Resources

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The Caregiver Resource Line, sponsored by the Arizona Caregiver Coalition offers a free support line for kinship caregivers and Grandparents Raising Grandchildren.

The caregiver line has information on resources, access to referrals, respite vouchers, and other support services for caregivers. Read more about their services on the Arizona Caregiver Coalition Brochure.

Statewide Caregiver Resource Line: 1-888-737-7494
Email: CRL@AZCaregiver.net
Website: http://www.AZCaregiver.org

Raising Special Kids’ Parent-to-Parent support program matches families who have a child with a disability or special health care need with volunteers (“mentors”) who have a child with a similar diagnosis who can provide information and support. They can match families in a variety of categories, including autism, ADHD, developmental disabilities, medical conditions, and foster care/adoption. Click here for more information and/or to complete an online request form.

Family Involvement Center’s Parent-to-Parent Support Services Program can provide short-term, one-on-one support for families with children receiving behavioral health services. Services are offered in Maricopa County and Yavapai County.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has educational materials that help caregivers learn about symptoms of various mental disorders, treatment options, and support services. The educational materials provide the latest scientific information about symptoms and a range of treatment options, as well as peer support groups and services. SAMHSA developed these educational materials in collaboration with the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Psychological Association, and the American Psychiatric Association. Youth and family leaders from around the country provided crucial input and feedback in the development process.

KARE Family Center (Tucson) provides specialized case management and other services to relatives and non-relatives caring for youth. These services include support groups for grandparents and other relatives, including groups for monolingual Spanish-speaking caregivers, educational forums on court processes such as guardianship and adoption, and referrals to community resources. Click here for more information. KARE also provides support to kin raising children of incarcerated parents, information about that program can be found here (CIP Flyer-Viv’s desktop).

Duet (Phoenix) offers support to Grandparents who have the primary responsibility for raising their grandchildren. Their support groups give you a place to share experiences, network with others, and find workable solutions to the challenges ahead. Click here to learn more about Duet support groups and services.

Benevilla (Surprise/Sun City) offers supports to grandparents raising grandchildren. Their program includes resource referrals and support groups that meet regularly.

Family Involvement Center (Phoenix) offers a variety of resources including support groups and parenting classes, click here for more information.

**Please refer to our events calendar for additional dates for support groups throughout the valley.

Becoming and being a foster parent is stressful and it is important for you to manage this stress in a healthy way.

Click here for information about issues in fostering that increase stress.

Click here for information for ideas about developing and maintaining a support system throughout the fostering experience.

Click here for some ideas on managing stress.

youth.gov includes are youth facts, funding information, and tools to help to resources and information regarding youth.

Click here for information on how to support a child of an incarcerated parent.

You can discover practical ways to help a child deal with grief by visiting GriefShare.

The Foster Children's Rights Coalition has an LGBTQ Committee that provides resources, services and support for LGBTQ foster youth and parents.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has educational materials that help caregivers learn about symptoms of various mental disorders, treatment options, and support services. The educational materials provide the latest scientific information about symptoms and a range of treatment options, as well as peer support groups and services. SAMHSA developed these educational materials in collaboration with the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Psychological Association, and the American Psychiatric Association. Youth and family leaders from around the country provided crucial input and feedback in the development process.

Click here to learn about cultural differences foster parents should expect when a child is newly placed in their care and how to embrace these cultural differences.

Click here to learn about attachment and how attachment is important for foster children.

Click here for information about ambiguous loss – what it is, what are the signs of ambiguous loss, and how to help a child with it.

Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation promotes the self-esteem and enriches the lives of Arizona's children in foster care by funding social, athletic and educational activities and items that provide them with quality experiences while they live through very difficult circumstances. — Website

Boys and Girls Club of America offers free, after school services to children in foster care ages 6-18 years old. Use your child's CMDP card for membership enrollment. Additionally, check with Clubs for Vacation Day Camps, Sport's Leagues and Young Champions, which include Pom, Cheer and Karate. Check with your local clubs to see if they participate. There may be fees and other costs required for the foster child to participate in some programs. — Website

iFoster — iFoster is a national non-profit with a mission of providing life-changing resources to children being raised outside of their biological homes. — Website

Arizonans for Children, Inc. - AFC works primarily in Maricopa County, but will help children from other counties from time to time. Services include: Birthday and Holiday gifts, Admission tickets to local events, Annual Train Park Picnic, Tutor/mentor program, LifeBooks - kayemccar@cox.net480-838-0085 Website

Opportunity4Kids believes that every child deserves the chance to participate in out-of-school time activities, regardless of their financial status. Opportunity4Kids raises funds to provide necessary fees, equipment and uniforms to underprivileged AZ youth. Website

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.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families will be awarded to any non licensed 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.

