September 2021 Issue 42

Hispanic Heritage Month

According to the 2019 Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System data, 21% of children in foster care identify as Hispanic. Arizona exceeds that statistic at 33%. However, 63% of children adopted through foster care nationally have non-Hispanic white parents, and 27% have non-Hispanic black parents. Only 5% are adopted by parents of Hispanic origin. This leaves many children without any natural ties to their cultural heritage, which they are entitled to, according to the Arizona Revised Statutes 8-529: “(A child in foster care has the right) To attend community, school and religious services and activities of the child's choice to the extent that it is appropriate for the child, as planned and discussed with the child's placement worker and caseworker and based on caregiver ability if transportation is available through a responsible party.” Studies have shown that cultural identity contributes to greater self-esteem, higher education levels, better psychological adjustment, improved coping abilities, stronger mental health resilience, and higher levels of social well-being, among other benefits. As foster parents, it is your responsibility and your privilege to ensure that the children in your care know where and who they came from.

Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15-October 15, traditionally honors the cultures and contributions of Hispanic and Latinx Americans. It is a starting point to ensure that children of Hispanic/Latinx origin feel connected to their culture. The term Hispanic refers to people who speak Spanish or are descended from Spanish-speaking populations. Latinx (or Latino/Latina) refers to people who are descended from people from Latin America (Central America, South America, and the Caribbean). If you unsure how the child identifies or which term is accurate, ask your Specialist to clarify with the family or ask the family directly if you feel comfortable doing so. If you would like to learn more about Hispanic Heritage Month and enjoy some of the virtual events, the Smithsonian Institute has put together some resources.

Due to the pandemic, there are not many in-person events, but City of Peoria is hosting Somos Peoria, a multicultural festival celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, on Saturday, September 25 from 2:00 pm to 10:30 pm. It is located in Old Town Peoria at 83rd and Grand Avenues. The city-sponsored event will have live music, traditional foods, arts and crafts, and other celebrated Hispanic activities, such as Ballet Folklorico, Lucha Libre, mariachis, and a classic, low-rider car show. Tickets are $10 per person.

Children in care represent a variety of cultures. Remember that cultures are defined by race, ethnicity, economic class, language, disability, gender, sexual orientation, age, geography, immigration status, and so forth, so the children in your care may have many cultural identities. If possible, have conversations with the child and with the family (even if only through the Specialist or GAL) to find out which cultures they identify with and what is important to them.

There are many ways to recognize and validate the child’s cultural identities in your home. Ask the family for additional suggestions.

  • Talk about the child's culture often and openly. Ask the child what is important to them. If you feel comfortable speaking directly to their parents or through a third party, such as the Specialist or the GAL, you can ask specific questions about their history, traditions, and so much more.
  • Choose toys that respect the child’s culture, such as a baby doll with their skin tone, features, or disability representation.
  • Seek out events (when it is safe to do so), that celebrate the cultural aspect that the child/family has expressed are important to them, such as community activities, music festivals, food gatherings, etc.
  • Provide access to books that reflect the child’s cultural identities. You can find applicable books at the Database of Award-Winning Children's Literature, Goodreads, and the Anti-Defamation League's list of multicultural and anti-bias books for children.
  • Foster and develop relationships with people of the same culture. It will benefit the child to know people that they can identify with, especially people that can be role models, such as pediatricians, hairdressers, teachers, etc. Representation matters.
  • If food is important to the child’s familial culture, ask the parents for some recipes that the child enjoys and incorporate them into your normal meal rotation. Or if the parent has the means, ask them to bring some of those foods to their visits with the child.
  • Find out what holidays are important to the child’s family and ask them how best to celebrate them with the child or how to incorporate some of their traditions with your own.
  • If there is a preferred language for the child, learn some basic words or phrases to improve communication. There are foreign language classes available online and at all community colleges. American Sign Language educational videos are available free on YouTube.
  • If music is important to the child’s culture, help them access it through music streaming services or renting CDs from the local library.
  • Seek out community supports for the child if you need additional resources. One N Ten serves the LGBTQ+ community as young as 10 years old. Arizona Hands and Voices is a non-profit that provides resources for families of deaf and hard of hearing children. Girls Rule Foundation empowers girls 12-18 in the areas of self-esteem, leadership, and financial/career skills.

