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The Children's Village of Arizona, Inc. offers an important and innovative alternative within the continuum of out-of-home placement options for foster children, by providing children with the type of stable, loving and safe environment closest to the real family that most have never known. Across the nation, children entering the child welfare systems have historically waited long periods of time for their families to resolve long-time problems. There is evidence of more family dysfunction, greater drug and alcohol use, greater family violence and, therefore, greater trauma to children in the system. With the implementation of the Adoption and Safe Families Act, a renewed effort to ensure children have permanency has been launched. In response to these changing conditions, the child welfare systems are focused on finding permanency for children. While most children (63%2) spend less than two years in foster care in Arizona, there are children for whom returning to the birth family or adoption are not immediate options. Many of these children will remain in the foster care system until they reach adult hood.

The children who remain in foster care can expect to have multiple placements during that time. The Arizona Foster Care Review Board reported in their 2000 report that 38% of the children in foster care had 3 or more placements. In Arizona, 6,121 children were in foster care as of September 30, 2001. Over one thousand (1,000) of the children were living in group homes and over 2,500 were living in foster homes.

DES Foster Children
by Type of Placement
Placement Type Number of Children
With a Relative 1,448
Family Foster Home 2,549
Group Home 1,138
Residential Treatment Center 541
Independent Living 151
Runaway Status 209
Trail Home Visits 85
Total: 6,121

Source: ADES, 01-27-02

Arizona, like most states, does not have a sufficient number of qualified, available home placements for its children. The philosophical approach at both the federal and state levels today is toward permanence and relative placement for children, yet there are a number of children who, for a variety of reasons, will not have a family of their own in the near future. In many cases, these children are older, have been in foster care for longer periods of time, have no family ties, are part of a sibling group and/or have significant or multiple special needs such as behavioral health, medical conditions, or developmental delays.

The Children's Village of Arizona offers a unique set of services which promote a high quality, home environment that provides a sense of permanency no more multiple placements - for children who cannot be with their birth families or relatives and for whom adoption is not imminent. Additionally, Children's Village of Arizona, Inc. places great value on sibling relationships and has committed to provide alternatives that support brothers and sisters remaining together.

2ADES, Child Welfare Reporting Requirements, Semi-annual Report, April 2001 — September 2001, p. 22

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