Basics

I need information on:

It is a good idea to store the child’s records in a notebook/binder that you can ring to Child and Family Team (CFT) meetings and other appointments. This document need to add link to child records organizer will help you organize and store all of the records, information, and documents for a child in foster care. If the child moves to a new foster home, send this notebook/binder to the new care providers.

Also, remember that the child’s case record is confidential. Be sure to keep the child’s records stored in a secure location in your home that only the foster parents (you) can access.

The foster parent must schedule a dental examination for each child age 1 year or older as soon as possible but no later than within 30 days of placement.

Click here to view a chart about required medical and dental appointments for children in care.

Within 30 days of placement, foster parents should:

  • Obtain a well-child (EPSDT-Early Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment) medical examination
  • Identify who will be the child’s primary care physician, and notify CMDP within 30 days of placement.

Click here to view a chart about required medical and dental appointments for children in care.

Licensed foster parents are to notify DCS and their licensing agency within 24 hours if their child has an illness, injury, change of medication, or medication error that results in seeking medical attention.

Licensed foster parents are to notify DCS and their licensing agency immediately if their child dies, has a serious illness or injury requiring hospitalization, or receives urgent care or emergency room treatment and whenever emergency services (911) is contacted.

Within 24 hours of any of the above noted incidents, licensed foster parents shall complete an Unusual Incident Report form and submit it to their licensing agency.

Unlicensed kinship foster parents are to notify DCS within 2 hours of the following: death of a child or hospitalization (medical or psychiatric.

Unlicensed kinship foster parents are to notify DCS within 48 hours if the child becomes seriously ill.

Health coverage for children in care is provided through The Comprehensive Medical and Dental Program (CMDP) which is a health plan under AHCCCS.

For more information about CMPD click here

Click here for an informative booklet about CMDP.

Formal kinship care refers to when children are placed in the legal custody of the State by a judge, and the Department of Child Safety places the children with kin (relative or an adult who has a significant relationship with the child). Formal Kinship caregivers are expected to follow the guidelines set by DCS in regard to education, medical appointments, discipline, and contact with the bio parents. In these cases children have services provided by DCS including medical insurance, behavioral health services and a reimbursement provided to caregivers at an unlicensed rate. Caregivers can apply for a Kinship Stipend and child only TANF. Formal Kinship caregivers also have the option of becoming licensed for the children in their care.

Informal kinship care refers to arrangements made by parents and other family members without any involvement from either the Department of Child Safety or the juvenile court. In this type of arrangement, the legal custody of the children remains with the parents, and can resume parenting their children at any time. Kinship caregivers in this type of arrangement may qualify for financial assistance through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) however eligibility is based on the kinship caregiver’s income and the amount of cash assistance the biological family has previously received.

More information about different types kinship care click here

Licensed foster care refers to a kinship or non-kinship caregiver who has gone through the licensing process and has been granted a foster care license through the Office of Licensing and Regulation (OLR).  In addition to working with system partners such as DCS and other service providers, a licensed foster home is monitored by a foster care licensing agency that can provide additional supports and advocacy to the family as well help the family maintain their home in compliance with licensing requirements.

Informal kinship refers to arrangements made by parents and other family members without any involvement from either the Department of Child Safety or the juvenile court.

Formal Kinship Care refers to when children are placed in the legal custody of the State by a judge, and the Department of Child Safety places the children with kin (relative or an adult who has a significant relationship with the child).

For more information about kinship care click here here

Foster parents provide temporary homes for children who have been removed from their homes because of abandonment, abuse or neglect. While foster parents are charged with the care of children in foster care, they are not the legal guardian of a child. The Arizona Department of Child Safety depends on foster parents to meet many expectations regarding daily care of a child in foster care. Those expectations can be found here.

Additional information about DCS’s expectations for confidentiality can be found here.

Additional information about DCS’s expectations for discipline can be found here.

When a child is placed in your home, you should receive the following paperwork from DCS:

  • Notice to Providers (Out-of-home, Educational, and Medical) [CSO-1035A] – completed at the time of placement
  • Child’s Health and Medical report – printed by DCS caseworker from DCS information system
  • CMDP insurance number
  • Information that DCS knows about the child’s special needs

It is a good idea to store the child’s records in a notebook/binder that you can ring to Child and Family Team (CFT) meetings and other appointments. This document will help you organize and store all of the records, information, and documents for a child in foster care. If the child moves to a new foster home, send this notebook/binder to the new care providers.

