WHAT EVERY PARENT SHOULD KNOW

INFORMATION ALL PARENTS NEED TO KNOW

Child welfare professionals require ready access to State laws and regulations regarding decisions that affect child safety and well-being. This publication provides web addresses for State statutes that are accessible online and lists the parts of the code for each State and territory that contain the laws addressing child protection, child welfare, adoption, legal guardianship as a permanency option, and services for youth aging out of foster care. It also provides web addresses for Tribal codes, States’ regulation and policy sites, State court rules, and other judicial resources.
State Statutes State statutes are provisions enacted by State legislatures that authorize a State government to operate and perform its many functions. All States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands currently make their statutes available on websites that are freely accessible to the public.1 Statutes are organized topically into codes by titles, chapters, articles, or sections. Familiarity with the structure of a State’s code is helpful for locating information.
1 Online regulations for Puerto Rico are available only in Spanish.
https://www.childwelfare.govLinks to State and Tribal Child Welfare Law and Policy
This publication is a product of the State of a State’s code is helpful for locating information.
Laws of Indian Tribes
The Federal government recognizes more than 500 American Indian Tribes in the United States. Federally recognized Tribes possess some powers of selfgovernance, and many have organized Tribal councils and/or courts to handle issues concerning both Tribal lands and members. Several Tribes have posted Tribal codes on their websites; these are listed with the States in which the Tribes’ seats of Tribal government are located.
State Regulation and Policy
State regulations, also known as administrative law or policy, are promulgated by State agencies to guide the application of statutory requirements to agency practice.2 Each department or agency within a State government typically is responsible for formulating regulations and policy for the programs that the agency administers. Regulations tend to be organized into codes by agency, topic, or specific programs.
Most States now make regulations available on either a State website organizing every agency’s administrative code or on the individual department or agency’s website. Many State agencies have further organized their regulations into policy manuals and other explanatory materials. These materials, as well as an array of other informational materials, can be found in Child Welfare Information Gateway’s State Guides & Manuals Search (https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/sgm/). The search links to online publications created by State agencies to describe their services and provide guidance on child welfare topics to both professional and general audiences.
Other Considerations
State statutes can be subject to further interpretation by State case law. Case law refers to the body of court opinion (i.e., the written decisions that are issued at the appellate and supreme court levels) that can affect the application of law. Individuals interested in how the law may apply to their specific situations should consult with a legal professional who has experience with child welfare law in their State.
How to Access the Information
Links to sources of information about the laws and policies of the States and territories can be accessed through the State statutes search page on Child Welfare Information Gateway’s website at https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/ systemwide/laws-policies/state/.
Suggested Citation:
Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2018). Links to state and tribal child welfare law and policy. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau.

https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/laws-policies/statutes/resources/

Series Title:  State Statutes
Author(s):  Child Welfare Information Gateway
Year Published:  2016
Current Through:  April 2016
 
To access the statutes for a specific State or territory, visit the State Statutes Search.
This factsheet discusses laws that extend legal protection to children who may be harmed by witnessing acts of domestic violence in their homes. The issues examined include the circumstances that constitute "witnessing" domestic violence and the legal consequence to persons who commit the domestic violence, such as enhanced penalties and fines.
We also recommend the following Information Gateway publications:
Suggested Citation: Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2016). Child witnesses to domestic violence. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children's Bureau.
This publication is a product of the State Statutes Series prepared by Child Welfare Information Gateway. While every attempt has been made to be as complete as possible, additional information on these topics may be in other sections of a State's code as well as agency regulations, case law, and informal practices and procedures.
This material may be freely reproduced and distributed. However, when doing so, please credit Child Welfare Information Gateway.
  

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (426 KB) of this publication.
Current Through April 2016
Circumstances That Constitute Witnessing
In criminal law: An act of domestic violence, as defined in § 13-3601(A), that was committed in the presence of a child will be considered an aggravating circumstance.
Consequences
An act of domestic violence committed in the presence of a child is considered an aggravating circumstance when determining a sentence and may result in a longer period of incarceration.
(Back to Top)

Clergy as Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (439 KB) of this publication.
Current Through August 2015

Any member of the clergy, priest, or Christian Science practitioner who reasonably believes that a minor is or has been the victim of injury, abuse, child abuse, a reportable offense, or neglect shall immediately report or cause a report to be made.
A member of the clergy, a Christian Science practitioner, or a priest who has received a confidential communication or a confession in that person's role as a member of the clergy, a Christian Science practitioner, or a priest in the course of the discipline enjoined by the church to which the member of the clergy, Christian Science practitioner, or priest belongs may withhold reporting of the communication or confession if the member of the clergy, Christian Science practitioner, or priest determines that it is reasonable and necessary within the concepts of the religion. This exemption applies only to the communication or confession and not to the personal observations the member of the clergy, Christian Science practitioner, or priest may otherwise make of the minor.
In any civil or criminal litigation in which a child's neglect, dependency, physical injury, abuse, child abuse, or abandonment is an issue, a member of the clergy, a Christian Science practitioner, or a priest shall not, without his or her consent, be examined as a witness concerning any confession made to him or her in his or her role as a member of the clergy, a Christian Science practitioner, or a priest in the course of the discipline enjoined by the church to which he or she belongs. This subsection does not discharge a member of the clergy, a Christian Science practitioner, or a priest from the duty to report as required above.
(Back to Top)

Cross-Reporting Among Responders to Child Abuse and Neglect

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (325 KB) of this publication.
Current Through June 2016

When telephone or in-person reports are received by a peace officer, the officer immediately shall notify child protective services in the Department of Child Safety and make the information available to them. Notwithstanding any other statute, when the department receives these reports, it immediately shall notify a peace officer in the appropriate jurisdiction.
(Back to Top)

Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (587 KB) of this publication.
Current Through February 2016
Physical Abuse
'Abuse' means:
  • Inflicting or allowing physical injury, impairment of bodily function, or disfigurement
  • Physical injury that results from permitting a child to enter or remain in any structure or vehicle in which volatile, toxic, or flammable chemicals are found or equipment is possessed by any person for the purpose of manufacturing a dangerous drug
  • Unreasonable confinement of a child
'Serious physical injury' means an injury that is diagnosed by a medical doctor and that does any one or a combination of the following:
  • Creates a reasonable risk of death
  • Causes serious or permanent disfigurement
  • Causes significant physical pain
  • Causes serious impairment of health
  • Causes the loss or protracted impairment of an organ or limb
  • Is the result of sexual abuse, sexual conduct with a minor, sexual assault, molestation of a child, child prostitution, commercial sexual exploitation of a minor, sexual exploitation, or incest
Neglect
'Neglect' or 'neglected' means:
  • The inability or unwillingness of a parent, guardian, or custodian of a child to provide that child with supervision, food, clothing, shelter, or medical care, if that inability or unwillingness causes unreasonable risk of harm to the child's health or welfare
  • Permitting a child to enter or remain in any structure or vehicle in which volatile, toxic, or flammable chemicals are found or equipment is possessed by any person for the purposes of manufacturing a dangerous drug
  • A determination by a health professional that a newborn infant was exposed prenatally to a drug or substance listed in § 13-3401 and that this exposure was not the result of a medical treatment administered to the mother or the newborn infant by a health professional
  • A diagnosis by a health professional of an infant under age 1 with clinical findings consistent with fetal alcohol syndrome or fetal alcohol effects
The determination by a health professional of prenatal exposure to a controlled substance shall be based on one or more of the following:
  • Clinical indicators in the prenatal period, including maternal and newborn presentation
  • History of substance use or abuse
  • Medical history
  • Results of a toxicology or other laboratory test on the mother or the newborn infant
Sexual Abuse/Exploitation
The term 'abuse' includes:
  • Inflicting or allowing sexual abuse
  • Sexual conduct with a minor
  • Sexual assault
  • Molestation of a child
  • Commercial sexual exploitation of a minor
  • Sexual exploitation of a minor
  • Incest
  • Child prostitution
The term 'neglect' includes:
  • Deliberate exposure of a child by a parent, guardian, or custodian to sexual conduct, as defined in § 13-3551; sexual contact; oral sexual contact; sexual intercourse; bestiality; or explicit sexual materials
  • Any of the following acts committed by the child's parent, guardian, or custodian with reckless disregard as to whether the child is physically present:
    • Sexual contact
    • Oral sexual contact
    • Sexual intercourse
    • Bestiality
Emotional Abuse
The term 'abuse' includes inflicting or allowing another person to cause serious emotional damage to a child, as evidenced by severe anxiety, depression, withdrawal, or untoward aggressive behavior, and such emotional damage is diagnosed by a medical doctor or psychologist, and the damage has been caused by the acts or omissions of an individual having care, custody, and control of a child.
'Serious emotional injury' means an injury that is diagnosed by a medical doctor or a psychologist and that does any one or a combination of the following:
  • Seriously impairs mental faculties
  • Causes serious anxiety, depression, withdrawal, or social dysfunction behavior to the extent that the child suffers dysfunction that requires treatment
  • Is the result of sexual abuse, sexual conduct with a minor, sexual assault, molestation of a child, child prostitution, commercial sexual exploitation of a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor, or incest
Abandonment
Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-201
'Abandoned' means:
  • The failure of the parent to provide reasonable support and to maintain regular contact with the child, including providing normal supervision
  • That a parent has made only minimal efforts to support and communicate with the child
Failure to maintain a normal parental relationship with the child without just cause for a period of 6 months shall constitute prima facie evidence of abandonment.
Standards for Reporting
Citation: Rev. Stat. § 13-3620
A report is required when a mandatory reporter reasonably believes that a child is or has been the victim of physical injury, abuse or child abuse, a reportable offense (including child pornography, child prostitution, or incest), or neglect that appears to have been inflicted on the child by other than accidental means or that is not explained by the available medical history as being accidental in nature, or the person reasonably believes there has been a denial or deprivation of necessary medical treatment or surgical care or nourishment with the intent to cause or allow the death of an infant.
Persons Responsible for the Child
Responsible persons include:
  • The parent
  • A person having care, custody, and control of a child
Exceptions
A dependent child does not include a child who, in good faith, is being furnished Christian Science treatment by a duly accredited practitioner.
A child is not considered neglected if a parent's inability to meet the needs of the child is due solely to the unavailability of reasonable services.
(Back to Top)

Definitions of Domestic Violence

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (533 KB) of this publication.
Current Through August 2017
Defined in Domestic Violence Civil Laws
'Domestic violence' means attempting to cause or causing bodily injury to a family or household member or placing a family or household member by threat of force in fear of imminent physical harm.
Defined in Child Abuse Reporting and Child Protection Laws
This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.
Defined in Criminal Laws
'Domestic violence' means any act that constitutes one of the following offenses:
  • A dangerous crime against children
  • Homicide, murder, or manslaughter
  • Endangerment
  • A threatening or intimidating act
  • Assault
  • Custodial interference
  • Unlawful imprisonment or kidnapping
  • Sexual assault
  • Criminal trespass
  • Criminal damage
  • Interfering with judicial proceedings
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Cruelty to animals
  • Intentionally preventing the use of a telephone by another person during an emergency
  • Use of an electronic communication to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy, or offend
  • Harassment
  • Aggravated harassment
  • Stalking
  • Aggravated domestic violence
  • Surreptitious photographing, videotaping, or filming
  • Child or vulnerable adult abuse
  • Emotional abuse
Persons Included in the Definition
In criminal law: An act listed above is considered domestic violence if any of the following applies:
  • The relationship between the victim and the defendant is one of marriage or former marriage or of persons residing or having resided in the same household.
  • The victim and the defendant have a child in common.
  • The victim or the defendant is pregnant by the other party.
  • The victim is related to the defendant or the defendant's spouse by blood or court order as a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, or sister, or by marriage as a parent-in-law, grandparent-in-law, stepparent, stepgrandparent, stepchild, stepgrandchild, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law.
  • The victim is a child who resides or has resided in the same household as the defendant and is related by blood to a former spouse of the defendant or to a person who resides or who has resided in the same household as the defendant.
  • The relationship between the victim and the defendant is currently or was previously a romantic or sexual relationship. The following factors may be considered in determining whether the relationship between the victim and the defendant is currently or was previously a romantic or sexual relationship:
    • The type of relationship
    • The length of the relationship
    • The frequency of the interaction between the victim and the defendant
    • If the relationship has terminated, the length of time since the termination
In civil law: 'Family or household member' means a spouse, a former spouse, a parent, a child, or other adult person related by consanguinity or affinity who is residing or has resided in the household, or has a child or children in common with the person committing the domestic violence, and dependents of such persons.
(Back to Top)

Definitions of Human Trafficking

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (580 KB) of this publication.
Current Through April 2016
Defined in Child Protection Law
The term 'abuse' includes:
  • Commercial sexual exploitation of a minor
  • Sexual exploitation of a minor
  • Child prostitution
'Serious physical injury' means an injury that is diagnosed by a medical doctor and that is the result of sexual abuse, sexual conduct with a minor, sexual assault, molestation of a child, child prostitution, commercial sexual exploitation of a minor, sexual exploitation, or incest.
Definitions of Labor Trafficking
It is unlawful for a person to knowingly obtain the labor or services of another person by doing any of the following:
  • Causing or threatening to cause bodily injury to that person or another person
  • Restraining or threatening to restrain that person or another person without lawful authority and against that person's will
  • Withholding that person's governmental records, identifying information, or other personal property
It is unlawful for a person to:
  • Knowingly traffic another person with the intent to or knowledge that the other person will be subject to forced labor or services
  • Knowingly benefit, financially or by receiving anything of value, from participation in a venture that has engaged in an act in violation of §§ 13-1306, 13-1307, or this section
The term 'forced labor or services' means:
  • Labor or services that are performed or provided by another person and that are obtained through a person's:
    • Causing or threatening to cause serious physical injury to any person
    • Restraining or threatening to physically restrain another person
    • Knowingly destroying, concealing, removing, confiscating, possessing, or withholding another person's actual or purported passport or other immigration document, government issued identification document, government record, or personal property
    • Abusing or threatening to abuse the law or the legal system
    • Extortion
    • Causing or threatening to cause financial harm to any person
    • Facilitating or controlling another person's access to a controlled substance
  • Does not include ordinary household chores and reasonable disciplinary measures between a parent or legal guardian and the parent's or legal guardian's child
The term 'traffic' means to entice, recruit, harbor, provide, transport, or otherwise obtain another person by deception, coercion, or force.
Definitions of Sex Trafficking of Minors
It is unlawful for a person to knowingly traffic another person who is age 18 or older with either of the following:
  • The intent to cause the other person to engage in any prostitution or sexually explicit performance by deception, force, or coercion
  • The knowledge that the other person will engage in any prostitution or sexually explicit performance by deception, coercion, or force
It is unlawful for a person to traffic another person who is younger than age 18 with either of the following:
  • The intent to cause the other person to engage in any prostitution or sexually explicit performance
  • The knowledge that the other person will engage in any prostitution or sexually explicit performance
The term 'coercion' includes:
  • Abusing or threatening to abuse the law or the legal system
  • Knowingly destroying, concealing, removing, confiscating, possessing, or withholding another person's actual or purported passport or other immigration document, government issued identification document, government record, or personal property
  • Extortion
  • Causing or threatening to cause financial harm to any person
  • Facilitating or controlling another person's access to a controlled substance
The term 'force' includes causing or threatening to cause serious harm to another person or physically restraining or threatening to physically restrain another person.
The term 'sexually explicit performance' means a live or public act or show intended to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires or appeal to the prurient interest of patrons.
The term 'traffic' means to entice, recruit, harbor, provide, transport, or otherwise obtain another person.
(Back to Top)

