by Katryna Eastwood, Catholic Charities Community Services
“We’re the only family they know,” Alice Kurtz says about all the children she and her husband are have welcomed into their home.
Alice and Dave Kurtz have been foster parents for the past 11 years, with 10 years as therapeutic foster parents with Catholic Charities Community Services. Therapeutic foster care is specialized foster care for children who have experienced trauma. The children who are admitted into a therapeutic foster care home have behavioral health needs directly related to the trauma they have endured.
After the child and/or the child’s parents have worked with the therapeutic foster family and the local behavioral health team, they return home to their families or step down to a regular foster home. Therapeutic foster care is a reimbursable service paid for by AHCCCS. This level of care keeps children in a family setting while getting the therapies they need.
The Kurtz family started their foster care journey by doing informal foster care for family friends who were going through difficult situations. Their friends at church recommended they look into becoming official foster parents through Catholic Charities Community Services.
Since they began, the couple has welcomed more than 23 children into their homes, all of them with extremely different backgrounds and needs. Some children have been in more than 40 foster family homes before coming to Alice and Dave.
The positive, lasting difference the Kurtz family has made in these children’s lives is immeasurable. They have helped them soar academically as well as turn their lives around with productive habits and hobbies. Dave Kurtz recalls one foster child who found her focus and determination in athletics.
“There was a 180-degree turn for this girl,” Dave says about how a sexually abused 9-year old girl found a way to refocus her life through gymnastics. The couple took her to the YMCA twice a week while she was in their care and it made all the difference. They recently learned she’d won a gymnastics tournament after going to live with her grandparents.
“We wouldn’t have been able to do it without our training,” Dave explains while remembering his first experience as a foster parent. “I would’ve quit early on if it wasn’t for the training provided by Catholic Charities.”
“And they still care,” Alice says as tears roll down her face. “Even after they’re gone, they still call me and send me cards on Mother’s Day. They still care.”
How You Can Help
Foster homes are desperately needed. Did you know that there are nearly 14,000 children in need of foster care in a home setting? The Department of Child Safety estimates that to meet the need, more than 1,000 additional foster homes are needed in Arizona.
Catholic Charities can help inform, train and prepare you to make a positive, lasting difference in a child’s life. For more information, contact our foster care team at (928) 708-7227 or FosterCarenaz@cc-az.org.
You can also take advantage of the Foster Care Tax Credit by donating to Catholic Charities at CatholicCharitiesAZ.org/Donate-Now through April 15.