- Associated Press - Monday, June 1, 2015

PHOENIX (AP) - A new, 30-bed facility in Phoenix is expected to help with Arizona’s overwhelmed foster care system, but officials say it won’t be enough.

The temporary shelter will provide a place for children from newborn to age 10 to stay for no more than 24 hours, reports KPHO-TV (http://bit.ly/1M4HJYZ ).

It follows reports from October that kids were sometimes forced to sleep in a Department of Child Services office building because no beds were available in group or foster care homes.

“We’ve had high numbers there,” said DCS Director Greg McKay. “Over the Easter weekend there were 20 children sleeping in the AHIT field office.”

There are more than 17,000 children in Arizona’s foster care system and many more are entering it. McKay was instrumental in getting the new facility up and running, but says it’s only a temporary fix and expects another shelter to be necessary in six months.

“They’ve been staying in a cold office. They have been alone and unsupervised,” said Michael Medoro of the Phoenix chapter of ChildHelp.

He said the state still has a strong need for foster care parents.

ChildHelp co-founder Sara O’Meara called the new facility a miracle. She and another co-founder, Yvonne Fedderson, said ChildHelp was able to transform the facility in just 12 days with the help of donations, a lot of shopping and hard work.

“Because of the need we knew how desperate the situation was and we wanted to help solve the problem,” said O’Meara.

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Information from: KPHO-TV, http://www.kpho.com/

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