Gruler Nation Podcast

Episode #69: Becoming a Foster Parent with Allison Hurtado

November 08, 2019
Gruler Nation Podcast
Episode #69: Becoming a Foster Parent with Allison Hurtado
Chapters
Gruler Nation Podcast
Episode #69: Becoming a Foster Parent with Allison Hurtado
Nov 08, 2019
Robert F. Gruler Jr., Esq.

Allison is a former journalist and currently is the Marketing and Communications Specialist for Child Crisis Arizona, an organization that has been focusing on building safe kids and strong families in the Valley for more than 40 years. At home Allison is a mom to three biological daughters and a foster mom to one 18 year old boy. 

 

As a foster parent Allison always  hears "Bless you for doing that!" or "I could never do that." or sometimes "I've thought about it for when my kids are older." Allison wants everyone to know that while fostering is a HUGE commitment it doesn't have to be intimidating and there are so many great kids in the system who need a chance to live in a normal home. 

 

If you are interested in becoming a foster parent or want to learn more about how you can help a child in need follow the Child Crisis Arizona social media channels on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ChildCrisisAZ/ 

and on Instagram and Twitter @ChildCrisisAZ  

 

Please Like, Subscribe, and Comment below! 

 

#ChildCrisisArizona #ChildCrisisAZ #safekids #safefamilies #fosterparents #fosterchildren #fosterhomes #arizona #success #podcast #InspirationwithGrulerNation #inspire #gruler #inspiration #GrulerNation #GrulerNationPodcast #gnp #arizonapodcast #scottsdale #yesphx #phx  

 

The Gruler Nation Podcast is a show that focuses on conversations with interesting "Level 10" people passionate about changing the world with their work, relationships and ideas. The show is hosted by Robert Gruler, an attorney and founding partner of the R&R Law Group, a criminal defense law firm based in Scottsdale, Arizona focused on helping good people charged with crimes move forward with their lives.   

 

Interested in being on the show or have a guest recommendation? Email Robert directly at robert@rrlawaz.com or visit www.robgruler.com for more information.  

 

Show Notes Transcript

Allison is a former journalist and currently is the Marketing and Communications Specialist for Child Crisis Arizona, an organization that has been focusing on building safe kids and strong families in the Valley for more than 40 years. At home Allison is a mom to three biological daughters and a foster mom to one 18 year old boy. 

 

As a foster parent Allison always  hears "Bless you for doing that!" or "I could never do that." or sometimes "I've thought about it for when my kids are older." Allison wants everyone to know that while fostering is a HUGE commitment it doesn't have to be intimidating and there are so many great kids in the system who need a chance to live in a normal home. 

 

If you are interested in becoming a foster parent or want to learn more about how you can help a child in need follow the Child Crisis Arizona social media channels on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ChildCrisisAZ/ 

and on Instagram and Twitter @ChildCrisisAZ  

 

Please Like, Subscribe, and Comment below! 

 

#ChildCrisisArizona #ChildCrisisAZ #safekids #safefamilies #fosterparents #fosterchildren #fosterhomes #arizona #success #podcast #InspirationwithGrulerNation #inspire #gruler #inspiration #GrulerNation #GrulerNationPodcast #gnp #arizonapodcast #scottsdale #yesphx #phx  

 

The Gruler Nation Podcast is a show that focuses on conversations with interesting "Level 10" people passionate about changing the world with their work, relationships and ideas. The show is hosted by Robert Gruler, an attorney and founding partner of the R&R Law Group, a criminal defense law firm based in Scottsdale, Arizona focused on helping good people charged with crimes move forward with their lives.   

 

Interested in being on the show or have a guest recommendation? Email Robert directly at robert@rrlawaz.com or visit www.robgruler.com for more information.  

