August 2021 Issue 41

August is National Immunization Awareness Month

August is here! August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). NIAM is a yearly observance in August to highlight the importance of vaccination for people of all ages, from infants to the elderly. The goal of NIAM is to raise awareness about the important role vaccines play in preventing serious, sometimes deadly, diseases.

Why are vaccines so important?

  • Vaccines protect against serious diseases.
  • These diseases still exist, and outbreaks do occur.
  • Vaccines are recommended throughout our lives.
  • Vaccines are very safe.

Who needs vaccines? Everyone!


  • Getting vaccinated according to the recommended immunization schedule is one of the most important things a parent can do to protect their child’s health. Diseases can quickly spread among groups of children who aren’t vaccinated. Whether it’s a baby starting at a new child care facility- or even a college freshman – parents should check their child’s vaccination records.
  • When children are not vaccinated, they are at increased risk for disease and can spread disease to others in their play groups, child care centers, classrooms, and communities – including babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated and people with weakened immune systems due to cancer and other health conditions.
  • Babies receive vaccinations that protect them from 14 different diseases. After age 2, children are still recommended to receive a yearly flu vaccine and will be due for additional vaccine doses between 4 and 6 years of age. Make sure your child receives every dose along the way and every dose on time!
  • States may require children who are entering child care or school to be vaccinated against certain diseases. Parents should check with their child’s doctor, school, or the local health department to learn about the requirements in their area.

Preteens and Teens:

Preteens and teens need four vaccines to protect against serious diseases:

  • quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine to protect against meningitis and blood infections (septicemia);
  • HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine to protect against cancers caused by HPV;
  • Tdap vaccine to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough (pertussis); and
  • a yearly flu vaccine to protect against seasonal flu.

Adolescents and Adults:

  • All adults should get vaccines to protect their health. Even healthy adults can become seriously ill and can pass certain illnesses on to others.
  • Everyone should have their vaccination needs assessed at their doctor’s office, pharmacy, or other visits with healthcare providers. Certain vaccines are recommended based on a person’s age, occupation, or health conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, or heart disease.
  • Vaccination protects the person receiving the vaccine but also helps prevent the spread of disease, especially to those that are most vulnerable to serious complications, such as infants and young children, elderly, and those with chronic conditions and weakened immune systems.
  • Take this quiz to see what you may need: http://www2.cdc.gov/nip/adultimmsched/

Remember the Flu Vaccine:

  • Vaccines protect you all year round, but August is a great time to get vaccinated! August is also a good time for you and your family to make plans to get the flu vaccine. The vaccine usually becomes available in mid- to late-August. Getting the vaccine early can help prevent you and your family members from getting the flu throughout all of flu season.
  • When taking yourself and your family for your flu shots, you can also ask your health care provider about other routinely recommended vaccines you might need. Make sure that the whole family is up-to-date on their DTap/Tdap and MMRV boosters too!

DCS Immunization Policy:

All children in DCS out-of-home care must be immunized except when:

  • a parent objects based solely on religious grounds, or
  • the immunization is medically contraindicated.

If a parent objects to the immunization of the child, determine the basis of the objection:

  • If the parent objects on any grounds other than religious grounds, the child may be immunized unless medically contraindicated.

If the parent objects to immunization based upon religious grounds:

  • the assigned Specialist will consult the DCS CHP Chief Medical Officer to determine if this child’s specific need for immunization is greater than that of the average child;
  • the assigned Specialist will consult the assigned Assistant Attorney General (AAG) before proceeding with the immunization; and
  • if it is determined that the child will not be immunized, the assigned Specialist will direct the out-of-home caregiver to not have the child immunized.
  • (DCS Program Policy, Chapter 3, Section 7.1 Medical Services for Children in Out-of-Home Care)

Advanced Child Tax Credit

***This information has been provided by the Arizona Council Of Human Service Providers for educational purposes only. Please consult a tax professional for any and all questions regarding this tax credit.***

The Advance Child Tax Credit impacts families who make less than $240,000 a year for a single parent and $440,000 a year for two parent households. Single parents making less than $112,000 and two parent households making less than $154,000 will receive the full tax credit—the tax credit phases down as income increases.

Beginning July 15th the monthly payment ($350 a month for children ages 0 to 5, $300 a month for children ages 6 to 17) will be deposited in the bank account that your income tax refund from 2019 or 2020 or your stimulus checks were deposited into. Unbanked families and those who did not receive the stimulus check will have to sign up through the IRS portal. If you do not want to receive the tax credit monthly, you will need to also request to be ‘”unenrolled” in the automatic payments. Foster and kinship families who have had a child in their home for at least 6 months qualify, but they may need to go into the IRS portal to set that up.

The CTC will have tremendous short- and long-term impacts for children and families. Some of the anticipated impacts are believed to be:

  • Reduction in families referred to the child welfare system because of poverty-caused neglect
  • Improved ability to pay rent and pay for basic needs for children like food, clothing, school needs
  • Brings money into the economy which will help us recover from the economic impacts of COVID
  • Helps our workforce with children

Additional information:

Help Enrich African American Lives Coalition Events

The mission of HEAAL Coalition is: to enrich the quality of African American Lives through community engagement and collaboration and to identify needs and develop prevention strategies that support healthy decision making for better lifestyle outcomes.

