster Families

Governor's Office

May 17, 2017

On Friday, Governor Ducey signed Arizona’s fiscal year 2018 budget, a fiscally responsible financing package that invests in education, protects our most vulnerable citizens, and expands opportunities for those who need it most.

The budget empowers Arizonans to foster and adopt children, makes important reforms to reward caregivers, and improves outdated IT infrastructure to ensure that children’s needs are being met.

Here are three highlights from the new budget:

  • $6.1 Million To Upgrade The Arizona Department Of Child Safety’s Outdated Electronic Management System: For too long, the agency has utilized an outdated IT system that makes it unnecessarily difficult to track cases and serve customers. By investing in critical updates to this digital infrastructure, we’re bringing DCS into the 21st century and guaranteeing that Arizonans can be served by in the most efficient way possible.
  • $2 Million For Adoption Services: Arizona wants to make sure children under state care find warm homes and loving families as quickly and safely as possible. By investing in adoption services, our state can streamline the process of recruiting new adoptive and foster parents, help out with legal expenses, and continue providing other services.
  • $1 Million To Increase Funding For Kinship Caregivers, Known As The “Grandmother Stipend”: Foster parents receive a stipend to alleviate the cost of bringing a child in need into their families. However, extended family members who become caregivers for that child—instead of going through the standard foster care process—do not qualify for the same resources. By ensuring that extended family members qualify for this assistance, we’re helping these families stay together and rewarding kinship caregivers for their invaluable sacrifice.

While there certainly is still work to do, the Arizona Department of Child Safety has seen incredible achievements over the past two years:

  • More children are exiting the Arizona childcare system than are entering it for the first time in seven years.
  • From April 2016 to April 2017, the amount of time it took to place children decreased from 32 hours to 8 hours.
  • In 2016, DCS achieved a 11 percent increase in children achieving permanency over the prior year.
  • The total number of open reports has been reduced from more than 33,000 in April 2015 to less than 6,500 today.
  • Over the past two years, DCS has safely reduced the backlog of inactive cases from more than 16,000 to less than 500 today.

By supplementing policy and process improvements with investments in programs that work, we can ensure that children and families throughout Arizona are safe and secure.

This year’s budget is another step in making that happen.