Also, remember that the child’s case record is confidential. Be sure to keep the child’s records stored in a secure location in your home that only the foster parents (you) can access.

Make the child feel welcome in your home. This is a new experience and trying time, so transition is key. Click here to watch a helpful video about bonding with the child in your care. A comprehensive timeline of things that need to be done in the first 48 hours, week, and month can be found here.

Yes, you can attend a “Kinship Information Session for DCS Foster Caregivers” to find more information about financial benefits, DCS policies, resources, and medical/dental/vision care available for the children under your care. Click here to find the next Kinship Information Session near you.

There are a lot of acronyms inside the foster care system, and when dealing with the state in general. Groups may have titles with several words in them, or a child may have a need that is shortened to save time. Click here to access our comprehensive glossary guide.

Information from the U.S. Dept of Labor about the ability to take unpaid family leave to bond with a new foster or adoptive placement is available here.

Talk to your human resources department at work about making arrangements to take family medical leave.

When a child in foster care comes into your home, you can expect visits from several people with agencies involved in the case.

A case manager with the Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) will be the first person you meet. Members of a rapid response behavioral health team will visit within the first 72 hours after the child is placed in your home.

That is only the beginning. The list of professionals you will be dealing with is explained in this video. You can also download a chart that gives an overview of the service providers and other players in the foster care system.

Yes, you can take your child in care on a trip under the following guidelines:

If you are traveling within Arizona or another state for more than 2 days but less than 7 days, you must notify the child’s DCS case manager and your licensing agency of the dates of travel, destination, and your contact telephone number.

DCS must authorize any trips within Arizona or another state that are 7 or more days long.

A court order is required if the trip is out of state and is for 30 or more days.

Traveling outside of the country requires a court order, passport, and any necessary immunizations. Discuss your travel request with the child’s DCS case manager and your licensing agency as early as possible to allow the child’s DCS case manager to request the court’s permission for the trip. You will need to get a passport for the child after obtaining a copy of the child’s birth certificate from the DCS case manager or Vital Records (if the child was born in Arizona; you will need a court order stating the child is in your custody). To apply for a passport for a foster child who is under 16, you will need a notarized document from DCS stating that you (the foster parents) are allowed to apply for a passport for the child and are permitted to take the child out of the county in addition to other required documents and fees (click here for more information).

To see a chart about these guidelines, click here.

If the trip will interfere with parental visitation, the DCS case manager may deny permission for the trip and/or require make-up visits for any missed visits. Also, the child’s parents may refuse to give permission for their child to go on the trip.

When you are traveling with a child in care, be sure to take the following: a copy of the court order placing the child in out of home care; the child’s Notice to Provider; a copy of the child’s birth certificate; the child’s passport (if traveling outside of the country); any available photo ID for the child (for example, school ID); the child’s CMDP card; all medications in their original bottles and placed in a locked container; and contact information for your DCS case manager and licensing agency.

Yes, Reasonable and Prudent Parenting Standards (RPPS) discuss careful and sensible parental decisions that maintain the health, safety, and best interests of a child while at the same time encouraging the emotional and developmental growth of the child. Click here for a RPPS manual. Click here to view a summary table covering different categories of activities.

DCS follows a 6 stage process:
Intake
Screening the Report
Investigation/Assessment
Case Decision and Disposition
Treatment/Case Management
Case Closure

Click here for more information.

Please contact the Child Abuse Hotline at (888) 767-2445 or call your local DCS office; click here for the list of DCS offices and telephone numbers.

When a child is placed in your home, you should receive the following paperwork from DCS:

  • Notice to Providers (Out-of-home, Educational, and Medical) [CSO-1035A] – completed at the time of placement
  • Child’s Health and Medical report – printed by DCS caseworker from DCS information system
  • CMDP insurance number
  • Information that DCS knows about the child’s special needs

Foster parents provide temporary homes for children who have been removed from their homes because of abandonment, abuse or neglect. While foster parents are charged with the care of children in foster care, they are not the legal guardian of a child. The Arizona Department of Child Safety depends on foster parents to meet many expectations regarding daily care of a child in foster care. Those expectations can be found here.

