PHOENIX — COVID-19 has flipped life upside down for families across Arizona. The challenges that come with living during a pandemic are especially hard for foster families who are trying to provide a safe, stable and loving home for children in need.
There are about 14,000 children living in out-of-home care in Arizona. Since the start of the pandemic, agencies have seen a number of foster homes shut down over fears of exposure to the virus or concerns about schooling.
"I've been told that we are at a record number of closures and the number of foster homes is very low right now, so there is a huge need for more homes, more places for children in family settings," said Rebecca Heitkamp, Resource Family Program Director with Arizona's Children Association.
Child welfare agencies are having to connect with foster families in new ways. They are checking in via Zoom, conducting health screenings, practicing social distancing and using personal protective equipment.
Arizona's Children Association is also providing support to biological and foster families through grants, donations, support groups and licensing workers. ACA says help from the public can relieve stress for foster families during this time. They suggest donating to child welfare agencies, food banks and rental assistance programs.
You can give to Arizona's Children Association by visiting their website, or by visiting any of their locations throughout the state.