 

Support the show (https://www.ericshouse.org/donate/)

Speaker 1:
0:01
This is episode 69 at the griller nation podcast. My name is Robert ruler. Joined today by Alison Hurtado from child crisis, Arizona. We're going to be talking about a lot of issues. You have some stuff that's very personal to you, something that you've obviously spent a lot of time and you're passionate about. But before we dive into that, I would like to know a little bit more about what child crisis Arizona is
Speaker 2:
0:25
because quite frankly, I have never heard of it, which is kind of surprising. I'm a native of Arizona, I've been living here my whole life and I really don't know much about it or what they do. So first of all, thanks for being here. Thanks for having me. And can I, can I just ask you to jump in and kind of give us a quick overview on what child crisis Arizona is and what, what you guys do?
Speaker 3:
0:44
Yeah, absolutely. It is surprising that you haven't heard of time crisis Arizona cause they've been in the Valley for over 40 years. Yeah. And it was actually formed with two different nonprofits coming together. Okay. Um, but we're probably best known for our emergency children's shelter that serves children zero to 10 who are in the foster care system or who are coming from tribal services or who also just have parents in the community who are in a crisis situation and need a place for their kids to go for a few days.
Speaker 2:
1:13
So what does that mean? So emergency or in a crisis practically, what is that child experiencing or going through
Speaker 3:
1:20
if their parents have been kicked out of their home and they're looking for somewhere to go, um, if there
Speaker 2:
1:27
struggling just to meet and S T yeah. So to meet their needs. So some something where a child basically doesn't have the bare necessities of life provided for them. Absolutely. And then the parents are struggling. So how, how does, how does that situation connect with what you guys do? So we provide that 24, seven shelter. Okay. For those kids to come in, um, and they're well taken care of and they are enrolled in school and they just get that professional help that they need while their parents are trying to get back on their feet. Okay. So when, when, uh, when does a family come to you guys? Like at what stage does a family go, this is too much, I can't, I can't handle this anymore. Do they come voluntarily? Is there a recommendation? How's the connection made?
Speaker 3:
2:20
It's a mixture in our shelter. Okay. Um, the majority of the kids that come to us are involved in the foster care system, so their parents have involvement with DCS and DCS and decided to remove those children. And if they cannot find a foster home for them or a relative or a group home, they would bring them to us. Um, but we do have some spaces available for parents who just really need a few days knowing that their kids are safe, that they can go and get the help.
Speaker 2:
2:48
Yeah. It's a, it's a very interesting thing to talk about. And forgive me if my questions are rudimentary because it's one of those things that, you know, I have never had to experience most, maybe not most, but a lot of people never been in a situation like that where they're saying, man, I cannot put food on the table for the next 48 hours. What can I do with my child? And that's where you guys come in. Um, so how long have you been with child crisis? So I've just been with child crisis for about six months. Okay. And you made a transition after you were a journalist, a local, you sit here?
Speaker 3:
3:21
I was, yeah. For about six years I did some writing for the Republic and fro ticky foothills news.
Speaker 2:
3:27
Yeah. And what prompted the transition?
Speaker 3:
3:30
You know, journalism is a tough business to be in. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I was looking to do something different, still wanted to do writing and storytelling and um, marketing seemed to fit that I got the opportunity to tell happier stories and stories that I was excited to tell.
Speaker 2:
3:47
Yeah. And walk me through what kind of the process looks like with, with how you guys, uh, you know, and how it helps them help a family navigate it. So if, if a family, they reached that point of crisis where they say, I need help. Is it, is it something you just kind of guide me through how that works? Cause I'm kind of, I'm kind of having difficulty talking about it because I don't know what actually happens. Well, let me back it up because please,
Speaker 3:
4:16
what I love about child crisis Arizona is that they do so much more than just that emergency children's shelter. We also focus a lot on prevention and so we have parenting classes that are available throughout the Valley for parents who are struggling. They can come in and go through classes, go through workshops, um, get some help that way. We also have a mobile food pantry for parents who are struggling. Okay. That's once a month at our Mesa campus. And then we also have a really great early education program. So, um, pregnant women, um, and their kids through the age of five can come to us and get advice on how to, what's normal in child development and how to help with that. And then they can come into our early education center where the kids are cared for throughout the day, a normal school day, um, where they get preschool and early education services and sets them up for success before kindergarten.
