Bill aims to change how DCS handles missing Arizona foster kids

If passed, it would require DCS to take new actions
Advocates say they want DCS to be more transparent with the state.
Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 6:41 PM MST|Updated: Mar. 22, 2023 at 7:02 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A House bill aims to make the Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) take faster action as soon as a child goes missing in their care. “It shouldn’t matter that they are foster children their lives should be valued just the same as every other child in Arizona,” said Sarah Rodgers, a foster parent in the Valley.

Rodgers said she found out the hard way just how many barriers are in place when it comes to searching for missing foster kids, when one of her own went missing over a year ago. “There are some outdated policies that do not allow the child’s picture to be shown on social media and flyers. If you can’t share the child’s picture and you can’t share what the child looks like how are we going to be able to find them,” she explained.

While her child was found, others have been missing for years and some worse. In January, two girls went missing from their group home in Mesa. They were found dead two weeks later. “As a community, as a nonprofit, we were never given the opportunity to even post the information that they were missing so that’s all that we want,” said Anika Robinson, cofounder of ASA NOW, a nonprofit which advocates for foster children. This nonprofit wants House Bill 2651 to become law.

If passed, it would require DCS to take the following actions: work directly with police 24 hours after any child is reported missing, allow pictures to be shared of those endangered missing children, and to be more transparent with the state and the public on these cases.

ASA NOW and foster parents like Rodgers were on the capitol grounds Wednesday to push for the bill to pass the Senate. “We’re not asking them to identify them that they are missing as foster children but simply treat them as my own,” said Robinson.