Arizona's Budgetary Cuts

The community where I work knew that our clients would be affected by the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System's (AHCCCS) budget cuts. In July single adults with no dependents were frozen out of the system. I understand budget cuts. I understand the notion of not enough money. On any given day a non-profit such as ourselves operates under that concept as well. My thoughts at the time were mostly regarding our client's healthcare and where they might obtain it.

What I hadn't counted on was how much this would affect how we obtain identification. We have always counted on an AHCCCS card as a secondary form of identification when trying to assist someone in getting an initial ID. Now, many times, this isn't an option anymore.

The past month has exposed a disturbing problem with a small but apparently growing (as evidenced by how many the Chaplaincy has seen this month) population of the homeless. Foster kids who have aged out of the system. Homeless 18 and 19 year olds who are having a very difficult, almost impossible time getting Arizona State Identification.

In the state of Arizona a person needs 3 forms of identifying documentation, including a birth certificate, to get an initial state ID if they have nothing to start with. If they have an ID from another state they need a birth certificate to accompany it.

The kids we've worked with this month have nothing to start with. As difficult as it is sometimes to get a birth certificate (42 states require photo ID to order a birth certificate) we've managed. We are able to get them a printout from social security showing their social security number, which is a secondary document...

Herein lies the snag.... The rest of the secondary documents are nearly impossible for a newly homeless foster kid to come up with. They have usually not worked (No W-2 or employee ID). They don't have a bank account (No debit/credit card). They don't have a 'professional license' (Such as barber license or nursing license). They have not served in the military (No military/veterans ID). They are not married or divorced (No marriage license or divorce decree). Any high school ID they had is long gone.

The one thing we knew we could count on was the AHCCCS card (Medical/Insurance card). Not only would they have medical coverage but they would also have the necessary 3rd identifying document needed to get their Arizona ID. Now that option is no longer viable.

Currently, we are trying to get a young man's transcripts from a juvenile facility he attended in the hopes that it will be acceptable despite not being on the MVD document list.

Please say a prayer this week for these kids, many of whom have had a rough childhood. Pray for them as they enthusiastically try to embark on adulthood only to hit this frustrating obstacle of an ID dilemma. Many of them have hit 18 with high hopes of not feeling like they are in limbo anymore; of feeling like the world just opened up to them. They want to work! They want to go to school! They want to live life!

No ID.... No job... No school.... Just another form of limbo.....

Be blessed and be kind!