Additional information about DCS’s expectations for confidentiality can be found here.

Additional information about DCS’s expectations for discipline can be found here.

We highly recommend getting the contact information for all three and having it on hand in case of an emergency. The caseworker's contact information is on the Notice to Provider. You can call the assigned DCS office and ask for the supervisor and APM contact information; click here for the list of DCS offices and telephone numbers.

Some DCS contacts can be found here.

Go through the chain of command by contacting your case worker and their supervisor. Click here for the list of DCS offices and telephone numbers. If that does not work please call the DCS Ombudsman at 602-255-2666 or email Ombudsman@azdcs.gov.

Licensed foster parents are to notify DCS and their licensing agency within 24 hours if their child has an illness, injury, change of medication, or medication error that results in seeking medical attention.

Licensed foster parents are to notify DCS and their licensing agency immediately if their child dies, has a serious illness or injury requiring hospitalization, or receives urgent care or emergency room treatment and whenever emergency services (911) is contacted.

Within 24 hours of any of the above noted incidents, licensed foster parents shall complete an Unusual Incident Report form and submit it to their licensing agency.

Unlicensed kinship foster parents are to notify DCS within 2 hours of the following: death of a child or hospitalization (medical or psychiatric.

Unlicensed kinship foster parents are to notify DCS within 48 hours if the child becomes seriously ill.

If you are a licensed foster parent, R21-6-326 requires you to notify DCS and your licensing agency within 24 hours if any of the following incidents occur:

  • Injury, illness, change of medication, or medication error that requires medical attention
  • Theft of money or property belonging to a foster child
  • Significant damage to the property of a foster child
  • Injury to others or significant damage to the property of others caused by a foster child
  • Using physical restraints to control a foster child’s sudden, out-of-control behavior
  • Arrest of a household member or involvement of a household member with law enforcement that does not lead to an arrest
  • Household changes that affect the foster parent’s ability to meet the foster child’s needs
  • Life-threatening illness, injury, or the death of a household member
  • Incidents involving a DCS report or investigation

If you are a licensed foster parent, R21-6-326 requires you to notify DCS and your licensing agency immediately if any of the following incidents occur:

  • Death of a foster child
  • Unexplained absence of a foster child
  • Unauthorized removal or attempted removal of a foster child from the care and supervision of the foster parent
  • A serious illness, injury, or mental health crisis of a foster child that requires hospitalization or emergency room treatment
  • An allegation or the discovery of a sign of abuse or neglect of a foster child
  • Arrest of a foster child or involvement of a foster child with law enforcement that does not lead to an arrest
  • Fire or other situation requiring overnight evacuation of the home
  • Incidents that involve or are likely to involve the media
  • Any other unusual incident that seriously jeopardizes the health, safety, or well-being of a foster child

Within 24 hours of any of the above noted incidents, licensed foster parents shall complete an Unusual Incident Report form and submit it to their licensing agency.

Unlicensed kinship foster parents are to notify DCS within 2 hours of the following: death of a child or hospitalization (medical or psychiatric), alleged abuse, or other emergency threatening the child’s placement.

Unlicensed kinship foster parents are to notify DCS within 48 hours if the child becomes seriously illness, death of a caregiver, change in family composition, or involvement with law enforcement.

Yes, you can take your child in care on a trip under the following guidelines:

If you are traveling within Arizona or another state for more than 2 days but less than 7 days, you must notify the child’s DCS case manager and your licensing agency of the dates of travel, destination, and your contact telephone number.

DCS must authorize any trips within Arizona or another state that are 7 or more days long.

A court order is required if the trip is out of state and is for 30 or more days.

Traveling outside of the country requires a court order, passport, and any necessary immunizations. Discuss your travel request with the child’s DCS case manager and your licensing agency as early as possible to allow the child’s DCS case manager to request the court’s permission for the trip. You will need to get a passport for the child after obtaining a copy of the child’s birth certificate from the DCS case manager or Vital Records (if the child was born in Arizona; you will need a court order stating the child is in your custody). To apply for a passport for a foster child who is under 16, you will need a notarized document from DCS stating that you (the foster parents) are allowed to apply for a passport for the child and are permitted to take the child out of the county in addition to other required documents and fees (click here for more information).