Disclosure of Confidential Child Abuse and Neglect Records

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (651 KB) of this publication.
Current Through June 2017
Confidentiality of Records
Department of Child Safety (DCS) information shall be maintained by the DCS as required by federal law. If the department receives information that is confidential by law, the department shall maintain the confidentiality of the information as prescribed in the applicable law.
A person may authorize the release of DCS information about the person but may not waive the confidentiality of DCS information concerning any other person.
For the purposes of this section, 'DCS information' includes all information the department gathers during the course of an investigation conducted under this chapter from the time a file is opened and until it is closed. DCS information does not include information that is contained in child welfare agency licensing records.
Persons or Entities Allowed Access to Records
If there is a reasonable need for the DCS information, the department may provide the information to:
  • A federal, state, tribal, county, or municipal agency
  • A law enforcement agency or prosecutor
  • An attorney or a guardian ad litem representing a child victim
  • A school
  • A community or contract service provider or any other person providing services
  • A court
  • A party in a dependency or termination of parental rights proceeding or the party's attorney
  • The foster care review board
  • A court-appointed special advocate
  • A domestic relations, family, or conciliation court
  • A person who is the subject of the information
  • A person who is conducting bona fide research
  • The parent, guardian, or custodian of a child if the information is reasonably necessary to promote the safety, permanency, and well-being of the child
  • A medical examiner directing an investigation into the circumstances surrounding a death
  • Federal or state auditors
  • Persons conducting any accreditation deemed necessary by the department
  • A legislative committee for purposes of conducting investigations related to the legislative oversight of the department
  • A legislator who requests CPS information in the regular course of his or her duties
  • A citizen review panel, a child fatality review team, and the Office of Ombudsman-Citizen's Aide
  • A human rights committee established pursuant to § 41-3801
The department shall provide the person who conducts a forensic medical evaluation with any records the person requests, including social history and family history regarding the child, the child's siblings, and the child's parents or guardians.
The department shall provide DCS information on request to a prospective adoptive parent, foster parent, or guardian if the information concerns a child the prospective adoptive parent, foster parent, or guardian seeks to adopt or provide care for.
A person who is the subject of an unfounded report or complaint, and who believes that the report or complaint was made in bad faith or with malicious intent, may petition a judge of the superior court to order the department to release the DCS information. The petition shall specifically set forth reasons supporting the person's belief that the report or complaint was made in bad faith or with malicious intent. The court shall review the DCS information in camera and the person filing the petition shall be allowed to present evidence in support of the petition. If the court determines that there is a reasonable question of fact as to whether the report or complaint was made in bad faith or with malicious intent and that disclosure of the identity of the person making the report or complaint would not be likely to endanger the life or safety of the person making the report or complaint, it shall provide a copy of the DCS information to the person filing the petition. The original DCS information will then be subject to discovery in a subsequent civil action regarding the making of the report or complaint.
The department may provide a summary of the outcome of a child protective services investigation to the person who reported the suspected child abuse or neglect.
When Public Disclosure of Records is Allowed
The department may provide DCS information to confirm, clarify, correct, or supplement information concerning an instance of child abuse or neglect that has been made public by sources outside the department.
The department shall promptly provide DCS information to the public regarding a case of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect that has resulted in a fatality or near fatality, as follows:
  • In the case of a fatality, the name of the child who has died
  • The age, gender, and general location of the residence of the child
  • The fact that a child suffered a fatality or near fatality as the result of abuse, abandonment, or neglect
  • The name; age; and city, town, or general location of the residence of the alleged perpetrator, if available, unless the disclosure would violate the privacy of the victim
  • Whether there have been any current or past cases of abuse, abandonment, or neglect involving the child or the alleged perpetrator
  • Actions taken by the department in response to the fatality or near fatality of the child
  • A detailed synopsis of prior reports or cases of abuse, abandonment, or neglect involving the child or the alleged perpetrator and of the actions taken or determinations made by the department in response to these reports or cases
On request by any person, the department shall promptly provide additional DCS information about the case of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect that has resulted in a fatality or a near fatality. Before releasing additional DCS information, the department shall promptly notify the county attorney of any decision to release that information, and the county attorney shall promptly inform the department if it believes the release would cause a specific, material harm to a criminal investigation or prosecution. After consulting with the county attorney, the department shall produce to the requestor as much additional DCS information about the case as promptly as possible.
Use of Records for Employment Screening
The department shall conduct central registry background checks and shall use the information contained in the central registry only for the following purposes:
  • As a factor to determine qualifications for foster home licensing, adoptive parent certification, individuals who apply for child welfare agency licensing, child care home certification, registration of unregulated child care homes with the child care resource and referral system, and home- and community-based services certification for services to children or vulnerable adults
  • As a factor to determine qualifications for persons who are employed or who are applying for employment with this state in positions that provide direct service to children or vulnerable adults
  • As a factor to determine qualifications for individuals who are employed or who are applying for employment with a child welfare agency in positions that provide direct service to children or vulnerable adults
  • As a factor to determine qualifications for positions that provide direct service to children or vulnerable adults for:
    • Any person who applies for a contract with this state and that person's employees
    • All employees of a contractor
    • A subcontractor of a contractor and the subcontractor's employees
    • Prospective employees of the contractor or subcontractor at the request of the prospective employer
  • To provide information to licensees that do not contract with this state regarding persons who are employed or seeking employment to provide direct services to children
Except as otherwise provided by law, reports and related records maintained by the department shall not be used for purposes of employment or background checks. Only information contained in the central registry may be used to conduct background checks.
(Back to Top)

Establishment and Maintenance of Central Registries for Child Abuse Reports

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (332 KB) of this publication.
Current Through July 2014
Establishment
The Department of Child Safety shall maintain a central registry.
Purpose
The department shall conduct central registry background checks and use the information in the central registry only for the following purposes:<
ul>
  • As a factor to determine qualifications for foster home licensing, adoptive parent certification, child care home certification, registration of unregulated child care homes with the child care resource and referral system, and home and community-based services certification for services to children or vulnerable adults
  • As a factor to determine qualifications for persons who are employed or who are applying for employment with the State, or contractors or subcontractors and their employees, in positions that provide direct service to children or vulnerable adults
  • Beginning August 1, 2013, to provide information to licensees that do not contract with the State regarding persons who are employed or seeking employment to provide direct services to children
  • To identify and review reports concerning individual children and families, in order to facilitate the assessment of safety and risk
  • To determine the nature and scope of child abuse and neglect in this State and to provide statewide statistical and demographic information concerning trends in child abuse and neglect
  • To allow comparisons of this State's statistical data with national data
  • To comply with § 8-804.01(B), which allows use of the records:
    • To assess the safety and risk to a child when conducting an investigation or identification of abuse or neglect
    • To determine placement for a child that is the least restrictive setting
    • To determine type and level of services and treatment provided to the child and the child's family
    • To assist in a criminal investigation or prosecution of child abuse or neglect
    • To meet Federal and State reporting requirements
  • Contents
    A finding made by a court pursuant to § 8-844(C) that a child is dependent based upon an allegation of abuse or neglect shall be recorded as a substantiated finding of abuse or neglect. The registry will maintain reports of child abuse and neglect that are substantiated and the outcome of investigations.
    Maintenance
    If the department received a report before September 1, 1999, and determined that the report was substantiated, the department shall maintain the report in the central registry until 18 years from the child victim's date of birth.
    If the department received a report on or after September 1, 1999, and determined that the report was substantiated, the department shall maintain the report in the central registry for a maximum of 25 years after the date of the report.
    All reports of child abuse and neglect and related records shall be maintained in the department's case management information system in accordance with the timeframes established in the department's records retention schedule.
    (Back to Top)

    Immunity for Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect

    To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (481 KB) of this publication.
    Current Through March 2015


    A person who furnishes a report, information, or records required or authorized under this section, or a person who participates in a judicial or administrative proceeding or investigation resulting from a report, information, or records required or authorized under this section, is immune from any civil or criminal liability by reason of that action, unless the person acted with malice or unless the person has been charged with or is suspected of abusing or neglecting the child or children in question.

    Any person making a complaint, providing information, or otherwise participating in the program authorized by this article shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability by reason of such action, unless such person acted with malice or unless such person has been charged with or is suspected of abusing, abandoning, or neglecting the child or children in question.
    (Back to Top)

    Making and Screening Reports of Child Abuse and Neglect

    To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (849 KB) of this publication.
    Current Through January 2017
    Individual Responsibility to Report
    Any mandated reporter who reasonably believes that a minor is the victim of abuse or neglect shall report immediately to a peace officer, to the Department of Child Safety, or to a tribal law enforcement or social services agency for any Indian minor who resides on an Indian reservation. If, however, the report concerns a person who does not have care, custody, or control of the minor, the report shall be made to a peace officer only. Reports shall be made immediately either electronically or by telephone.
    Content of Reports
    The reports shall contain the following information, if known:
    • The names and addresses of the minor and the minor's parents or the person or persons having custody of the minor
    • The minor's age
    • The nature and extent of the minor's abuse, child abuse, physical injury, or neglect, including any evidence of previous abuse, child abuse, physical injury, or neglect
    • Any other information that the person believes might be helpful in establishing the cause of the abuse, child abuse, physical injury, or neglect
    Reporting Suspicious Deaths
    This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.
    Reporting Substance-Exposed Infants
    A health-care professional who, after a routine newborn physical assessment of a newborn infant's health status or following notification of positive toxicology screens of a newborn infant, reasonably believes that the newborn infant may be affected by the presence of alcohol or a drug listed in § 13-3401 shall immediately report this information, or cause a report to be made, to the department. For the purposes of this subsection, 'newborn infant' means a newborn infant who is younger than 30 days old.
    Agency Receiving the Reports
    Reports may be received by a peace officer, to the Department of Child Safety, or a tribal law enforcement or social services agency. When reports are received by a peace officer, the officer shall immediately notify the department. Notwithstanding any other statute, when the department receives these reports, it shall immediately notify a peace officer in the appropriate jurisdiction.
    In regulation: The department operates a Child Abuse Hotline to receive and screen incoming communications. If a person calls, visits, or writes a department office other than the Child Abuse Hotline to report child maltreatment, the department shall refer the person or written communication to the hotline.
    The Child Abuse Hotline is a statewide, toll-free telephone service that the department operates 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, to receive calls about child maltreatment.
    Initial Screening Decisions
    When the hotline receives a call, staff shall determine the type of alleged maltreatment, whether to classify the call as a report for investigation, and check the central registry for prior reports on the same persons.
    If a call is screened in as a report, the hotline staff shall gather additional information using standardized questions, determine whether there are aggravating or mitigating factors, and assign each report a priority code. Staff shall enter the report into the central registry and immediately transmit the report to a local office.
    Upon receipt of a report, a child protective services (CPS) unit supervisor shall assign the case for a field investigation, alternative investigation, or alternative response, such as a referral to Family Builders.
    Agency Conducting the Assessment/Investigation
    To comply with the priority response time, entities other than CPS, such as law enforcement or emergency personnel, may initially respond to a report.
    Assessment/Investigation Procedures
    An alternative investigation consists of contact with a mandatory reporter who is currently involved with the family. The information will determine if the child and other children residing in the home are current victims of maltreatment or at risk of imminent harm. If results indicate that an alleged victim is at risk of harm, the case shall be immediately assigned for field investigation.
    When conducting a field investigation, a CPS specialist shall determine:
    • The name, age, location, and current physical and mental condition of all children in the home of the alleged victim
    • Whether any child in the home has suffered maltreatment
    • Whether any child in the home is at risk of maltreatment in the future
    A CPS specialist shall interview the alleged victim; the alleged victim's caregiver who allegedly committed the abuse; other adults and children residing in the home; and other persons who may have relevant information, including the reporting source, medical personnel, relatives, neighbors, and school personnel. The CPS specialist also shall review available documentation, including medical and psychiatric reports, police reports, school records, and prior CPS files or consult with law enforcement.
    A CPS specialist may interview a child without prior parental consent under § 8-802(C)(2). A CPS specialist may exclude the alleged abuser from participating in an interview with the alleged victim, the alleged victim's siblings, or other children residing in the alleged victim's household.
    Before interviewing a caregiver, a CPS specialist shall:
    • Orally inform the caregiver of the rights and duties under § 8-803(B)
    • Give the caregiver a written statement summarizing the same information
    • Ask the caregiver to sign a written acknowledgment of receipt of the information
    Timeframes for Completing Investigations
    Priority codes and initial response times are:
    • Priority 1 High Risk:
      • Standard Response: 2 hours
      • Mitigated Response: 24 hours
    • Priority 2 Moderate Risk:
      • Standard Response: 48 hours
      • Aggravated Response: 24 hours
      • Mitigated Response: 72 hours
    • Priority 3 Low Risk:
      • Standard Response: 72 hours
      • Aggravated Response: 48 hours
      • Mitigated Response: 72 hours excluding weekends and Arizona state holidays
    • Priority 4 Potential Risk:
      • Standard Response: 7 days
      • Aggravated Response: 72 hours excluding weekends and Arizona state holidays
    Classification of Reports
    After completing an investigation and considering the information listed in R6-5-5509, a CPS specialist shall unsubstantiate the allegations or make a proposed finding that the allegation is substantiated based on whether the CPS specialist finds probable cause to believe maltreatment occurred.
    (Back to Top)

    Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect

    To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (763 KB) of this publication.
    Current Through August 2015
    Professionals Required to Report
    The following persons are required to report:
    • Physicians, physician's assistants, optometrists, dentists, behavioral health professionals, nurses, psychologists, counselors, or social workers
    • Peace officers, child welfare investigators, or child protective services workers
    • Members of the clergy, priests, or Christian Science practitioners
    • Parents, stepparents, or guardians
    • School personnel or domestic violence victim advocates
    • Any other person who has responsibility for the care or treatment of minors
    Reporting by Other Persons
    Any other person who reasonably believes that a minor is a victim of abuse or neglect may report.
    Institutional Responsibility to Report
    Not addressed in statutes reviewed.
    Standards for Making a Report
    A report is required when a person reasonably believes that a minor is or has been the victim of physical injury, abuse, child abuse, a reportable offense, or neglect that appears to have been inflicted on the minor by other than accidental means or that is not explained by the available medical history as being accidental in nature.
    A 'reportable offense' means any of the following:
    • Any offense listed in chapters 14 and 35.1 of this title or § 13-3506.01
    • Surreptitious photographing, videotaping, filming, or digitally recording or viewing a minor pursuant to § 13-3019
    • Child prostitution pursuant to § 13-3212
    • Incest pursuant to § 13-3608
    • Unlawful mutilation pursuant to § 13-1214
    Privileged Communications
    Only the attorney-client and the clergy-penitent privileges are recognized.
    Inclusion of Reporter's Name in Report
    A report made to the child abuse hotline that is maintained by the Department of Child Safety must include the name and address or contact information for the person making the report.
    Disclosure of Reporter Identity
    Before it releases records pertaining to child maltreatment investigations, the department shall take whatever precautions it determines are reasonably necessary to protect the identity and safety of a person who reports child abuse or neglect.
    (Back to Top)

    Parental Drug Use as Child Abuse

    To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (554 KB) of this publication.
    Current Through April 2015

    For the purposes of subsections A and B of this section, the terms 'endangered' and 'abuse' include, but are not limited to, circumstances in which a child or vulnerable adult is permitted to enter or remain in any structure or vehicle in which volatile, toxic, or flammable chemicals are found or equipment is possessed by any person for the purpose of manufacturing a dangerous drug in violation of § 13-3407(A)(3) or (4).
    Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, a violation committed under circumstances described in this subsection does not require that a person have care or custody of the child or vulnerable adult.
    The term 'abuse' includes physical injury that results from permitting a child to enter or remain in any structure or vehicle in which volatile, toxic, or flammable chemicals are found or equipment is possessed by any person for the purpose of manufacturing a dangerous drug as defined in § 13-3401.
    'Neglect' or 'neglected' means:
    • Permitting a child to enter or remain in any structure or vehicle in which volatile, toxic or flammable chemicals are found or equipment is possessed by any person for the purposes of manufacturing a dangerous drug as defined in § 13-3401
    • A determination by a health professional that a newborn infant was exposed prenatally to a drug or substance listed in § 13-3401, and that this exposure was not the result of a medical treatment administered to the mother or the newborn infant by a health professional. This subdivision does not expand a health professional's duty to report neglect based on prenatal exposure to a drug or substance listed in § 13-3401 beyond the requirements prescribed pursuant to § 13-3620(E). The determination by the health professional shall be based on one or more of the following:
      • Clinical indicators in the prenatal period including maternal and newborn presentation
      • History of substance use or abuse
      • Medical history
      • The results of a toxicology or other laboratory test on the mother or the newborn infant
      • A diagnosis by a health professional of an infant under age 1 with clinical findings consistent with fetal alcohol syndrome or fetal alcohol effects
    A health-care professional who, after a routine newborn physical assessment of a newborn infant's health status or following notification of positive toxicology screens of a newborn infant, reasonably believes that the newborn infant may be affected by the presence of alcohol or a drug listed in § 13-3401 shall immediately report this information, or cause a report to be made, to the Department of Child Safety. For the purposes of this subsection, 'newborn infant' means a newborn infant who is under 30 days of age.
    (Back to Top)

    Penalties for Failure to Report and False Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect

    To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (416 KB) of this publication.
    Current Through August 2015
    Failure to Report
    A person who violates this section requiring the reporting of child abuse or neglect is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, except if the failure to report involves a reportable offense, in which case the person is guilty of a Class 6 felony.
    A 'reportable offense' means any of the following:
    • Any offense listed in chapters 14 and 35.1 of this title or § 13-3506.01
    • Surreptitious photographing, videotaping, filming, or digitally recording or viewing a minor pursuant to § 13-3019
    • Child prostitution pursuant to § 13-3212
    • Incest pursuant to § 13-3608
    • Unlawful mutilation pursuant to § 13-1214
    False Reporting
    A person acting with malice who knowingly and intentionally makes a false report of child abuse or neglect, or a person acting with malice who coerces another person to make a false report of child abuse or neglect, is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
    A person who knowingly and intentionally makes a false report that another person made a false report is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
    (Back to Top)

    Representation of Children in Child Abuse and Neglect Proceedings

    To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (806 KB) of this publication.
    Current Through December 2017
    Making The Appointment
    In all juvenile court proceedings in which the dependency petition includes an allegation that the juvenile is abused or neglected, the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to protect the juvenile's best interests. This guardian may be an attorney or a court-appointed special advocate (CASA).
    The Use of Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs)
    The CASA program is established in the Administrative Office of the Supreme Court. The program shall establish local special-advocate programs in each county.
    The supreme court shall adopt rules prescribing the establishment of local programs and the minimum performance standards of these programs.
    The CASA fund consists of moneys received pursuant to § 5-568 (from unclaimed prizes from the state lottery). The fund is subject to annual legislative appropriation. Moneys appropriated by the legislature from the CASA fund for the CASA program shall be used by the supreme court to operate, improve, maintain, and enhance the program.
    Qualifications/Training
    This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.
    Specific Duties
    The GAL or attorney for a juvenile shall meet with the juvenile before the preliminary protective hearing, if possible, or within 14 days after the preliminary protective hearing. The GAL or attorney for the juvenile also shall meet with the juvenile before all substantive hearings. Upon a showing of extraordinary circumstances, the judge may modify this requirement for any substantive hearing.
    How the Representative Is Compensated
    The county board of supervisors may fix a reasonable sum to be paid by the county for the services of an appointed attorney.
    (Back to Top)

    Review and Expunction of Central Registries and Reporting Records

    To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (331 KB) of this publication.
    Current Through July 2014
    Right of the Reported Person to Review and Challenge Records
    The Department of Child Safety shall notify a person who is alleged to have abused or neglected a child that the department intends to substantiate the allegation in the central registry and of that person's right:
    • To receive a copy of the report containing the allegation
    • To a hearing before the entry into the central registry
    If a request for a hearing is made, the department shall conduct a review before the hearing. The department shall provide an opportunity for the accused person to provide information to support the position that the department should not substantiate the allegation. If the department determines that there is no probable cause that the accused person engaged in the alleged conduct, the department shall amend the information or finding in the report and shall notify the person, and a hearing shall not be held.
    The notification shall also state that if the department does not amend the information or finding in the report within 60 days after it receives the request for a hearing, the person has a right to a hearing unless:
    • The person is a party in a civil, criminal, or administrative proceeding in which the allegations of abuse or neglect are at issue.
    • A court or administrative law judge has made findings as to the alleged abuse or neglect.
    • A court has found, pursuant to § 8-844(C), that a child is dependent based upon an allegation of abuse or neglect.
    If the department does not amend the report, the department shall notify the office of administrative hearings of the request for a hearing no later than 5 days after completion of the review. The department shall forward all records, reports, and other relevant information with the request for a hearing within 10 days. The office of administrative hearings shall hold a hearing, with the following exceptions:
    • A child who is the victim of or a witness to abuse or neglect is not required to testify at the hearing.
    • A child's hearsay statement is admissible if the time, content, and circumstances of that statement are sufficiently indicative of its reliability.
    • The identity of the reporting source of the abuse or neglect shall not be disclosed without the permission of the reporting source.
    • The reporting source is not required to testify.
    • A written statement from the reporting source may be admitted if the time, content, and circumstances of that statement are sufficiently indicative of its reliability.
    • If the person requesting the hearing fails to appear, the hearing shall be vacated and a substantiated finding of abuse or neglect entered. On good cause shown, the hearing may be rescheduled if the request is made within 15 days of the notice vacating the hearing for failure to appear.
    On completion of the presentation of evidence, the administrative law judge shall determine if probable cause exists to sustain the department's finding that the parent, guardian, or custodian abused or neglected the child. If the judge determines that probable cause does not exist to sustain the department's finding, the judge shall order the department to amend the finding in the report.
    When the department is requested to verify whether the central registry contains a substantiated report about a specific person, the department shall determine if the report was taken after January 1, 1998. If the report was taken after January 1, 1998, the department shall notify the requestor of the substantiated finding.
    If the report was taken before January 1, 1998, the department shall notify the person of the person's right to request an administrative hearing. The department shall not send this notification if the person was a party in a civil, criminal, or administrative proceeding in which the allegations of abuse or neglect were at issue.
    When Records Must Be Expunged
    If the Department of Child Safety received a report before September 1, 1999, and determined that the report was substantiated, the department shall maintain the report in the central registry until 18 years from the child victim's date of birth.
    If the department received a report on or after September 1, 1999, and determined that the report was substantiated, the department shall maintain the report in the central registry for 25 years after the date of the report.
    The department shall annually purge reports and investigative outcomes received pursuant to the timeframes prescribed above.
    Any person who was the subject of a department investigation may request confirmation that the department has purged information about the person from the central registry. On receipt of this request, the department shall provide the person with written confirmation that the department has no record containing identifying information about that person.
    (Back to Top)

    Background Checks for Prospective Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Caregivers

    To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (1178 KB) of this publication.
    Current Through June 2015
    Who Needs Records Checks
    Background checks must be completed for the following persons:
    • A prospective adoptive parent and each adult who is living permanently with the prospective adoptive parent, except a birth or legal parent with custody of the child
    • A prospective foster parent and each other adult member of the household
    • A kinship foster care parent applicant who is not a licensed foster care parent and each member of the applicant's household who is at least age 18
    • Custodians or prospective custodians of juveniles, including parents, relatives, and prospective guardians
    • All current and prospective employees, contractors, and volunteers of a nonprofit organization that interacts with children or vulnerable adults
    Types of Records That Must Be Checked
    A background check includes:
    • A State and Federal criminal records check
    • A central registry records check, including any history of child welfare referrals
    Process for Obtaining Records Checks
    When a person is in need of a criminal background clearance, the person, provider, or agency shall submit a full set of fingerprints to the Fingerprinting Division in the Department of Public Safety. If the person can present a valid fingerprint clearance card or credible documentation that the person's application for a fingerprint clearance card is pending, the person, provider, or agency is not required to submit another application for a fingerprint clearance card. The division may exchange this fingerprint data with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
    On receiving the State and Federal criminal history record of a person, the division shall compare the record with the list of criminal offenses that preclude the person from receiving a fingerprint clearance card. If the person's criminal history record does not contain any of the offenses listed below, the division shall issue the person a fingerprint clearance card.
    Grounds for Disqualification
    A person is precluded from receiving a fingerprint clearance card if he or she is subject to registration as a sex offender in this State or any other jurisdiction or has been convicted of committing or attempting, soliciting, facilitating, or conspiring to commit, in this State or another State or jurisdiction, one or more of the following offenses:
    • Sexual abuse of a vulnerable adult
    • Incest
    • Murder
    • Sexual assault
    • Sexual exploitation of a minor or vulnerable adult
    • Child prostitution or child abuse
    • Sexual conduct with a minor
    • Molestation of a child or vulnerable adult
    • A dangerous crime against children
    • Exploitation of minors involving drug offenses
    • Taking a child for the purpose of prostitution
    • Neglect or abuse of a vulnerable adult
    • Sex trafficking
    • Sexual abuse
    • Production, publication, sale, possession, and presentation of obscene items
    • Furnishing harmful items to minors
    • Furnishing harmful items to minors by Internet activity
    • Obscene or indecent telephone communications to minors for commercial purposes
    • Luring a minor for sexual exploitation
    • Enticement of persons for purposes of prostitution
    • Detention of persons in a house of prostitution for debt
    • Pandering
    • Transporting persons for the purpose of prostitution, polygamy, and concubinage
    • Admitting minors to public displays of sexual conduct
    • Unlawful sale or purchase of children
    • Child bigamy
    • Trafficking of persons for forced labor or services
    A person is precluded from receiving a fingerprint clearance card for any of the following offenses, except that the person may petition for a good cause exception pursuant to § 41-619.55:
    • Manslaughter or negligent homicide
    • Endangerment
    • Threatening or intimidating
    • Assault
    • Unlawfully administering intoxicating liquors, narcotic drugs, or dangerous drugs
    • Assault by vicious animals
    • Drive-by shooting
    • Assaults on officers or firefighters
    • Discharging a firearm at a structure
    • Indecent exposure or public sexual indecency
    • Aggravated criminal damage
    • Theft
    • Forgery or criminal impersonation
    • Theft of a credit card or obtaining a credit card by fraudulent means
    • Misconduct involving weapons or explosives
    • Drug-related offenses
    • Adding poison or other harmful substance to food, drink, or medicine
    • Criminal trespass
    • Robbery or burglary
    • Child neglect
    • Contributing to the delinquency of a minor
    • Domestic violence
    • Arson
    • Kidnapping
    • Felony offenses involving the sale, distribution, or transportation of; the offer to sell, transport, or distribute; or conspiracy to sell, transport, or distribute marijuana, dangerous drugs, or narcotic drugs
    • Criminal damage
    • Misappropriation of charter school monies
    • Taking the identity of another person or entity
    • Trafficking in the identity of another person or entity
    • Cruelty to animals
    • The sale or distribution of material harmful to minors through vending machines
    • Welfare fraud
    (Back to Top)