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

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

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 view a video on how to sign up for direct deposit, click HERE.

Children in foster care are eligible for benefits from the WIC program, a federally funded program providing residents with nutritious foods, nutrition education, and referrals — Website1-800-252-5942

There are different websites devoted to the type of Social Security benefits you are inquiring about, and a 1-800 number for all of them — Click to find out about each one: SurvivorsSupplemental Security (SSI)Disability (SSD)1-800-772-1213

City of Phoenix housing programs provide public housing, Section 8 housing vouchers, affordable rental apartments and single-family homes to more than 35,000 area residents. This includes partnering with non-profit and for-profit community organizations on the preservation and development of affordable housing units. Website Phoenix- 602-534-1975

Socialserve.com provides a fully-staffed, toll-free English/Spanish call center that helps landlords list and helps tenants search for properties while monitoring the availability and accuracy of listings. Website

The Affordable Rental Movement (ARM), provides long-term, affordable rental housing for working poor individuals and households to help you and/or your family grow and prosper. Tenants have access to after-school youth programming, budgeting assistance, as well as job assistance. Website

Maricopa County Department of Public Health created FindHelpPhx.org and its Spanish partner site EncuentraAyudaPhx.org to give Maricopa County residents an easy way to find health and social services for themselves. The website is easy to use and available where there is internet access, including smartphones.

Grandfamilies Place of Phoenix is a unique, affordable housing development tailored to the needs of seniors, specifically grandparents raising their grandchildren. A mixture of 56 two- and three-bedroom units provides safe, comfortable and affordable housing for multi-generational families

211 Arizona is an online resource for community information and referral services. Connect to services such as housing, utility assistance, and support groups. You can also contact 2-1-1 via phone, at 2-1-1 within Arizona or 877-211-8661 from anywhere.

Click here to find subsidized apartments in Arizona through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

If you are a kinship caregiver, DCS may be able to provide you with limited financial help to pay for housing costs. Please contact your DCS case manager for additional information regarding this “housing assistance.”

Maricopa County Department of Public Health created FindHelpPhx.org and its Spanish partner site EncuentraAyudaPhx.org to give Maricopa County residents an easy way to find health and social services for themselves. The website is easy to use and available where there is internet access, including smartphones.

City of PhoenixThe Human Services Department for the City of Phoenix offers a variety of social services to low-income households, experiencing crisis. Services are provided through three family services centers, geographically dispersed throughout the city and provide broad range of assistance with urgent needs including utility, eviction prevention and/or move-in cost assistance. Caseworkers also provide employment, budgeting, social and life-skills development counseling assistance through case management services at the family and senior services centers.

Tempe Community Action AgencyLimited financial assistance is available to help with rent and utility bills. Additional support is provided by a case manager/life skills coordinator, who is ready to reach out and help anyone seeking assistance. Website

City of Glendale Community Action ProgramCommunity Action Program provides various types of assistance to prevent homelessness, such as case management, information and referral to local social service agencies. CAP provides direct financial assistance for those households that are eligible such as:

  • Utility payment
  • Utility deposit
  • Mortgage payment to prevent foreclosure
  • Rent payment to prevent eviction

Positive Impact in Gilbert, AZ offers different assistance programs to address the many needs of Arizona families in crisis. Assistance program include help with utilities, food, bills, and critical medical assistance. Website

The State has an insurance program for families caring for children in care. Click here for details.

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

Double Up Food Bucks - New Program - Double Up Food Bucks Arizona is a nutrition-based,funded program that helps people bring home more healthy fruits and vegetables, while also supporting Arizona farmers. The program doubles the value of SNAP (formerly food stamps) benefits used at farmers markets. Use your SNAP Quest Card at participating farmers markets and every dollar you spend is matched with an extra dollar to spend on more Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables, up to an additional $20 in free fruits and vegetables per market visit. Double Up Food Bucks Arizona is currently available at 14 farmers markets, four farm stands and 34 Fresh Express Mobile Market sites across the state.

Visit www.doubleupfoodbucksarizona.org to find participating farmers markets including hours and locations or ask about Double Up Food Bucks at the information booth the next time you shop with your SNAP Quest Card at your favorite farmers market. Program of Pinnacle Prevention.