To see a chart about these guidelines, click here.

If the trip will interfere with parental visitation, the DCS case manager may deny permission for the trip and/or require make-up visits for any missed visits. Also, the child’s parents may refuse to give permission for their child to go on the trip.

When you are traveling with a child in care, be sure to take the following: a copy of the court order placing the child in out of home care; the child’s Notice to Provider; a copy of the child’s birth certificate; the child’s passport (if traveling outside of the country); any available photo ID for the child (for example, school ID); the child’s CMDP card; all medications in their original bottles and placed in a locked container; and contact information for your DCS case manager and licensing agency.

Engaging in shared parenting with a child’s primary family can help the child adjust to your foster home and increase the chance of reunification. Click here for some shared parenting ideas, remembering to always abide by any guidelines provided by the child’s DCS case manager. Discuss any questions or concerns about shared parenting with the child’s DCS case manager and/or your licensing worker.

Yes, Reasonable and Prudent Parenting Standards (RPPS) discuss careful and sensible parental decisions that maintain the health, safety, and best interests of a child while at the same time encouraging the emotional and developmental growth of the child. Click here for a RPPS manual. Click here to view a summary table covering different categories of activities.

A visitation and contact plan is part of every foster child’s case plan. As stated in DCS’s Go-To- Guide, this contact “preserves and enhances relationships with and attachments to the family of origin.”

The visitation plan is developed by the child’s DCS caseworker in collaboration with the child’s parent(s) and the child (if age appropriate). Sometimes the specifics of a visitation plan (for example, frequency or length of visits) are changed by the DCS caseworker in response to a court order. Visitation should occur in the most natural environment possible and with the least level of supervision possible while ensuring the child’s safety.

There are 3 different types of visitation – therapeutic, supervised, and unsupervised. Therapeutic visitation is when visitation is supervised by a therapist in the therapist’s office. Supervised visits can occur in a variety of settings and are supervised by a case aide or parent aide or another DCS approved third party. Unsupervised visits are when the parent(s) are permitted to be alone with their child.

DCS may request that you transport the child to visits, but if you are not able to provide this transportation, DCS will make alternate arrangements. Having the foster parent transport a child to visits can make visits easier for the child because you are a person the child already knows.

DCS may request that you supervise visits, especially if you are a kinship foster parent, but it is not required.

Engaging in shared parenting with a child’s primary family can help the child adjust to your foster home and increase the chance of reunification. Click here for some shared parenting ideas, remembering to always abide by any guidelines provided by the child’s DCS case manager. Discuss any questions or concerns about shared parenting with the child’s DCS case manager and/or your licensing worker.

Unlicensed Kinship families can apply for a Kinship Stipend. Click here to download the KSF or HERE to view a video to learn more about DCS application guidelines and how to fill out the form.

DCS-Kinship Stipend Program

PO Box 6030 S/C CH 010-22

Phoenix, AZ 85005


Or by email to KinshipStipend@azdcs.gov

Kinship providers receiving cash assistance for a dependent child, such as through the Temporary Assistance For Needy Families Program (TANF) are eligible to apply as of 8/1/2016. Families receiving Foster Care reimbursement are not eligible.

**The Kinship Stipend is income dependent and eligibility details can be found on the request form.

Yes, foster families are reimbursed a daily rate for clothing and personal allowance for the children in their homes. Click here to see current rates in Arizona for both licensed and unlicensed foster homes. To view an instructional video on how to complete the DCS Child Billing Form, click HERE. -Specified chart shows rates for unlicensed and licensed

Once foster families have begun receiving foster care reimbursement checks, they can save time by having them deposited directly to their bank account. To get the form for direct deposite click here To view a video on how to sign up for direct deposit, click HERE.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Cash Assistance will be awarded to any non-licensed foster family in most cases, regardless of the family’s income. The benefit will be based on the child(ren) being in foster care. A family is not eligible for this reimbursement in addition to the licensed foster care reimbursement. Ensure that the application notes that the family is an unlicensed foster parent. The DCS Case Manager must assist the family with the submission of the application.