    Case Planning for Families Involved With Child Welfare Agencies

    To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (811 KB) of this publication.
    Current Through April 2014
    When Case Plans Are Required
    Every child and family receiving ongoing services from the Department of Children, Youth, and Families shall have an individualized family-centered case plan, consistent with the requirements of Federal and State law. The department shall conduct a case plan staffing within 60 days of case opening for all cases open for more than 60 days or within 10 working days of a child's placement into voluntary foster care.
    Who May Participate in the Case Planning Process
    The department shall encourage the participation of parents, children, out-of-home care providers, and when appropriate, extended family members in the case planning process.
    All members of the service team shall be invited to participate in the case plan staffing. Parents, children age 12 or older, and out-of-home care providers shall be members of the service team. To every extent possible, and when appropriate, extended family members may also participate as members of the service team.
    Contents of a Case Plan
    The family-centered case plan shall be a discrete document that includes the following components:
    • The child's safety plan, specifying ongoing actions that will be taken to ensure the child's continued safety at home and demonstrating that the child's health and safety are of paramount concern
    • The permanency goal for the child and expected date of achievement
    • The family intervention plan, specifying for all parents (whose parental rights have not been terminated) and guardians the kinds of services and supports that will be offered to the family in order to achieve the case plan permanency goal
    • The out-of-home care plan, specifying for every child in out-of-home care the most recent information available regarding:
      • The child's special needs
      • The name and address of the child's school
      • The child's educational status
      • How the placement type meets those needs
      • Services provided to the child
      • Services provided to the caregiver to help meet the child's needs
      • Actions the CPS Specialist will take to ensure safety in the out-of-home setting
      • When applicable, tasks and services to achieve a concurrent permanency goal or a permanency goal other than family reunification
      • For any child placed substantially distant from the parent's home or out-of-State, the reason the placement is in the best interests of the child
    • The health-care plan, specifying for each child the most recent information available regarding the child's health status
    • The contact and visitation plan, specifying for every child in out-of-home care the plan for frequent and consistent visitation between the child and the child's parents, siblings, family members, other relatives, friends, and any former (family) resource family, especially those with whom the child has developed a strong attachment
    • Specific documentation of how the family and other team members actively participated in the development of the plan
    Permanency goal options include reunification, adoption, legal guardianship, and another planned living arrangement. A concurrent permanency plan is included for children who have been assessed as unlikely to reunite with their parent within 12 months of the child's initial removal.
    (Back to Top)

    Concurrent Planning for Permanency for Children

    To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (295 KB) of this publication.
    Current Through November 2016

    Notwithstanding § 8-845(C) (that requires the court to reunify the family if possible), reasonable efforts to place a child for adoption may be made concurrently with reasonable efforts to reunify the family.
    (Back to Top)

    Court Hearings for the Permanent Placement of Children

    To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (772 KB) of this publication.
    Current Through January 2016
    Schedule of Hearings
    After the disposition hearing, the court shall hold periodic review hearings at least once every 6 months as required by Federal law.
    The court shall hold a permanency hearing to determine the future permanent legal status of the child:
    • Within 30 days after the disposition hearing if the court does not order reunification services
    • Within 6 months after a child who is under age 3 is removed from the child's home
    • In all other cases, within 12 months after the child is removed from the child's home
    If the court determines that the child should remain in out-of-home placement longer than 18 months from the date of the permanency order, the court shall conduct a review of the order at least once each year. After reviewing the order, the court may reaffirm the order or direct other disposition of the child.
    Persons Entitled to Attend Hearings
    The following persons shall be provided notice of the review and the right to participate in the proceeding:
    • The agency charged with the child's care and custody
    • Any foster parents in whose home the child resided within the last 6 months
    • A shelter care facility or receiving foster home where the child resides or has resided within the last 6 months for more than 30 days
    • The child's parent or guardian, unless the parental rights of that parent or guardian have been terminated
    • The child, if age 12 or older
    • The child's relative, if the relative files a written notice of right of participation with the court
    • A person permitted by the court to intervene as a party in the dependency proceeding
    • A physical custodian of the child within the preceding 6 months
    • Any person who has filed a petition to adopt or who has physical custody pursuant to a foster-adoptive placement
    • Any other person as the court may direct
    Determinations Made at Hearings
    In reviewing the status of the child, the court shall consider the health and safety of the child as a paramount concern and the following criteria:
    • The goals of the placement and the appropriateness of the case plan
    • The services that have been offered to reunite the family
    • If returning the child home is not likely, the efforts that have been or should be made to evaluate or plan for other permanent placement plans
    • The efforts that have been made or should be made to place the child with the child's siblings or to provide frequent visitation or contact when placement with siblings has not been possible
    The court shall review the permanent plan that has been established for the child. In reviewing the status of the child, the court, insofar as possible, shall seek to reunite the family. If the court does not order reunification of the family, the court shall order a plan of adoption or another permanent plan that is in the child's best interests and that takes into consideration the placement of the child with siblings or that provides for frequent visitation or contact among siblings, unless the court determines that either the placement with the siblings or the visitation or contact would be contrary to the child's or a sibling's safety or well-being.
    At the permanency hearing, the court shall determine:
    • Whether termination of parental rights, adoption, permanent guardianship, or some other permanent legal status is the most appropriate plan for the child
    • Whether reasonable efforts have been made to finalize the permanency plan in effect
    • What efforts have been made in the permanency plan to place the child with the child's siblings or to provide frequent visitation or contact, unless the court had already determined that placement with all or any siblings or visitation or contact is not possible or would be contrary to the child's or a sibling's safety or well-being
    Permanency Options
    The court may order any of the following:
    • Return to the child's parent
    • Placement with a grandparent or other member of the child's extended family, including a person who has a significant relationship with the child, unless the court determines that such placement is not in the child's best interests
    • Adoption
    • Placement with a suitable institution, association, or school
    • Independent living
    • Placement with any adult as a permanent guardian
    For the purposes of this subsection, a prospective permanent placement includes:
    • A grandparent or another member of the child's extended family including a person who has a significant relationship with the child
    • A person or persons with an expressed interest in being the permanent placement for the child in a certified adoptive home where the child resides, a home that is a permanent placement for a sibling of the child, or a licensed family foster home where the child resides
    (Back to Top)

    Determining the Best Interests of the Child

    To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (397 KB) of this publication.
    Current Through March 2016

    In reviewing the status of the child and in determining its order of disposition, the court shall consider the health and safety of the child as a paramount concern.
    At any periodic review hearing, the court shall consider the health and safety of the child as a paramount concern.
    (Back to Top)

    Extension of Foster Care Beyond Age 18

    To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (1806 KB) of this publication.
    Current Through February 2017
    Availability of Foster Care to Age 21
    All young adults who are in the custody of the Department of Child Safety, in an approved out-of-home placement (i.e., the Independent Living Subsidy Program, group care, foster home, relative placement, unlicensed relative, or nonrelative placement) when they reach age 18 are eligible to remain in continued out-of-home care under the supervision of the department during the period of the agreement. This includes youth who are dually adjudicated (dependent and delinquent) and released from a secure setting prior to or on their 18th birthday.
    Young adults who were in out-of-home placement in the custody of the department, a licensed child welfare agency, or Tribal child welfare agency while age 16, 17 or 18, but have not reached age 21, and are residents of Arizona may receive transitional living support services through an individualized, written agreement that complements their own efforts to achieve self-sufficiency and that assures acceptance of personal responsibility for preparing for and transitioning from adolescence to adulthood.
    The department will provide young adults who exited foster care at age 18 or older the opportunity to reenter services under the supervision of the department at any time until the young adult reaches age 21.
    Requirements for Remaining in Placement
    To be eligible for Independent Living services, a youth must be:
    • At least age 16 but younger than age 21
    • In the custody of the department or a Tribal child welfare agency (for youth age 16-18)
    • In out-of-home care
    • Referred by the youth's assigned child safety specialist, other department staff, or a Tribal social services representative
    • A resident of Arizona if age 18, 19, or 20
    Participation in the Independent Living program or in voluntary continued out-of-home care may be concluded when the young adult has:
    • Reached age 18 and does not desire continued services
    • Reached age 21
    • Made a voluntary decision to withdraw from the program
    • Generally demonstrated noncompliance with or refusal to meet the requirements of the case plan
    The young adult will demonstrate personal responsibility for preparing for and transitioning from adolescence to adulthood by working cooperatively with the child safety specialist to develop an individualized agreement for continued care (case plan) that outlines activities to prepare for self-sufficiency by:
    • Participating in educational, vocational, employment, or employment-readiness activities of their choice, which may include paid employment, volunteer work, or other activities defined in the case plan that will assist the youth to strengthen their employability
    • Identifying their physical and mental health needs and participating in health services, including mental health services of their choice
    • Identifying and maintaining a safe living arrangement of their choice that will allow for continuous daily living skill development and practice
    • Participating in activities or services to build, strengthen, or maintain positive, healthy relationships with relative and nonrelative persons, including supportive adults with whom the youth desires to establish a long-term connection
    • Maintaining contact with the assigned child safety specialist and immediately reporting any actual or anticipated changes to their living arrangement, education, training or employment, or health status
    Placement Agreements
    Young adults may remain in foster care after their 18th birthday only if they are residents of Arizona and have signed their case plan (recognized as the Voluntary Foster Care Agreement) that complements their own efforts to achieve self-sufficiency and that assures acceptance of personal responsibility for preparing for and transitioning from adolescence to adulthood.
    The young adult must have a service plan that includes independent living objectives and tasks related to these objectives.
    Young adults participating in services and supervision through the department must cooperate with the assigned specialist in developing an agreement that identifies how they will increase their skills to become self-sufficient. The agreement must document the young adult's acceptance of personal responsibility to:
    • Maintain enrollment in, or enroll in an education, training, or employment program of their choice
    • Participate in the education or training program of their choice by attending classes and earning related credits, certificate, license, or degree
    • Prepare for financial self-sufficiency by participating in employment or employment-readiness activities of their choice, which may include paid employment, volunteer work, or other activities defined in the case plan that will assist the youth to strengthen their employability
    • Identify personal physical and mental health needs and participate in health services, including mental health services of their choice
    • Identify and maintain a safe living arrangement
    Transition Supports Provided
    Upon approval of the case plan for continued care, the department will provide services, including, but not limited to:
    • The cost of care (including an Independent Living Subsidy for youth who qualify)
    • Allowances
    • Medical and dental services
    • Transportation
    • Counseling
    • Independent Living skills training
    • Other transitional support services
    The Independent Living Subsidy is available to eligible youth in foster care and to young adults who are residents of Arizona and have signed a voluntary agreement for continued care after age 18, but it may not extend past the youth's 21st birthday. The Independent Living Subsidy Program is not a requirement, but encouraged as an option for youth who qualify for preparing for the transition to adulthood.
    The department, in determining eligibility for Independent Living Subsidy, shall not discriminate based on the youth's race; national origin; ethnicity; religious or spiritual beliefs; gender, perceived gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation; child-bearing or parenting status; or for youth age 18 and older, marital status.
    The department may provide a youth the opportunity to participate in the Independent Living Subsidy Program if they meet the minimum requirements, which are:
    • The youth must be adjudicated dependent, the subject of a dependency petition, or age 18 or older and in extended care through their case plan (recognized as the Voluntary Foster Care Agreement for Young Adults 18 Through 20).
    • The youth must be in out-of-home care and in the custody of the department.
    • The youth must be at least age 17.
    • Youth who are age 17 must have court approval to participate in this program. (Court approval is not required for youth who are age 18 and older.)
    • Youth must participate in an approved schedule of activities specific to the individual youth's educational, employment, vocational, and therapeutic goals as outlined in the youth's case plan.
    The Independent Living Subsidy Program provides youth with the experience of community living while receiving support and services from the department. This program is an out-of-home care placement option, with the monthly stipend provided to the youth in lieu of any other foster care payment. This program permits youth to reside in unlicensed settings, including apartment living (alone or with roommates); dormitories; and boarding with family, friends, or others. All proposed living arrangements and roommates must be approved by the child safety specialist.
    Young adults who were in out-of-home care in the custody of the department, a licensed child welfare agency, or Tribal child welfare agency on their 18th birthday, but have not reached age 21, may additionally receive assistance with room and board costs. Funds may not be used for room and board payments for youth who left their out-of-home placement and were no longer in the custody of the department prior to their 18th birthday.
    (Back to Top)

    Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights

    To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (652 KB) of this publication.
    Current Through December 2016
    Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights
    Grounds to terminate the parent-child relationship shall include any of the following, with due consideration for the best interests of the child:
    • The parent has abandoned the child.
    • The parent has neglected or willfully abused a child.
    • The parent is unable to discharge parental responsibilities because of mental illness, mental deficiency, or a history of chronic abuse of dangerous drugs or alcohol, and there are reasonable grounds to believe that the condition will continue for a prolonged period.
    • The parent has been convicted of a felony of such nature as to prove the unfitness of that parent, including murder or manslaughter of another child of the parent, or if the sentence of that parent is of such length that the child will be deprived of a normal home for a period of years.
    • The potential father failed to file a paternity action within 30 days of completion of service of notice as prescribed in § 8-106(G).
    • The putative father failed to file a notice of claim of paternity.
    • The parents have relinquished their rights to a child to an agency or have consented to the adoption.
    • The identity of the parent is unknown and continues to be unknown following 3 months of diligent efforts to identify and locate the parent.
    • The parent has had parental rights to another child terminated within the preceding 2 years for the same cause and is currently unable to discharge parental responsibilities due to the same cause.
    The following may also be grounds for termination of parental rights:
    • The child is being cared for in an out-of-home placement, the agency responsible for the child's care has made a diligent effort to provide appropriate reunification services, and one of the following circumstances exists:
      • The child has been in an out-of-home placement for a cumulative total period of 9 months or longer, and the parent has substantially neglected or willfully refused to remedy the circumstances that cause the child to be in an out-of-home placement.
      • The child who is under age 3 has been in an out-of-home placement for a cumulative total period of 6 months or longer, and the parent has substantially neglected or willfully refused to remedy the circumstances that cause the child to be in an out-of-home placement, including refusal to participate in reunification services offered by the department.
      • The child has been in an out-of-home placement for a cumulative total period of 15 months, the parent has been unable to remedy the circumstances that cause the child to be in an out-of-home placement, and there is a substantial likelihood that the parent will not be capable of exercising proper and effective parental care and control in the near future.
    • All of the following are true:
      • The child was cared for in an out-of-home placement pursuant to court order.
      • The agency responsible for the care of the child made diligent efforts to provide appropriate reunification services.
      • The child was returned to the legal custody of the parent from whom the child had been removed.
      • Within 18 months after the child was returned, the child was removed from that parent's legal custody, the child is being cared for in an out-of-home placement, and the parent is currently unable to discharge parental responsibilities.
    The failure of an alleged parent who is not the child's legal parent to take a test requested by the department or ordered by the court to determine if the person is the child's natural parent is prima facie evidence of abandonment, unless good cause is shown by the alleged parent for that failure.
    Circumstances That Are Exceptions to Termination of Parental Rights
    This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.
    Circumstances Allowing Reinstatement of Parental Rights
    This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.
    (Back to Top)

