Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Guide to The Dependency Court

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Getting From Here To There

   A Guide to The Dependency Court For

        Children and Youth in Foster Care

                                    January 2007

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                                                Dear Youth in Foster Care,

                                                   This Guide has been reviewed by youth in foster care for your benefit. We want you

                                                to   be   involved!   No   one   can   stress   how   important   it   is   for   you   to   be   an   active

                                                participant in your case.

                                                   You want a say so in your life, this is how you achieve it. You have a voice, use it.

                                                   Attending court hearings and using all of the system in the proper way to your

                                                advantage   gives   you   a   voice.   By   being   an   active   participant   in   your   life,   and   the

                                                decisions in your life you’ll be able to know what’s happening and who decides what.

                                                It will give you the power to enhance your life in care.

                                                    The Guide will help you to understand why decisions are made, how they are

                                                made, and who they are made by. It will also help you to understand where and when

                                                your voice matters and who can express it appropriately.

                                                   Please,   take   the   time   to   understand   what’s   going   on   in   your   life   -   it   makes   the

                                                changes easier, I know from experience. Don’t be afraid to speak up. Don’t be afraid

                                                to take action, and when you feel so helpless because it feels like others are making

                                                all your decisions - know that you get to have a say as well. When things are rough,

                                                it   helps   to   understand   what   is   going   on.   You   can’t   complain   if   you’re   not   doing

                                                everything in YOUR power to understand why things are the way they are, and doing

                                                what you can.

                                                Let your voice be heard, pay attention

                                                and be pro-active.

                                                Shannon Clayton

Shannon and Lula                                Former Foster Youth

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                             Table of Contents                                                                                                           Should I go to court or to school? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13

                                                                                                                                                         What do I need to do to prepare for court?  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13

The Court and You.  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1                             What should I wear?  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13

Dependency Court is About Your. Be Involved. Speak Up.  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2                                                       How do I get to court?  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13

                                                                                                                                                         How should I act in court?  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14

Child Protective Services, The Juvenile Court and Dependent Children  . . .4                                                                             When can I, or should I, speak directly to the judge?

                                                                                                                                                         How do I address the judge?  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14

The Beginning – Child Protective Services  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

                                                                                                                                                         Will I ever be able to speak to the judge alone?   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14

The Middle – The Juvenile Dependency Court                      . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

                                                                                                                                                         What is the difference between “confidential” and “privileged” information?  . . . . .14

Dependency Court Hearings - Flow Chart  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

                                                                                                                                                         What information about my case can I share with my friends?   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14

The Ending – Options and Goals for Leaving Foster Care   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

                                                                                                                                                         What should I do if someone else tells other people about my family or me?                                           . . .14

                                                                                                                                                         What should I expect others to tell me about upcoming court hearings?  . . . . . . . .15

Frequently Asked Questions:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

                                                                                                                                                         Can anyone come to a Dependency Hearing who wants to? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

When can I go home?   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

                                                                                                                                                         What does the Foster Care Review Board do?  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15

What happens if I cannot go home?  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

                                                                                                                                                         What can I do if I do not agree with the Judge’s decisions?  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16

Will I have an adult who will help me in court?  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

                                                                                                                                                         How does an “appeal” work and how long does it take for an appeal?  . . . . . . . . .16

What do attorneys do?  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

                                                                                                                                                         What can I do if I believe the place where I am living or

If I have an attorney, what will the attorney do for me?  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

                                                                                                                                                         where I am being sent is not safe for me?  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16

If I have a Guardian ad Litem (GAL),

                                                                                                                                                         I think I may be Native American. Should I tell someone?  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

what will my Guardian ad Litem do for me?   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11

                                                                                                                                                         What happens if I get into trouble with the law?  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16

Will I have an attorney and a Guardian ad Litem?  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11

                                                                                                                                                         When can I get sent to detention? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17

Who are CASAs and what does a CASA do?   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11

Who else will have an attorney in my case?                   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12

                                                                                                                                                         Glossary of Terms  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18

When and how often should I speak with my attorney or GAL?   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12


What is a case plan?  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

                                                                                                                                                         Contact Information In My Case . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22

What is a permanent plan?   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12

When can I go to my own court hearings? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13

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                    The Court and You

   If   you   are   in   foster   care,   it   is   important   for   you   to   know how  Judges   in   the

Dependency Court will make decisions about your life and your future. Use this Guide

to learn what you need to know.

   While each case is different, the Guide will give you a road map to the Dependency

Court. You will learn about your rights and responsibilities, what happens in Court,

who is there to help you, and what the rules are.

   Most importantly, the Guide will tell you when and how to speak up and share your

thoughts, your feelings and your goals with the Judges in Court and with the adults

who are assigned to help you.

   If you have questions, ASK. Your CPS case manager, attorney, Guardian ad Litem,

CASA and Judge are all there to help you.


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Dependency Court is About YOU.                                                                                     It’s Your Voice. It’s Your Life.

              Be Involved. Speak Up.                                                                                                   It’s Your Future.

You Have The Right To:                                                                                           You Should:

• Be safe wherever you are living. If something frightens you or you do not feel safe, you                       • Tell your CPS case manager, CASA, attorney and Guardian ad Litem (GAL) right

  should tell your case manager, CASA, attorney or Guardian ad Litem (GAL) right away.                             away if something happens that frightens you.

• Be treated with respect and dignity.                                                                           • Keep your attorney, GAL, CASA and CPS case manager informed about what is

• Have your wishes and interests heard and considered.                                                             happening in your life – especially the good things.

