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Why Arizona has lost 1,600 foster homes since 2017, despite a bump in interest during the pandemic

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Monday, November 29, 2021 - 12:04pm
Updated: Monday, November 29, 2021 - 12:05pm

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Last year, at the height of the pandemic, the Arizona Department of Child Safety saw a jump in people looking into becoming foster parents. Maybe it was the space at home, maybe it was a desire to help their communities, or maybe it was just loneliness.

But now, the department is reporting a shortage in foster homes.

There are 3,255 foster homes licensed right now, and that’s down some from last year. But go back a few years to 2017, and there were 4,875 foster homes available to kids in the state. That’s a drop of more than 1,600 homes over the last four years.

So, what’s behind the drop? And how is the department working to get more people to sign up?

The Show spoke with Mollie Mesaros, a DCS foster supports manager, to learn about the decline.

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