Click here to find out how to apply for the TANF Cash Assistance benefit through your DCS Case Manager.

Click here for some additional information about TANF Cash Assistance benefit and application process.

DES Family Assistance Administration Customer Service Support Line: (602) 542-9935

Click here to print out the TANF application (FA-001 – Application for Benefits or FA-001-S – Solicitud de Beneficios).

Click here for the TANF/CA Contact Form (English and Spanish).

For a list of non financial resources including clothing and other essentials click here

You can claim the child If child is placed with you more than 180 days in a calendar year. You will need the social security number, which can be provided by the DCS case manager, to claim the child as a dependent on your taxes. Please consult with your tax advisor for more information.

Please contact the DCS Placement Payment Processing Unit accounting specialists (which are assigned according to foster parent’s last name):

Click here to view a graphic of the timeline for the different hearings during the juvenile dependency process.

You can ask the DCS caseworker and/or the child’s GAL (Guardian Ad Litem) for information for upcoming court dates (including times and locations).

If your child’s case is in Maricopa County, you can also call the DCS Warm Line at 1-877-KIDSNEEDU (1-877- 543-7633) and select option 3. The DCS Warm Line is staffed during business hours, but messages can be left at any time.

While foster parents are not required to attend court hearings, attending hearings provides foster parents with the opportunity to hear directly what is going on with their child’s case and learn about any changes to the case plan. It is important for foster parents to know that it is common for a few hearings to be scheduled at the same time, so you cannot be certain exactly what time your case will be called into the courtroom nor can you be certain the exact length of time of your hearing. Some hearings last 5 minutes, and others can take more than an hour. Attending court hearings also provides foster parents with the opportunity to talk with the DCS caseworker and the child’s GAL (Guardian Ad Litem) outside of home visits.

Children in care have the right to attend court hearings. Many factors should be considered when deciding whether or not a child in care should attend a hearing, including the child’s age and maturity level, the impact on the child’s education (if the hearing is during school hours), the existence of a no contact order, and the information expected to be discussed at the hearing.

It is a good idea to store the child’s records in a notebook/binder that you can bring to Child and Family Team (CFT) meetings and other appointments. This document will help you organize and store all of the records, information, and documents for a child in foster care. If the child moves to a new foster home, send this notebook/binder to the new care providers.

Also, remember that the child’s case record is confidential. Be sure to keep the child’s records stored in a secure location in your home that only the foster parents (you) can access.

Enroll the child into the appropriate school or early intervention services within 5 days of receiving the Notice to Provider.

See the Education section on this website for more information. Link

Enroll the child into the appropriate school or early intervention services within 5 days of receiving the Notice to Provider.

Talk to the child’s teacher and education services providers on a regular basis to monitor progress, and work as a team with the child’s caseworkers and educators.

Advocate for the child’s rights and needs regarding special education, evaluations, and early intervention.

Represent the child in a positive manner in all dealings with the school.

Make reasonable efforts to not remove the child from school during regular school hours for appointments, visits, etc.

Click here for an informative Educational Resource Guide.

The Department of Child Safety (DCS) should make a referral within 72 hours (2 hours for an urgent need) of a child coming into care, this is called a Rapid Response referral. This is an initial in-home assessment during which clinicians will assess immediate needs and triage any crisis or trauma-related issues. Includes behavioral health assessment, screening for developmental delays, support to child/family placement and connection to ongoing services.

If the child in your care is new to the system and has NOT been assessed within 72 hours, please call Member Services or call the dedicated Rapid Response hotline, 602-633-0763. You can also call this 24/7 hotline to schedule an in-home DCS Stabilization Team visit.

For more information on times lines for services and what to expect click here

For all medical emergencies, dial 911 immediately. For a behavioral health crisis involving the child in your home, contact the Regional Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA) crisis line for your county:

Click here for information about accessing crisis services for your child.

Click here for an informative booklet Behavioral Health Resource Guide.

Click here to view a table explaining behavioral health services, including responsible parties, required timelines, and RHBA contact information.

Click here for an AHCCCS FAQ sheet for foster and kinship providers.

