The Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) is partnering with businesses and organizations across the state to extend special offers, prizes, gift cards and experiences during National Foster Care Month in May. The celebration is a community wide “thank you” to the people who have opened their hearts and homes to Arizona’s most vulnerable children.
“We value foster families’ service all year round, but Foster Care Month is an opportunity to shine a light on their commitment and go a step further to show our appreciation,” said DCS Director Mike Faust. “We’re also incredibly grateful to so many partners who have come together to show gratitude for Arizona’s foster families,” said Faust.
The month-long event kicked off May 1 at OdySea Aquarium at Via de Ventura and the 101 Freeway. The OdySea Aquarium Foundation and Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation are providing 500 complimentary tickets to the aquarium for foster families. From 8 to 9 a.m., the families had the aquarium to themselves to enjoy one-on-one experiences and animal interactions.
“Not only is OdySea Aquarium a fun and memorable experience for families, but being near water has extra benefits, too,” said Gillian Vanasse, assistant director for foster care and post permanency supports for DCS. “It increases feel-good brain chemicals while reducing stress hormones, which is invaluable for children in the foster care system who have suffered trauma and neglect.”
Another highlight of Foster Care Month, Arizona Science Center in Phoenix is offering $3 admission to foster families every day in May. It’s part of the organization’s commitment to making science accessible to all.
“Science is everyone and within each of us,” said Dean Briere, The Hazel A. Hare Interim CEO, Arizona Science Center. “Arizona Science Center knows the power of science centers to cultivate lifelong interests in science and we are committed to creating a welcoming environment where all people can engage with the wonders of scientific discovery.”
Dozens of other businesses including Medieval Times, Papa John’s Pizza, Munchpaks, Sodalicious, Bryan’s Black Mountain BBQ and Dave & Busters also are extending special offers throughout the month. Butterfly Wonderland will host 100 guests on May 23, courtesy of Butterfly Wonderland Foundation, and Arizona State Parks & Trails is offering complimentary annual park passes to foster families all year round.
“These organizations are stepping up and saying thank you to the families who give children in desperate need a safe and loving environment,” said Cynthia Weiss, director of communications for DCS. “It truly takes a village to raise a child.”
There are more than 14,000 children in Arizona’s foster care system. DCS’ main goal is to place these children in a safe and loving family setting until they can safely go home to their parents. If children are unable to reunite with their parents, DCS works to connect them with loving, adoptive families.
To learn more about fostering, visit dcs.az.gov/licensed.
About the Arizona Department of Child Safety
The Department of Child Safety is dedicated to the vision that “Children thrive in family environments free from abuse and neglect.” As highly motivated and caring public servants, the DCS team is committed to fulfilling this mission with excellence, providing safety and well-being for the most vulnerable population in Arizona – our children. If you suspect child abuse, call 888-SOS-CHILD.