November 2020 Issue 32

Arizona Association for Foster and Adoptive Parents (AZAFAP)

The Arizona Association for Foster and Adoptive Parents was founded in 2003 to serve the foster, adoptive and kinship families who care for Arizona’s most vulnerable children. Working in partnership with child welfare professionals and the community, their purpose is to support, educate, and empower. AZAFAP provides a unified voice for Arizona’s foster, kinship and adoptive families, with the goal of increasing the well-being and stability of Arizona’s most vulnerable children. All of their board members are volunteer foster, kinship, and adoptive parents. The Executive Director and an Office Administrator are parents as well.

AZAFAP believes in strength in numbers, and in speaking with one voice for Arizona’s foster, kinship and adoptive families. “By Families, For Families” is their goal, as they plan their training and events.

Providing connections for families is imperative to the success of their parenting journey. AZAFAP invites all foster, adoptive and kinship families to join the association with a free basic membership. This membership includes receipt of their monthly newsletter. Premier membership is fee-driven and includes all of their amazing event opportunities, including new shoes when school starts, bikes and toys at Christmas, training opportunities, and access to family connection events such as picnics, staycations and family camps. Become a member and help make all of us stronger and better in our service to the children in Arizona. Check us out at www.azafap.org, and scroll down to join today!

Fostering Voices Podcast

Chris and Jihae have been married for almost 15 years, and have 7 beautiful kids. Lily, Topher, and Mia are their biological children, and they were able to adopt Wesley through foster care 2 years ago, Jessica and Gracie in 2020, also through foster care, and Cate - through the miracle of the Lord bringing her into their family. They were a foster family for 6 years, and were blessed to be able to have 7 children in their home.

Chris is a Police Lieutenant, and Jihae works part-time at Showit.

Two years ago they started a podcast called ‘Fostering Voices’, where they give voice to those in the foster care and adoption community. They are passionate about sharing people’s stories, and raising awareness about foster care and adoption.

Chris and Jihae are the most regular people you will ever meet, and enjoy lame things such as playing cribbage, hanging out with their incredible village of family and friends, and literally watching their grass grow. But they are humbled and so thankful to be able to share a piece of their story, to help others find hope and purpose in their journeys.

The couple have recorded over 107 episodes of Fostering Voices. Below is a wonderful episode that discusses ways to enjoy the holiday season with children while being sensitive to children in foster care.

Partnering to Prepare Youth for Adulthood

Do you have a young person, age 14 or older, living in your home? Currently, about 1,400 youth in DCS custody are residing with foster parents or kin (grandparent, aunt/uncle, other relative or friend). By law, all youth in foster care, age 14 and older, must be assisted in making a “successful transition” to adulthood. Helping young people to thrive while in foster care, and as they transition to adulthood, is the responsibility of all of us. Have you thought about how you can help that young person in your care to prepare for adulthood? There are skills and knowledge that young people need to learn to navigate successfully through adulthood. Basic “daily living” skills such as doing laundry, cleaning/sanitizing a home, and food shopping, preparation and storage can easily be taught at home. Younger teens should have opportunities to learn and practice these skills as early as possible.

Older teens (16 +) can begin to focus on getting their first job, what kind of career they would like to pursue, and what kind of education/training they will need. They may also be struggling with their relationships and need some extra help to build social or relationship skills. They also need to learn about accessing health care and creating advanced directives/life care planning. Usually older teens need some extra assistance in these areas. If that is the case, they may be referred to the contract provider (Arizona’s Children Association/AzCA) to work with a life skills trainer (Youth Support Specialist or YSS). If an older teen in your home has been referred for this service, the assigned YSS will complete an assessment with the teen and then create a service plan. The service plan will reflect the young person’s goals, as well as activities to build skills in order to reach their goals.

As the caregiver, YOU are a critical partner in creating this plan, and in providing opportunities for the young person to practice skills at home. Learning does not occur only during the time a young person is working with their YSS. Practicing at home and in the community the lessons taught during a particular skill session is where the “real” learning occurs. The more opportunities young people have to practice skills, the better they understand what is being taught and how to apply them to different life situations. Be sure you have the YSS’s name and contact information in order to connect with them to share information about the young person’s progress, including areas where they are either excelling or needing extra assistance.

If you have a young person in your home who is age 16 or older, and who could use some extra help preparing for adulthood, talk with the DCS Specialist about a possible referral to AzCA for the life skills training service. If your young person already has a YSS, ask the YSS to see the young person’s service plan, and talk about the opportunities you can provide both at home and in the community to enhance the young person’s learning.