    Home Study Requirements for Prospective Foster Parents

    To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (1050 KB) of this publication.
    Current Through March 2014
    Who May Apply
    To qualify for and maintain licensure as a foster parent, a person shall meet the following criteria:
    • The person shall be at least age 21 at the time of application.
    • The person shall have sufficient income to meet the needs of his or her own household.
    • The applicant and adult household members shall be free of conviction, indictment for, or involvement in the criminal offenses listed in R6-5-5802(C).
    • The applicant and household members shall not have any physical or mental health conditions that preclude compliance with foster care requirements.
    • An applicant's household members shall agree to and support the decision to provide foster care.
    To qualify for and maintain licensure as a foster parent, a person shall be a responsible, stable, emotionally mature individual who can exercise sound judgment. A person shall demonstrate the following characteristics:
    • The ability to realistically determine which foster children the person can accept and successfully integrate into his or her family
    • Knowledge of child development, nutrition, and health
    • The willingness and ability to protect children from harm
    • Knowledge and understanding of children
    • The capacity to give and receive affection and enjoyment in being a parent
    • Flexibility in expectations, attitudes, behavior, and use of help when it is needed
    • The ability to deal with separation, loss, frustration, and conflict
    • The capacity to respect persons with differing life styles and philosophies and persons of different races, cultures, and religious beliefs
    • The ability to accept a foster child's relationship with the child's parent and birth family
    • The willingness and ability to commit the time necessary to provide a foster child with supervision and guidance in accordance with his or her individual needs
    Training Requirements
    The foster parent or parents are required to complete 6 actual hours of approved initial foster parent training. For license renewal, the foster parent or parents must complete 6 actual hours of approved ongoing foster parent training.
    In regulation: Before receiving an initial license, an applicant shall complete at least 12 clock hours of initial foster parent training. The training shall cover at least the following subjects:
    • Characteristics and needs of foster children
    • The role of the foster parent as a member of the care and treatment team
    • The importance of birth parent and family involvement in a child's life
    • Methods for appropriately addressing the child's cultural, ethnic, and religious needs
    • Attachment, separation, and loss issues
    • Behavior management
    • Confidentiality
    • Emergency procedures
    • Available resources and support services
    • Foster care payment procedure
    • Agency contact persons and procedures
    • The impact of fostering on the foster parent and the foster parent's own family
    • Addressing the impacts of foster parenting
    • Specialized topics related to child welfare, health, growth, or development
    • The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978
    Each licensing year, prior to license renewal, a foster parent shall attend and complete at least 6 clock hours of ongoing training. Annual training may include:
    • Advanced training in the subjects listed above
    • Special subjects relating to child health, growth, or development, including:
      • Child management techniques based on the developmental needs of children in care
      • Discipline, crisis intervention, and behavior management techniques
    • Review of agency policies
    Minimum Standards for Foster Homes
    The division shall visit each foster home and inspect the premises used for care of children for sanitation, fire, and other actual and potential hazards.
    In regulation: The foster home parent shall:
    • Keep the foster home safe, in good repair, and sanitary
    • Keep the outside area around the foster home free from objects, materials, and conditions that constitute a danger to the occupants
    If the foster parent provides care to a child with special physical needs, the foster parent shall equip the foster home with any equipment needed to accommodate the particular child's special needs.
    A foster parent shall provide safe sleeping arrangements that accommodate the privacy needs of a foster child.
    • The foster family and a foster child shall sleep in bedrooms. An unfinished attic, a basement area, or a space normally and primarily used for passageways and purposes other than sleeping are not bedrooms.
    • A bedroom in the foster home shall have a finished ceiling, floor-to-ceiling permanently affixed walls, a door, finished flooring, light, ventilation, and a usable exit to the outdoors.
    • A foster parent shall provide each foster child with a bed. The bed shall be appropriate to a child's age and needs.
    • A foster parent shall not allow a foster child who is age 6 or older to share a bedroom with a child of the opposite gender.
    • Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, a foster child who is a minor parent may share a room with her own child.
    A foster home shall have at least one toilet, one washbasin, and one bathtub or shower. A foster home bathroom shall have interior plumbing with both warm and cold water.
    Approval Process
    An application shall include:
    • Personally identifying information on the applicant, all household members, and children who do not live with the applicant
    • The applicant's financial assets, obligations, and income
    • Medical statements for the applicant and any adult household member
    • Immunization records for each child household member
    • Employment information
    • Family relationships and support systems
    • A description of daily routines, activities, and hobbies
    • A description of any spiritual or religious beliefs and practices observed in the applicant's home
    • Information on administrative or judicial proceedings in which the applicant has been or is a party
    • The name, address, and telephone number of at least five references who can attest to the applicant's character and ability to care for children
    • A description of the applicant's home and neighborhood
    • A statement as to the number and characteristics of foster children the applicant would consider for placement
    • A description of the applicant's prior experience, if any, as a foster parent
    • A description of the applicant's prior history of adoption certification, if any
    • A description of the applicant's child care experience and child-rearing practices
    • A statement regarding the applicant's motivation for becoming a foster parent
    • A statement describing how all other household members feel about the decision to foster children
    • A statement authorizing the licensing agency to:
      • Verify the information contained in the application
      • Perform background checks on the applicant and the applicant's household members
      • Conduct a health and safety inspection of the applicant's home
    Grounds for Withholding Approval
    A license may be denied when an applicant:
    • Is not in compliance with foster care requirements
    • Fails to provide information required by these rules
    • Misrepresents or fails to disclose material information regarding qualifications or experience
    • Is unable to meet the physical, emotional, social, educational, or psychological needs of children
    A license shall be denied when an applicant or household member has been convicted of the criminal offenses listed below. A license may be denied if the applicant or household member is a person who has a record of substantiated or undetermined child maltreatment in this State or any other jurisdiction.
    The applicant and all adult household members shall submit to fingerprinting and a criminal history check. On a form provided by the department, the applicant and each adult household member shall certify whether he or she has ever been convicted of any of the following criminal offenses:
    • Sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult
    • Incest
    • Murder, voluntary manslaughter, kidnapping, or arson
    • Sexual assault
    • Sexual exploitation of a minor or vulnerable adult
    • Felony offenses within the previous 10 years involving the manufacture or distribution of marijuana or dangerous or narcotic drugs
    • Robbery or theft
    • A dangerous crime against children as defined in § 13-604.01
    • Child abuse or neglect or abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult
    • Sexual conduct with a minor
    • Molestation of a child or vulnerable adult
    • Aggravated assault
    • Contributing to the delinquency of a minor
    Kinship Foster Care
    The department shall establish kinship foster care services for a child who has been removed from the child's home and is in the custody of the department. The program shall promote the placement of the child with the child's relative for kinship foster care.
    A kinship foster care parent applicant who is not a licensed foster care parent shall be at least age 18. The applicant and each member of the applicant's household who is at least age 18 shall submit a full set of fingerprints to the department for the purpose of obtaining a State and Federal criminal records check. The Department of Public Safety may exchange this fingerprint data with the FBI. The department shall determine if the applicant is able to meet the child's health and safety needs by conducting one or more home visits and interviewing the applicant. The department may interview other household members, review the applicant's personal and professional references, and conduct Child Protective Services central registry checks.
    Foster to Adopt
    If the child being considered for adoption has resided with the prospective adoptive parent for at least 6 months and the prospective adoptive parent is a foster parent who is licensed by this State, the social study may consist only of the following:
    • The results of the central registry records check
    • A review of any material changes in circumstances that have occurred since the previous license renewal that affect the prospective adoptive parent's ability to adopt the child or for the child to be placed in the prospective adoptive parent's home
    In regulation: When a foster parent plans to adopt a foster child who is age 5 or older, a case worker from the adoption entity shall privately interview the child and all members of the adoptive family household who are age 5 or older about their feelings toward the adoption, before the adoption consent is signed.
    When a child is placed for adoption with a person who has been a foster parent to the child, a case manager from the adoption entity shall conduct home visits at least every 2 months from the time legal consent for adoption has been signed until the finalization of adoption. If the adoptive child is a child with special needs, the case manager shall visit at least once a month.
    Interjurisdictional Approval
    Placements of children in or from another State are subject to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.
    In regulation: Approval must be obtained from the Compact Administrators in both the sending and receiving States prior to the placement of a child in another compact member State.
    Links to Resources
    Arizona Department of Economic Security, Division of Children, Youth and Families, Steps To Become a Foster or Adoptive Parent
    State regulations full textexternal link (PDF- 133 KB)
    (Back to Top)

    Infant Safe Haven Laws

    To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (556 KB) of this publication.
    Current Through December 2016
    Infant's Age

    A newborn infant may be relinquished. The term 'newborn infant' means an infant who is 72 hours old or younger.
    Who May Relinquish the Infant

    The child may be relinquished by the parent or an agent of the parent.
    Who May Receive the Infant

    The child may be left with a designated safe haven provider. A safe haven provider includes any of the following:
    • A firefighter who is on duty
    • An emergency medical technician who is on duty
    • A medical staff member at a general hospital or a rural general hospital
    • A staff member or volunteer at any of the following organizations that posts a public notice that it is willing to accept a newborn infant:
      • A licensed private child welfare agency
      • A licensed adoption agency
      • A church
    Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider

    If a parent or an agent of a parent voluntarily delivers the parent's newborn infant to a safe haven provider, the safe haven provider shall take custody of the newborn infant if both of the following are true:
    • The parent did not express an intent to return for the newborn infant.
    • The safe haven provider reasonably believes that the child is a newborn infant.
    The safe haven provider shall immediately transport the infant to a hospital for a physical examination.
    If the infant is left with a private child welfare or adoption agency and the agency has the ability to place the infant for adoption, the agency shall inform child protective services that it will take custody of the infant within 24 hours. If the agency cannot place the infant for adoption, it shall inform child protective services that it will not take custody of the infant.
    If an infant is left with a church and the church is affiliated with a private adoption agency, the provider must immediately inform child protective services that an infant has been left at the church, the location of the hospital where the church transported the infant, and whether a private adoption agency will take custody of the infant.
    If the church is not affiliated with a private adoption agency or the agency cannot place the infant for adoption, child protective services shall contact the next private adoption agency on its rotating list of agencies until it contacts an agency that agrees to take custody of the infant. The adoption agency must take custody of the infant from the hospital within 24 hours.
    If an infant is left with a firefighter, emergency medical technician, or a hospital staff member, the safe haven provider shall immediately contact child protective services to inform it that an infant has been left and of the location of the hospital where the safe haven provider transported the infant.
    Immunity for the Provider

    A safe haven provider who receives a newborn infant is not liable for any civil or other damages for any act or omission by the safe haven provider in maintaining custody of the newborn infant if the safe haven provider acts in good faith without gross negligence.
    Protection for Relinquishing Parent

    A person is not guilty of abuse of a child solely for leaving an unharmed newborn infant with a safe haven provider.
    A parent or agent of a parent who leaves a newborn infant with a safe haven provider may remain anonymous, and the safe haven provider shall not require the parent or agent to answer any questions.
    Effect on Parental Rights
    This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.
    (Back to Top)

