A report released this week by the Arizona Department of Economic Security reveals that the number of children in foster care is at an all-time high. Arizona Public Radio's Gillian Ferris Kohl reports.
According to DES data, nearly 13,000 Arizona children were in foster care at the end of March of this year. Officials say that's an increase from last year of about 400 each moth, more than 10 a day going into foster care. The statistics come after Governor Jan Brewer formed a Child Safety Task Force last December to make recommendations on how to enhance child safety and reform agency protocol. However, the number of children being absorbed into the "system" has continued to spike. Officials attribute this to a number of things, including an increase in domestic violence and drug cases, as well as job loss and poverty. DES also reports a backlog of cases due to staffing shortages and the effects of millions of dollars in budget cuts to social services. Officials also estimate that more than 100,000 children are being raised by grandparents in Arizona, which is slightly more than the national average.