County sees increase in number of young children in CPS care - Tucson News Now

County sees increase in number of young children in CPS care

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The Foster and Adoptive Council of Tucson calls it a "community crisis." The number of children in the care of Child Protective Services far outweighs the number of foster homes available, according to Michaela Luna, the director of the Foster and Adoptive Council. That is why Luna's group is asking for help, and for a new age group in particular.

Luna says there are a lack of homes right now for children at every age in Pima County, but never before has there been an issue finding homes for children aged five and under.

"When it becomes very scarce that children zero to five have to go to a shelter or group home, that to us is a huge crisis," Luna said. "In the past we've never had that issue where we don't have a home for a child five and under, especially a newborn."

But over the past six to 12 months, Luna says that crisis has become a reality. Statewide, Luna says 6,000 children ages five and younger are currently in CPS care. Luna says there is no single reason for the increase, but the numbers are proof it is a problem. In Pima County, 3,700 children are currently in CPS care and there are just 700 licensed foster homes, according to the Foster and Adoptive Council of Tucson.

"That would mean that each of those 700 homes would need to take five or more kids into their home in order for there to be no kids in group homes and no kids in shelters," Luna said.

The council's goal is to reunite children with their families, if possible. In most cases, Luna says her group is searching for temporary homes for children, an important part in a child's development.

"Even if you can't be a foster parent, you can still help," Luna said. "That's really what our message is: we need the help to really deal with this crisis because this is a community crisis, it's not just something the community should be able to ignore."

If you're interested in becoming a foster family, there are orientation meetings held each month: 

To learn more about licensing requirements, click the following link:  

For more statistics from the Foster & Adoptive Council of Tucson, click the following link:

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