Child Crisis Arizona Adopts UMOM Program to House Older Foster Youth

Child Crisis Arizona is expanding services to foster youth of all ages with the adoption of the Independent Living Program for foster youth from UMOM New Day Centers.

The Independent Living Program has been through several changes over the years. Originally, it was a program of Tumbleweed Youth Centers and was brought under UMOM’s services in 2017. As of July 1, Child Crisis Arizona took ownership of the program, expanding the agency’s continuum of care for children in foster care from birth to adulthood. The majority of UMOM employees working at the Independent Living Program sites will be retained by Child Crisis Arizona.

“We are thrilled to adopt this program into our family,” said Torrie Taj, CEO of Child Crisis Arizona. “It provides a vital stepping stone for youth in the foster care system. We are grateful that UMOM recognized the need for this program and trusted us to move it forward.”

“Child Crisis Arizona is the ideal organization to take over operations of the Youth Independent Living Program,” said Jackson Fonder, UMOM CEO. “They are known as the state’s experts in this work and are dedicated to the mission of helping young people transition from foster care to adult life. We are pleased to work with them and the state Department of Child Services to ensure the changeover is seamless and youth continue to receive uninterrupted services.”

The program is run through two locations in Phoenix and houses 50 youth, ages 16-21, who are preparing to transition out of foster care or out of the state’s voluntary extended foster care program. Through no fault of their own, these youth have no biological family to care for them and there is a severe shortage of foster homes for this age group. In this program, youth live in an apartment with a roommate and learn important life skills. Professional staff provide meals, guidance and counseling, and ensure the safety of youth while they navigate their way into adulthood. This unique program is also one of the only group homes for pregnant or parenting girls in foster care in Arizona. Several beds are also reserved for teens who seek shelter through QuikTrip’s Safe Place® program. Any teen who goes to a QuikTrip or Valley Metro location in the Valley and asks for help is given temporary shelter until a safe alternative can be found.

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