Speaker 2:
5:12
Yeah. So the goal is to prevent that crisis from happening.
Speaker 3:
5:15
Absolutely. Yeah. We serve families that are a hundred to 200% below the federal poverty line. Yeah. So for those that don't know, that's 25,000 a year and so $5,000. Yeah. So they're living below that. Um, they come in and get services from us and not only are their kids cared for throughout the day and given this great quality education, but the parents are also really encouraged to be a part of that and to network with each other. And so we build this community around families who don't have that support and who might end up in a situation where they feel like everything is too much.
Speaker 2:
5:52
Yeah. And it's just, it's, that is kind of a difficult thing for a lot of people to fathom living at that level. It's just something that a lot of people haven't experienced. And there's probably a lot of stigma about that, right? That these people are kind of deadbeats and like they are just, they are losers. They can't take care of their kids. Yeah. Is that something that, that your organization is experiencing, that kind of stigma, that kind of public perception?
Speaker 3:
6:18
I think that's why our organization exists is because there is such a perception and we have an amazing culture of seeing these people as people and as humans and who probably have been through terrible things in their lives that have brought them to this point where they're living in poverty and just steps away from homelessness. Right. And I think it's amazing to be part of an organization that just welcomes them in and says, what do you need? How can we provide that? And then really sets them up for creating healthy and strong families.
Speaker 2:
6:49
Yeah, and I'm sure you have some pretty amazing success stories, right? I mean it's what you guys are doing is providing services that sound like they're, they're preventative and then when they're needed, they're temporary. And then the goal is to just kind of fill bridge that gap between in that immediate time of need and then help somebody get back on their feet and then give them the skill set that's needed to make sure that that doesn't necessarily happen again.
Speaker 3:
7:15
Yeah. So our organization is basically trying to prevent child abuse at every level from the preventative efforts all the way through foster care and adoption, if that becomes necessary.
Speaker 2:
7:26
[inaudible] what, what prompted your transition? I guess what I want to ask you about is your, is your kind of personal experience with this system. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Speaker 3:
7:38
Yeah, absolutely. I was really introduced to the foster care system when my sister announced that she was going to become a foster parent. Um, at the time I wasn't, I had just gotten married. I didn't have kids in my own, so it was my role to just be the best aunt ever. Right. So anytime she had a new kid come into her house, I was the first one there to make sure that the transition was happening smoothly and that she was getting the help she needed. Right. So my husband and I watched, um, my sister for years have these kids coming in and out of her home and the different struggles that they were facing and they decided to get licensed for kids zero to five. So when you become a foster parent, you can choose any age, any gender. Um, and so we watched as these babies were coming into their house, substance exposed, and she was having to help them through withdrawals.
Speaker 3:
8:27
And you know, there were young, young babies. Yeah. Um, and we just looked at all the struggles that they were having and thought, we can never do that. We could never take care of these babies. I mean, my brother-in-law actually lost his job because one of their babies had to go into the hospital for surgery and he wanted to be there. And so, I mean, they've given up everything for these kids and we thought, you know, we're not that good of people. We couldn't do that. Um, but then, you know, I still recognize the beauty of what they were doing and the necessity and what they were doing. And so when I had the opportunity to move into a marketing role and it was in this child welfare arena, that seemed like a really great opportunity and I was spending every day telling people about the foster care system and telling them about these kids and telling them that they could do something about it, that they could be involved. But then it felt really hypocritical that I wasn't doing something myself. And so as I learned more about the system, I learned that you really can be licensed for any age and that kids are kids. And yeah, I'm at different ages. They have different needs and their needs are manageable and there's a huge need for more homes for teens in the system.
Speaker 2:
9:43
Yeah. And you, you have, tell me, can you tell me about your
Speaker 3:
9:46