Yes, you can attend a “Kinship Information Session for DCS Foster Caregivers” to find more information about financial benefits, DCS policies, resources, and medical/dental/vision care available for the children under your care. Click here to find the next Kinship Information Session near you.

Licensing may make sense for your family if….

  • Your family could benefit from the extra support*
  • It appears that the DCS case will continue to be open for the next several months
  • You are willing to work collaboratively with system partners to comply with licensing regulations
  • You’re planning on adopting the child in your home – especially if you are a non-relative caregiver
  • You need extra help and support parenting the children in your home

*Extra support includes the following:

  • Required training that will increase your parenting skills, increase your understanding about the effects of abuse and neglect on children, and increase your understanding of the children’s unique needs
  • Gain additional supports and advocacy from licensing agency
  • Get monthly non-taxable foster care reimbursement of approximately $600 per child (click here for specifics)
  • Greater opportunity for networking with other kinship families
  • Demonstrates your commitment to the child in the eyes of the court
  • Simplified steps to complete an adoption
  • 30 hours of PS-MAPP classes – 6, 7, or 10 weeks
  • 3 hour Reasonable and Prudent Parenting Standards training
  • Fingerprinting for all adult household members
    • Click here to learn how you can get fingerprinted
  • Physical exams for all adult household members
  • Home Inspection
  • CPR and First Aid certification
  • Home study interviews with all household members
  • Copies of documents (driver license, marriage certificate, identify verification, paystubs, etc.)
  • Reference checks (5)

You will need to get your fingerprints done through Fieldprint. Click here to learn how to get this done.

In the denial letter that you received from the Arizona Department of Public Safety it will state whether or not you are eligible to request a “good cause exception” from the Arizona Board of Fingerprinting. If you are eligible, you will need to complete and submit a good cause exception packet; click here to view this packet. Click here for a flow chart describing the good cause exception process.

It generally takes 4 to 6 months to get licensed as the applicants need to complete the 30 hour training course in addition to having a home study written and submitted to OLR. The home study process requires multiple home visits with your licensing worker to conduct interviews and collect the required supporting documentation. Applicants must also become First Aid and CPR certified and attend a 3 hour Reasonable and Prudent Parenting Standards training.

Yes, there are some things that make a family ineligible for licensure, including the following:

  • Someone in the home has a medical marijuana card and possesses or uses any marijuana products.
  • You have an unfenced pool, Jacuzzi, or other body of water that is more than 18 inches deep and you are caring for or want to care for a foster child who is 6 years of age or younger or a child of any age who has a developmental disability.
  • There are minors in the home who are not immunized and you are caring for or want to care for a foster child who is an infant, young, and/or medically complex.
  • Someone in the home cannot provide proof of US citizenship and/or permanent legal residency.
  • An adult in the home is unable to obtain a Level One Fingerprint Clearance Card due to specific convictions in their past.
  • The biological parent(s) of the placed child(ren) lives in the home.

A list of the licensing agencies in the State of Arizona can be found on the DCS website here.

Licensing agencies work with families to help them become foster care licensed. Once a family is licensed, the licensing agency monitors the license to ensure the family is meeting the rules and regulations required of licensed foster parents. The licensing agency also provides support to the family by offering resources, helping the family work with various system partners (DCS, the court, behavioral health, schools, etc.), and helping the family locate ongoing trainings opportunities.

The Office of Licensing and Regulation (OLR) has created comprehensive materials to prepare foster families for a home inspection. Your licensing agency will also assist throughout the home inspection process and will schedule an inspection with OLR once your home is prepared.

Home inspection forms for foster homes can be found by clicking on the following links:

Home inspection forms for DDD foster homes can be found by clicking on the following links:

  • A minimum of quarterly home visits from your licensing worker to support you and offer resources and to monitor that you are following licensing regulations
  • Monthly foster care reimbursement (click here for specifics)
  • Occasional unannounced visits
  • Required to keep foster child records
  • 12 hours of advanced training every 2 years
  • License renewal process every 2 years

Q: Does it cost anything to get licensed?
A: While there are no fees to get licensed, you will incur some costs (for example, to see a doctor to get a Physician’s Statement completed; to become CPR and First Aid certified; etc.).