United Food Bank's Help Yourself Food Box Program - Through the help yourself program, clients can purchase a box of food for $20 which includes a variety of fresh meats, produce & dry goods (a value of about $40). For an extra $13, you can get extra meat selections. Clients can also select from additional bonus items like bread, pastries, dairy products and deli products depending on availability. The earlier, the better the selection. Cash or Food Stamps accepted No restrictions or qualifications. 358 E. Javelina Drive, Mesa, AZ 85210, (480) 926-4897. Fridays from 8:00 am-noon, excluding holidays. Open to the public. website

Agua Fria Food Bank - provides emergency food boxes and school uniforms (during back to school season); the food bank serves the Goodyear, Avondale, Tolleson, and Tonopah area. ID and proof of address is required. For more information call 623-932-9135.

Market on the Move through the 3000 Club - For a donation of $10 in Phoenix and Tucson, and $15 in Northern Arizona you can get up to 60 lbs. of fresh produce in a farmers market like atmosphere and setup that you can share with your friends, family, neighbors or other people in need. For a schedule and locations click here.

Children and youth in foster care are automatically eligible for free breakfast and lunch at schools where breakfast and lunch is provided. When filling out the form, the income is $0 because a child in foster care has no income (the stipend you receive from the state of Arizona is a reimbursement, not income).

Borderlands Food Bank P,O.W.W.O.W. Program operates during our produce season, typically November through August. Every week, usually on Saturdays, P.O.W.W.O.W. host sites are held in cities around Arizona in Maricopa, Pinal, and Pima counties. These sites are hosted by community organizations (churches, civic organizations, schools and universities.) Visit any of the P.O.W.W.O.W. sites and leave with up to 60 lbs of fresh produce, all just for a contribution of $10. Website

Borderlands' Food Bank Veggies R'Us Program provides individuals and organizations direct access to rescued produce at their Nogales, Arizona warehouse. Every Tuesday through Friday, 9:00 am - 1:00 pm, the Borderlands Nogales warehouse is open to serve the local community. Supporters are provided with an entire shopping cart full of produce, all for just a contribution of $3. Website

Children Are Priceless Passengers (CAPP) — Two hour safety classes in both English and Spanish to educate caregivers on the effectiveness of continuous and proper use of child safety seats. The $35 class fee includes the class and child safety seats to those individuals who don't currently have a seat or one that is outdated (expiration date), recalled by the manufacturer, involved in a collision, unknown prior history or with inadequate and/or missing parts. — Website

Kids Ride Safe Program-The Ride Safe Program reaches out to parents about the importance and correct use of car seats, booster seats and restraints. Phoenix Children's partners with "Safe Kids," as well as local fire and police departments to host community car seat checks. Our trained technicians check car seat installations, train parents and, in some cases, distribute donated car seats. Website

Association for Supportive Child Care — The Association for Supportive Child Care (ASCC) provides a variety of services to child care providers, families, and children. Items such as car seats and safety items are provided at the end of some specific training courses, click on their website for more information. — Website

ICM Food & Clothing Bank (downtown Phoenix) — helps families meet basic needs, including food, clothing, shoes, soap, shampoo, and baby formula six days a week, and provides free medical clinic services once per month. — Website

Arizona Helping Hands — Provides both Licensed and Kinship Foster Families throughout Arizona with twin beds, cribs, clothing, diapers, holiday and birthday packages, school supplies and backpacks. Children must have a Notice to Provider from DCS. Service is by appointment only. Contact Dreamcatcher@azhelpinghands.org or call 480-889-0604 for an appointment or for more information. Residents of other counties willing to travel to Maricopa County may also receive services. — Website

Jose's Closet (Apache Junction) — Jose's Closet offers a place where foster, adoptive and kinship parents can exchange clothes, cribs, strollers, toys or other equipment. Jose's Closet recently moved to Thunder Mountain Middle School, Center Stage Christian Church at 3700 E. 16th Ave. in Apache Junction. There is a small membership fee for Jose's Closet. — Website • E-mail • 480-309-1743

DreamWeaver's Closet (Peoria) — provides clothing, toys, books, school supplies, and other necessities to foster families. — dreamweaverscloset@gmail.com

