Arizona Grandparent Ambassadors and Kinship Families

We Celebrate!

We accomplished our goal in 2022 after 12 years of hard work!   Raising the stipend from the Kinship Family Fund to $300 per month per child, when added to other benefits, moves kinship foster families close to parity with the financial support received by standard foster families. We were so persistent in telling our stories, testifying, and sending messages about our bills and those of related advocacy groups that we received a nickname:  The BAGS—“Bad-Ass Grandmas”

As we change our status to inactive as an organization, our members will continue to advocate for the needs of kinship families and all children in need with the Arizona State Legislature.  We celebrate other AZGA accomplishments along the way, such as:

  • The establishment and expansion of the Kinship Family Fund

  • Automatic eligibility and enrollment in the child-only TANF benefit

  • Declaration of September as Kinship Family Month in Arizona

  • Ongoing discussion of barriers to licensure for kinship families and possible modifications

  • Expedited processes related to fingerprint clearance for those seeking licensure

  • Request for specialized training for foster care workers in the unique needs and circumstances faced by kinship families

As we close out this phase of our work, we want to acknowledge some of the many people who have advocated with us for kinship families, provided technical, financial, and organizational help, sponsored bills, helped plan and participated in our Annual Summit or our Day at the Capitol, and were instrumental in other ways for our success.  If you worked on these issues with us and your name does not appear, please pat yourself on the back and know that what you did made and makes a difference in the lives of children in kinship families and those who love and care for them.

AZGA Founding Mothers - Tucson

  • Laura Jasso

  • Delores Wright

  • Jessie Hetherington

  • Doris Gilder

  • Rosa Borbon

Phoenix chapter founders/leaders

  • Victoria Gray

  • Sherry Griffin

  • Carolyn Lacey

  • Lauri Devine

  • Barbara Covey

  • Maricopa County Kinship Coalition

Legislative / Policy Staff /  Elected Officials

  • Governor Doug Ducey

  • Christina Corieri (policy advisor)

  • Mike Faust (DCS Director)

Representatives and Senators

  • Lela Alston

  • David Bradley

  • Kate Brophy-Magee

  • Leah Landrum Taylor

  • Debbie Lesko

  • Joanne Osborne

  • Jeff Weninger

Supporters (financial / staff / media)

  • Laurie Melrood (KARE Center)

  • Julie Treinen (KARE Center)

  • Penelope Jacks (CAA)

  • Stephanie Miller (ASU Intern)

  • David Higuera (CAA)

  • Michelle Crow (CAA)

  • Kelly Griffith (CEI)

  • Rob Stansfield (CEI)

  • Stephanie Miller (ASU Intern)

  • Tory Roberg

  • Daniella Smith

  • Dana Naimark (CAA)

  • Molly Dunn (CAA)

  • Alonzo Morado (Primavera Foundation)

  • Mary Jo Pitzl (Media)

Additional early active members/leaders - Tucson

  • Margaret Buzzard

  • Sharon Cottrell

  • Becky Duncan

  • Agnes Flores

  • Jessie Jackson

  • Ann Nichols

  • Andrea Zukowsky

Summit Sponsors

  • Dana Kennedy (AARP)

  • Area Agency on Aging

  • Arizona Department of Health

  • Arizona Children’s Association

  • Association for Supportive Child Care

  • Benevilla

  • First Things First

  • Friends and family of AZGA members

  • Pima Council on Aging

  • Primavera Foundation

Supporters employed by agencies serving kinship families

  • Lillian Armstrong (Family Involvement Center)

  • Linda Arroyo (Tanner Community Development)

  • LaVerne Calvin-Stevenson (Tanner Community Development)

  • Veronica Castillo DDD, Support Coordinator)

  • Chindra Chan (KARE Center)

  • Amy Corriveau (City of Phoenix Headstart)

  • Patricia Dominguez (Duet)

  • Fadwa Elnabulsi (KARE Center)

  • Rebecca Fealk (AFSC)

  • Ursula Garza (DCS State Kinship Policy Expert)

  • Kari Joyce (Joyce & Dubin, attorney)

  • Anna Loebe KARE Center)

  • Zoe Lopez (KARE Center)

  • Joanna Marroquin (Youth Services, Phoenix Public Library)

  • Alonzo Morado (Primavera Foundation)

  • Ana Morales (KARE Center)

  • Blanca Santa Maria (KARE Center)

  • Edilia Silva (KARE Center)