    Kinship Guardianship as a Permanency Option

    To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (1337 KB) of this publication.
    Current Through December 2014
    Definitions
    The term 'relative' means a grandparent, great-grandparent, brother or sister of whole or half blood, aunt, uncle, or first cousin.
    Purpose of Guardianship
    The court may establish a permanent guardianship between a child and the guardian if the prospective guardianship is in the child's best interests and all of the following apply:
    • The child has been adjudicated a dependent child.
    • The child has been in the custody of the prospective permanent guardian for at least 9 months as a dependent child. The court may waive this requirement for good cause.
    • If the child is in the custody of the Department of Child Safety or agency, the department or agency has made reasonable efforts to reunite the parent and child and further efforts would be unproductive. The court may waive this requirement if it finds that reunification efforts are not required by law or if reunification of the parent and child is not in the child's best interests because the parent is unwilling or unable to properly care for the child.
    • The likelihood that the child would be adopted is remote, or termination of parental rights would not be in the child's best interests.
    A Guardian's Rights and Responsibilities
    Unless otherwise set forth in the final order of permanent guardianship, a permanent guardian is vested with all of the rights and responsibilities set forth in § 14-5209 relating to the powers and duties of a guardian of a minor, other than those rights and responsibilities of the birth or adoptive parent, if any, that are set forth in the decree of permanent guardianship.
    A guardian of a minor has the powers and responsibilities of a custodial parent regarding the ward's support, care, and education. A guardian is not personally liable for the ward's expenses and is not liable to third persons by reason of the relationship for acts of the ward.
    A guardian may:
    • Receive monies payable for the support of the ward under the terms of any statutory benefit, insurance system, private contract, devise, trust, conservatorship, or custodianship
    • Take custody of the ward and establish the ward's place of residence in or outside this State, if consistent with the terms of an order of a court of competent jurisdiction relating to the detention or commitment of the ward
    • Facilitate the ward's education, social, or other activities, and consent to medical or other professional care, treatment, or advice for the ward
    • Consent to the marriage or adoption of the ward
    • If reasonable, delegate to the ward certain responsibilities for decisions affecting the ward's well-being
    Qualifying the Guardian
    The court may consider any adult, including a relative or foster parent, as a permanent guardian. The court shall appoint a person nominated by the child if the child is at least age 12, unless the court finds that the appointment would not be in the child's best interests. The court shall consider the child's objection to the appointment of the person nominated as permanent guardian. In proceedings for permanent guardianship, the court shall give primary consideration to the physical, mental, and emotional needs of the child.
    Before a final hearing, the department, the agency, or a person designated as an officer of the court shall conduct an investigation addressing the factors set forth in § 8-871, whether the prospective permanent guardian or guardians are fit and proper persons to become permanent guardians, and whether the best interests of the child would be served by granting the permanent guardianship. The findings of this investigation shall be set forth in a written report provided to the court and all parties before the hearing. The court may require additional investigation if it finds that the welfare of the child will be served or if additional information is necessary to make an appropriate decision regarding the permanent guardianship. The court may charge a reasonable fee for this investigation pursuant to § 8-133, if performed by an officer of the court.
    In policy: The department shall consider recommending a permanency plan of guardianship when the prospective permanent guardian has made a commitment to provide care and support to the child, and guardianship is in the child's best interests.
    The department must complete a home study of the prospective guardians, including fingerprinting, State and Federal criminal history records clearances, and a Department of Child Safety (DCS) records search.
    Procedures for Establishing Guardianship
    Any party to a dependency proceeding may file a motion for permanent guardianship. The person who files the motion shall serve notice of the hearing and a copy of the motion on all parties, including any person who has filed a petition to adopt or who has physical custody pursuant to a court order in a foster-adoptive placement. The person who files the motion shall provide a copy of the notice of hearing to the following persons:
    • The child's current physical custodian
    • Any foster parent with whom the child has resided within the 6 months before the date of the hearing
    • The prospective guardian if the guardian is not the current physical custodian
    • Any other person the court orders to be provided notice
    The person who files the motion has the burden of proof by clear and convincing evidence. In any proceeding involving a child who is subject to the Federal Indian Child Welfare Act, the person who files the motion has the burden of proof by beyond a reasonable doubt.
    On the entry of the order establishing a permanent guardianship, the dependency action shall be dismissed. If the child was in the legal custody of the department during the dependency, the court may order the department to conduct the investigation and prepare the report for the first report and review hearing. The court shall retain jurisdiction to enforce its final order of permanent guardianship. The court shall require a report and review hearing to be held within 1 year following the entry of the final order and may set such other and further proceedings as may be in the best interests of the child. Before a report and review hearing, the court may require an investigation to be conducted of the facts and circumstances surrounding the welfare and best interests of the child and a written report to be filed with the court.
    Contents of a Guardianship Order
    A court order vesting permanent guardianship with an individual divests the birth or adoptive parent of legal custody of or guardianship for the child but does not terminate the parent's rights. A court order for permanent guardianship does not affect the child's inheritance rights from and through the child's birth or adoptive parents.
    On finding that grounds exist for a permanent guardianship, the court may incorporate into the final order provisions for visitation with the natural parents, siblings, or other relatives of the child if this order would be in the child's best interests. The order also may include any other provision that is necessary to rehabilitate the child or to provide for the child's continuing safety and well-being. The court may order a parent to contribute to the support of the child to the extent it finds the parent is able.
    Modification/Revocation of Guardianship
    The child, a parent of the child, or any party to the dependency proceeding may file a petition for the revocation of an order granting permanent guardianship if there is a significant change of circumstances, including:
    • The child's parent is able and willing to properly care for the child.
    • The child's permanent guardian is unable to properly care for the child.
    The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for the child in any proceeding for the revocation of permanent guardianship.
    The court may revoke the order granting permanent guardianship if the party petitioning for revocation proves a change of circumstances by clear and convincing evidence and the revocation is in the child's best interests.
    In the interest of developing self-reliance on the part of a ward or for other good cause, the court, at the time of appointment or later, on its own motion or on appropriate petition or motion of the minor or other interested person, may create a limited guardianship by limiting the powers of a guardian otherwise conferred by this section. Any limitation on the statutory power of a guardian of a minor must be endorsed on the guardian's letters.
    Kinship Guardianship Assistance
    The department may provide a subsidy to guardian on behalf of a child subject to the requirements of this section. A guardian is not eligible for a subsidy until he or she demonstrates that the child or a responsible person on behalf of the child has applied for all benefits to which the child is entitled from other State or Federal programs.
    The department shall discontinue a subsidy if any of the following occurs:
    • The permanent guardianship terminates.
    • The child dies or does not reside with the permanent guardian.
    • The child reaches age 18, except that the department may continue the subsidy until the child's 22nd birthday if the child is enrolled in and regularly attending school and has not received a high school diploma or certificate of equivalency.
    • The guardian fails to comply with any requirement in this section.
    In policy: The guardianship subsidy program shall support permanent placements for children who cannot return home and for whom adoption is not an option. Guardianship subsidy is intended to be only a partial reimbursement for expenses involved in the care of the child.
    A permanent guardian is eligible for guardianship subsidy if he or she has a permanent guardianship granted pursuant to § 8-871, on or after August 6, 1999, and has applied for other State and Federal benefits on behalf of the child.
    Links to Agency Policies
    Division of Child Safety and Family Services, Policy & Procedure Manual, see Ch 5, § 28, et seq., Permanent Guardianship
    (Back to Top)

    Placement of Children With Relatives

    To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (627 KB) of this publication.
    Current Through January 2018
    Relative Placement for Foster Care and Guardianship
    The Department of Child Safety may place a child with a parent, a relative, or a person who has a significant relationship with a child. The term 'relative' means a grandparent, great-grandparent, brother or sister of whole-blood or half-blood, aunt, uncle, or first cousin.
    The department shall establish kinship foster care services for a child who has been removed from the child's home and is in the custody of the department. The program shall promote the placement of the child with the child's relative for kinship foster care.
    Requirements for Placement with Relatives
    A kinship foster care parent applicant who is not a licensed foster care parent shall be at least age 18. The applicant and each member of the applicant's household who is at least age 18 shall submit a full set of fingerprints to the department for the purpose of obtaining a state and federal criminal records check pursuant to § 41-1750 and Public Law 92-544. The Department of Public Safety may exchange this fingerprint data with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
    The Department of Child Safety shall determine if the applicant is able to meet the child's health and safety needs by conducting one or more home visits and interviewing the applicant.
    The department may interview other household members, review the applicant's personal and professional references, and conduct Child Protective Services central registry checks.
    A kinship foster care parent may be eligible to receive the following financial services for the child:
    • Full foster care benefits, including payment if the kinship foster care parent becomes a licensed foster care home
    • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families cash assistance payments for child-only case and supplemental financial support
    The department shall provide nonfinancial services for a kinship foster care parent through existing means or referral. Nonfinancial services may include:
    • Family assessment and case management
    • Child daycare
    • Housing search and relocation
    • Parenting skills training
    • Supportive intervention and guidance counseling
    • Transportation and emergency services
    • Parent aid and respite services
    • Additional services that the department determines are necessary to meet the needs of the child and family
    Requirements for Placement of Siblings
    If a child has been removed from the child's home and placed in out-of-home placement, guardianship, or adoptive placement, the department shall make reasonable efforts to place that child with the child's siblings or, if that is not possible, to maintain frequent visits or other ongoing contact between the child and the child's siblings, unless a court determines that either the placement or the visits or contact would be contrary to the child's or a sibling's safety or well-being.
    Relatives Who May Adopt
    A relative who may adopt the child includes an uncle, aunt, adult sibling, grandparent, or great-grandparent of the child by whole-blood or half-blood or by marriage.
    Requirements for Adoption by Relatives
    Before any prospective adoptive parent may petition to adopt a child, the person shall be certified by the court as acceptable to adopt children. A certificate shall be issued only after an investigation conducted by an officer of the court, by an agency, or by the division. This section does not apply if the prospective adoptive parent is the spouse of the birth or legal parent of the child to be adopted or is an uncle, aunt, adult sibling, grandparent, or great-grandparent of the child by whole-blood or half-blood or by marriage or adoption.
    A person who is not currently certified as acceptable to adopt but who has custody of a child who the person intends to adopt shall petition the court for an order permitting that person to keep custody of the child pending certification. If the court permits the person to continue to have custody of the child, the court shall order the investigation to continue for preadoption certification and report as required by § 8-105.
    A custody petition or hearing is not required if the person who intends to adopt the child is:
    • The spouse of a birth or legal parent of the child
    • An uncle, aunt, adult sibling, grandparent, or great-grandparent of the child by whole-blood or half-blood or by marriage
    (Back to Top)

    Reasonable Efforts to Preserve or Reunify Families and Achieve Permanency for Children

    To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (539 KB) of this publication.
    Current Through March 2016
    What Are Reasonable Efforts
    'In-home intervention' means a program of services provided pursuant to § 8-891 while the child is still in the custody of the parent, guardian, or custodian.
    After a dependency petition is filed, the court may order in-home intervention if all of the following are true:
    • The child has not been removed from the home.
    • In-home intervention appears likely to resolve the risk issues described below.
    • The parent, guardian, or custodian agrees to a case plan and participation in services.
    • One of the following conditions exists:
      • The child is at risk of harm due to the inability or unwillingness of the parent, guardian, or custodian to provide food, clothing, shelter, or medical care.
      • The parent, guardian, or custodian is unable to provide proper care, control, and supervision of the child.
    The in-home intervention order may include a training or treatment plan for the parent, guardian, or custodian and the child. The in-home intervention shall include a specific time for completion that shall not exceed 1 year without review and approval by the court.
    The term 'protective services' is defined as a specialized child welfare program that is administered by the department to investigate allegations and seek to prevent, intervene in, and treat abuse and neglect to promote the well-being of the child in a permanent home and to coordinate services to strengthen the family.
    When Reasonable Efforts Are Required
    If the child has been removed from the home, the court shall order the Department of Child Safety to make reasonable efforts to provide services to the child and the child's family.
    When Reasonable Efforts Are NOT Required
    Reunification services are not required when one or more of the following aggravating circumstances exist:
    • A diligent search has failed to locate the parent, or the parent has expressed no interest in reunifying the child, for at least 3 months.
    • The parent is suffering from a mental illness or deficiency of such magnitude that the parent is incapable of benefitting from reunification services, or that, even with the provision of services, the parent is unlikely to be capable of adequately caring for the child within 12 months.
    • The child previously has been removed from the home due to physical or sexual abuse, and, after the child was returned to the parent, the child was removed again within 18 months due to additional abuse.
    • The parent committed a dangerous crime against a child, caused a child to suffer serious physical or emotional injury, or knew or reasonably should have known that another person committed a dangerous crime against children or caused a child to suffer serious physical or emotional injury.
    • The parent's rights to another child have been terminated, the parent has not successfully addressed the issues that led to the termination, and the parent is unable to fulfill parental responsibilities.
    • After a finding that a child is dependent, all of the following are true:
      • A child has been removed from the parent on at least two previous occasions.
      • Reunification services were offered or provided to the parent.
      • The parent is unable to fulfill parental responsibilities.
    • The parent has been convicted of a dangerous crime against a child; murder or manslaughter of a child; sexual abuse, sexual assault, or molestation of a child; sexual conduct with a minor; commercial sexual exploitation of a minor; or luring a minor for sexual exploitation.
    • The parent of a child has been convicted of aiding or abetting, attempting, conspiring, or soliciting to commit any of the crimes listed above.
    (Back to Top)

    Standby Guardianship

    To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (354 KB) of this publication.
    Current Through February 2015
    Who Can Nominate a Standby Guardian
    This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.
    How to Establish a Standby Guardian
    This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.
    How Standby Authority is Activated
    This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.
    Involvement of the Noncustodial Parent
    Citation:
    This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.
    Authority Relationship of the Parent and the Standby
    This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.
    Withdrawing Guardianship
    This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.
    (Back to Top)

    Access to Adoption Records

    To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (541 KB) of this publication.
    Current Through June 2015
    Who May Access Information
    The following persons may have access to family information:
    • The adoptive parents or a guardian of the adopted person
    • The adopted person who is age 18 or older
    • If the adopted person has died, the adopted person's spouse if he or she is the legal parent of the adopted person's child, or the guardian of any child of the adopted person
    • If the adopted person has died, any child of the adopted person who is age 18 or older
    • The birth parents or other birth children of the birth parents
    Access to Nonidentifying Information
    Nonidentifying information may be released upon request to any of the persons listed above. Nonidentifying information may include the health and genetic history of the birth parents and members of the birth parents' families.
    Mutual Access to Identifying Information
    Court personnel, the division, an attorney assisting in a direct placement adoption, or an agency may provide partial or complete identifying information between a birth parent and adoptive parent when the parties mutually agree to share specific identifying information and make a written request to the court, the division, or the agency.
    A person may petition the court to obtain information relating to an adoption that is in the possession of the court, the division, or any agency or attorney involved in the adoption. The court shall not release identifying information unless the person requesting the information has established a compelling need for disclosure or consent has been obtained.
    An adopted person age 18 or older or a birth parent may file at any time a notarized statement granting consent, withholding consent, or withdrawing a consent previously given for the release of confidential information with the court and the agency, division, or attorney who participated in the adoption. If an adopted person who is 18 or older and the birth mother or birth father have filed consent to the release of confidential information, the court may disclose the information, except identifying information relating to a birth parent who did not grant written consent.
    Access to Original Birth Certificate
    The original birth certificate can be made available only upon a court order or as prescribed by rule.
    Where the Information Can Be Located
    Arizona Confidential Intermediary Program, Arizona Supreme Court
    (Back to Top)

    Consent to Adoption

    To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (742 KB) of this publication.
    Current Through March 2017
    Who Must Consent to an Adoption
    The court shall not grant an adoption of a child unless consent to adopt has been obtained and filed with the court from the following:v
    • The birth or adoptive mother
    • The father if he:
      • Was married to the mother at the time of conception
      • Is the adoptive father
      • Has otherwise established paternity
    • Any guardian of the child or agency that has been given the child to place for adoption
    • The guardian of an adult parent if one has been appointed
    Minority of the parent does not affect competency to consent.
    Consent of Child Being Adopted
    A child age 12 or older must consent to the adoption in open court.
    When Parental Consent is not Needed
    It is not necessary for a person to obtain consent to adopt from the following:
    • An adult parent for whom a guardian is currently appointed
    • A parent whose parental rights have been terminated by court order
    • A parent who has previously consented to an agency's or the division's placement of the child for adoption
    A potential father who fails to file a paternity action and who does not comply with all applicable service requirements within 30 days after completion of service of notice waives his right to be notified of any judicial hearing regarding the child's adoption or the termination of parental rights, and his consent to the adoption or termination is not required.
    When Consent Can Be Executed
    Any consent given sooner than 72 hours after the birth of the child is invalid.
    How Consent Must Be Executed
    All consents to adoption shall be in writing and signed by the person giving the consent and witnessed by two or more credible witnesses who are at least age 18 and who subscribe their names in the presence of the person giving the consent or shall be acknowledged by the person giving consent before a notary public.
    The consent shall designate either of the following:
    • An agency or the division as authorized by the party giving the consent to place the child for adoption
    • The particular person or persons authorized to adopt the child by the person giving the consent
    A consent other than to any agency or the division that does not designate a particular person or persons, or that purports to permit a third person to locate or nominate an adoptive parent, is invalid.
    Revocation of Consent
    Consent is irrevocable unless obtained by fraud, duress, or undue influence.
    (Back to Top)