Q: I have criminal charges in my background; can I still be licensed?
A: It depends upon the criminal charges. All foster parents must obtain a Level One Fingerprint Clearance Card and there are some convictions that prevent this. Please click here to review the required Criminal History Self Disclosure Affidavit that provides additional information about disqualifying convictions.

Q: I have health problems; can I still be licensed?
A: It depends upon your health problems. All foster parents have to get a Physician’s Statement completed and the state licensing agency (OLR) makes a licensing decision based on the information your doctor provides on this form.

Q: Do I have to own a car to be licensed?
A: No, but foster parents are responsible for providing routine transportation for foster children to attend school, go to medical/dental/counseling appointments, etc. When a foster parent does not have a car, their plan for meeting foster children’s transportation needs must be explained in their home study.

Q: I am kinship provider through DCS; do I have to get licensed?
A: No, you do not have to get licensed to continue caring for the placed children.

Q: I am a kinship provider through DCS; does getting licensed guarantee the children will stay with me?
A: No, getting licensed does not guarantee the children will stay with you. All placement decisions are made by the DCS case manager and the courts.

Q: I am a kinship provider through DCS; can I take in other foster children once I am licensed?
A: It depends upon the parameters that your licensing agency requests for your license. For example, if your license is “kinship restricted,” then you cannot take in other foster children.

Q: I am married; does my spouse have to go through the licensing process with me?
A: Yes, according to Title 21 (State of Arizona’s licensing rules and regulations), married applicants must both be licensed. There are a few exceptions (for example, a spouse is in the military and will be out of home for 9 or more of the next 12 months). However, if you have been separated from your spouse for more than 1 year, you may be able to become licensed individually. Please contact your licensing agency for more information, or contact this website’s live chat option to discuss your specific situation.

Q: What can I do if my application for a Level One Fingerprint Clearance Card was denied?
A: In the denial letter that you received from the Arizona Department of Public Safety it will state whether or not you are eligible to request a “good cause exception” from the Arizona Board of Fingerprinting. If you are eligible, you will need to complete and submit a good cause exception packet; click here to view this packet. Click here for a flow chart describing the good cause exception process.

A foster home investigation occurs when an allegation of abuse or neglect is received by the Arizona Child Abuse (DCS) Hotline or when the police are called to the foster home due to incident that could be considered abuse or neglect of a child. When an allegation is made regarding a foster child, the details and context of the situation are assessed just as in any other Hotline call. DCS and/or the Police are responsible for determining whether or not an investigation is warranted. As you can imagine, this is not an easy task. In every situation, the goal is to make sure that every child in care is safe and receiving the quality of care that he or she deserves.

Foster home investigations may involve several agencies such as the Police Department, DCS, the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) and the Office of Licensing, Certification and Regulation (OLCR)/Office of Licensing and Regulation (OLR). Each agency has a specific role. The police department conducts criminal investigations. DCS investigates allegations of abuse and/or neglect of children. DDD investigates client and human rights violations. OLCR/OLR is concerned with licensing violations and determines the impact of the investigation on the family’s license; OLCR/OLR is only involved if the foster family is licensed or has started the licensing process.

When a foster home investigation is initiated, the licensing agency and OLCR/OLR are notified immediately (if the foster family is licensed or has started the licensing process) along with the Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) and the child’s DCS worker. A DCS investigator and/or a police investigator will typically show up at the foster home unannounced. This is standard procedure for investigations. If the police are involved, the intent is to determine whether or not any criminal charges should be filed. DCS will typically not continue its investigation until the police investigator determines that there are no criminal charges to be filed. Regardless of which agency is conducting the investigation, it is the foster parent’s responsibility to cooperate with the investigator. The investigator may interview the children involved (this can include biological and foster children), depending on their ages. The investigator may have already interviewed the children at school. The investigator will want to spend some time with the foster family to discuss any information relevant to the allegations. After the information is gathered, DCS will propose finding the allegation Substantiated or Unsubstantiated. Statistically, most investigations are found to be Unsubstantiated. All investigative reports are forwarded to OLCR/OLR (if involved) and OLCR/OLR then determines the impact of the investigation on the foster home license.

