Where can I get clothes for the child in my care?
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
Jose's Closet (Apache Junction) — provides clothes, cribs, strollers, toys, and other equipment to foster families. — Website
DreamWeaver's Closet (Peoria) — provides clothing, toys, books, school supplies, and other necessities to foster families. — E-mail
Helen's Hope Chest (Mesa) — provides children in foster care with quality clothing, school supplies, books, gift cards, toys, games and more at no cost to the foster parents. — Website
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.
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 email@example.com.
Where can I receive essential items for the child in my care?
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
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
Where can I take parenting classes?
Association for Supportive Child Care — The Association for Supportive Child Care (ASCC) is a progressive and energetic agency that has provided a variety of services to child care providers, families, and children since 1976. — Website
Parent University — Parent University provides parents and caregivers with information about their vital role in shaping children's lives. — 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
Family Resource Center is a resource for all families and community members that offers 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
Where can I find video resources for parenting?
Sesame Workshop has free video toolkits covering various topics on parenting.
What kind of activities are available for the child in my care?
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
Where can I take car seat safety classes?
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
How can I get respite care for the child?
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.
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.
If a child in my care damages my property am I covered by the State?
The State has an insurance program for families caring for children in care. Click here for details.
Can the child in my care obtain a driver's license or permit?
Youth in care can obtain a driver's license or permit, but DCS will not 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 actions of the minor when driving a motor vehicle.
Arizona Law (A.R.S. 28-3162) addresses the ability for the signer (foster parent) to file a request cancelling the driver's license of the minor and, therefore, being released from liability.
The requirements may vary per MVD location. Please contact your local Motor Vehicle Division for further assistance.
How to get documents/records
How can I get a copy of the birth certificate?
If the child was born in Arizona, the caseworker can print a verification of birth through the DCS computer system, which is linked to the Office of Vital Records. This is generally used instead of a birth certificate.
An Arizona foster parent of a minor child born in Arizona is eligible to receive a certified copy of his/her birth certificate. The foster parent must:
- 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.
How can I get the child's Social Security number and card?
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.
How can I get a copy of the child's DCS records?
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@azdes.gov
Where can I find DCS forms and documents?
The Department of Child Safety and Office of Licensing and Regulation forms can be found on the DCS Forms site. Additional forms regarding investigations, adoptions, CMDP and other resources for foster families can be accessed within the DCS Forms website.
Home Inspection forms for foster homes can be found by clicking on the following links:
- AZDCS Preparation Guide for Life Safety Inspection
- Emergency Evacuation Plan and Emergency Numbers Form
- Emergency Evacuation Drill Form
- Emergency Evacuation Plan Review Log
The Department of Developmental Disabilities Forms can be found on the DES site by selecting DDD Support Coordination under the "Filter by Category" drop-down menu.
Home Inspection forms for DDD foster homes can be found by clicking on the following links:
How can I ensure the child has all vital personal documents?
Do foster families receive money for having children in their homes?
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. To view an instructional video on how to complete the DCS Child Billing Form, click HERE.
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.
Is financial assistance available for foster parents?
Families can apply for TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) to receive additional financial assistance for the placed children. Nutritional Assistance eligibility will depend on the family’s income, whereas cash assistance will depend on the placed child’s income (usually amounts to $0).
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
Does the child in my care qualify for the WIC Program?
How can I find out more about Social Security benefits?
Do I qualify for the Grandparent Stipend?
Click here to download the Grandparent Stipend Form or HERE to know more about DCS guidelines to apply and how to fill out the form. Please note: You must submit the completed form to your DCS Case Manager. Grandparents 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.
How can I help a grieving child?
You can discover practical ways to help a child deal with grief by visiting GriefShare.
How can I help a child heal from the pain of divorce?
Find help and healing for the hurt of separation and divorce on DivorceCare4Kids.
How can I support my LGBTQ youth?
The Foster Children's Rights Coalition has an LGBTQ Committee that provides resources, services and support for LGBTQ foster youth and parents.
The LGBTQ Committee developed a letter template to protect the youth's rights in school.
Safe Service Providers
Parents can find a list of community resources which include LGBTQ friendly providers, counselors, schools and more.
What additional support is available for caregivers?
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
External support resources (Child care, How to get documents, Financial Assistance, Emotional Support)