Desert Botanical Garden

Complimentary Admission offered on the 2nd Tuesday of each month during general operating hours

Other family friend events at the Garden for $14.95 per adult and $9.95 per youth, with free admission for children under 3.

Neurosequential Model in Caregiving

Foster Parents are Essential

The graphic above is from the recently launched foster parent recruitment campaign called "You are Essential." The campaign highlights the need for foster families as we navigate the uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you know of a family interested in becoming a foster family, please share the link below with them. Have them list your name in the "How did you hear about us" field, for you to be eligible for our $200 referral program. Referral bonuses are sent once the referred family is licensed and has been verified. Only referrals made through this link will be considered for the referral program.

Training With Child Crisis AZ

Winter Youth Skate Jam - TUCSON

  • EVENT: Roller Skating Event for Foster Families
  • WHERE: Skate Country, 7980 E. 22nd Street, Tucson 85710
  • WHEN: Friday, December 18
  • TIME: 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
  • COST: Free, but you must RSVP
  • RSVP: Call or text (520) 559-0855

The Young Adult Program and the National Youth Transition Database (NYTD) Needs your help!

Friendly Reminder: Any young person in foster care who turns 17 between October 1, 2019 and September 30, 2020, will be contacted by ASU to complete a NYTD survey. Please support ASU and DCS in administering this survey by providing access to the youth in your care. Thank you!

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.

Birth to Five Workgroup Training Series (Virtual)

Trauma and the Birth to Five Population –Jan 22, 2021 12p-1:30p

Presenter: Serena Samaniego LAC, IMH-E®

Participants will learn what constitutes trauma for a young child and how early childhood trauma influences a child’s physical and social-emotional development. The training will also focus on identifying trauma-related behaviors and the importance of the caregiver-child relationship in promoting resilience.

Service Provision for the Birth-Five Population - April 22, 2021 12p-1:30p

Presenter: Cathleen Phelan, LCSW, IMH-E®

Participants will learn the clinical intent of different services used to support the Birth to Five population and their caregivers. Training will cover home visiting programs, AzIEP, and PCRA.

Parenting Assistance Resource

Caring Connections for Special Needs

Early Head Start

Arizona Early Intervention Program

Tucson Resource

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.

Alex & Sean

Alex and Sean are sweet, loving and playful brothers who are hoping to find a family of their own!

Alex enjoys being active- riding his bike, learning to skateboard, playing football and basketball. He loves playing video games! He is very helpful and enjoys engaging in community events. Alex likes action movies, hip-hop and rap music.

Sean is all about sports, especially football and basketball. Sean has many interest- Legos, video games, riding bikes, swimming, doing magic tricks, Pokémon cards, Laser Tag, Nerf Guns, Roblox, and has a fascination with The Titanic.

Both brothers would do best in an experienced nurturing and structured two-parent family. Alex and Sean hope for a family who is a combination of enthusiastic, active and laid back. Both brothers want to live together and are very open about families.

Alex was born in 2005. Sean was born in 2007.


Carmen is a sweet, charismatic, bright and respectful teen. She is well received by peers, teachers and everyone she comes into contact with!

Carmen describes herself as shy but has social and funny side as well! She is easy to be around and Carmen shares that she can get along with almost anybody. Carmen’s CASA describes her as a caring and generous girl whose generosity was evident when she used some of the money she received for Christmas to purchase gifts for several of her friends.

Carmen loves K-Pop music and her favorite band is BTS. She dreams of going to one of their concerts in the future. When Carmen isn’t in school, she enjoys spending her time watching movies, listening to music and reading (especially mystery and anime books).

Carmen is proud and passionate about her Mexican culture. She would do best in a two parent household with siblings of either gender. Carmen would thrive with a family who would honor her culture and share her love for her culture as well.

Carmen was born in 2005.

Geovianie (Geo)

Geovianie, who also goes by Geo, is an extremely sweet boy who describes himself as funny, nice, helpful and happy.

Geo loves anything sports-related. He is an avid sports fan and a great player. Geo is extremely dedicated to sports and football is his passion. Although football is his favorite, Geo is currently on the wrestling team at school and on a community wrestling team at this time, waiting for football season to start again. One of Geo’s dreams is to become an NFL player or join the Navy and travel all over the world. Geo’s dream destination is China!

Geo was born in 2006.


AZ Families Thrive is published monthly by the Arizona Department of Child Safety to inform foster, kinship and adoptive families across the state. Ricky Denwood 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
Ricky Denwood