You Can Still Register for the AZ Families Thrive Prescott Conference
Earn Your Required Renewal Hours — Registration Closes May 31.
Foster and kinship families still have time to register for the Prescott AZ Families Thrive Conference. It will be held Friday, June 8, at Heights Church in Prescott. You can register for the free conference here. Registration will close May 31.
This is the first of three AZ Families Thrive Conferences hosted by the Department for licensed foster families and unlicensed kinship caregivers in 2018. Licensed foster parents who attend the entire day can receive 6 hours of advanced training credit that qualifies as their required renewal hours.
While unlicensed kinship families are not required to take training, DCS believes that these trainings will be valuable and will help support their placement needs.
The second AZ Families Thrive Conference will be Friday, August 17 in Tucson at New Life Bible Fellowship Church; registration information will be available in late June. Registration for the Phoenix AZ Families Thrive Conference, which will be Thursday, October 25, will open in early September. It will be held at Redemption Church in Tempe.
Why Immunize your child?
— From Dr. Sara Park, Chief Medical Officer, CMDP
DCS policy for children in out-of-home care is that all children are immunized unless there is a medical contraindication or a religious objection to vaccinations. The religious objection permitted is the biologic or adoptive parent’s objection, and has to be staffed with the CMDP medical director and assistant attorney general.
Serious Infections still exist and can be prevented by the vaccines. Thanks to vaccines, many diseases are becoming less common, but they still exist. Most parents now have never seen the severe effects of diseases like polio, measles, or whooping cough. It is easy to think that these diseases are gone, but we have seen them return and cause serious illness, outbreaks and in some cases, death.
Vaccine preventable diseases do not stop at the border. Diseases are still present in other countries and can easily be brought back to the United States by travelers who have visited other countries. These illnesses then spread in communities where there are unimmunized, under-immunized and non-immune children and adults. Lack of immunization can cause serious and sometimes life threatening illnesses.
Vaccines are safe. Before a vaccine is approved and given to children it is tested extensively. Information on the vaccine is evaluated to determine its safety and effectiveness before any new recommendations are made. Nearly all children can be safely vaccinated, but there are exceptions and some children may not be able to receive some vaccines:
- Children with allergies to something in a vaccine.
- Children with weakened immune systems due to an illness or a medical treatment, such as chemotherapy.
Children need protection Early in Life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sets the U.S. childhood immunization schedule based on recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a group of medical and public health experts. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) also approve this schedule. The recommended childhood immunization schedule is designed to protect infants and children early in life, when they are most vulnerable.
Vaccines Mean Fewer Missed Work Days and School Days. If your child gets a vaccine-preventable disease, they may have to miss school or day care for many days or weeks. Time lost from work to care for a sick child can burden your family financially. Many vaccine-preventable diseases can also cause lasting disabilities that result in expensive medical bills and long-term care.
Vaccination Protects Your Family, Friends, and Community. Getting your child vaccinated helps protect others in your community—like your neighbor who has cancer and cannot get certain vaccines, or your best friend’s newborn baby who is too young to be fully immunized. When everyone in a community who can get vaccinated does get vaccinated, it prevents the spread of disease and can slow or stop an outbreak. Choosing to protect your child with vaccines is a choice to protect your family, friends, and neighbors, too.
Head Start Programs Help Kids in Foster Care
The importance of early intervention for all children cannot be understated, especially for children in out-of-home (OOH) care. The Arizona Head Start Programs provide high quality early childhood education, nutrition, health, mental health, disabilities, and social services with a strong parent involvement focus.
DCS and the Arizona Department of Education have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), whose purpose is to outline how Head Start programs and DCS will work to improve access to Early Head Start and Head Start programs throughout the state for children in foster care.
The following are a few key and critical components of the MOU that are important for foster and kinship parents to be aware of:
- Children in foster care will be given priority placement for Head Start services for the Regional Head Start Grantees that participates in the MOU;
- Head Start will provide training and information to DCS staff about Head Start services and enrollment process;
- Allows children in foster care placed in Head Start to attend without immunization and other medical records, proof of residency, birth certificates, or other documents and to give the family reasonable time to present these documents;
- Eliminate service boundaries for children in foster care (when it is in the best interest of the child and family);
- Support goals established by other services providers; and
- DCS will refer caregivers of children in foster care who may be eligible for Head Start services to the appropriate Head Start program.
To locate a Head Start program in your child’s area, click here.
Straight From the Heart
This Arizona family captured the moment they told their daughter her adoption was going to be finalized. Read the whole story here.
Let Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation Improve Your Children's Summer!!
Warmline Supports Kinship and Foster Families
The Foster Parent Warmline is available for kinship families and licensed foster parents. While not an emergency number, Warmline staff can assist parents with information, assistance with authorizations for services, timely communication, and support. It is not intended to discourage or replace direct and regular communication with your DCS Specialist and the foster parents. You can reach the Warmline by calling 1-877-KIDSNEEDU (1-877-543-7633) and selecting Option 3. Warmline staff are available during business hours. Callers also have the option of leaving a voice message.
The Children's Heart Gallery features Arizona children who are free for adoption and want a forever family. While it is a very effective tool for finding families for our waiting children, it also makes the children vulnerable to negative intrusions into their lives. Please help us protect them. If you recognize any of these children or see them in your community, please respect their privacy.
Meet Adrian and Jordin