Arizona is experiencing a record number of children in foster care. These children enter the system by no fault of their own and often come from backgrounds filled with abuse, neglect and pain. Sadly, the typical family and community relationships that most children experience growing up are nonexistent for foster children. All of them have experienced trauma and have lost connections to all that was familiar to them. They most likely will move from home to home and live life with only their dignity and self respect to truly call their own.
AASK (Aid to Adoption of Special Kids) is a private non-profit charity that was founded in 1988 with the mission of serving children in Arizona’s foster care system. Local philanthropist and child advocate, Katherine “Kax” Herberger, founded AASK with the strong belief that all children need homes and families, regardless of their backgrounds and unique challenges. Since its inception, AASK has been dedicated to Katherine’s vision of ensuring every foster child has someone who cares.
Licensed by the Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS), AASK leads the effort in finding family relationships for children through on-going community outreach, including 12News Wednesday’s Child. Strong advocacy and lifelong family support by knowledgeable specialists has helped AASK facilitate over 4,000 adoptions, with 95% remaining in place to this day.
Through our adoption, fostering and mentoring programs, AASK works to match quality families and individuals with children in need of love. Our focus is maximizing the experience of each child through building strong relationships that will last a lifetime. AASK’s adoption program helps children find a permanent home with a family that can best meet their needs; the fostering program serves as a way for children to seek stability with a family while away from their biological parents, with the end goal of reunification; and AASK’s mentoring program pairs committed adults with foster children from nine to 22 years old.
AASK’s vision is simple: ensuring that every foster child has someone who cares. We believe every child deserves the opportunity to build trusting relationships that will nurture them into becoming responsible, productive citizens. All of our programs are designed to allow qualified families and individuals of diverse backgrounds to have this important relationship with a foster child. No child should age out of the foster care system without someone who cares and AASK is committed to ensuring every child has a better future.
There is an unprecedented number of children in the Arizona foster care system today, and a vital need for more loving foster families to care for them. AASK’s foster care program gives families the opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of children who have come into the state’s care. Our foster care services include:
Some children in Arizona’s foster care system are available for adoption. AASK's full-service adoption program helps families bring foster children into their homes and hearts for a lifetime. Our knowledgeable staff provides families with on-going support from the adoption certification process to post-placement advocacy. Our adoption services include:
Mentoring a child or teen in foster care helps guarantee them that there is someone who cares. A mentor gives the child assurance that they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day stresses and worries. Through the AASK Mentoring program, volunteers can choose from two different age groups based on their personal interests and mentoring skills. For the younger foster youth, ages 9 to 15, a mentor can become "family" to a child by simply sharing in activities they enjoy. For the older youth, ages 16 to 21, a mentor is a vital part of their transition into adulthood.
AASK’s partnerships with Channel 12 (KPNX) and The Arizona Republic allow us to profile children available for adoption as part of the weekly Wednesday’s Child segment. AASK’s goal is to raise awareness to the need for adoptive and foster parents as well as showcase the wonderful children who are looking for their forever family.