yeah, so family at this point, my husband and I had a five year old and a three year old, two girls, um, sweetest, cutest little innocent girls you could ever see. And then we decided to get licensed for teenage boys. Wow. Um, so we got a few weird looks as we were going through that process, but we did, we got licensed for teenage boys and we had a 15 year old boy placed with us.
Speaker 2:
10:11
Wow. What's that process like in order to get licensed? Because I, yeah, you can correct me if I'm wrong. I'm sure there's a shortage of people willing to do what you do. What's the process if a family does want to go through it? I mean, how arduous is it?
Speaker 3:
10:29
There's a huge shortage. There's a big need for more families willing to open up their hearts and homes to children and foster care. So the process starts with an orientation and DCS has, that's the department of child safety, has really tried to simplify it. They've put orientation videos on their website. So you go on their website and you watch these videos and kind of gives you an overview of, of the system of the kids and end of the process. And then you choose your agency. Um, there are over 30 agencies, I believe in Maricopa County, one of them being child crisis, Arizona. Um, and so once you choose that agency that you feel like they get you and you work well with them, um, they start the process and they lead you through every step. So they come in and do a sit down interview with you and with your family and try to get to know you and what your goal is in this journey.
Speaker 3:
11:24
And um, there is an inspection of your home where they kind of go through safety measures and where the fire hydrants are and are the smoke detectors working. And then there's the training, um, which has done over five weeks. It's partially online, partially in person. Um, it's about 30 hours. And it kind of goes through how, how, what these kids have gone through affects their behavior now. Sure. And, um, what it's like to work with the biological parents in raising these kids because the goal of foster care is hopefully to get these kids back to their biological parents. Um, and then a little bit about how the court system works and once that training is completed, um, and all the interviews are completed, it's typically takes somewhere between five and six months to complete everything to complete everything.
Speaker 2:
12:17
Yeah, that's, that's a bit of a process. But once your done your, you're good to go. Do you have to, do you have to go through that process every time you have a new placement?
Speaker 3:
12:27
No. So you go through that process once, um, and then you are asked to continue training throughout the year, um, just six hours a year, 12 hours every two years. Um, and that renews your license every two years. How about financially? Financially, the state does provide, um, some support to families who get licensed.
Speaker 2:
12:51
Okay. Yeah, that's a great thing. Yeah. Yeah. And then, and then as you had kind of mentioned, the goal was to reunite with, reunite the child back with their family. What does that happen a lot? Is that, is that a pretty common thing?
Speaker 3:
13:06
It is a common thing. Yeah. That's really what the system is set up for. And I think that's what holds people back a lot of times as they think, I could never give this child back to these parents who have made these mistakes. That's interesting. But really the research shows that even when the parents aren't perfect and nobody is, these kids are going to be healthier and happier with those parents. Right. As long as those parents can get in a position where they can parents, right. So the goal is just to help them through whatever they need to get back to their kids.
Speaker 2:
13:40
Sure. And then what is the kind of commitment period? You know, that's a terrible word, but I mean it's, you know, how long can can a family who's taking in somebody expect to, to be with that child?
Speaker 3:
13:54
Honestly, you never know. It really depends on the case. Um, you know, you might have a child for a few hours, you might have them for years. Um, and it, every case is unique. Every family and situation is unique.
Speaker 2:
14:07
So it could be as long as a couple of hours or it could be years. Yeah. Yeah. That's interesting. So I guess my, my legal mind is racing, cause I'm trying to think, you know, cause I, I, I'm not a family law lawyer. I don't know anything about juvenile law or family law or any of that stuff. But you know, it can be something where these things can be a little bit contested, right? I mean, a biological parent may say, I, you know, I want, I want my child, I want to be with my child. I'm sure that's, you know, a parent's instinct. I don't have any kids, but that's an instinct to want to be with their, their, their offspring and the, the, the state, the government, the services. Say you're not fit right now. We're going to take that child away from you. We're going to put up the, you know, him or her a safe space and they'll be fine and you'll get them back. But there's all these complexities that are flying back and forth about parental rights and termination of rights. And, and you're basically depriving somebody of, of a fundamental right to be with their, with their child. So I mean it's highly volatile in a lot of situations. I mean, people know emotions are boiling over. How, how does a family navigate that?
