MESA, Ariz. - There are more than 17,000 Arizona children in "out of home care," according to the Department of Child Safety. More than 40 percent of those kids are unexpectedly placed with family members, such as grandparents, who are unlicensed.
Part of getting licensed involves a lengthy checklist of very specific items that need to be in the home, which can be costly.
A brand new nonprofit launched by a local foster mom and teacher is hoping to lift that burden.
Michelle Noe created Boost a Foster Family after being inspired by a personal experience going through the licensing process.
"I was really surprised when my licensing agent came and said these are all the things that you need before we can totally get you licensed," Noe said. "I was just like, 'Why isn't there a welcome kit? Why don't they just bring you this? If they're so desperate, why aren't they just giving it to us?'"
More than 50 percent of home inspections to get licensed fail, according to the Department of Child Safety.
Every day it takes to check off an item on the list, could be another day a child is stuck at a shelter.
"100 percent of the money goes to the families," Noe said. "We help all the people like the aunts, the uncles, the grandmas, so they will take these kids and start getting help, because if the kids can get help right away and not have to spend time in those shelters, it's so much healthier for the children and it's less traumatic."
The non-profit has already assisted more than 150 families.
Through May 15, you can help Boost a Foster Family by donating items such as diapers, smoke alarms and magnetic cabinet locks to Johnson Elementary School in Mesa. Boost a Foster Family is also looking for volunteers who are handy with tools to help install the donated items.