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Center gives support for Arizona kids ahead of entering foster care | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

PHOENIX- A new trauma-informed Welcome Center for kids entering the foster care system has opened in Arizona.  

At a ribbon cutting on Tuesday, the Arizona Department of Child Safety unveiled a 50,000square-foot facility which will be most children’s first stop when entering the system.  

Gov. Katie Hobbs, former Govs. Doug Ducey and Jan Brewer attended the ribbon cutting.  

What’s in the Welcome Center?

The Welcome Center provides Arizona youth 0-21 years old with age-appropriate play and sleeping areas, an onsite cafeteria, three outdoor playgrounds, a sensory room, a crisis response room and soon an onsite Phoenix Children’s Hospital Clinic.  

“We have all the basic needs here. Any hygiene, any clothing to fit any size, our food is prepared for any kid that might have an allergy, if they have diabetes, anything like that,” Amy Fox, the Statewide Placement Administrator for DCS said. 

Fox added every room was designed with intention.  

“We were very thoughtful with all the colors that were chosen. You’ll see a lot of greens and blues and things like that are very calming for children, we also have different sensory activities that the kids can do,” Fox said.  

How does the facility help children?

Children entering the Welcome Center can be assessed both physically and mentally by providers until a caregiver is located. The new center can sleep up to 48 kids a night, which is an increase compared to the 21 beds at the previous facility.  

On average, a child will stay at the DCS Welcome Center for about two days 

“We are matching children to caregivers, we’re not just putting them in any open bed so sometimes that can take a little longer,” Fox said. “There really is no timeframe of how long they can stay here.” 

Gov. Hobbs stated 4,000 kids enter DCS care in Arizona yearly. 

Our children and teens need a safe supportive space and the meaningful upgrades in the facility will provide just that,” Hobbs said.  

According to the Arizona Department of Child Safety, on average 212 children will enter the Welcome Center each month and 27 percent of all children entering care will start at the Welcome Center.  

Since the center’s opening in March, nearly 1,000 children have been served.  

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