PHOENIX -- There is new hope for thousands of foster children and potential adoptive parents in Maricopa County.
"There are an unprecedented number of children in foster care right now," Presiding Juvenile Court Judge Colleen McNally said. "In Maricopa County, it's over 10,000 children."
Currently the adoption process can take up to several years to complete. McNally said that is why the Superior Court has created the Maricopa County Juvenile Court Adoption Unit.
"They are going to be highly trained and focused on making sure that we do everything we need to do under the adoption law but that we do it quickly and efficiently," she explained.
In order to assist couples who want to adopt, the adoption unit plans to streamline the background check process, improve the document management system and provide specialized training for staff to answer adoption-related questions.
"Putting everything in one place and devoting special resources is really just the first step," McNally said. "Now that we have those people in place, they're going to be continuing to improve the operational process."
McNally said now it is time for potential adoptive parents to come forward.
"There are not enough adoptive families to take these children, so there's always a need for parents who are willing to step up," she said.