As the weather warms up, swimming is top of mind for children and families looking for a fun way to escape the heat. Drowning is the leading cause of death in children under the age of 4 in Arizona. Child Crisis Arizona, Salt River Project (SRP), and the United Phoenix Firefighter Charities (UPFC) are working together to prevent childhood drownings through the 2023 Pool Fence Safety Program.

“The Pool Fence Safety Program is a wonderful opportunity to create awareness and keep children safe around water,” says Caitlin Sageng, director of Special Projects & Family Resources at Child Crisis Arizona. “The program provides funding for families that are financially unable to afford pool barriers and have young children.”

Families living in Maricopa County can apply to be awarded a new pool fence at no cost if they meet certain eligibility criteria. The application process officially opened last month and closes on May 26.

“As the largest provider of water in the Valley for the past century, water safety is paramount at SRP. Research shows that secure pool fencing can prevent about 75% of water-related drownings of unsupervised children,” says SRP Community Engagement Strategist Rori Minor. “SRP is committed to improving the quality of life for the people we serve. Through our various drowning-prevention outreach programs and contributions, we hope to help provide parents with the education and resources they need to keep their children safe around water.”

The total sponsorship is $35,000. Twenty-five thousand is funded by SRP and the UPFC pledges to raise $10,000 to support the program.

“The installation of pool barriers continues to be a key factor in the prevention of child drownings,” says David Ramirez with United Phoenix Firefighters Charities. “There is nothing more aggressive in preventing tragedies than putting in a pool fence. Child drownings are truly a community problem. We are encouraged to have organizations like SRP and Child Crisis Arizona step up and lead this effort.”
Applications are available in both English and Spanish. Families may apply on the Child Crisis Arizona website,

• Must have a child 6 years old or younger living in the home
• Home must be owner-occupied, no renters
• Family must reside within Maricopa County
• Family must be income qualified. Participation in one of the following assistance programs will be used to verify income eligibility: food stamps, Medicaid, WIC, energy assistance, or unemployment.
• If the family is not enrolled in one of the assistance programs, household income will be considered, and your 2022 tax return will be used to verify income eligibility.