Free Arts Brings Support to the Arizonans for Children Foster Festival

According to the Children’s Defense Fund, one child experiences abuse every two hours in the state of Arizona. Presently, there are well over 10,000 children in foster care throughout the state. Unfortunately, there are not enough congregate care facilities to accommodate so many children; therefore, the demand for foster parents is at a constant high.

The Arizona Department of Child Services describes foster home placements as a “temporary home for children who cannot safely reside in their own home.” Foster parents assume primary caregiver responsibilities by overseeing the child’s “physical, developmental, educational, social, and emotional growth.”

Fostering a child (or children) has been characterized as a rewarding experience that can have a positive effect on the trajectory of a child’s life. By providing a safe space for children, foster parents help to maintain a sense of normalcy and consistency in caregiving. However, out-of-home placement is not without its difficulties. Foster families frequently experience a host of challenges ranging from complications with adjustment to a lack of resources due to the high demand for services. Fortunately, there are organizations throughout our community who recognize these challenges and work effortlessly to provide educational, recreational, and social support to foster families.

To aid these efforts, this year, the Free Arts Family Program and Young Adult Empowerment Program (YAEP) were honored to provide resilience-building art activities at Arizonans for Children Foster Festival. For this annual event, the Enchanted Island Amusement Park partners with Arizonans for Children to bring a one-of-a-kind experience to foster families. The festival has been running for 14 years and typically draws thousands in attendance.

On February 23, foster families and group home residents enjoyed a day full of musical entertainment, food, drinks, games, face painting, carnival games, and attractions such as rock climbing, bouncing castles, ziplines, and a petting zoo! As attendees walked around the park, they were greeted by different characters such as Spiderman, Superman, Ghostbusters, Captain America, and Princess Leia from Star Wars. At the first Free Arts table, children and parents/caregivers created paper crowns, which they decorated with googly eyes, gemstones, and pipe cleaners. At the second table, they blew bubbles to practice breathwork for self-regulation.

Around the park, caregivers were also able to speak to different agencies and organizations to receive information related to foster care benefits and resources. Free Arts thanks Arizonans for Children for including us in such a wonderful family-oriented event!

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