July 2018, Issue 4

First AZ Families Thrive Conference is Held In Prescott, AZ

The First Annual AZ Families Thrive Conference was a huge success. The event included many presenters focusing on our youth in care. Families from all across the Northern Region gathered to have a day where they learned together, got to know each other, and heard more about the best ways to serve the youth in care as they navigate their foster care journey together. Families learned about the best practices for youth transitioning to adulthood and how much teens need one caring adult to change their lives.

A powerful presentation was held during the lunch hour where foster, kinship and adoptive families heard from a panel of teen youth who have experienced time in the foster care system. The youth panel discussed their journey through the foster care system, and shared how each had one caring adult (foster parent, grandparent or kinship parent) who has made an impact in their life. One of the youth revealed exciting news, that after 7 years in the foster care system, he will be adopted next month!!! It was a day of impact for both DCS staff and the families who attended.

Register Now for the AZ Families Thrive Tucson Conference

Earn Your Required Renewal Hours — Register By August 3, 2018

Foster and kinship families registration is now open for the Tucson AZ Families Thrive Conference. It will be held Friday, August 17th, at New Life Bible Fellowship Church in Tucson, AZ. You can register for the free conference here. Registration will close August 3, 2018.

This is the second 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 third AZ Families Thrive Conference will be Thursday, October 25th in Tempe at Redemption Church; registration information will be available in late August.

Swimming Pool Safety

What is the best way to keep my child safe around swimming pools?

An adult should actively watch children at all times while they are in a pool. For infants and toddlers, an adult should be in the water and within arm’s reach, providing “touch supervision.” For older children, an adult should be paying constant attention and free from distractions, like talking on the phone, socializing, tending household chores, or drinking alcohol. The supervising adult must know how to swim.

Pool Rules: If you have a pool, insist that the following rules are followed: •Keep toys away from the pool when the pool is not in use.

  1. Empty blow-up pools after each use.
  2. No tricycles or other riding toys at poolside.
  3. No electrical appliances near the pool.
  4. No diving in a pool that is not deep enough.
  5. No running on the pool deck.

Pool Fences: Children can climb out a window, through a doggy door, or sneak out a door to get to the back yard and the pool. To prevent small children from entering the pool area on their own, there should be a fence that completely surrounds the pool or spa. Combined with the watchful eyes of an adult, a fence is the best way to protect your child and other children who may visit or live nearby. Remember you must check with your licensing worker for regulation on your pool fence.

Pool fences Guidelines:

  1. Be climb-resistant and should not have anything alongside it (such as lawn furniture) that can be used to climb it.
  2. Be at least 5 feet high and have no footholds or handholds that could help a child climb it.
  3. Have no more than 4 inches between vertical slats. Chain-link fences are very easy to climb and are not recommended as pool fences. If they must be used, the diamond shape should not be bigger than 1¾ inches horizontally.
  4. Have a gate that is well maintained and is self-closing and self-latching. It should only open away from the pool. The latches should be higher than a child can reach – 54 inches from the bottom of the gate.
  5. For above-ground pools always removes steps and ladders that access the pool to keep children out of harms way. When the pool is not in use, lock or remove the ladders to prevent access by children.

Other Products: When used with an “isolation” fence, these products may be beneficial; however, they are not substitutes for adequate fencing. These may include:

  1. Automatic pool covers . . . solar covers are not safety covers.
  2. Door alarms
  3. Doors to the house that are self-closing/self-latching
  4. Window guards
  5. Pool alarms

Swimming Lessons - Where We Stand

Children need to learn to swim. The AAP supports swimming lessons for most children 4 years and older, and for children 1 to 4 years of age who are ready to learn how to swim. Keep in mind that because children develop at different rates, each child will be ready to swim at her own time. Some factors you may consider before starting swimming lessons for younger children include:

  1. Frequency of exposure to water
  2. Emotional maturity
  3. Physical limitations
  4. Health concerns related to swimming pools (for example, swallowing water, infections, pool chemicals)

While some swim programs claim to teach water survival skills to children less than 12 months old, evidence does not show that they are effective in preventing drowning. Swim lessons do not provide “drown-proofing” for children of any age, so supervision and other layers of protection are necessary even for children who have learned swimming skills.

Diving Safety

Serious spinal cord injuries, permanent brain damage, and death can occur to swimmers who dive into shallow water or spring upward on the diving board and hit it on the way down.

Keep safe by following these simple common-sense diving rules.

  1. Check how deep the water is. Enter the water feet first, especially when going in for the first time.
  2. Never dive into above-ground pools; they are usually not deep enough.
  3. Never dive into the shallow end of a pool.
  4. Never dive through inner tubes or other pool toys.
  5. Learn how to dive properly by taking classes.

This has been adapted from HealthyChildren.org. Please remember to check with your licensing worker on Rules and Regulations in regards to pool fence requirements.

Summer Reading For Your Family

  • All Kinds of Children-Norma Simon
  • Families Change-Julie Nelson
  • I Wished for You-Marianne Richmond
  • It's Ok to Be Different - Todd Parr
  • Love You Forever-Robert Munsch
  • The Star (A Story to Help Young Children Understand Foster Care) - Cynthia Lovell

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, 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.

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 Ruby and Roberta

Ruby and Roberta are two, happy-go-lucky girls that love being able to spend time together!

Ruby, the older sister and more of the athletic type, enjoys going outside to play basketball, football, and riding her bike. On the off chance she’s inside, Ruby likes to relax and read books, listen to music, or watch some of her favorite Netflix shows.

She isn’t picky about what foods she likes to eat, but she can admit her “go-to” places are McDonald’s and Burger King. Ruby hopes to one day become a professional athlete, a police woman, or a fire fighter—she feels a deep desire to help people and wants to be able to give back.

She also dreams of being part of a family that will love her for who she is and take part in her love for sports!

On the other hand, little sister Roberta is more of the creative and artsy type. You can find Roberta passing the day coloring, reading, painting, and dancing.

Roberta’s love for dancing reaches sky limits as she aspires to be a dance choreographer when she grows up! When asked what her favorite things to do are, Roberta responded by saying, “dancing, dancing, and more dancing!”

Both girls are bubbly, lovable, and an absolute joy to be around.

They would highly benefit from a one or two parent home that provides structure, boundaries, and a nurturing environment.

Ruby was born in 2005, and Roberta was born in 2007.

Meet Jonathan

Jonathan likes reading, writing, watching funny movies, playing video games, and doing arts and crafts.

In school, he likes to learn about computers. At home, he helps with laundry, makes beds, and fixes things. His favorite food to eat is bread and peanut butter.

When he’s with his friends, Jonathan likes to go on walks and go to church. He also enjoys playing basketball outside.

Although he has gone on a couple field trips to the zoo and a museum, he says he really doesn’t like animals. Jonathan was born in 2002.

AZ Families Thrive is published monthly by the Arizona Department of Child Safety to inform foster, kinship and adoptive families across the state. Gillian Vanasse created this addition. 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

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