Helen's Hope Chest (Mesa) — Open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from 8 am to 4 pm, closed on Friday and Sunday. Helen's Hope Chest provides goods to/for children in foster care or in kinship care (and to biological children of the same families) including: clothing; children's books; diapers; toys and games (including batteries and gift certificates for teens); sports equipment; hygiene products; blankets (but not mattresses or beds); and school supplies. Recipients will be expected to provide either a Notice to Provider (for children in foster care) or a kinship number for children in kinship care (available by calling 480-834-9424 x4590). Website Address: 126 East University Dr. Mesa, 85201

Kids Closet Connection (various locations) — provides consignment sales for first time parents and foster parents in the Valley. Merchandise includes children's gently used clothes, toys, equipment, and furniture. — Website

St. Jerome's Church Clothing Depot (Phoenix) - Provides clothing for all ages, no paperwork is needed. Licensed, unlicensed, kinship and resource families are all welcome. Contact Janet Cunningham at (602) 803-6343 for more information. Address: 10815 N. 35th Avenue Phoenix, AZ 85029

Arizona Donations for Foster Families - A community-driven organization that helps foster families in a quick and convenient way. With multiple donation pick-up and drop-off locations all throughout the Valley are always close by no matter where you are. - Website

New City Care Closet – an effort to meet the needs of foster and under-resourced families in Central Phoenix. Receives and distributes donations of new or gently used children’s items such as clothing, cribs, car seats, toys, diapers, wipes, formula, etc. (birth to 5 years). For more information, contact kids@newcityphx.com.

The Cinderella Affair - The Cinderella Affair is an all-volunteer project supported by East Valley Women's League; it provides high school junior and seniors new and gently-used formal wear absolutely free. They deal mostly with girls' clothing, shoes and jewelry but will help with some items for boys. - Website

Jessie's Closet (Yuma)- is an initiative of Desert Grace Community Church of the Nazarene. With a deep desire to find a way to meet needs in the community, the church’s missions council began searching for the right project to make a difference in the lives of those who call Yuma their home. There are already great agencies in-place for many of the needs in our community, but a support of this type for foster children and foster parents did not exist here. The church's mission council took on the project of creating and managing the Closet after hearing first-hand about the need from lead pastor, Rev. Clint Augustyn - a foster parent himself. Website

Agua Fria Food Bank - provides emergency food boxes and school uniforms (during back to school season); the food bank serves the Goodyear, Avondale, Tolleson, and Tonopah area. ID and proof of address is required. For more information call 623-932-9135.

ICM Food & Clothing Bank (downtown Phoenix) — helps families meet basic needs, including food, clothing, shoes, soap, shampoo, and baby formula six days a week, and provides free medical clinic services once per month. — Website

Arizona Helping Hands — Provides both Licensed and Kinship Foster Families throughout Arizona with twin beds, cribs, clothing, diapers, holiday and birthday packages, school supplies and backpacks. Children must have a Notice to Provider from DCS. Service is by appointment only. Contact Dreamcatcher@azhelpinghands.org or call 480-889-0604 for an appointment or for more information. Residents of other counties willing to travel to Maricopa County may also receive services. — Website

Arizona Helping Hands — Provides both Licensed and Kinship Foster Families throughout Arizona with twin beds, cribs, clothing, diapers, holiday and birthday packages, school supplies and backpacks. Children must have a Notice to Provider from DCS. Service is by appointment only. Contact Dreamcatcher@azhelpinghands.org or call 480-889-0604 for an appointment or for more information. Residents of other counties willing to travel to Maricopa County may also receive services. — Website

*** Arizona Helping Hands can also provide some of the required items for your OLR home inspection. For a list of available items click here

Arizonans for Children, Inc. - AFC works primarily in Maricopa County, but will help children from other counties from time to time. Services include: Birthday and Holiday gifts, Admission tickets to local events, Annual Train Park Picnic, Tutor/mentor program, LifeBooks - kayemccar@cox.net480-838-0085 Website.

More Than a Bed (Tucson) - mission is To support foster families and the children in their homes by providing for practical needs. Website

Barrientos Pool Fences-Specializes in pool fences in Maricopa, Pima and Pinal County. Speak with Ismael Barrientos for details 602-677-8242.

Vetco offers affordable, low cost vaccination services and preventative veterinary care. For a list of pricing and to locate a clinic click here.

Vaccinations are just $21 at both Arizona Humane Society locations at their weekly, walk-in vaccinations clinic every Friday. For more information click here.

