Arizona Department of Child Safety: Children Support Services, Emergency and Residential Placements: A Report to the Arizona Legislature.
Arizona Office of the Auditor General Report No. 14-107.
Arizona Office of the Auditor General. Performance Audit Division.
State Resource Technical Report
1 v. (various pagings)
Published: October 2014
This report is the third in a series of three reports related to expenditures for children support services in Arizona. It addresses expenditures for congregate care placements, reasons for the use of these placements, as opposed to foster homes, and possible methods to reduce the use of these placements in the future. It begins by noting congregate care is the least preferred placement for children in care because it is the most restrictive and least family-like and the increase in the number of children in congregate care by approximately 73% from September 2009 to March 2014. Types of congregate care placements are described, and factors that have increased Arizona’s congregate care use are explained. Factors include: inadequate supply of foster homes; department practices, including using independent living and long-term foster care as permanency goals, not providing foster parents with sufficient information about the children in their care, and a lack of transitional activities; and inadequate access to behavioral health services. Strategies from five other jurisdictions that have reduced their congregate care use are reviewed and efforts by the department to reduce congregate care use are discussed. The report closes with recommendations that the department should continue to assess what action it can take to reduce the number of children entering out-of-home care and develop and implement a comprehensive approach to reduce the use of congregate care. 3 figures, 6 tables, and 19 references.
child placement; foster children; group homes; residential care institutions; deinstitutionalization; child welfare reform; Arizona