Arizona Helping Hands

Back to School Support

Arizona Helping Hands provides backpacks filled with school supplies during our annual Back to School support event, and throughout the year, as needed. If you missed our Back to School Support Week, you can still receive assistance through our Back to School Program by scheduling an appointment online at azhelpinghands.org. Additionally, you can receive essential items like clothing, shoes, and hygiene products by scheduling a *Basic Needs appointment. Arizona Helping Hands wants to help ensure your child in foster care goes back to school feeling confident and ready to start the school year with the tools they need to be successful!


Please review our Programs Guide for additional resources for kinship and foster families.

Visit us online at azhelpinghands.org to learn more and make an appointment today!

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)

Foster-Adoptive-Kinship Training Series

Mercy Care provides trauma-informed training that supports DCS-involved children and families, including foster, adoptive, and kinship caregivers. Presenter can facilitate in English and Spanish. No cost to attend. A training certificate will be provided.

Some of the trainings include:

  • Trauma Training Series, including Trauma-Informed Care Overview, Birth-to-Five, and Strategies and Techniques
  • Caregiver Self-Care
  • Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Complex Trauma
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
  • PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports)
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Working with Children with Sexually Maladaptive Behavior
  • Human Trafficking

August 16, 2021Foster, Adoptive, Kinship - Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support - Daytime session: 10:00 am-12:00/Evening session: 6:00 pm-8:00 pm - https://us02web.zoom.us/j/4129648434 with meeting number 4129648434

September 20, 2021Caregiver Self-Care - Daytime session: 10:00 am-12:00/Evening session: 6:00 pm-8:00 pm - https://us02web.zoom.us/j/4129648434 with meeting number 4129648434


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

  • ASA Now will be distributing food 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. 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.
  • Beginning in August, ASA Now will be holding a monthly Jacob's Law Training. This will be a 3 hour in-person training held at Jacob's Mission Community Center, 7830 E. University Dr., Mesa 85207. Virtual attendance may be an option for those unable to attend in person. Class time will alternate between morning and evening. The next session is August 9th, 10 am to 1 pm.
  • ASA Now Presents: Trauma Tools with Estefana Johnson, Tuesday, August 10, 2021, 7-8 pm. Fall Trauma Tools Workshops will be held virtually on the second Tuesday of the month from 7-8 pm.

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.

  • August 14th: Health & wellness specialist, Reed Bently, will be demonstrating and giving tools for self-care and self-regulation.
  • 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.

Victory for Kids MMA

Victory for Kids MMA is a non-profit organization based in Chandler that provides quality martial arts training activities for children in foster care and teaches them self-control, confidence, self-reliance, empowerment, and leadership skills. Classes are currently held at Boxing Therapy & Fitness (6170 W Chandler Blvd Unit 4, Chandler, AZ 85226), Monday-Friday 4:30pm-5:30pm or 5:30pm-6:30pm for ages 5 to 14. Victory for Kids MMA has discounted the rate to $50 for children in care, however they will help apply for an award through Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation to cover the fee, and they will provide a free pair of boxing gloves. Contact James Koo Kang for more info: 480-313-0845

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.

Aviva Children's Services Teen Evolution

Children's Museum Tucson Summer Events

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! Our Phoenix Staycation last weekend was so much fun, and we look forward to seeing our registered Premier families at our annual shoe event and back to school backpacks gifting 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!

About 30 moms of 215 children enjoyed appetizers and conversation together during AZAFAP’s Phoenix Staycation last weekend.

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!

Raise the Future Trainings

Raise the Future, previously known as the Adoption Exchange now offers a variety of online training programs. Please check them out at the link below.

Training With Child Crisis AZ


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

Sunny'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. Callers also have the option of leaving a voice message.

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.

Miracle, William, & Jaeden

Miracle, William, and Jaeden are full of energy and life. Miracle, the youngest, is the leader of the pack with her super social personality. She likes to make friends, is competitive with her siblings, and prefers to be active outside. Miracle enjoys; arts and crafts, jumping rope, playing with toys, dancing, volleyball and swimming, and more. William, the middle sibling, is kind-hearted and loving. He excels in drawing, math, science, video games, basketball, swimming, Legos, reading, and superheroes. He lists Jaeden at the top of his list of favorite people. Jaeden is the protective older brother. He is active and has a passion for soccer and basketball, listening to music, playing video games, and he loves animals.

Miracle was born in 2013. William was born in 2012. Jaeden was born in 2009.


Adam is a sweet, thoughtful, and talkative boy. He is described as being respectful and always willing to help others. One of his favorite things to do is watch fantasy-action movies like Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, or movies involving superheroes. He also enjoys video games and is currently playing the Elder Scrolls. Some of Adam's extracurriculars are riding his bike outside and football. He recently joined flag football and is looking forward to getting better at the sport and being part of a team. He is also interested in learning karate in the future.

Adam was born in 2007.

Angel E.

Angel is a kind, sensitive and thoughful teen girl. She enjoys the quality time that individuals give her and is very appreciative of the opportunity to bond with people in her life. Angel enjoys reading and is proud of the recent hard work she has been doing in school. Some of her hobbies include watching Youtube videos, listening to music, and watching movies or shows on Netflix. Angel also enjoys doing her hair and trying out different styles and colors.

Angel 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