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1,800 AZ foster kids are looking for a home as new school year starts

Some of Arizona’s students will be back in the classroom as soon as July 20. While many fill their backpacks with school supplies, about 1,800 foster kids are seeking something else: a stable home. 

That number represents children who are either living in group homes or have higher needs than existing foster families can support, according to the Arizona Department of Child Safety.

Laveen resident Ryan Senters has fostered 10 children over the years and adopted four of them. He said consistency is especially important for those kids.

“They’re trying to figure out what it means to be safe, what it means to be secure," Senters said. "Then they’re going into a brand new school where they have to make new friends, meet new teachers and they need a loving adult to help walk them through that.”

Senters said his son, David, is a perfect example.  

“Starting in sixth grade, when he first came into my life, he read at a kindergarten level," Senters said. "[David] would get really frustrated with that. The challenge was he bounced around a lot of schools and he never had an advocate to help support his journey to get him caught up.”

Having consistency allowed David to catch up to a fifth grade reading level. To learn more about becoming a foster parent or adopting a child, visit dcs.az.gov/foster.

Senior field correspondent Bridget Dowd has a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.