Speaker 3:
15:19
You know, that's a great question. And that is the big struggle that so many foster families have. And I think that's another reason why there aren't many foster families is because that system and all those complexities can be so hard to navigate and can be so heart wrenching. Um, but you have support in the system and it really, it's your licensing agency that provides that support for the families that are licensed and they come out and visit monthly and talk you through things. And you know, I have asked for counseling for our family just to deal with things and have been provided that at no cost. And so it's really just about reaching out, finding support groups and finding, um, people who understand that the way that you're parenting is weird and it's complex. Um, but there is help out there and it is possible.
Speaker 2:
16:12
So is there, there is a community of other parents who, and his foster parents the right phrase for it. Is that okay to say? All right, I can say that I call so, so is there, is there kind of a support group? I mean, do foster parents kind of, you know, get together and hang out and talk about some of the complexities that they're navigating together?
Speaker 3:
16:31
They do and a lot of them are not so official. You kinda, you've trained your people and you connect with them any way you can. Um, you know, everyone's busy. So it might just be, okay, I have this one person's number and I can text them when I'm feeling overwhelmed. Um, but there are also official support groups, um, through the different licensing agencies and through, um, a few different organizations.
Speaker 2:
16:57
I want to talk a little bit more about the shortage because this is something that I think, you know, when I was thinking about, about your organization, I'm thinking, why do they need a marketing person, you know, to go to go kind of sell this nonprofit stuff, right? That, and then all the great work that you're doing. But it's really true. I mean, if you don't have strong marketing or awareness, then people aren't going to know to get involved. And like I said, I'm kind of embarrassed that I've never heard of it or you know, I probably had heard of it but just kind of in passing and never looked into it because it just hasn't been on my mind, my radar radar now that we're speaking, I'll probably see it everywhere. I'll see everything all the time. Cause now my mind has that filter to look for it.
Speaker 2:
17:36
But it's, it's curious to me, you know, why there, there are, there are a lot of families out there who can't have kids or who want to, you know, want to start kind of, uh, you know, building a family or connecting with this type of work. You know, they want to give back. They want to be able to mentor children and provide them the needs that, that, that they require. Uh, but why, why is there a disconnect? Why is there a need? Why is there so many children who need a home? So many people who are willing to, to get involved and they can't bridge that gap.
Speaker 3:
18:11
It's really interesting. As you look at the numbers statewide, we hit a peak of like 20,000 kids in foster care in 2016 and at that time we hit a peak of the number of foster parents as well. So I think the word was getting out. People knew there was this crisis, people were becoming foster parents, but as the numbers of kids in care have gone down and there's about 13,000 in Arizona right now, the number of foster parents has gone down too. And so I think there is that lack of awareness that there's still a huge number of kids in foster care. Yeah. And there's a huge need out there. Um, but it's also, you know, all the reasons that we've talked about that process to get licensed. Some people look at and think, I work full time, there's no way I can go through that. Or you know, they don't realize that there are school aged children out there who need a home. And so they think, I'm not home all day. I can't take care of a child all day long. Right. But that's why we decided to get licensed for teenagers because there's a little bit more independence there where he can be left alone and we can trust him to be at the house alone and not destroy things or set things off.
Speaker 2:
19:19
Yeah. Yeah. As you were saying that there's a, some movie that comes to mind, you know, if they, if they adopt a kid and he likes, steals their Ferrari and you know, he's got a racing around the town, something like that. And it's kind of like that worst case scenario, but,
Speaker 3:
19:30
right. And I think that's another thing is that's what's portrayed most often is those worst case scenarios. Right. Um, but like I said, in the beginning, kids are just kids and so many of them really are just normal kids that, yeah, they make stupid mistakes like anyone does. But yeah. Yeah. But it's nothing that can't be overcome.
Speaker 2:
19:52
