December 2020 Issue 33

Fun Ways to Maintain Virtual Connections

We have moved into a world where FaceTime, Zoom, Duo, and many other video conferencing apps are being used to keep us connected. As we begin to spend more time at home over the holidays, here are 20 games you can play using video calls. These games are a great way to have fun, make memories, and keep everyone engaged.

Storytime with The Grinch

One-4-All AZ – Santa’s Workshop

This year we have seen the community to come together in an amazing way. One-4-All AZ is a network of organizations that serves the foster and adoptive community in Arizona. Check out their festive website to discover which organizations are available to provide holiday support. In an effort to serve as many children as possible, families are being asked to request assistance from one agency only.

Happy Holidays!

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.

Pioneer Woman's Bonus Kid

Ree Drummond shares how her family became a foster family, something they had never set out to do. She shares some great experiences of Jamar and the family learning to build relationships and to trust one another.

Neurosequential Model in Caregiving

Light Up a Life

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.


Kasumy describes herself as quiet and happy, and as someone who is open to trying new things. She expresses her creativity by beading, painting and doing crafts. She appreciates being included in activities, and will gladly help with gardening or cooking.

Kasumy says her favorite subjects are P.E. and Art, and she would be thrilled if her new family could teach her Spanish. Kasumy would be best-suited in a family experienced in behaviors and trauma-based parenting. Kasumy currently has visits with her sister and brother, and the ideal family would support a healthy sibling relationship.

Kasumy was born in 2008.


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. They are both looking forward to being a part of family.

Jaylene is an artistic, social and smart young lady. She enjoys all kinds of art media, but painting is her favorite. She would really enjoy being able to learn about different art techniques. She is a great student and enjoys being challenged in school.

Julien 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 issues arise.

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


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