When Kaye McCarthy retired from practicing law she decided to fill her free time volunteering. Not knowing she was making a decision that would change her life she chose the Court Appointed Special Advocate program for children in foster care.
While volunteering, she saw gaps in the system and decided to take action by establishing Arizonans For Children (AFC) to shore up areas in the foster care system that needed attention. McCarthy saw early on that most of the foster children wanted to return to their birth parents.
Facilitating these family reunifications required family meetings with the foster child, supervised by Child Protective Services (CPS). The meetings were taking place in grim locations – often in offices with as many as four observers. Under those conditions, it was difficult for families to reunite and bond. Through AFC, McCarthy established the first family friendly children’s visitation center in Phoenix and later a second center in Peoria and a third in Mesa. These centers provide a safe homelike environment where supervised family visitations can include games and playgrounds.
Volunteers also mentor and tutor and provide other experiences for foster children. In McCarthy’s own words, “These are the invisible children who are often living in an emotional desert. We do anything we can to make their lives better.”
To volunteer with Arizonans for Children contact: www.Arizonansforchildren.org