Youth Convening Conference

Our young adults had a fantastic time at the 12th Annual Youth Convening last month. Normally a 24-hour lock-in event, COVID forced some changes this year, but they still had a blast! The theme was "Self-Care," and the youth had the opportunity to engage in several activities, such as a self-care seminar, arts and crafts, rock climbing, board games, basketball, kickball, yoga, a waterslide, a talent show, and more! There was a raffle for gift cards, and each youth left with a brand new backpack full of school supplies. We even had a hair salon and a barber shop volunteer to provide free haircuts! It's been a rough 18 months, and this was a much-needed escape for many of our youth. Shout out to all of our donors and volunteers for making this happen!

Foster and Kinship CPR/First Aid

Foster parent and kinship CPR/First Aid Certification taught by Safety Nick with Home Hazard Prevention. Costs sponsored by Lewis Labadie, unless otherwise specified.

  • August 30 at 6 pm - Lewis Labadie Office at 4500 S. Lakeshore Dr. Ste. 300, Tempe 85282 - Kinship and licensed families.
  • September 24 at 12 pm - ASA Now/East Valley at 7830 E. University Dr., Mesa 85207- Kinship and licensed families. Childcare available and includes food box. $10 class
  • October 8 at 1 pm - Lewis Labadie Office at 4500 S. Lakeshore Dr. Ste. 300, Tempe 85282 – Kinship, licensed, and families who are completing or completed the foster care classes.
  • November 13 at 12 pm - ASA Now/East Valley at 7830 E. University Dr., Mesa 85207 - Kinship and licensed families. Childcare available and includes food box. $10 class
  • December – to be determined.

Email office@lewislabadie.com to register or call 480-598-8724. ASA Now registration can be done through Lewis Labadie or directly with ASA Now, which will provide you with additional resources.

Home Hazard Prevention may have other dates and times available. Nick can be reached at 480-448-0266 or Nick@homehazardprevention.com or check out his calendar of events online.

Arizona Grandparent Ambassadors Summit

Join Arizona Grandparents Ambassadors and Kinship Families for a virtual summit to network with other kinship families, find out about helpful resources, and learn how you can get involved as an AZGA member. This year's summit is all about resiliency, and it will offer a variety of webinar sessions that will cover topics like creating change for kinship families with a panel of Arizona legislative champions, and with a keynote address from Crystal Krueger, LMFT. Crystal will provide strategies to use with children and youth who have experienced trauma.

Trauma-Informed Care Training

This online training for birth, kinship, foster, and adoptive families includes an overview of the importance of relationships and trauma, how young children are affected by trauma, feelings and behaviors young children may exhibit, and how caregivers can help. Hosted by Southwest Human Development, this training is facilitated by Molly Strothkamp, MSW, LCSW, IMH-E, child therapist at the Good Fit Counseling Center. This class is free and is offered one Saturday per month and one weeknight every other month.

Saturday, 9am-12pm - September 11, October 9, November 13, December 11

Wednesday, 6pm-9pm - September 15, November 17

Digital Storytelling For Native Youth

The Supporting Urban Native Youth (SUNY) Project presents Digital Storytelling: Writing Our Stories Is Righting Our Stories. Native Youth and Young Adults will complete a guided illustration activity after which they will learn to tell a meaningful story that takes ownership of and connects them back to their culture. In this event, youth will become stronger advocates for themselves and will learn how to give their individual experiences a powerful voice. September 14 at 4pm (AZ time, 7pm Eastern) *Note: Materials for this activity will be shipped in advance, so please register as soon as possible.

