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Number of kids in Arizona's foster care system at lowest level since 2012

Mike Faust
Arizona Governor's Office
Mike Faust

Fewer than 12,000 children are in Arizona’s foster care system. That’s the lowest number since March 2012, according to the Department of Child Safety. 

The milestone also marks a 30% decrease from a peak in 2016, when nearly 19,000 children were in foster care. 

DCS Director Mike Faust said it’s the result of successfully implementing a safety model, focused on keeping kids in their homes whenever possible.

“Maybe there is a safety concern," Faust said. "But how can we manage that? Can we have somebody move into the house? Do we have to have somebody move out of the house? How do we understand the threats that are there and how do we mitigate them?”

That could mean providing families with more resources.

“Maybe there’s a mental health concern within the home and we just need to get some behavioral health services in place," Faust said. "For some folks, maybe they’re battling with substances and we need to engage with our substance use disorder treatment program.”

He said having a consistent leadership team at DCS over the past eight years has also helped reduce the number of kids in foster care.

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