October 2020 Issue 31

Is Your Goal Foster Care or Adoption?

A number of families have reached out to us to learn more about children who may be available for adoption. Upon further inquiry, we discover that many of those families are licensed for foster care only.

The Department has a need for both foster and adoptive homes. It is important to consider your ultimate goal while you travel on this journey. Do you hope to provide a temporary home to children, and help them reunify with their birth families? Or do you hope to grow your family through adoption? There are families that have the motivation and ability to actively support a reunification case plan, while also seeking to provide permanency to another child. Families should be encouraged to pursue their primary goal first. For example if you want to adopt, you should first seek to be adoption certified.

When you are certified to adopt, your family can be placed on the Adoption Registry. The Adoption Registry is a list of all of the families who have met the court requirements to adopt a child from the State of Arizona. If there are no relatives and the child is not in an adoptive placement, the DCS Specialist will search the registry for potential families. If the child’s needs are similar to the scope of your parenting preferences, the DCS Specialist can request a home study to learn more about your family. Upon review of your home study, if your family is determined to be a potential match for the child, then your Agency Specialist will be invited to participate in a match meeting on behalf of your family.

At the match meeting, Agency Specialists will present the adoption-certified families who are seeking to adopt. The DCS Specialist will be present, to ask questions to better understand your family’s ability to meet the needs of the child. After the meeting, the DCS Specialist and the DCS Supervisor will discuss the strengths and abilities of each family to meet the needs of the child, to determine which family may be the best match.

Once the family has been selected, the Agency Specialist will be notified. If your family is selected, your Agency Specialist will notify you, and ask if you would like to move to the next step of the Full Disclosure Meeting. At this meeting, you, your Agency Specialist, and the DCS Specialist will review the child’s records. Also, the Specialist will answer all of the questions you may have about the child’s strengths, history, and needs. After this meeting, you will be given some time to reflect, and to evaluate the new information you have about the child. If you believe that your family is a good match and you would like to move forward, you will notify your Agency Specialist. Then, the DCS Specialist is notified, and the transition planning stage begins.

If your family’s ultimate goal is to adopt, please consider becoming certified to adopt. To do so, reach out to your Licensing Specialist to start the process. If you have questions, or are facing any possible barriers, please feel free to contact Ricky Denwood at ricky.denwood@azdcs.gov or 602-509-6086.

Ancient History of Halloween

Below is an excerpt from History.com’s article on the history of Halloween.

Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago, mostly in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1.

This day marked the end of summer and the harvest, and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.

In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort during the long, dark winter.

To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes.

When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

For more on the history of Halloween, such as when Halloween came to America, please click the link below:

Vertuccio Farms Fall Festival

Vertuccio Farms and Johnjay & Rich’s LoveUp Foundation are community partners that support DCS and the foster care/adoption community. This year, they have teamed up for the Vertuccio Farms Annual Corn Maze. Vertuccio Farms opens their Fall Festival on October 1st, 2020. Please click the link below for more information:

AZ Grandparents Ambassadors Kinship Caregiver Summit

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

Dr. Bruce Perry of the the Neurosequential Model in Caregiving is hosting “office hours.” Each week he hosts discussions to help manage the challenges associated with COVID-19. These discussions are recorded for later viewing. Please click below for more information.

Webinar-Historical Trauma

It is time to register for the next live webinar scheduled for Tuesday, October 6th! This webinar will feature Iya Affo, a Culturalist and Historical Trauma Expert. We believe that it is important to address historical trauma due to the overrepresentation of children of color in the Child Welfare system and recent events around the country. We are pleased to offer this training to you through the Neurosequential Model in Caregiving Program.

This webinar on Historical Trauma is a comprehensive analysis of Historical Trauma and its impact on BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color). Using the ancient tradition of storytelling, woven with current academia, attendees study indigenous wellness, epigenetics, colonization, and healing from a multicultural lens. This course seeks to help participants realize the significant effect that culture has on behavior and the importance of understanding that people experience the world from many different lenses.

