While the number of children in foster care in Arizona has dropped from more than 18,000 in 2015, the number of children who live in group homes has stayed steady. The children living in group homes are disproportionately teens. While children ages 13-17 represent less than 25 percent of the children in foster care, they are nearly two-thirds of the group home population.
And most of the children in foster care looking for a forever family who are profiled in Wednesday’s Child are teens.
“You’re never too old for a family,” says Ron Adelson, CEO of Aid to Adoption of Special Kids (AASK). “When was the last time you talked to your mom or dad?”
There are some advantages to parenting a teen, Adelson says.
“There are zero diaper changes,” he says, “but there are countless first steps – first job, first crush, first time behind the wheel of a car, first time walking across a stage for graduation."
Among the teens featured in Wednesday’s Child who are still seeking a forever family:
• Aaron, 14, is active, athletic and committed to self-improvement through fitness. During the past few months, Aaron has lost nearly 40 pounds and has gone from being unable to do a single push-up to cranking out 20 or more in a set. Currently in the seventh grade, Aaron’s favorite subjects are math and history. He also enjoys going to band class. The best fit family for Aaron would be a two-parent home where he can enjoy the company of other siblings.
• Gio, 16, loves video games. But no shoot’em up games for this guy. Gio love to build new worlds playing Minecraft, the computer game in which you make things out of virtual blocks. Gio loves pets and would do well in a home with two parents who can provide routine and structure
• Nelly, 16, has many varied interests – from hiking to reading. Painting and drawing are her favorite pastimes, Nelly says. She also enjoys singing, dance, doing crossword puzzles and watching the Disney Channel. She loves to spend time outdoors and enjoys walking her dog. Nelly would thrive in a two-parent family with parents who have experience with children in foster care, or experience raising their own biological children.
For more information on children eligible for adoption, call Aid to Adoption of Special Kids (AASK) at 602-930-4900 or visit www.aask-az.org.
Watch the stories of children in foster care waiting on forever families each week on the Wednesday’s Child between 5-6 a.m. on Today in AZ. You can also view previously aired stories at www.aask-az.org.