AZ 1.27 is a church-based movement that supports the needs of the Arizona child welfare system. Churches in this movement support the mission of the Arizona Department of Child Safety by donating space to host AZ Families Thrive training events and providing training for foster and kinship caregivers. They also offer wraparound teams for foster and adopted children to ensure their families are supported. AZ 1.27 has trained hundreds of foster families and has recruited and supported many adoptive families for the State. We are grateful for this effective partnership that is achieving permanency for children and supporting families!
Arizona Helping Hands
Arizona Helping Hands supports foster and kinship families during times of crisis or need by providing basic essentials, such as bedding, clothes, personal items, holiday and special occasion toys, school supplies, and emergency assistance. They also help connect families to other community-based services, including foster care enrichment and support providers. During the Covid-19 pandemic, they assisted in a number of ways, including housing mattresses that were provided to kinship caregivers across the State. We appreciate the critical services provided by this agency for families in need!
Family Involvement Center
The Family Involvement Center provides supports and services to adoptive parents and children in the State of Arizona. Staff members leverage their own experience of parenting children who are receiving services from multiple social and public service agencies in order to support other families. Services are offered to help families reunify as well as support adoptive families. We are grateful for the work of the Family Involvement Center in supporting permanency for children!
Giving Sole: Brand new shoes for children in care
Starting in April 2019, the Department of Child Safety began working with Giving Sole, a nonprofit that provides a new pair of shoes for children in care. They attend Children’s Heart Gallery events to measure each child’s feet and allow them to pick out a pair of shoes online. After the event, representatives purchase the shoes and the Department of Child Safety distributes them to the children and youth. We appreciate this creative effort that not only meets a practical need but shows waiting children how special they are!
Helen’s Hope Chest
Helen’s Hope Chest provides clothing to children in the Arizona foster care system. They operate a "boutique store," which children and their caregivers can visit to shop and pick out the items they would like. All items are new, or like new. Helen’s Hope Chest also provides rolling racks of clothing, as well as a table filled with jewelry, for children to use at Children’s Heart Gallery events. The children can keep the clothing and jewelry items they pick out at these events as well. This partnership is a wonderful example of how community partners can do their part to be ALL IN for waiting kids!
The #LoveUp Foundation has worked alongside the Department of Child Safety for many years. They have assisted with securing locations for Children’s Heart Gallery events and providing meal donations at numerous events. Additionally, #LoveUp hosts multiple holiday parties for over 500 children and families in Arizona each year, including a Star Wars-themed holiday party for teens and young adults in 2019. We applaud these efforts, which are so critical in supporting the well-being of children in foster care!
During the stay-at-home order resulting from the pandemic, 15 foster/adoption agencies in Arizona worked together under the umbrella One4ALL to provide needed resources to kinship, foster, and adoptive families across the State. Resources ranged from clothing and food to masks and cleaning supplies, and more. We applaud this collaborative effort of so many partners to meet the needs of children and families!
In 2019, nearly 500 Seneca Searches were completed to locate family/significant relationships for children in care. Arizona’s partnership with Seneca enables them to preserve children’s key connections as well as help to secure permanent placements for waiting children and youth. Prioritizing children’s existing connections promotes child well-being, and we are grateful for the positive outcomes being achieved for Arizona’s children through this partnership!
Farm maze at Vertuccio Farms
In October 2019, the family-run Vertuccio Farms cut the logo of the Children’s Heart Gallery into their corn field to create a maze. They donated a portion of all proceeds, over $4,000, to the Children’s Heart Gallery and provided free admission to 40 children in care and their caregivers. We appreciate this wonderful example of how local businesses can creatively and effectively partner to be ALL IN for waiting kids!
Faith Foster Families Network
ALL IN at the Faith Foster Families Network roundtable
The Faith Foster Families Network, a faith-based, welfare-focused nonprofit agency comprising six African-American churches and faith-based organizations, hosted a roundtable discussion for Assistant Secretary Johnson where they discussed the goals of the Foster Adoption Challenge and the work ACF is doing to promote prevention and permanency. We are thrilled to have the support of the Faith Foster Families Network to be ALL IN for children and families in their community!
The Pritzker Foundation
Pritzker Foundation roundtable
The Pritzker Foster Care Initiative is working to ensure that older youth have the education and skills training they need to successfully transition to adulthood. Their programs and services attend to the well-being needs of youth and assist them in becoming financially secure. The Initiative is also focused on several other innovative ways of supporting children and families, including prevention-focused work that strengthens families. A primary aim of the Foster Adoption Challenge is to reduce the number of waiting youth who age of out care without adequate permanent supports, and we are grateful for the work that the Pritzker Foundation is doing to achieve that goal!
