Gilbert moms fight for foster care changes

Posted at 6:02 PM, Jan 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-21 21:55:34-05

Three Gilbert moms are on a mission to cut red tape for foster care children across Arizona.

They are working with 22 Arizona lawmakers to create Jacob’s law.

"Jacob is a ray of sunshine. He is truly a joy to be around,” said Susan Woodruff, Jacob’s adopted mom

Woodruff has seven kids, five of them adopted.

Her oldest son, Jacob, suffered horrific abuse before he joined Woodruff’s family; he now suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other mental issues.

“It's heartbreaking to have a child who is so severe that they need to go out of home to get care,” explained Woodruff.

Jacob was forced to wait 10 months to get mental help. 

Woodruff says the foster care system, simply overwhelmed with kids, has long waiting lists for care and is also cluttered with red tape.

“These kids come into our homes and it is a long time before an assessment is made and sometimes not at all,” said Anika Robinson, a mom of four adopted children.

Robinson is a foster mom too. She says the Arizona Department of Child safety doesn’t get to kids fast enough.

She says the number of kids in foster care has doubled in the past five years to 20,000.

She says the system needs to change.

“I think we are failing our children, I don't think it's broken, I think with everyone's support we can get there,” explained Robinson.

That’s where Jacob’s law comes in.

It’s designed to cut red tape, sets a 30-day time limit for mental evaluations and let’s foster parents get help for kids faster.

As for Jacob, he is being treated for his mental issues and currently doesn’t live with his family.

“Mental illness is a life or death issue and people sometimes forget that,” said Woodruff.

Susan says Jacob’s law has the power to save lives and hopes it prevents another situation like Jacob’s.

Supporters have created a website and have a Facebook page called “I Support Jacob’s Law” and using the #isupportjacobslaw.