Yeah. What, how has the experience been for you? So, yeah, I think maybe one of the things that there may be dissuade some people is, is the practicalities, right? I gotta pay for more food, or, you know, I got to take more time to go to the, the, this, you know, children's child's, uh, soccer games or whatever it is, right? It's, it's, it's more work for that person, but there's gotta be a tremendous amount of reward and fulfillment that comes out of that. How, how has your experience been?
Speaker 3:
20:25
It's been really interesting for me. You know, like I said, we have two little girls, and so bringing a, a teenage boy into our home was a completely different experience. He also has a completely different life experience than I've had. You know, I had great parents who were very loving and I lived in the same house my entire life. He's lived in more places than he can count and swear words are his main language. Um, but it's made me realize that I can love someone who is so, so different from me. And it's amazing the way that we have bonded and connected, um, that you wouldn't think is possible. Um, and it's been really great to see him with my girls too. Yeah. Um, they have a really typical sibling relationship where they fight and annoy each other and you know, for the most part avoid each other because the age difference is 10 years. But um, they also have a lot of fun together. He's a big jungle gym for them and they just jump on him every time he comes home. And um, it's been really cool to see that relationship.
Speaker 2:
21:44
Yeah, that's, that's fun. I mean, and it's good for probably both. Both, you know, your kid, both, everybody involved in the situation. What about the perception from friends and outside sources? Because I could see some concern that you're bringing in this unknown quantity into your safe and very traditional home where you know everything and you've got your four walls and kind of as bounded bubble of security. Right. And now you just bring in, you know, a kid who you really don't, you don't know. Right. What they've been through. You kind of have an idea of it, but now you're bringing that person into your safe space. And there, there is that possibility of, of some danger or some harm that can happen. And so you have to really think through that. How has their response been? How do you deal with that pressure or that unknown? It's kind of, you don't know what you don't know and that stuff comes in. How do you, how do you, uh, navigate that?
Speaker 3:
22:38
You know, most, um, friends don't know how to even ask about him or about what that's like. They, they don't even know how to approach that subject and, and that's okay. Um, he has been surprisingly respectful of all of our rules and all of our expectations. And so, you know, he does control his swearing when he's in our home and, um, he does try to filter himself a little bit when he's around our girls. And so that to me has been surprising just how much he respects what we're doing and the fact that we've opened up our home and our lives to him. Um, but we also, we're very intentional. When we got licensed and we went, we asked, um, to transition a child out of a group home. And so going that route we were able to know some of his history and some things that he had been through. And so, um, the events that brought him into care happened a long time ago. And so, um, he's had an opportunity to kind of deal with some of those issues. Um, and then we were aware of some of those issues and then we were able to meet him ahead of time and see if we noticed any red flags in the few visits that we had before he actually came to live with us.
Speaker 2:
24:03
So there's kind of a getting to know each other period there was in our case. Yeah. Yeah, it's an interesting topic. It's, it's something that, it's, it's heartbreaking to think that there are people who are in this home for that in a group home for a long period of time. What happens if they're not fortunate enough to find a family or if they do have that kind of meet and greet period. And they know, everybody just says this is just a little too dangerous for what we have in our world. Yeah. What happens to that child?
Speaker 3:
24:36
You know, there are a lot of group homes in the Valley and they are necessary. They are needed and child crisis actually operates a group home in Mesa. And um, so there is a need for those spaces for kids who just aren't matched with a foster home. But it's exciting for me to take a child out of that situation, be able to give them a more normal, um, experience growing up. You know, he has gotten a driver's license while he's been in our home and, um, we got him his first car and send him to his first dance and I've seen him go on dates and, and these are all things that just logistically would not work out if he were still living in a group home. Um, so yeah, that's just been really exciting to see
Speaker 2:
25:25
soup. Yeah. Extremely exciting. But what if they don't? So what if they turn 18 it did there, what does the system do at that point?
Speaker 3:
25:34
They have an option. They can sign what's called a voluntary, where they stay in foster care until they turn 21. And so they have that option. Otherwise they can go out on their own. And um, about 20% of kids do choose that option and are instantly, you know, homeless basically.
Speaker 2:
25:51