Foster Podcasts

Foster care work can be incredibly fulfilling, but it is not without its challenges. Unless you have built a support system of other foster parents who understand what you're going through, it can feel isolating. Sometimes just hearing about others' experiences or perspectives can make us feel less alone. Here are some podcasts that may be helpful. (Note: The views expressed in these podcasts do not necessarily reflect the views of the Arizona Department of Child Safety.)

  • Fostering Change - Comfort Cases founder Rob Scheer and media personality Dana McKay host this inspiring show about how communities can come together to bring dignity and hope to children in the foster care system. Guests will include former youth in foster care, foster parents, celebrities touched by the foster care system, child welfare advocates, and everyday people working to improve the lives of kids in care. Rob and Dana have dynamic chemistry and bring a sense of positivity and humor to their conversations. Frequency: 1 episode/week, Average Episode Length: 35 min
  • Honestly Adoption - The Honestly Adoption Podcast features real voices, sharing real hope and encouragement to parents on the journey of foster care and adoption. Hosts Mike and Kristin Berry, and Nicole Goerges share open and honest perspectives from the journey of foster, adoptive, and special needs parenting. Their goal is to be real and honest but also bring hope and encouragement to parents, all over the world. Frequency: 1 episode/week, Average Episode Length: 47 min
  • Fostering Voices - A podcast devoted to the many voices in foster care and adoption. The host's personal experiences, as well as many experiences from those in the foster community. Be entertained, inspired, and possibly get involved in the community yourself. Frequency: 3 episodes/quarter, Average Episode Length: 39 min
  • Just As Special - The place to learn about foster care from diverse perspectives. Frequency: 1 episode/week, Average Episode Length: 43 min

Arizona Helping Hands

Arizona Helping Hands is the largest provider of essential items for children in foster care in Arizona. Their programs provide a safe place to sleep, clothing, hygiene items, birthday packages, backpacks filled with school supplies, licensing safety items, foster footlockers, and more.

Save the Date! Planning for Arizona Helping Hands 23rd Annual Holiday Toy Drive is underway! Mark your calendars: client registration begins Friday, October 15, 2021.

Arizona Helping Hands, 3110 E. Thunderbird Road, Suite 100, Phoenix, Arizona 85032, QFCO #10003

*If needed, kinship and foster families with a current notice to provider are eligible to receive basic needs such as clothing, diapers, wipes, and hygiene items every four months.


DCS Foster Funding

The Permanency and Youth Services team would like to share an amazing opportunity for funding available to youth ages 14 and older to support their needs as they transition to adulthood.

What you need to know: Youth, ages 14 to 17 in out-of-home care, can be supported by requesting funding at https://dcs.az.gov/fosterfunds. The request can be done by the DCS Specialist, the caregiver, CASA, or other supportive adult in the youth’s life.

Some of the items and services which can be funded are:

  • Computers or other supports for secondary education needs
  • Dual enrollment
  • GED programs
  • Tutoring
  • Transportation needs (bikes, funding for driving school, vehicle maintenance and repair, bus and light rail passes)


ASA Now is a non-profit organization that ADVOCATES for, SUPPORTS, and ASSISTS children and families impacted by foster care. We are passionate about providing support to families and professionals by restoring hope and empowering them to better serve these children in need.

Services we offer include tutoring & extracurricular activities, food pantry, clothing, and meeting basic necessities. Other services include life skills for youth, respite care, therapeutic programs, family activities, peer-to-peer support groups, education and training on utilizing Jacob's Law to obtain behavioral health services, providing resources to families and caregivers to successfully navigate the foster care system, raising awareness, recruiting new foster families, and advocating for families and their children.