    Court Jurisdiction and Venue for Adoption Petitions

    To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (322 KB) of this publication.
    Current Through May 2017
    Jurisdiction
    If a petition for adoption is filed prior to a child's 18th birthday, jurisdiction of the superior court continues for purposes of entering an order of adoption of such child even if the child becomes age 18 prior to the final adoption hearing.
    Venue
    The adoption petition may be filed in the court of the county in which one of the following applies:
    • The prospective adoptive parents reside.
    • The child is a ward, i.e., in the care of a governmental agency.
    (Back to Top)

    Home Study Requirements for Prospective Parents in Domestic Adoption

    To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (1155 KB) of this publication.
    Current Through September 2015
    Who Must Be Studied
    The prospective adoptive parents and any adult members of the adoptive parents' household must be included in the study.
    Agency or Person Conducting the Study
    The study and report are completed by the division or agency, or a person or agency designated by the court.
    Qualifications for Adoptive Parents
    Prior to accepting a certification application from a person contemplating adoption of a child, or an application for placement from a person who intends to seek a placement through the entity, an adoption entity shall provide the person with adoption orientation.
    Elements of a Home Study
    The application for certification shall include a financial statement and a physician's statement of the applicant's physical health.
    The prospective adoptive parent and each adult member of the household must certify whether that person is awaiting trial on or has ever been convicted of any of the criminal offenses listed in § 41-1758.07(B)-(C). An officer of the court may obtain a State and Federal criminal records check.
    The investigation and report to the court shall consider all relevant and material facts dealing with the prospective adoptive parents' fitness to adopt children and shall include:
    • A complete social history
    • The applicant's financial condition, moral fitness, religious background, and physical and mental health conditions
    • Any court action for or adjudication of child abuse, abandonment of children, dependency or termination of parent-child relationship
    • All other facts bearing on the issue of the fitness of the prospective adoptive parents
    A social study shall be submitted to the court 10 days before the hearing on the petition to adopt. The social study shall include the following:
    • The child's adjustment to the adoptive parents' home
    • The prospective adoptive parents' suitability to adopt
    • The existing and proposed arrangements regarding the child's custody
    • State and Federal criminal records checks and a central registry records check, including any history of child welfare referrals, of the prospective adoptive parent and each adult who is living permanently with the prospective adoptive parent
      • A valid fingerprint clearance card pursuant to § 41-1758.07 satisfies this requirement. The court may order an additional State and Federal criminal records check for good cause.
    • Any other information that is pertinent to the adoption proceedings
    Grounds for Withholding Approval
    In determining whether to recommend certification of an applicant, the adoption entity shall consider all factors bearing on fitness to adopt, including, but not limited to:
    • The length and stability of the applicant's marital relationship, if applicable
    • The applicant's age and health
    • Past, significant disturbances or events in the applicant's immediate family, such as involuntary job separation; divorce; or death of spouse, child, or parent; and history of child maltreatment
    • The applicant's ability to financially provide for an adoptee
    • The applicant's history of providing financial support to the applicant's other children, including compliance with court-ordered child support obligations
    The certification report shall specifically note any instances in which an applicant has:
    • Been charged with, been convicted of, pled no contest to, or is awaiting trial on charges of an offense listed in Rev. Stat. § 46-141
    • Lost care, custody, control, or parental rights to a child as a result of a dependency action or action to terminate parental rights
    If the report recommends denial of certification, the adoption entity shall send the applicant written notice of the unfavorable recommendation and an explanation of the applicant's right to petition the court for review.
    When Studies Must Be Completed
    Before any prospective adoptive parent may petition to adopt a child, the person shall be certified by the court as acceptable to adopt children. A certificate shall be issued only after an investigation. The investigation and report to the court must be completed within 90 days after the application for certification has been accepted.
    Within 60 days after receiving the investigation report, the court shall certify the applicant as acceptable or unacceptable to adopt children based on the investigation report and recommendations of the report. A certification remains in effect for 18 months from the date of its issuance and may be extended for additional 1-year periods if after review the court finds that there have been no material changes in circumstances that would adversely affect the acceptability of the applicant to adopt.
    Postplacement Study Requirements
    When a child is placed for adoption with a person who is not the child's foster parent, a case manager from the adoption entity shall visit the home within 30 calendar days of placement to:
    • Ensure that the adoptive parent received all available nonidentifying information on the child
    • Address any questions or concerns the adoptive parent or child may have about the adoption process or placement
    • Ensure that the family has addressed the educational needs of a school-age child
    • Ensure that an adoptive parent who works has made appropriate child care arrangements
    Following the initial placement visit, a case manager shall:
    • Visit the adoptive family at least once every 3 months until the adoption is finalized, except when the adoptive child is a child with special needs the visits shall occur at least once a month
    • Interview all members of the adoptive family's household
    • Discuss the following issues with the adoptive parent, if appropriate, in light of the child's age and development:
      • How the presence of the child has changed familial relationships
      • How the child and the extended family view each other
      • The role each family member has assumed regarding child care and discipline
      • How the parent is coping with the needs and demands of the placed child
      • How the child challenges or tests the placement and how the family reacts to these episodes, including any feelings of insecurity about the propriety of the family members' response
      • How the family perceives the child's sense of identity and the need to fill in gaps in the child's history
      • How the child has adjusted to the school environment
    • If developmentally appropriate, privately interview the child about the child's feelings about the adoption and the matters listed above
    Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions
    The requirements for a certification study do not apply if:
    • The prospective adoptive parent is the spouse of the birth or legal parent of the child to be adopted or is an uncle, aunt, adult sibling, grandparent, or great-grandparent of the child by whole or half-blood, or by marriage or adoption.
    • The birth or legal parent is deceased, but at the time of death, the parent had legal and physical custody of the child to be adopted, and the child had resided primarily with the spouse of the birth or legal parent during the 24 months before the death of the parent.
    • The grandparent, great-grandparent, aunt, adult sibling, or uncle is deceased, but at the time of death that person had legal and physical custody of the child to be adopted, and the child had resided primarily with the spouse of the grandparent, great-grandparent, aunt, adult sibling, or uncle during the 24 months before the death of the grandparent, great-grandparent, aunt, adult sibling, or uncle.
    The social study may consist only of the results of the State and Federal criminal records check and the central registry records check if either of the following is true:
    • The prospective adoptive parent is the child's stepparent who has been legally married to the child's birth or legal parent for at least 6 months, and the child has resided with the stepparent and parent for at least 6 months.
    • The prospective adoptive parent is the child's adult sibling, by whole or half blood, or the child's aunt, uncle, grandparent, or great-grandparent, and the child has resided with the prospective adoptive parent for at least 1 year.
    Requirements for Interjurisdictional Placements
    Placements of children for adoption in or from another State are subject to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.
    Foster to Adopt Placements
    If the child being considered for adoption has resided with the prospective adoptive parent for at least 6 months, and the prospective adoptive parent is a foster parent who is licensed by this State, the social study may consist only of the following:
    • The results of a central registry records check
    • A review of any material changes in circumstances that have occurred since the previous license renewal that affect the prospective adoptive parent(s)' ability to adopt the child
    In regulation: When a foster parent plans to adopt a foster child who is age 5 or older, a case worker from the adoption entity shall privately interview the child and all members of the adoptive family household who are age 5 or older about their feelings toward the adoption before the adoption consent is signed.
    When a child is placed for adoption with a person who has been a foster parent to the child, a case manager from the adoption entity shall conduct home visits at least every 2 months from the time legal consent for adoption has been signed until the finalization of adoption. If the adoptive child is a child with special needs, the case manager shall visit at least once a month.
    Links to Resources
    Arizona Department of Economic Security, Division of Children, Youth and Families, Provide Permanency for a Child Through Adoption
    State regulations full text (PDF - 1,127 KB), see Article 66, Adoption Services
    (Back to Top)

    Intestate Inheritance Rights for Adopted Children

    To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (524 KB) of this publication.
    Current Through February 2016
    Birth Parents in Relation to Adopted Person
    The relationship of birth parent and adopted person is completely severed upon entry of the adoption decree, and all legal consequences of the relationship cease to exist, including the right of inheritance.
    Adoption of a child by the spouse of either birth parent has no effect on the relationship between the child and that birth parent or on the right of the child or a descendant of the child to inherit from or through the other birth parent.
    Adoptive Parents in Relation to Adopted Person
    The adopted person is entitled to inherit from and through the adoptive parent, and the adoptive parent is entitled to the same from the adopted person, as though the child were born to the adoptive parents in lawful wedlock.
    Adopted Persons Who Are Not Included in a Will
    A person who is adopted and that person's descendants, if appropriate to the class, are included in class gifts and other terms of relationship in accordance with intestate succession.
    If a testator fails to provide by will for a child who is adopted after the testator executes the will, the omitted child receives a share in the estate as follows:
    • If the testator had no child living when the testator executed the will, an omitted child receives a share in the estate equal in value to what the child would have received if the testator had died intestate, unless the will devised all or substantially all of the estate to the other parent of the omitted child and that other parent survives the testator and is entitled to take under the will.
    • If the testator had one or more children living when the testator executed the will, and the will devised property or an interest in property to one or more of the then-living children, an omitted child is entitled to share in the testator's estate as follows:
      • The portion of the testator's estate in which the omitted child is entitled to share is limited to bequests made to the testator's then-living children under the will.
      • The share of the testator's estate that the child would have received if the testator had included all omitted children with the children to whom devises were made under the will and had given an equal share of the estate to each child.
    However, if it appears from the will that the omission was intentional or that the testator provided for the omitted child by transfer outside the will and the intent that the transfer be in lieu of a testamentary provision is shown by the testator's statements or can be reasonably inferred from the amount of the transfer or other evidence, no share in the estate will be received.
    (Back to Top)

    Postadoption Contact Agreements Between Birth and Adoptive Families

    To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (566 KB) of this publication.
    Current Through November 2014
    What may be included in postadoption contact agreements?
    The parties to a proceeding under this chapter may enter into an agreement regarding communication with an adopted child, the adoptive parents, and a birth parent.
    The agreement shall state that the adoptive parent may terminate contact between the birth parent and the adopted child at any time if the adoptive parent believes that this contact is not in the child's best interests.
    The agreement shall contain a clause stating that the parties agree to the continuing jurisdiction of the court to enforce and modify the agreement and that they understand that failure to comply with the agreement is not grounds for setting aside an adoption decree or for revocation of a written consent to an adoption or relinquishment of parental rights.
    Who may be a party to a postadoption contact agreement?
    The court shall not approve an agreement unless the agreement is approved by the prospective adoptive parents, any birth parent with whom the agreement is being made, and if the child is in the custody of the division or an agency, a representative of the division or agency.
    What is the role of the court in postadoption contact agreements?
    The court shall not approve the agreement unless the court finds that the communication between the adopted child, the adoptive parents, and a birth parent is in the child's best interests. The court may consider the wishes of a child who is at least 12 years old.
    The court retains jurisdiction after the decree of adoption is entered to hear motions brought to enforce or modify an order entered pursuant to this section. Before filing a motion, the party seeking to enforce or modify an order shall make a good faith attempt to mediate the dispute. The court shall not enforce or modify an order unless the party filing the motion has made a good faith attempt to mediate the dispute.
    Are agreements legally enforceable?
    An agreement is not enforceable unless the agreement is in writing and is approved by the court.
    An agreement entered into pursuant to this section is enforceable even if it does not disclose the identity of the parties to the agreement.
    Failure to comply with an agreement is not grounds for setting aside an adoption decree or for revocation of a written consent to an adoption or relinquishment of parental rights.
    How may an agreement be terminated or modified?
    The court may order a modification of an agreement if it finds that the modification is necessary to serve the best interests of the adopted child, and one of the following is true:
    • The modification is agreed to by the adoptive parents.
    • Exceptional circumstances have arisen since the agreement was approved that justify modification of the agreement.
    The court may consider the wishes of a child who is at least age 12 in determining whether to order a modification.
    (Back to Top)

    Providing Adoptive Parents With Information About Adoptees and Their Birth Families

    To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (617 KB) of this publication.
    Current Through
    Agency or Person Preparing the Report

    The division, agency, or person placing the child shall compile the information.
    Contents of Report About the Adopted Person

    The social study shall include the social history, heritage, and mental and physical condition of the child and the child's birth parents.
    Contents of Report About the Birth Family

    The report shall contain detailed, written, nonidentifying information including a health and genetic history and all nonidentifying information about the birth parents or members of a birth parent's family.
    When the Report Is Made

    The report is compiled and provided to the prospective adoptive parents before the child is placed for adoption.
    Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions

    A social study is not required if either of the following is true:
    • The prospective adoptive parent is the child's stepparent who has been legally married to the child's birth or legal parent for at least 1 year, and the child has resided with the stepparent and parent for at least 6 months.
    • The prospective adoptive parent is the child's adult sibling, by whole or half blood, or the child's aunt, uncle, grandparent, or great-grandparent, and the child has resided with the prospective adoptive parent for at least 6 months.
    (Back to Top)

    Regulation of Private Domestic Adoption Expenses

    To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (508 KB) of this publication.
    Current Through March 2017
    Birth Parent Expenses Allowed
    The court may approve any monies paid to a parent of a child placed for adoption or another person for the benefit of the parent or adopted child for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in connection with the adoption. These expenses may include costs for medical and hospital care and examinations for the mother and child, counseling fees, legal fees, agency fees, living expenses, and any other costs the court finds reasonable and necessary.
    A person who wishes to pay the living expenses of a birth parent that exceed $1,000 shall file a motion with the court to permit that payment. A maximum of $1,000 may be advanced for birth parent living expenses without a motion.
    In determining what living expenses are reasonable and necessary, the court shall consider, but not be limited to, the following factors:
    • The current standard of living of the birth parent
    • The standard of living necessary to preserve the health and welfare of the birth parent and the unborn child
    • The existence of alternative financial resources for the birth parent
    Birth Parent Expenses Not Allowed
    Expenses that the court finds to be unauthorized or unreasonable are not allowed.
    Allowable Payments for Arranging Adoption
    An attorney may be paid for services in connection with an adoption but only in amounts that the court approves as reasonable and necessary.
    Allowable Payments for Relinquishing Child
    Except as provided, a person shall not be directly or indirectly compensated for giving or obtaining consent to place a child for adoption.
    Allowable Fees Charged by Department/Agency
    The Department of Economic Security may charge fees for studying and certifying adoption applicants and for providing placement supervision services to cover the costs of providing these services.
    If an investigation is conducted by an officer of the court, the court may charge a reasonable fee. The court may waive, reduce, or defer this fee if the fee would cause a hardship.
    Accounting of Expenses Required by Court
    No fewer than 10 days before an adoption petition is heard, the prospective adoptive parent shall file with the court a verified accounting of all fees, payments, disbursements, or commitments of anything of value made or agreed to be made by the prospective adoptive parent in connection with the adoption. The accounting shall include all living expenses and be accompanied by an affidavit that is signed by the birth mother, either before or after the birth of the child, that verifies that she has been given written notice, she understands that the payment of these expenses does not obligate her to place her child for adoption, and she may give a valid consent to the adoption only after the child's birth without regard to any cost or expense paid by any person in connection with the adoption. This subsection does apply to an agency-placement adoption or to a direct-placement adoption made through an agency.
    The court shall allow, disallow, or allow in part fees, payments, disbursements, and commitments as shown in the accounting. All adoption cases shall be reviewed by the juvenile court for reasonableness and necessity of expenses.
    (Back to Top)