Arizona Animal Welfare League and SPCA offers low cost vaccination during their walk-in clinic hours. For dates and times click here.

Pinal County offers $9 rabies vaccinations at their low cost clinics, for more details click here.

The Humane Society of Southern Arizona offers low cost rabies vaccinations, for more information follow this link

Community Legal Services, Inc. provides high-quality legal advice, advocacy and assistance in many areas (including housing, employment, health care, etc.) to low-income Arizonans. For more information, please go to their website at http://www.clsaz.org/family.html. Click here to see their information brochure.

Lend a Hand Program - The Lend a Hand loan program pays off high-cost car title loans up to $3,000 for Maricopa County residents. The program is a partnership between the Arizona Community Foundation, MariSol Federal Credit Union, and Take Charge America. The goal of the program is to rescue residents struggling to pay off car title loans and help put them on a path to healthy credit and financial success. For more information, click here

Phoenix Public Library Culture Pass-A Culture Pass gives a library customer FREE admission for two people at participating arts and cultural institutions.

For a resource guide of additional resources in Maricopa County click here

Community Legal Services, Inc. provides high-quality legal advice, advocacy and assistance in many areas (including housing, employment, health care, etc.) to low-income Arizonans. For more information, please go to their website at http://www.clsaz.org/family.html. Click here to see their information brochure.

Association for Supportive Child Care — The Association for Supportive Child Care (ASCC) provides a variety of services to child care providers, families, and children. Items such as car seats and safety items are provided at the end of some specific training courses, click on their website for more information. — Website

Mesa Parent University — Mesa Parent University provides parents and caregivers with information about their vital role in shaping children's lives. — Website

Foster Club (Online) -provide parents of foster youth resources, such as training, articles, and blogs, that are youth informed to help provide perspective on how to be the best support for a young person in care-Website

Family Involvement Center was established to serve as a partner in developing a new system of care for children with emotional, physical, and/or behavioral healthcare needs in Arizona. — Website

Child Crisis Arizona provides resources for all families and community members that offer parenting classes, workshops, children's playgroups, support groups, family events and many other resources. Website

Duet provides educational workshops and seminars that focus on the special needs of grandparents raising grandchildren. — Website

Benevilla's Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program provides assistance, guidance, and support as grandparents wind their way through the maze of second-time-around parenting. — Website

Sesame Workshop has free video toolkits covering various topics on parenting.

Raising Special Kids Arizona exists to improve the lives of children with the full range of disabilities, from birth to age 26, by providing support, training, information and individual assistance so families can become effective advocates for their children. Website

Mercy Maricopa (Maricopa County) offers trainings regarding behavioral health topics for foster and adoptive parents visit their website for upcoming trainings.

MIKID offers an array of services to families of children with emotional and behavioral challenges. MIKID provides education, resources, and support to hundreds of Arizona families annually. Website

In-Tuned™ is committed to providing parents, caregivers, teachers and others with the education, resources and tools to help children with Sensory Integration Dysfunction and other brain-based challenges. Website

Sesame Street in Communities has information on a number of parenting topics including traumatic experiences, handling tantrums, and exploring emotions. Click here to go to Sesame Street in Communities website’s topics page.

Southwest Family Advocacy Center’s mission is to reduce the trauma of interpersonal violence through a multi-disciplinary collaboration. The center provides in person and online training on many topics including mandatory reporting, understanding trauma in children, and protecting children in the digital age. Website

You can also find trainings and workshops on our events calendar.

HeartSavers offers CPR/First Aid for the great Phoenix area. Click here for, dates, time, locations and pricing.

American Emergency Response provides safety training and certification for the Phoenix area Click here for, dates, time, locations and pricing.

Eclipse CPR Training in Tucson, AZ has been providing American Heart Association First Aid and CPR training and certification classes for over 10 years. For more information click here.

CPR Classes are available throughout the Tucson area on this site

Click here to learn about cultural differences foster parents should expect when a child is newly placed in their care and how to embrace these cultural differences.

Click here to learn about attachment and how attachment is important for foster children.

Click here for information about ambiguous loss – what it is, what are the signs of ambiguous loss, and how to help a child with it.

Click here for information about children’s reactions to separation and loss.

Children often use behavior to communicate their needs, wants, and emotions. Click here for information on using behavior tracking sheets and some examples of behavior tracking sheets. Click here for information on how to determine the meaning or function of a child’s behavior.

Child Trends News Service (CTNS) has videos on the latest in child development research. Click here to watch videos on CTNS YouTube channel. Click here to access videos on their website.