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Because 18, yeah, you're technically an adult, but you're still a kid. I mean, you still don't really know how the world works. Yeah. Your brain's not fully formed your, no. And there's a lot of impulse decisions that happen. Yeah. My mind I think is about 90% formed. I happened, what happened when I got, when I hit 33. So 18 is a totally different ball game. Well, okay, so that's, that's great that, that they, they'll continue to support them up until about 21. It gives them a little bit more time. Um, w is this, is this something, you know, you've made a commitment. Is this something that you envision yourself continuing to do?
Speaker 3:
26:30
So our son just turned 18. He just signed the voluntary, he'll stay with us for a few more years. Yeah. Um, I think once he moves out of our home and hopefully it'll be a very smooth and positive transition for him when he goes off to college. Um, I think once he moves out, we probably won't take another child. Um, just because we've made such a strong commitment to him that we're always going to be there for him and he's always going to be a part of our family. Um, and I don't anticipate his need for us going away anytime soon, even after he turns 21.
Speaker 2:
27:03
Sure. Wow. All right. So, so what about people who may, who may want to explore the idea, how do they start that conversation?
Speaker 3:
27:14
So they start with an orientation. Um, like I said, there are those orientation videos on DCS DCS website. Um, but child crisis has an in-person meet and greet where you can come and meet our licensing specialists and get all your answers, all your questions answered face to face.
Speaker 2:
27:31
So that's what, so trial Christ is actually helps facilitate that conversation and make that connection between cause DCS is the actual legal entity, right? Who's going to be in control of transferring and kind of adjusting those rights that that we talked about briefly. And then job crisis is kind of the mediator between the potential family, the foster family and the child,
Speaker 3:
27:54
right? That's correct. Yeah. They're the ones who make sure that the foster families are keeping up with everything that they're supposed to keep up with in their home. Making sure everything is safe for that child. And then making sure that anything the foster parents need as far as services or resources they're getting to them so they can keep that child safe. [inaudible]
Speaker 2:
28:12
what about people who may not be ready to foster a child but they want to get involved? They want to see, you know, they, they, they don't have the space, they don't have the resources, but they want to help out in some of the other ways. Support your organization in the other things that you do.
Speaker 3:
28:30
Yeah. So our organization, um, we have many volunteer opportunities available in our emergency shelter, in our early education programs where they can come and spend a few hours with those kids and get to know them on a weekly basis or monthly basis. Um, there's also the very easy way of just donating and you can donate through your Arizona foster care tax credit.
Speaker 2:
28:52
So it's, yeah, and it is a nonprofit is that it is a nonprofit, so it's all tax deductible.
Speaker 3:
28:57
It is up to $500 for an individual and a thousand for a couple.
Speaker 2:
29:02
Oh, there you go. Yeah. That's good. What about all right, so I want to boil it down to kind of the final, uh, qualifications that are necessary for a family. Is there a certain threshold amount for income for space? I want to be real clear on what kind of, what the, what the practical requirements are so that if anybody's listening they can say, Oh yeah, I meet those things.
Speaker 3:
29:25
Yeah. So you can be a single individual or a two person home, um, married, not married, any sexual orientation or religious background. We welcome you. Um, the requirements are to be 21 or older to go through those background checks and home inspection. Um, as far as your home, you can be renting or living in an apartment or a home. It doesn't matter. Um, the inspection really just checks for smoke detectors in each room. Um, fire hydrogen, your fire hydrant, fire extinguisher in your kitchen. Um, and then, yeah, that's it. Just 21 or older and go through that process.
Speaker 2:
30:07
It's not real stringent. It's really not. You need to be able to provide the basic needs for your yourself of course, and for the child. Yeah.
Speaker 3:
30:16
Then you mentioned income. There's no set income, but you do fill out a budget just to show that you can cover your living expenses on your own without the money that the state is giving you to take care of that child. So they also give you some money. They cover room and board for the child that comes in.
Speaker 2:
30:33
Okay. Well that's good. Yeah. Yeah. So that's good.
Speaker 3:
30:38
It's not enough to, no one's getting rich off being a foster parent. Um, it comes out to somewhere between 20 and $30 a day. Okay. But, um, it does help to take care of,
Speaker 2:
30:50