Iya Affo is a Culturalist and Historical Trauma Expert. She earned Western certification as a Trauma Specialist and is a descendant of a long line of traditional healers from Benin Republic, West Africa. Iya has visited more than 30 countries, embracing aspects from each culture for personal evolution. She strives to transcend tolerance through cultivating love and respect in hopes of facilitating the decolonization and subsequent healing of indigenous people from all over the world. Iya advocates for the harmonization of Traditional Medicine and Western Medicine for true holistic healing.

Family Adventure Days for Foster Families @ Chauncey Ranch

  • DATES: October 2, 3, 4, 2020
  • TIME: 8:30 AM - 3:30 PM
  • LOCATION: Chauncey Ranch – 18970 E. Old Sycamore Rd, Mayer, AZ 86333

LUNCH: Included


• 3 Activities - $33 per person

• Horseback Riding – additional $24 per person (limited number of spots). If horseback riding is selected, the day includes 2 additional activities

REGISTRATION: Click Here to reserve your spot!


Funding is available for this event. Through Arizona Friends of Foster Care Foundation (AFFCF), foster families or group homes can receive an award for the registration fee. Please click here to start the application process: https://affcf.knack.com/awards#caregiver-dashboard/.


Ask about accommodations for group homes.

While waiting for your AFFCF Award, feel free to email maddie@tontocreekcamp.org to reserve your spot.

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.

Behavior 101 presented by Carol Melim

Join ASA Now, September 18th via Zoom, at 6pm for a free workshop as part of our caregiver series. This series is designed to build up families and equip caregivers to interact authentically and effectively with at-risk children. Also, it encourages the practice self-care in a safe and loving space.

Carol is known within the foster/adoptive community as the "RAD Whisperer," and will be offering practical tools to help families feel empowered to make a difference in the lives of their children.

A Continuing Education Certificate will be provided for those in attendance.

You must register for this and all future classes in Maxgalaxy, in order to receive a link to join the Zoom meeting, along with the meeting ID.

Confirmation email will have Zoom Link.

Training With Child Crisis AZ

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.

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 who are free for adoption 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.

Lizbeth, Rocio, Felix, and Luis

Lizbeth, Ricio, Felix and Luis are siblings who really care about each other. They enjoy doing family activities together, such as going to restaurants and museums.

Lizbeth has a big heart and is kind to others. In her free time, she likes to work on arts and crafts. She especially enjoys drawing.

Rocio is a natural leader who always tries her best. She works hard to succeed.

Felix is a sweet and caring boy. He likes to stay active. You can usually find him playing outside on the trampoline during his spare time.

Luis always is a positive person with a compassionate soul. He is a hard worker and does not give up easily.

These siblings would thrive in a family who can offer consistency, patience, and a lot of love. They are bilingual in Spanish and English, with Spanish being their primary language.

Lizbeth was born in 2008. Rocio was born in 2009. Felix was born in 2010. Luis was born in 2012.


If Beautiful had three wishes, they would be: to get adopted, to have a dog, and to be a famous singer. Beautiful is a bright and friendly young lady. Her favorite subject in school is math, because it’s difficult and she likes to challenge herself. She aspires to have singing and dancing talents like Michael Jackson. She loves all sorts of food, including Mexican food, Chinese food, hamburgers, hotdogs, pizza and subs. Beautiful was born in 2004.


Clever and mild-mannered Frankie is a social boy who likes going to school to see his friends. Frankie believes in being open and direct with people, and he appreciates when others are straightforward with him as well. Frankie prefers rap music because it has a good beat. When it is hot outside, you can often find him relaxing in the swimming pool listening to his favorite artist Little Logan. He is a huge fan of basketball and Mexican food, especially ceviche. Frankie is hoping for older and younger siblings, and he would do best in a supportive, two-parent home. He wants his forever family to know that he is independent, and responds well when people give him the freedom and space to be himself. Frankie was born in 2004.


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