Click here for definitions for different types of trauma – acute, chronic, and complex; children’s responses to trauma; and how foster parents can help children heal from trauma.

Click here for information about the aftereffects of complex trauma.

Click here for information about Trauma-Informed Parenting.

Click here for information about nurturing resiliency in children, including how to identify a child’s sources of strength and support.

Click here for a sample Trauma-Sensitive Review Form (which can help foster parents review their child’s history and their current parenting styles and develop new ways to more effectively parent the child).

For help in advocating for trauma-informed behavioral health services for your child, click here.

Child Welfare Information Gateway has a fact sheet titled “Parenting a Child Who Has Experienced Trauma.”

Becoming and being a foster parent is stressful and it is important for you to manage this stress in a healthy way.

Click here for information about issues in fostering that increase stress.

Click here for information for ideas about developing and maintaining a support system throughout the fostering experience.

Click here for some ideas on managing stress.

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.

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, 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 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 add link 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 their 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 their 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 add link 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, 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 of the following: serious illness, death of a caregiver, change in family composition, or involvement with law enforcement.

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.

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.

Foster family respite
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.

DDD respite
If your child qualifies for DDD services, then 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.

Behavioral health respite
If your child is struggling with behavioral health and needs respite because of those struggles, then 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.

Foster Care 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.

DDD Respite- Talk to your DDD Coordinator to about using DDD respite

Behavioral Health Respite-Speak to your child’s behavior health provider to coordinate respite.

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

Children in foster care who are between 3 and 5 years old are also eligible for Arizona Head Start and Early Head Start for infants and toddlers.

Child Care Resource and Referral can help you find quality child care in your area.

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
Kinship
  • 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)

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.

  • 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.

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.

  • Provide a letter on letterhead from the Child Protective Services caseworker which states the child is still in the care of the foster parent, along with a photocopy of the caseworker's government employee identification.
    • The letter must state the child's name, date of birth, and foster parent's name.
    • The letter must be signed by the caseworker.
    • The letter must be dated within the last 30 days or provide a copy of the Order for Temporary Guardianship of the minor registrant and the application is filed within the timeframe of the temporary order.
  • The foster parent submits a signed application.
  • The foster parent submits valid government issued identification or notarized signature on the application.
  • The foster parent submits the appropriate fee(s). (DCS will not pay for this) More information and instructions are available here.

A pre-adoptive parent can apply for a temporary tax ID number by submitting form W-7A to the nearest U.S. Social Security Administration office.

As a foster parent, you can get the child's Social Security card from a local U.S. Social Security Administration office. You will need to bring an original copy of the Notice to Provider and originals of the required identification documents for the child.

Form CSO-1036A on the DCS website can be notarized and then sent to the records department. The form is also available in Spanish. They will send the child's DCS records, usually in electronic CD format. The records will have information redacted that is private for other individuals.

If you have questions about obtaining DCS records for a child who is or was in foster care, email the Records Coordinator at DCSRecordsREquest@azdcs.gov or P.O. BOX 6030, Site C010-19​ Phoenix, Arizona 85005 FAX: 602.255.3245

You can locate DCS form and documents here.

Fostering Advocates Arizona has provided a resource list of vital medical, educational, and personal identity records that are essential to living an independent life. To download a printable list click here.

Youth in care can obtain a driver’s license or permit, but a DCS case manager cannot sign for a driver’s instruction permit or a driver’s license. DCS will not accept responsibility for the actions of the minor when driving a motor vehicle. A foster parent may sign the application and accepts all responsibility for the minor’s actions when driving a motor vehicle. Click here to view DCS policy regarding driver’s licenses.

Arizona Law (A.R.S. 28-3162) addresses the ability for the signer (foster parent) to file a request canceling the driver’s license of the minor and, therefore, being released from liability.

Recent changes to the Motor Vehicle Division’s policies now require them to accept the DCS Notice to Providers as evidence that the foster parent may sign for a child in their care. No court order or case manager approval is required. Please contact your local Motor Vehicle Division for further assistance.

Also, a recent law change permits 16 and 17 year old foster children to purchase auto insurance for themselves.

Yes, the following banking institutions allow a 17 year old to open an account without an adult on the account:

  1. MidFirst
  2. BBVA Compass – with manager approval
  3. First Bank
  4. Arizona Central Credit Union

Washington Federal – only a savings account and ATM card