Arizona’s Department of Child Services is having trouble getting stimulus money to young people in foster care, especially those who were formerly in the foster care system. The Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation has created an online portal to help distribute those funds. The foundation’s Kris Jacober tells us more.
The state has received upwards to $10 million dollars, but a lot of this money isn’t making its way out to its intended beneficiaries.
Jacober explained that many of the issues they are running into is locating these beneficiaries that foster care children or former foster care children between the ages of 18 and 26 who could receive this money. Many of these former foster children waiting till their 18th birthday to pack a bag and leave in the middle of the night, without even leaving a phone number.
“It has taken a while to get the distribution of funds off the ground in a way that is meaning full to the kids and easy for them to access,” Jacober said.
Since the program began, they have only seen a few requests come through.
We asked her if it might be a messaging problem they are facing.
“We’re just hoping to build some momentum,” Jacober said.
If a child is in extended foster care, they are able to talk with their case specialist about the offer, while others that have left for college, the funding is available through the ETB (education tuition benefit).
For things like housing, the department is able to do a direct payment when they have proof of the need through either a written letter or application for housing that is being processed.
“There is all kinds of funds available, up to 2 thousand dollars per youth to help them,” Jacober said. “We are just really hopeful that these funds can make a difference in some kids.”