Upcoming ASA Now Events

  • Virtual Training presented by Mercy Care - Caregiver Self-Care - Monday, September 20, 10am-12pm or 6pm-8pm. A training certificate will be provided. To register, email Rachel Hammett.
  • ASA Now is proud to present an empowering and informative presentation: Jacob's Law. Come and learn everything you need to know about your rights as a foster, kinship, or adoptive parent. Whatever your role in caring for at-risk children – we’d like to invite you to attend. Monday, September 13, 6-9pm, in-person at Jacob's Mission Community Center, 7830 E. University Dr. Mesa 85207, and virtually. Register here.
  • ASA Now will be distributing food boxes from Trader Joes, Safeway, Midwest Food Bank, and Panera Bread on THURSDAY from 1-3 PM in Mesa at Jacob's Mission Community Center, 7830 E. University Dr., Mesa 85207 or from 4-5 PM in Coolidge at The Closet at 670 W. Pima Ave. Coolidge, AZ 85128. You must register to attend. PLEASE DO NOT SIGN UP UNLESS YOU ARE AVAILABLE TO PICK UP YOUR FOOD BETWEEN 1-3 PM in Mesa or 4-5 PM in Coolidge. Register at the ASA Now Calendar of Events page. Call 623-428-1592 for any registration issues.
  • Join us for this free bi-weekly Workshop Series and Peer-to-Peer Support Group. Our workshops will cover topics relevant to foster care, adoption, and parenting children with trauma. Support Group Gathering will give you an opportunity to meet and interact with other families whose lives have been impacted by foster, kinship and adoption care in some capacity. Workshops will begin at 7 pm, followed by support group at 8 pm. These workshops and support group meetings will be held in-person at Jacob's Mission Community Center, 7830 E. University Dr., Mesa 85207. Workshops may be offered virtually as well on a case-by-case basis. If you need to attend a workshop virtually, please call 623-428-1592 after registering to make arrangements. September dates: 9/2, 9/16, and 9/30. Register here.
  • Caring for children impacted by foster care on a daily basis can be very stressful and difficult for foster and adoptive parents. This ultimately takes a toll on the family as a whole. Our community center provides a much-needed break for exhausted foster and adoptive parents while still meeting the special needs of the children. This intervention provides parents with an opportunity to recharge, prevent burnout, stabilize the whole family, and ultimately result in fewer foster and adoptive disruptions. Join ASA Now for Parents' Night Out for Foster and Foster/Adoptive Parents, Saturday, September 18 from 4-7pm. Dinner and childcare for ALL of the children or youth in your home (including bio kids) will be included. We will be playing games, doing crafts, and serving pizza and fruit. The cost for this event is $20 per family. We have a limited amount of sponsorships available per event for families facing financial hardship. If you would like to be considered for a sponsorship please email us at Hope@asanow.org.
  • ASA Now is hosting a CPR/First Aid course for Kinship and Foster Parents, September 24, 10am to 2pm at Jacob's Mission Community Center, 7830 E. University Dr., Mesa 85207. This event is sponsored by Brittany Labadie from Lewis Labadie Law Firm. Brittany is known in our community as the "Adoption Attorney." She can be reached at 480-598-8724 or office@lewislabadie.com. Brittany has generously covered $35 of the $45 cost, so the cost is just $10 per person and will include a free emergency food box. Register for the training by 9/16.

one-n-ten LGBTQ Parent Support Groups

one•n•ten envisions a world where all LGBTQ youth and young adults are embraced for who they are, actively engaged in their communities, and empowered to lead. Our mission is to serve LGBTQ youth and young adults ages 11-24. We enhance their lives by providing empowering social and service programs that promote self‐expression, self‐acceptance, leadership development, and healthy life choices.

Our Thursday Parents’ Group meeting is held on the first Thursday of the month at 6:30 pm. This is a chance for the trusted adults of an LGBTQA+ youth to talk to staff and other parents/guardians in a supportive atmosphere.