    Rights of Unmarried Fathers, The

    To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (792 KB) of this publication.
    Current Through August 2017
    Legal Definition of 'Father'

    A man is presumed to be the father of a child if:
    • He and the mother of the child were married at any time in the 10 months immediately preceding the birth or the child is born within 10 months after the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity or dissolution of marriage, or after the court enters a decree of legal separation.
    • Genetic testing affirms at least a 95 percent probability of paternity.
    • A birth certificate is signed by the mother and father of a child born out of wedlock.
    • A notarized or witnessed statement is signed by both parents acknowledging paternity or separate substantially similar notarized or witnessed statements are signed by both parents acknowledging paternity.
    Paternity Registry

    A person who is seeking paternity, who wants to receive notice of adoption proceedings, and who is the father or claims to be the father of a child shall file notice of a claim of paternity and of his willingness and intent to support the child to the best of his ability with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics in the Department of Health Services. The Department of Health Services shall provide forms for the purpose of filing the notice of a claim of paternity. Forms shall be made available in the Department of Health Services, the office of the clerk of the Board of Supervisors in each county, every hospital, every licensed child-placing agency, the Department of Economic Security, the Department of Child Safety, sheriff's offices, jails, prisons, Department of Corrections facilities, and Department of Juvenile Corrections facilities.
    The Department of Health Services shall maintain a confidential registry for this purpose.
    Alternate Means to Establish Paternity

    This state or the parent of a child born out of wedlock may establish the paternity of a child by filing one of the following with the clerk of the superior court, the Department of Economic Security, or the Department of Health Services:
    • A notarized or witnessed statement that contains the Social Security numbers of both parents and that is signed by both parents acknowledging paternity or two separate substantially similar notarized or witnessed statements acknowledging paternity
    • An agreement by the parents to be bound by the results of genetic testing, including any genetic test previously accepted by a court of competent jurisdiction, or any combination of genetic testing agreed to by the parties, and an affidavit from a certified laboratory that the tested father has not been excluded
    On filing a document required above, the court shall issue an order establishing paternity, which may amend the name of the child or children, if requested by the parents. The clerk shall transmit a copy of the order to the Department of Health Services and the Department of Economic Security.
    A voluntary acknowledgment of paternity may be filed with the Department of Economic Security, which shall provide a copy to the Department of Health Services. A voluntary acknowledgment of paternity made pursuant to this section is a determination of paternity and has the same force and effect as a superior court judgment.
    Required Information

    The notice of a claim of paternity may be filed before the birth of the child but shall be filed within 30 days after the birth of the child. The notice of a claim of paternity shall be signed by the putative father and shall include his name and address, the name and last known address of the birth mother, and either the birth date of the child or the probable month and year of the expected birth of the child. The putative father who files a notice of a claim of paternity under this section shall notify the Registrar of Vital Statistics of any change of his address.
    Revocation of Claim to Paternity

    The mother or the father may rescind the acknowledgment of paternity within the earlier of:
    • Sixty days after the last signature is affixed to the notarized acknowledgment of paternity that is filed with the Department of Economic Security, the Department of Health Services, or the court
    • The date of a proceeding relating to the child, including a child support proceeding in which the mother or father is a party
    A rescission must be in writing, and a copy of each rescission of paternity shall be filed with the Department of Economic Security. The Department of Economic Security shall mail a copy of the rescission of paternity to the other parent and to the Department of Health Services.
    The mother, father, or child may challenge a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity established in this state at any time after the 60-day period only on the basis of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact, with the burden of proof on the challenger and under which the legal responsibilities, including child support obligations of any signatory arising from the acknowledgment, shall not be suspended during the challenge except for good cause shown. The court shall order the mother, her child or children, and the alleged father to submit to genetic testing. If the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the genetic tests demonstrate that the established father is not the biological father of the child, the court shall vacate the determination of paternity and terminate the obligation of that party to pay ongoing child support.
    Access to Information

    The department shall only respond to written inquiries of the confidential registry that are received from the court, the Department of Child Safety, a licensed adoption agency, or a licensed attorney participating or assisting in a direct placement adoption.
    (Back to Top)

    State Recognition of Intercountry Adoptions Finalized Abroad

    To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (604 KB) of this publication.
    Current Through June 2014
    Effect and Recognition of a Foreign Adoption Decree
    This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.
    Readoption After an Intercountry Adoption
    Before the State Registrar creates and registers a certificate of foreign birth for a parent of an adopted child who has been issued an IR-3 visa and who has completed a readoption process in a court in this State, the parent must provide either of the following:
    • An original State of Arizona certificate of adoption
    • A certified court order of adoption issued by a court in this State and either a birth certificate from the country of the adopted child's birth or any other written documentation that establishes the date and place of the adopted child's birth that has been translated into English
    Application for a U.S. Birth Certificate
    The State Registrar shall create a certificate of foreign birth for an adopted person who shows that he or she:
    • Was born in a foreign country
    • Is not a U.S. citizen
    • Has gone through a completed adoption process in a foreign country before coming to the United States
    • Has an IR-3 stamped passport
    Before the State Registrar creates a certificate of foreign birth, a State court, an adoptive parent, or an adult adopted person must submit the following:
    • An adoption decree or other official document finalizing the adoption from the country of the adopted person's birth that has been translated into English
    • A copy of the passport page showing the IR-3 stamp
    If the adopted person does not have an IR-3 stamped passport, before the State Registrar creates a certificate, an adoptive parent or an adult adopted person must submit either:
    • An original State of Arizona certificate of adoption
    • A certified court order of adoption issued by a court in this State and either a birth certificate from the country of the adopted person's birth or any other written documentation that establishes the date and place of the adopted person's birth that has been translated into English
    • If the person was not adopted in this State, a court order issued in this State that recognizes the adoption pursuant to § 36-336
    The State Registrar shall not create a State of Arizona certificate of foreign birth for an adopted person who was born in a foreign country and who was a U.S. citizen at the time of birth. The State Registrar shall inform the adoptive parents or the adult adopted person that a birth certificate may be obtained through the U.S. Department of State.
    A State of Arizona certificate of foreign birth for an adopted person must show the country of birth and state that the certificate is not evidence of U.S. citizenship for the person for whom it is issued.
    (Back to Top)

    Unregulated Custody Transfers of Adopted Children

    To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (435 KB) of this publication.
    Current Through October 2017
    Definitions
    This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.
    Prohibited or Required Actions Regarding Custody
    A parent of a minor may delegate to another person, by a properly executed power of attorney, any powers he or she may have regarding care, custody, or property of the minor, except power to consent to marriage or adoption of the minor, for a period not exceeding 6 months.
    A person who is not currently certified as acceptable to adopt but who has custody of a child who the person intends to adopt shall petition the court for an order permitting that person to keep custody of the child pending certification. The person shall file the petition no later than 5 days after the person obtains custody of the child. The court shall hold a hearing within 10 days after the person files the petition. The child shall attend the hearing, except for good cause shown. At the hearing, the burden of proof is on the petitioner to show that permitting custody is in the child's best interests. The court may permit the petitioner to have custody or it may order that custody be given to some other person or agency, as it deems to be in the child's best interests. If the court permits the person to continue to have custody of the child, the court shall order the investigation for preadoption certification and report as required by § 8-105 to continue. If an application for certification has not been filed before the hearing, the court shall order that an application for certification be filed within 30 days after the hearing date.
    If a petition is not filed by the person intending to adopt a child, the division, an agency, or any other interested person may petition the court for such a hearing. On the filing of a petition the court shall set the matter for hearing and issue its order to the person having custody of the child to appear before it to show cause why custody should not be denied.
    Exceptions
    A custody petition or hearing is not required in any of the following cases:
    • The person who intends to adopt the child is the spouse of a birth parent of the child.
    • The person who intends to adopt the child or one of these persons is an uncle, aunt, adult sibling, grandparent, or great-grandparent of the child of the whole or half-blood or by marriage.
    • The person who intends to adopt the child is currently certified as acceptable to adopt the child.
    • Custody of the child has been given or is to be given to an agency, the Department of Child Safety, or a licensed or certified foster home.
    • The person who intends to adopt the child is currently the court-appointed guardian of the child.
    Consequences
    This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.
    (Back to Top)

    Use of Advertising and Facilitators in Adoptive Placements

    To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (476 KB) of this publication.
    Current Through August 2015
    Use of Advertisement
    This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.
    Use of Intermediaries/Facilitators
    Except as provided below, a person shall not do any of the following unless the person is employed or engaged by and acting on behalf of a licensed adoption agency:
    • Solicit or accept employment or engagement, for compensation, by or on behalf of a parent or guardian for assistance in the placement of a child for adoption
    • Solicit or accept employment or engagement, for compensation, by or on behalf of any person to locate or obtain a child for adoption
    An attorney licensed to practice law in this State may assist and participate in direct placement adoptions and may receive compensation to the extent the court finds reasonable, if the person granting consent to the adoption has chosen a specific adopting parent without prior involvement of the attorney or if the choice is made only from among persons currently certified by the court as acceptable to adopt children.
    Before a petition to adopt is granted, an attorney participating or assisting in the direct placement or adoption shall file an affidavit stating that there has been compliance with the above requirements.
    An attorney may be paid for the attorney's services in connection with the adoption for only the amount the court approves as being reasonable and necessary.
    (Back to Top)

    Who May Adopt, Be Adopted, or Place a Child for Adoption

    To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (543 KB) of this publication.
    Current Through December 2015
    Who May Adopt
    Any adult resident of the State, whether married, unmarried, or legally separated, is eligible to adopt. A husband and wife may jointly adopt.
    The division or adoption agency shall place a child in an adoptive home that best meets the safety, social, emotional, and physical and mental health needs of the child. Other relevant factors for consideration, in no order of preference, shall include:
    • The marital status, and length and stability of the marital relationship of the prospective adoptive parents
    • Placement with the child's siblings
    • Established relationships between the child and the prospective adoptive family, including placement with a grandparent or another member of the child's extended family including a person or foster parent who has a significant relationship with the child
    • The prospective adoptive family's ability to meet the child's safety, social, emotional, and physical and mental health needs and the ability to financially provide for the child
    • The wishes of the child who is age 12 or older
    • The wishes of the child's birth parents, unless the rights of the parent have been terminated or the court has established a case plan of severance and adoption
    • The availability of relatives, the child's current or former foster parents, or other significant persons to provide support to the prospective adoptive family and child
    If all relevant factors are equal and the choice is between a married man and woman certified to adopt and a single adult certified to adopt, placement preference shall be with a married man and woman.
    Who May Be Adopted
    The following persons may be adopted:
    • A child
    • A foreign-born person age 21 or younger who is not an illegal alien
    A person to be adopted must be present within the State at the time the petition is filed.
    Who May Place a Child for Adoption
    A child may be placed as follows:
    • The child's birth or adoptive parent may consent to a direct placement or an agency placement.
    • A licensed child-placing agency or the Department of Child Safety may handle a direct placement or an agency placement.
    • A State-licensed attorney may handle direct placements.

     https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/laws-policies/state/?CWIGFunctionsaction=statestatutes:main.getResults

    Our Last Visits With Our Daughter

    Please Make Note

    Please make note that I, Jessica Lynn Hepner the creator of What Every Parent Should Know, is not giving legal advice. I am not a lawyer. I am giving you knowledge via first hand experiences.
    JESSICA LYNN HEPNER. Powered by Blogger.

    About Me

    My Photo
    Jessica Lynn Hepner
    View my complete profile

    Featured Post

    Guide To Child Protection Services

    WHAT EVERY PARENT SHOULD KNOW INFORMATION ALL PARENTS NEED TO KNOW Thursday, November 1, 2012 Guide to CPS Guide to CPS Child Protective Se...

    Google+ Followers

    Total Pageviews

    Search This Blog

    Search This Blog

    Labels

    Translate

    Save A Life by Angie Kassabie

    Save A Life by Angie Kassabie
    I URGE ALL MY FRIENDS TO READ & SHARE THIS; YOU COULD SAVE A LOVED ONES LIFE BY KNOWING THIS SIMPLE INFORMATION!!! Stroke has a new indicator! They say if you forward this to ten people, you stand a chance of saving one life. Will you send this along? Blood Clots/Stroke - They Now Have a Fourth Indicator, the Tongue: During a BBQ, a woman stumbled and took a little fall - she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) ...she said she had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes. They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken up, Jane went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening. Jane's husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital - (at 6:00 PM Jane passed away.) She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Jane would be with us today. Some don't die. They end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead. It only takes a minute to read this. A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke...totally. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough. >>RECOGNIZING A STROKE<< Thank God for the sense to remember the '3' steps, STR. Read and Learn! Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke. Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions: S *Ask the individual to SMILE. T *Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently) (i.e. Chicken Soup) R *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS. If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency number immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher. New Sign of a Stroke -------- Stick out Your Tongue NOTE: Another 'sign' of a stroke is this: Ask the person to 'stick' out his tongue. If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other that is also an indication of a stroke. A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people; you can bet that at least one life will be saved. I have done my part. Will you?

    Popular Posts

    Edit here

    call Veteran Crisis @ 1-800-273-8255 press 1 or you can private/confidential chat to VeteransCrisisLine.net or text to 838255... Veterans Crisis Line | Hotline, Online Chat & Text Free, confidential support for Veterans in crisis and... VETERANSCRISISLINE.NET http://veteranscrisisline.net/

    Recent Posts

    Labels