The Pritzker Foundation hosted a Foster Care and Adoption roundtable at their office in Santa Monica, CA. The four county supervisor children’s deputies as well as representatives from First Place for Youth, Foster Care Counts, iFoster, Raise a Child, A Sense of Home, The Right Way Foundation, FosterMore, Kidsave, the National Foster Youth Institute, and John Burton Advocates for Youth also attended the roundtable. This group of dedicated youth in foster care and family advocates were very supportive of the Assistant Secretary’s initiative. It was heartening to see so many organizations coming together to be ALL IN for youth and families, as the need for foster care help and resources is so great in Los Angeles.
Assistant Secretary Johnson and Connections Homes Founder and CEO Pam Parish
Assistant Secretary Lynn Johnson meeting with the Connections Homes team
One of the goals of the ALL-IN Foster Adoption Challenge is to make sure we reduce the number of youth who age out of care without a meaningful, permanent connection, and we are excited that Connections Homes is addressing this critical need. Connections Homes works with young adults age 18 to 24, including those who age out of foster care without the support of stable, healthy, family relationships. Connections Homes carefully matches them with an adult or family who will mentor them and provide a consistent connection as they navigate the path to adulthood. This could include helping youth prepare for job interviews, celebrating events like birthdays or holidays, teaching skills like cooking or money management, and supporting them through disappointments or hard times. Connections Homes believes in the importance and power of belonging and works to ensure that every youth and young adult has someone to love them, encourage them, and guide them. Thank you to the many volunteers who step up to connect with our incredible young people!
FaithBridge Foster Care
Assistant Secretary Johnson and FaithBridge President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Bruder-Mattson
FaithBridge Foster Care works hard to keep children and youth who need foster care placement in their local communities in order to preserve the connections they have and minimize the trauma of foster care placement. FaithBridge recruits foster homes and family wraparound support through local churches, emphasizing the importance of local communities meeting local needs. FaithBridge also works hard to support parents as they work toward reunification and has been recognized by the Children’s Bureau as an example of how to use foster care as a support to families. We appreciate the efforts of FaithBridge to be ALL IN for the children and families they serve!
Georgia Center for Opportunity
Assistant Secretary Johnson speaks at a foster adoption roundtable hosted by the Georgia Center for Opportunity.
Assistant Secretary Johnson participated in a roundtable discussion hosted by the Georgia Center for Opportunity that focused on foster adoption successes and challenges in Georgia. She also heard from Foster Care Alliance, Promise686, Connections Homes, FaithBridge Foster Care, and Bethany Christian Services as they each shared the specific services they provide to children and youth in foster care and their families.
Assistant Secretary Lynn Johnson and Promise686 staff
Andy Cook (president and chief executive officer, Project686) and Ty Bryant (vice president, Project686) discussing their work with Assistant Secretary Lynn Johnson
Promise686 is an organization that supports our mission to keep families together so that children are never waiting to begin with, while also supporting adoptive families who have committed to children in need of forever families. As a faith-based partner, Promise686’s hope is to see every child in a safe, loving family forever. They equip churches to create support systems for families in the community, resource families, and adoptive families through Family Advocacy Ministries. We appreciate the critical wraparound supports that Promise686 provides to all families in need!
Hancock County 30 Days to Family supervisor, Angie Rader, and specialist, Rebecca Shumaker, display a recent genogram, with 159 identified family members.
Kinnect is excited to be part of the ALL-IN Foster Adoption Challenge because they believe that childhood is a fundamental human right and that all children have the right to be loved and nurtured in a permanent chosen family. Kinnect is an Ohio-based nonprofit whose programs work to keep youth out of foster care (Ohio Kinship and Adoption Navigator Program) as well as work quickly to get youth out of foster care and back to family within 30 days (30 Days to Family Ohio). We applaud the Kinnect approach, which places kinship at the heart of the effort to help children in need find their permanent family!
Ben Sand (chief executive officer, The Contingent), Governor Kate Brown, Assistant Secretary Lynn Johnson, Brooke Gray (director, Mobilization, The Contingent), and Representative Alissa Keny-Guyer
Assistant Secretary Lynn Johnson met with The Contingent, a venture nonprofit that sparks and develops initiatives designed to empower leaders and mobilize the community for the common good of Oregon. The Contingent is a unique partnership between businesses, faith communities, the State, philanthropies, and local communities. Under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer Ben Sand, The Contingent launched Every Child, an initiative that supports the needs of children in the foster care system and their families. We applaud the work of this collaborative partnership as a wonderful example of being ALL IN for children and families.
Links to organizations are presented for informational purposes only; their inclusion does not represent an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.