TUCSON, Ariz. - Being a foster parent takes dedication and determination, according to Christine Crabb, who's fostered over 30 children over the years alongside her husband.
"It's not just because you're doing it because of the love of your heart, you're doing it for a job too to help these kids out," said Crabb.
Crabb and her husband ultimately adopted three of the children that were once fosters in their home.
"We wanted to grow our family," Crabb said.
Crabb's family, however, is just one of many helping give children a home in Arizona.
Since May 2019, 14,279 children have been placed in the care of the Arizona Department of Child Safety.
Of those more than 14,000 children, 5,3342 children were placed in homes with family members.
5,657 children were placed in licensed foster homes, and 475 young adults lived alone or were placed into the department's independent living program.
While the number of licensed foster homes in the state fluctuates constantly, the Department of Child Safety is constantly looking for new potential foster parents.
"The need has gone up again, we see a lot more children who are being removed and so we are looking to find more foster homes," said Sandy Walters, who works with Casa De Los Ninos, a local foster home licensing agency in Pima County.
Casa De Los Ninos is one of 26 licensing agencies in the state of Arizona.
Licensing agencies work on helping potential foster families become licensed in order to be able to open their home to a child in need.
Walters said the process of becoming a licensed foster parent typically depends, but can last anywhere between three and six months.
"There is a home inspection, we need to have some health standards that they follow as well as just a home study that we do with the families to just find out a little bit about their background and experience working with children," said Walters.
Walters added those looking to foster children also need to watch several online videos as part of the licensing process.
There are several basic requirements that must be fulfilled as well, below are those requirements.
- Be 21 years or older
- Pass an FBI, and local criminal background check
- Lawfully present in the United States
- Able to be medically qualified by a health professional
- Meet current living expenses
- Every child in the home must have a bedroom and their own bed