If the allegations are found to be unsubstantiated, the investigation may be closed with no further action needed. However, an open investigation can have a significant impact on the foster home license. If a family is near renewal, the renewal will be delayed until the investigation is completed. If a family is close to finalizing an adoption, the adoption will be delayed. Other outcomes will depend on the findings of the investigation. OLCR/OLR (if involved) may request additional information from the licensing agency in the form of a licensing inquiry. Click here for more information about licensing inquiries.In the case of substantiated abuse, OLCR/OLR may elect to revoke or suspend the foster license. Whenever OLCR/OLR takes an action regarding the foster home license, OLCR/OLR will notify you in writing and inform you of any appeal rights. If a family chooses to close their license with an open investigation or prior to completing a Corrective Action Plan (CAP), OLCR/OLR will deny any re-applications and the family will not be eligible for licensure in the future (R21-6-414.I.2). If the police were involved and criminal evidence is found, the family could face criminal charges.

Families do have some appeal rights. DCS will provide the results of the investigation in writing to the family. Likewise, OLCR/OLR (if involved) will notify families in writing regarding any licensing actions. In both cases, families will be advised of any appeal rights. If the family is facing criminal charges, it will be up to them to procure their own legal counsel.

Unfortunately, there is no way to predict how long an investigation will take. Some investigations are wrapped up in a few weeks, but others, especially those that involve the police department, can take several months.

A licensing inquiry occurs when OLCR/OLR formally requests the licensing agency to investigate possible licensing violations within the foster home. A licensing inquiry is not an allegation of neglect or abuse; rather, it is an investigation to determine if licensing regulations, especially those contained in Title 21, Article 10, and Article 11, have been violated. Common licensing concerns include discipline violations, life-safety concerns and supervision issues. Licensing inquiries can also occur when families fail to disclose information to the licensing agency such as changes in household composition or significant changes in household finances.

A licensing inquiry is conducted by the licensing worker.

When OLCR/OLR makes the decision to request a licensing inquiry, the licensing agency is notified along with the GAL, DCS worker and supervisors within the agencies. This notification comes through an e-mail from OLCR/OLR. Depending on the nature of the concerns, an unannounced visit may occur. If an unannounced visit is not needed, the licensing worker simply contacts the family to arrange a visit. For the agency, the licensing inquiry process is outlined in detail by OLCR/OLR. The licensing worker will discuss the specific concerns with the family. The licensing worker may also need to interview other household members. Usually, the licensing worker will need to interview the children in the home. After all of the information is gathered, the licensing worker generates a report. The report will indicate whether or not any licensing violations were found.

If the licensing agency determines that there were no rule violations, it will suggest no further action. However, if it is determined that licensing rules were violated, the licensing agency will recommend a Corrective Action Plan (CAP). A CAP usually requires additional training and/or monitoring of the home to ensure any licensing violations are corrected. Regardless of what the licensing agency determines, OLCR/OLR will make an independent assessment of the findings. OLCR/OLR will either accept the report and recommendations as they are written or add additional requirements at their discretion. An open licensing inquiry may delay renewal. The licensing agency will also place the family on hold for additional placements until OLCR/OLR sends a closing letter with their recommendations. If a family chooses to close their license with an open inquiry or prior to completing a CAP, OLCR/OLR will deny any re-applications and the family will not be eligible for licensure in the future (R21-6-414.I.2).

The inquiry report is generated by the licensing agency in partnership with the family. The family is expected to cooperate with the agency by fully disclosing any requested information. Families will be provided a redacted copy of the licensing report after it is submitted to OLCR/OLR. If a family feels that they have been treated unfairly or inaccurately represented, they may contact the persons listed on the Supplemental Notice of Inspection form that would have been provided by the worker at the time of the visit. The licensing agency has the final authority regarding what is contained in the licensing inquiry report.

From the time the request is received, the licensing agency has 45 days to investigate the concerns and submit a report. After the report is submitted to OLCR/OLR, OLCR/OLR will send a written response. OLCR’s/OLR’s goal is to close licensing inquiries within 21 days of receiving the licensing agency’s report.

While some forms of abuse or neglect are more difficult to identify than others, there are usually some physical or behavioral indicators present when a child is being abused or neglected.

Click here for more information about signs and indicators of child abuse and neglect.

Click here for more information about locations of typical abuse-related injuries and marks versus typical accidental injuries.