Our Saturday meetings are held the 2nd Saturday of the month at 12:30 pm. Typically we have a guest speaker that gives a presentation and then takes questions.

  • September 11th: Counselor Tally Iskovitz, who specializes in providing care to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth adolescents, will answer your questions.
  • October 9th: Dr. Veenod Chulani, who leads Phoenix Children's Adolescent Medicine Program, and is one of only a handful of specialists in Arizona. Dr. Chulani also specializes in working with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth, including those seeking gender-affirming hormone therapy.
  • November 13th: A panel of LGBTQ adults will be discussing their lives and successes.

Papa John's Partnership

Discover Foster Parenting

Taking the leap to begin fostering is a huge step, and sometimes it's difficult to know where to begin. The Arizona Department of Child Safety website has resources and information to help answer some questions and get you started, but there are always other avenues and perspectives to explore. Foster Club, the National Network for Youth in Foster Care, has created their own resource to share with families who are interested in learning more about foster care. Current foster families may enjoy the Foster Club or may want to share the resource with other families that are interested in fostering or supporting foster youth or families.

Southwest Human Development Head Start

Southwest Human Development's Head Start and Early Head Start programs are recruiting now for the new school year! They service 5 school districts in Central Phoenix (Balsz, Creighton, Osborn, and Madison), and Paradise Valley.

Arizona Association of Foster & Adoptive Parents (AZAFAP)

Foster, Kinship, and Adoptive families who live in Arizona and parent children from a state child welfare system are invited to join AZAFAP! We are a nonprofit organization, by families, for families, that provides connections and supports in Arizona! The association includes ALL of the children in the family for our programs that include Family Connections, Family Support Services, Children’s Basic Needs, and Community Awareness. Free basic membership provides our newsletter full of information and resources. Premier membership is a small annual fee that pays for itself multiple times over after you have participated in our shoe, jacket, or bike and toy event! New Premier members will also be invited to the registrations for our picnics, family camp, and our holiday bike and toy event! Don’t delay and miss out!

Please join on our website at www.azafap.org under Membership. We have events in Tucson and Phoenix, and we are looking to expand up north!

Training With Child Crisis AZ

Child Crisis Arizona's fall program calendar is live! This includes live Zoom programming, on-demand trainings, and in-person programming. These trainings are great tools for general parent knowledge, adoption and foster care licensure hours, and more. The schedule includes some of the solid courses, such as Active Parenting, Anger Management for Children, Healing Trauma, Parenting on the Same Page, Understanding Temperament, and so much more. There are also 3 new trainings that will be added later this fall: Beating Bedtime Battles, Promoting Secure Attachment, and Water Safety. Note: The Safe Sleep webinar provides fee pack n plays to individuals that qualify and complete the webinar. The Car Seat Safety webinar provides a free car seat/booster seat with installation by a licensed Car Seat Specialist to individual that qualify and complete the webinar.


Support, Tools, and Education for Parents (STEP) is designed to build positive relationships between family members. It provides a safe space to discuss topics that may be too difficult to talk about at home. These conversations are about peer pressure, stress, and the importance of working together as a team. When caregivers and children work together, it creates a stronger family! The Children’s Advocacy Center understands that family, does not always mean a biological parent and child. STEP is a program that will benefit the whole family, including biological, foster, kinship, and adoptive families.

Families enrolled in STEP will meet virtually each week. Each session consists of different topics such as communication, stress management, substance abuse prevention and how to talk to your child about difficult topics (identifying potential child abusers, child abuse, healthy and concerning sexualized behavior), each session building on the next. Child care will be available when classes are offered in person again. For questions, please contact Jackie Ballesteros at jballesteros@soazadvocacy.org or 520-724-2148.

Christian Family Care Training

AZ.127 Foster Family Support & Connections

AZ.127 will be offering support via Facebook & Instagram mini-sessions of techniques and tools from the Trust-Based Relational Intervention program. Additionally, they will be matching mentor foster families with foster families in need of support.

