The Yuma offices of Arizona’s Children Association have nearly completed their consolidation into a single location, which is expected to improve care for the young clients in its child welfare and behavioral health programs.
The organization has had a presence in Yuma since 1995, and “we have always wanted to be under one roof,” said Amy Penny, western region development director for the AzCA. “That was a little difficult being a nonprofit, and also finding the available space.
“Once we were able to find that, and have a safe, inviting environment that would fit both sides, we were able to then find a price that was acceptable” for a nonprofit, she said.”
AzCA was able to get all of that at 275 W. 17th Place, just southeast of the 4th Avenue/16th Street intersection. The child welfare program, which currently has 252 clients, is fully moved in and the behavioral health side, which has 385, will complete its transition later this month.
The Yuma office has 41 staff members, including interns, and is looking to hire a clinician and an independently-contracted child care worker.
“We’ve continued serving them throughout the move, we’ll just be able to under one roof,” Penny said. “A lot of trauma and events that happen for our children in child welfare, we want them to quickly bounce back with the help of our behavioral health services. So being under one roof and having that coordination of care will help the whole community, especially the families in such hard situations.”
The Yuma office currently oversees care for 75 children placed in foster care by the state juvenile court system, and its child welfare programs also include family preservation and reunification, young adult and adoption services.
The behavioral health program provides outpatient treatment for children as well as response for trauma/crisis situations.
“The move will allow the association to fully realize these two crucial programs,” said Jacob Schmitt, AzCA president and CEO. “The new site will help our clients receive multiple services and expand their access and usage of the many resources available in this community.”
Penny said, “Instead of referring out to another agency, we can quickly have everybody on board, therapist, case manager, social worker, in-home support. Everyone’s under one roof to really wrap around that child or that family in need to make sure that no matter what, there’s a positive outcome, a stable environment, healthy physically and emotionally.”
AzCA is descended from Arizona Children’s Home, the orphanage established in Tucson beginning in 1912, the same year as statehood, because any homeless or neglected children were being sent to California for care.
Over more than a century the association has evolved as in-home placements became the favored outcome, either with their original families, relatives or adoptions, of which there were 40 from the Yuma office last year.
“Overall it’s come a long way in our nation and our state, going from orphanages to learning what we know now,” Penny said. “And that’s children do better if they’re in a family setting, whether it’s with a foster family, grandparent, uncle, aunt, or reunifying with their own families, that’s the least traumatic route. We’ve come a long way since 1912.”