A disruption occurs when a child is moved unexpectedly from a foster home. A foster family contacts their licensing agency to request the child be removed from their home. When this happens, a child is moved immediately to another foster home, group home or shelter.

There are many reasons a foster parent may decide to disrupt, some common ones are:

  • Family needs time to refocus and regroup to provide the best care possible
  • Family has a difficult time creating working relationships with other individuals involved in the child’s case
  • The child’s behavior

All research suggests it is best a child moves from a foster home only once when being reunited with their birth family or onto an adoptive home. Some research suggests that with every unplanned move, a child loses a year of social, emotional and educational development. According to the Arizona Department of Economic Security, in Arizona, 46 percent of children in foster care have lived in two or more foster homes before leaving foster care.

A disruption hurts everyone involved. The child has a setback, the foster family feels like they failed and the agency’s staff grieves. After a disruption in a Child Crisis Arizona foster family, the family is placed on hold from receiving any foster placements for the next six months. In the time off, families are asked to reflect on why the disruption occurred, how it could have been prevented and how to ensure it does not happen in the future.

All disruptions are tracked and recorded to create a disruption rate. The main measure of quality for a foster care program is its disruption rate. The national average of disruptions is 10 to 15 percent. Child Crisis Arizona’s Foster Care and Adoption Program strive to stay below the national average disruption rate.

“We attribute this rate to the support and services provided to our families. We provide realistic training to prepare families for the challenges they may face, we offer consultations with the family, we maintain a strong working relationship with families and provide opportunities to obtain additional support and services,” says Erin Cowan-Hegg, Foster Care and Adoption Director.  “Keeping children in a safe, stable home until they can be reunified or placed in a forever home is a goal we continuously strive for.”

To learn more about Child Crisis Arizona’s Foster Care and Adoption program, visit childcrisisaz.org.