Groups Working Toward Decreasing Number Of Kids In Child-Welfare System

Published: Friday, February 10, 2017 - 3:18pm
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(Photo by Lauren Gilger - KJZZ)
Toddlers play at Child Crisis Arizona's shelter for children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect.
(Photo by Lauren Gilger - KJZZ)
Child Crisis Arizona has shelters for children who have been removed from their homes as well as parenting classes and early-childhood education.
(Photo by Lauren Gilger - KJZZ)
Torrie Taj is CEO of Child Crisis Arizona, a child-welfare group in Mesa.

The number of children who have been removed from their families and put into Arizona’s child-welfare system remains high in our state — at more than 17,000.

Last month, we brought you a story about ways to track the cause of those high numbers.

But many organizations, including the Department of Child Safety, are working towards bringing these numbers down by focusing on one thing: prevention.

So, we wanted to find out what exactly prevention of child abuse and neglect looks like.  I went out to Child Crisis Arizona, a child-welfare provider in Mesa, and met their CEO, Torrie Taj, and some toddlers who were very excited about my recorder.

These kids have all been removed from their families’ homes and are living in their shelter in Mesa right now.

Child Crisis Arizona provides shelter for kids like these. as well as infants who have been removed from their parents, and school-aged kids.

But their main goal, according to Taj, is to give their parents the tools they need to get their kids back or stop them from ever being removed in the first place.

They offer things like parenting classes — sometimes to parents who have had their children removed and are working to get them back — and early-childhood education for low-income families.

I sat down with Taj to talk about these issues more and answer what usually leads to kids in our state having to be removed from their parents’ homes.

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