PHOENIX — Now that the US Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, there are concerns about forced pregnancies and potential impacts on Arizona kids in foster care.
Jacob Schmitt is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Arizona's Children Association. The agency provides specialized services for the nearly 14,000 foster kids who live here.
"I have heard a few stories where folks have decided that because of what's happened, they do want to look into foster care as an option to help support children and family," Schmitt tells ABC15.
Because of state staffing shortages, families who want to get licensed are being forced to wait for several months.
Schmitt says Arizona has the money to help.
"The state had an almost $5-billion surplus this year and so some of that money went to help with state employees, which is fantastic, but the providers didn't get it for the child welfare workforce."
And with even more children expected to enter the system, he says state lawmakers need to make foster care a priority now.
"When they're looking at the budget for this coming year, we can't continue to work at the same rates or expect the same results from pay that was set up seven years ago. Honestly, I think we're almost on the verge of having a broken system, really. I wish they would be more proactive instead of reactive."
In addition to more funding, Schmitt says it's time for state leaders to take a broader look at the future of child welfare in our state and find ways to incentivize people interested in careers that support foster families and the children who desperately need help.