Jose's Closet

Caring Connections for Special Needs

Arizona Early Intervention Program

Tucson Resources

Spreading Threads is a grassroots, nonprofit community clothing bank that provides free clothes to foster youth in southern Arizona. The organization was founded by two foster moms in Tucson who have fostered and adopted several children in Arizona. Your donations go directly to local children in need. The second Saturday of each month foster, adoptive, and kinship families can visit the clothing bank. A Notice to Provider will be needed. The clothing bank events are held at 1870 W. Prince, Suite 54 in Tucson.

Respite Resource

A Mighty Change of Heart

A Mighty Change of Heart provides FREE duffle bags to foster children with new, age-appropriate items inside: 2 outfits, shoes & socks, underwear, book, diapers/wipes, hygiene items, and more. These bags have the children’s names embroidered on them, and are something that they can call their very own. They have delivered over 3,500 bags across the state.

Please check out their website for more information: www.amchaz.com. If your family, business, church group or school would be interested in holding a donation drive, please contact A Mighty Change of Heart. Items are always needed.

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 with information, authorizations for services, timely communication, and support. It is not intended to discourage or replace direct and regular communication between the DCS Specialist and the out-of-home caregiver. 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. Please leave a message with your name and contact information in order to receive a call back.

Children's Heart Gallery

More than 70 percent of the children in need of forever families are adopted by their relatives or foster parents. For the remainder, special recruitment efforts like the Heart Gallery are used to connect them with a forever family.

The children featured in the Heart Gallery represent all ethnic groups and range from toddlers to teenagers. Some have special behavioral or medical needs, some are without siblings, and others are in groups of siblings.

Angel Q.

Angel loves all things rainbow and sparkly. She enjoys being outdoors and riding her scooter or bike to the park. She likes to play on her tablet, listen to music, make art projects, color, and play with her baby dolls. Angel’s favorite place to eat is McDonalds. She loves chocolate ice cream and pizza. Her favorite things to watch are Peppa Pig and Disney+.

Angel was born in 2012.

Jaylene & Julien

Jaylene and Julien are as tight as can be. They support each other and are always there for one another. They love hanging out, watching movies, and eating together.

Jaylene is an artistic, social, and smart young lady. She enjoys all art, but painting is her favorite. She would really enjoy being able to learn about all the different art styles. She is a great student and enjoys a challenge in school. Jaylene has many friends and is outgoing. She really wants to have a "normal high school experience."

Julien is a fun, energetic, and outgoing kid. He enjoys a good TV show, playing outside, and playing at school. He is a sweet boy who speaks up for himself and his sister. Julien is sensitive and very aware of his feelings. He is a great listener, and he adapts well to any situation. He prides himself on his problem solving skills and is very determined to apply himself when any issue may arise.

Jaylene was born in 2005, and Julien was born in 2009.


Jed is a curious, resilient, and determined young man. He loves to exercise his creativity in thinking up superhero and villain characters and then illustrating them. He is also fascinated with science and has conducted his own "backyard experiments," such as building and setting off bottle rockets. Jed is a truly wonderful story-teller and is even learning how to tell the story of his own life, showing incredible bravery and confidence. For years, Jed has dreamed of becoming an underwater welder.

Jed was born in 2005.

AZ Families Thrive is published monthly by the Arizona Department of Child Safety to inform foster, kinship, and adoptive families across the state. Rhiannon Schaudt-Hobkirk created this edition. Please feel free to email with questions, comments, or content you may be interested in seeing in future editions. Sign up to receive email updates when new issues are posted.

Interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent? Call us: 1-877-KIDS-NEEDU (1-877-543-7633) or email us: FosterAdoption@azdcs.gov. Visit us online: www.azkidsneedu.gov.

To report child abuse or neglect: 1-888-SOS-CHILD

Created By
Rhiannon Schaudt-Hobkirk