Arizona DCS launches new center for kids entering foster care

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A new trauma-informed center opened for children entering foster care. The Arizona Department of Child Safety says the new 50,000-square-foot Welcome Center will be a child’s first stop on their journey to healing.

The facility is designed for children entering care who have experienced significant trauma. It allows DCS staff and service providers to access all needed resources onsite. Children can be assessed both physically and emotionally while staff work to locate a kinship caregiver or match children with a licensed caregiver.

The Arizona Department of Child Safety Director David Lujan tells us more about the center.

“What we’ve tried to do is create a center that will make it as welcoming, as comforting, as soothing as possible for these kids,” Lujan said.

The Welcome Center opened in March 2023 and has since served over 1,000 children.

“The results so far have been really pleasing to see,” Lujan said.

Some features of the Welcome Center include:

  • Crisis response room
  • Age-appropriate play and sleeping spaces
  • Onsite cafeteria and commercial kitchen to serve children fresh healthy meals
  • Three outdoor playgrounds
  • Sensory room
  • Nursery and Day room for infants

“It’s really just suited for kids of all ages and in separate areas,” Luhan said.

The center also ensures separate sleeping quarters, allowing teens, children, toddlers and infants to have their own spaces.

Children typically stay at the center from 24-72 hours and there can be anywhere from ten to twenty children at a given time.

In addition, Phoenix Children’s Hospital will soon open an on-site clinic at the Welcome Center.

If you would like to support ongoing needs at the Welcome Center or for children in foster care, please visit azdcs.gov/volunteer.

David Lujan, Arizona Department of Child Safety Director

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