yeah. Kind of bridging that gap. Yeah. Okay. And w w w do you think that if more parents did this and more families did this, that the system is set up in a way that would facilitate, I mean, the, the goal, the ultimate goal, right, would be to have everybody out of group homes essentially. Right. I mean, that would be ideal. Yeah. Do you think that, what, I guess I'm asking you to boil it down, what is the problem? Is there just not enough families or people willing to, to go through this process?
Speaker 3:
31:22
Yeah, there's, there's a constant cycle of kids coming into care and kids coming out of care and families getting licensed and families closing their licenses. Um, and they might close them because they've adopted or because that child has transitioned out of their home and they need time to, to deal with that emotionally or um, you know, they might be frustrated with everything that goes on in the system and so they might close for that reason. Um, but there's, there's always a need and you know, it's even when there's a high number of families who are licensed, they all have their individual preferences too. So they might only want babies. They might only want school aged children, they might only want girls. Um, there are all these different factors that makes it really difficult to match up any child with any family.
Speaker 2:
32:11
Is there a, a process or a roadmap for potential for foster parents to potentially adopt that child?
Speaker 3:
32:20
There is, there are attracts, um, different licensing tracks that you can go through where you're only open for adopting. Um, so you would only have kids placed in your home where their parents' rights have been severed. Okay. Um, and so they would be available for adoption. Okay.
Speaker 2:
32:35
So a little bit different route to go. But yeah, it's the same process. It's just kind
Speaker 3:
32:40
of a little different mental preparation I guess.
Speaker 2:
32:43
Okay. And so this is something that you've done. You've had a very nice bond with your son and that's something that you're going to continue to support him. You were sister is also somebody who it sounds like is continuing this process.
Speaker 3:
32:56
Yes. She just closed her license after adopting her fifth child.
Speaker 2:
33:01
Wow. Yeah. Wow. And, and based on, you know, your experience and what you know about your sister's experience, this has been something that you would do again.
Speaker 3:
33:11
I would, I love it. Um, I just love, I guess I love seeing what other people don't see, um, the potential in these kids and, and what they can do with just someone who's committed and who's there for them and who believes in them. Um, it's, it's really fun getting to know a different side of a child that other people don't see.
Speaker 2:
33:36
Right. Well, I mean, what an experience too. You don't have any experience raising 15 year old boys. You learn real quick on how that works, going from raising a five year old daughter and a three year old daughter and suddenly, Hey, you have a a pubescent teenager in your, in your house. That's probably a very interesting experience.
Speaker 3:
33:57
Yeah. You know, I've told people, we have pulled so many vape pods out of his bedroom. We've been woken up by the police, we've had all those experiences and I would still do it again. It's still been, honestly, it's been fun. It's just funny to see the situations he gets himself in and go really do. But I'm at the end of the day, you know, I, I really love that kid.
Speaker 2:
34:21
Yeah. Yeah. As a former 15 year old boy, I can relate to everything that he put you through. I put my mom through that and then some, well that's fantastic. I mean, what you're doing is amazing and, and you know, the, the organization that you're a part of, you guys are doing amazing, amazing things. I want to make sure people know how to connect with you. So where were the best places to do that with, with you, with your organization kind of throughout the website or the socials?
Speaker 3:
34:46
Yeah, so a child crisis, Arizona is our website is child crisis [inaudible] dot org you can find us on Facebook, on Instagram and on Twitter. Um, and that's really the best way to follow us.
Speaker 2:
34:58
Yeah. And then if they want to get involved, is there a contact form or something or some information on that website that they can, you know, look for volunteer or donate
Speaker 3:
35:07
information on that website, just depending on how you want to get involved. And um, yeah, it's all there.
Speaker 2:
35:14
Well, excellent. So if you're watching on video, of course the links are below Alison's video, otherwise make sure that you visit a child crisis, Arizona ESE, a child's crisis, ese.org and then of course follow all of the socials. All of they're all the same. Actually. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter at child crisis, a. Z. Alison, thank you so much for coming on. Thanks for sharing your story and your,
Speaker 1:
35:38
and I do hope to continue to stay in touch with you and support you on your journey. Thank you. Thank you.
Speaker 4:
35:44
Okay.
Speaker 1:
35:45
The ruler nation podcast is brought to you by the RNR law group, Arizona's premier criminal defense and personal injury law firm available at www dot our our law [inaudible] dot com or give us a call, four eight zero four zero zero one three.
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