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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.

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.

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 the video. You can also download a chart that gives an overview of the service providers and other players in the foster care system.

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, 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.

Unlicensed kinship families can apply for a Kinship Stipend. Click here to download the Kinship Stipend Form. Click the video to learn how to fill out the form.

Please note: The completed form should be mailed to:

DCS-Kinship Stipend Program
P.O. Box 6030 S/C CH 010-22
Phoenix, AZ 85005

Or emailed to: KinshipStipend@azdcs.gov

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

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. Click the first video to learn how to complete the DCS Child Billing Form.

Once foster families have begun receiving foster care reimbursement checks, they can save time by having them deposited directly to their bank account. Click here to get the form for direct deposits. Click the second video to learn how to sign up for direct deposit.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families will be awarded to any unlicensed foster family in most cases, regardless of the family income. The benefit will be based on the child(ren) being cared for. A family is not eligible for this reimbursement in addition to a licensed reimbursement. Ensure that the application notes that the family is an unlicensed foster parent. The DCS Case Manager can assist the family with the submission of the application. Click here to find out how to apply for TANF through your DCS Case Manager.

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

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

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

Website https://des.az.gov/services/basic-needs/family-assistance

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

Health coverage (for medical, dental, vision and behavioral health services) for children in care is provided through The Comprehensive Medical and Dental Program (CMDP) which is a health plan under AHCCCS. There is no co-pay for these services or for prescriptions. Click here to view a flier with basic information about CMDP.

Click here for an informative booklet about CMDP.

DCS should provide you the Notice to Provider for each child placed in your home at the time of placement. The Notice to Provider includes the DCS case manager's contact information, specifications about contact with the child's family, and the child's health coverage number (CMDP number or ALTCS verification information). This document authorizes foster parents to obtain medical and dental care for the child.

The CMDP insurance card is generally available about a week after the child is placed into foster care and should be provided to you by the DCS case manager. This CMDP insurance card can also be used to obtain medical and dental services for the child. If you do not receive a card or need a replacement card, email CMDPMemberServices@azdcs.gov or call CMDP Member Services at (602) 351-2245 or toll-free 1-800-201-1795 (option 3) for help. The CMDP office generally mails the card within a day or two of the request.

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.

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.

  • general anesthesia
  • any non-routine surgery or medical treatment
  • blood transfusions
  • human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing
  • a clinical trial for HIV/AIDS treatment
  • pregnancy termination or pregnancy termination related treatments

Health coverage (for medical, dental, vision and behavioral health services) for children in care is provided through The Comprehensive Medical and Dental Program (CMDP) which is a health plan under AHCCCS. There is no co-pay for these services or for prescriptions.

Click here for an informative booklet Behavioral Health Resource Guide.

DCS should provide you the Notice to Provider for each child placed in your home at the time of placement. The Notice to Provider includes the DCS case manager's contact information, specifications about contact with the child's family, and the child's health coverage number (CMDP number or ALTCS verification information). This document authorizes foster parents to obtain behavioral health services for the child.

The CMDP insurance card is generally available about a week after the child is placed into foster care and should be provided to you by the DCS case manager. This CMDP insurance card can also be used to obtain behavioral health services for the child. If you do not receive a card or need a replacement card, email CMDPMemberServices@azdcs.gov or call CMDP Member Services at (602) 351-2245 or toll-free 1-800-201-1795 (option 3) for help. The CMDP office generally mails the card within a day or two of the request.

Within the first 72 hours of a child coming into foster care, Rapid Response evaluates the physical and mental health of the child. Rapid response enrolls about 90 percent of these children with a mental health service provider. Click here to review a flier called “What to Expect From a Behavioral Health Rapid Response.”

To learn about the timeline standards established by Jacob's Law related to behavioral health services for children in foster care, including contact numbers for your RBHA, click here (English and Spanish).

Download a guide to understand the needs, support and treatment of children and adolescents in foster and adoptive care here.

Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care (the RBHA for Maricopa County) has an informative flier that provides an overview on accessing mental health and substance abuse services for children in care; click here to view flier.

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

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:

Maricopa County — 1-800-631-1314602-222-9444 Pima County — 1-800-796-6762520-622-6000 Gila River/Ak-Chin Indian Community — 1-800-259-3449 Yuma, LaPaz, Pinal, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, Cochise and Santa Cruz Counties — 1-866-495-6735 Mohave, Coconino, Apache, Navajo and Yavapai Counties — 1-877-756-4090 Hope Line Suicide Hotline • 1-800-784-2433 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline • 1-800-273-8255

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

Child care is available for children in care and DCS may partially or fully cover the daycare fees depending on the facility you choose.

Children in foster care who are between 3 and 5 years old are also eligible for Head Start and are moved to the top of the waiting list. Children in foster care from birth to 3 years of age are eligible for Early Head Start services. Click here for more information. You can also call (866) 763-6481 to locate a Head Start or Early Head Start in your area.

Child Care Resources and Referral can help you find quality child care in your area. You can also contact this resource by calling (800) 308-9000.

Foster family respite is short term care that takes place outside the home and in another licensed foster home. According to DCS policy, respite is meant:

  • to provide relief to the caregiver, or to assist the family in coping with the daily demands of providing care to children with significant needs;
  • to provide care during a family crisis, such as illness or death;
  • to provide care when the caregivers are away from home and the foster child cannot accompany the caregivers due to school, parental visits, case plan requirements; or
  • to enable the caregivers to participate in DCS approved/sponsored training when child care services are unavailable or unworkable.

Each foster family has 144 hours of respite per fiscal year. This respite is accessed through the agencies that license foster parents. If you are licensed, call your licensing worker. If you are unlicensed, the DCS website has a list of licensing agencies that serve each county. To get respite, call the licensing agencies in your county to find one that can provide respite for you.

If your child qualifies for DDD services, ask if your child qualifies for respite, which can be up to 600 hours (25 days) per fiscal year. Talk to your DDD coordinator about using DDD respite.

If your child is struggling with behavioral health and needs respite because of those struggles, talk to your child's behavioral health provider about behavioral health respite, which is sometimes available up to 600 hours (25 days) per fiscal year.