Thunderbird Charities donates $25k to Aid to Adoption of Special Kids

Thunderbird Charities, the charitable arm of the Phoenix-based Thunderbirds, recently awarded $25,000 to Aid to Adoption of Special Kids to provide immediate support for families who open their homes to a child in foster care.

“AASK has such a tremendous impact on the welfare of kinship foster families in our community, helping them navigate our foster care system and providing the support that is critical for this vulnerable population,” Andy Markham, President of Thunderbirds Charities, said in a prepared statement. “We’re happy to assist in their efforts.”

More than 8,000 of the nearly 18,000 children in Arizona’s foster care system are placed with relatives such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins or siblings, according to a press release.

These kinship foster families take immediate placement of children, but don’t get full state support until they become licensed foster parents — a process that can take six months or longer, a release states.

This grant makes it possible for AASK to provide support to families before they become licensed. AASK has a unit dedicated to the unique needs of kinship foster families.

Each family is assigned a family support specialist who serves as a guide for dealing with the Arizona Department of Child Safety, the courts, the schools and other organizations involved in the life of a child in foster care. The family support specialist also helps kinship foster families connect to a variety of free or low-cost child and family resources. The state DCS does not cover agency services to unlicensed families.

“Because of the generosity of Thunderbirds Charities, AASK is able to help kinship foster parents when a child first comes into their home, the time when they need help most,” Ron Adelson, CEO of AASK, said in a prepared statement.

Aid to Adoption of Special Kids, licensed by the Arizona Department of Economic Security since 1988, recruits, trains and provides ongoing support to the families that open their hearts and their homes to children in the child welfare system.

AASK, a 501(c) (3) non-profit charity, has helped facilitate thousands of adoptions and guided hundreds of kinship caregivers through the state licensing process.

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