• Talk to and tell your CPS case manager what you want and need.                                                 • Tell your attorney, GAL, CASA and CPS case manager what you want to have

• Know what is happening in your dependency case.                                                                  happen in your case, and what you want the Judge to know and to do.

• Ask to attend any court hearing.                                                                               • Ask your attorney, GAL, CASA and CPS case manager for advice when you don’t

• Ask to speak in court to the Judge.                                                                              understand what is going on, and when you do not know what to do.

• Have an attorney or GAL appointed to represent you free of charge.                                             • Actively participate in creating your case plan and tasks.

• Know how to contact your attorney or GAL.                                                                      • Follow the case plan tasks that are set out for you and ask questions if you don’t

• Talk to your attorney or GAL and tell them what you want to have happen in your case.                            understand or disagree.

• Have your attorney argue for what you want, even if your attorney does not                                     • Attend Court Hearings and Foster Care Review Board meetings whenever you can.

  believe that what you want is best for you.

• Receive copies of your case plan.

• Know when Court Report and Review Hearings are going to be held if you are age

  12 or older.

• Attend and participate in Court Report and Review Hearings if you are age 12 or older.

• Participate in your case review by the Foster Care Review Board (FCRB) in person,

  by phone or by sending them information in writing.

• Be taken to your court hearings and to your FCRB meetings.

• Agree, or refuse to agree, to your adoption if you are age 12 or older.

• Be treated by the Court just like any other parent, if you are a teen parent and in

  foster care.

• Have contact and visits with your family unless the Judge does not allow it.

• Receive mail.

• Receive needed social, medical, mental health and educational services which you

  need to live a safe and healthy life.

• Express and practice your religious / spiritual beliefs and culture.

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            Child Protective Services,                                                                                      are not enough to keep the child safe at home and why neither parent can care for

                                                                                                                            the child. The Petition must go to the Judge within a few days of the child being

              The Juvenile Court and                                                                                        moved from his or her home.

                   Dependent Children.                                                                                         Sometimes a Dependency Petition is given to the Court by someone other than CPS.

                                                                                                                            This may happen when a relative is very concerned about their grandchild, niece or

           Bolded words in the text are defined in the glossary, pages 18-21                                                nephew, and feels the court must get involved to protect the child, or when a Guardian

                                                                                                                            ad Litem (GAL) is representing a child and believes the child’s home situation is not

The Beginning – Child Protective Services                                                                                   safe. This kind of dependency petition is referred to as a private dependency petition.

   Every year, the state of Arizona receives thousands of phone calls to the child abuse

hotline from people who are concerned about the safety of children. The people who                                          The Middle – The Juvenile Dependency Court

check out these concerns are Child Protective Services (CPS) investigators.                                                    Court hearings are important meetings where everyone comes together to give

                                                                                                                            the Judge information to make decisions about the family. There are different kinds

CPS investigates family problems like:                                                                                      of hearings for different decisions that need to be made. All cases are different, and

   • When children are being hurt by their parents,                                                                         not all families go through all hearings.

   • When children are not being protected by their parents,

   • When children are left alone for a long time or left in unsafe situations, (sometimes                                    Look at the Flow Chart (page 6) to follow when the court hearings happen.

     due to their parent’s death or when their parent is locked up in a jail or prison),

   • When   parents   do   not   provide   a   safe   home   (sometimes   because   of   serious                               Once the court receives the Dependency Petition, the Judge must read it right away

     alcohol, illegal drugs or mental health problems),                                                                     and decide if the child would be safe or not if living at home.

   • When parents do not provide critical medical care or will not feed their children,

     or                                                                                                                        If the judge gets the dependency petition and decides that the home is not safe for

   • When parents will not let their children live with them.                                                               the child, the Judge will permit the child to stay in foster care until the first court hearing.

   Most of the time, the CPS investigator is able to help the family with their problems                                      The first hearing is held a few days later and is called a Preliminary Protective

and keep children safe in their homes. But sometimes children must be moved from                                            Hearing or PPH. All parents are invited to this hearing, but some may not come.

their home to keep them safe.                                                                                               Sometimes one or both parents cannot be found in time for the hearing.

   If a child1  is moved from his home by CPS, CPS will find a place for the child to live.                                   At the P PH, the Judge will ask the parents if they agree with CPS about where the

This is called foster care and may be with a relative or a family the child knows, with                                     child will live and if they agree to get help for their problems. If the parents, CPS and

a foster family or in a larger home with other children. CPS must tell the parents right                                    the   Judge   agree,   the   child   will   be   made   a  ward   of   the   court  –  also   called   a

away that the child is in foster care and must return the child to his parents within a                                     dependent   child. This   usually   means   the   child   will   stay   in   foster   care   while   the

few days or get the Dependency Court involved.                 If CPS does not return the child                             parents work with CPS to solve their problems. The Judge will continue to watch over

back to his parents, CPS must ask the Dependency Court to agree to keep the child                                           what happens to and for the child.

in foster care. They do this by giving a Dependency Petition to the Court.

                                                                                                                               If the parents do not go to the PPH, the Judge will have everyone come back in a few

   A Dependency Petition is a written report to the Court which tells why a child is                                        weeks to hear from the parents. This is called the Initial Dependency Hearing. Just

not safe in the home, what CPS tried to do to help make things safe, why those things                                       like at a PPH, if the parents, CPS and the Judge agree, the child will remain a ward of

                                                                                                                            the court (a dependent child) and the child will probably stay in foster care while the

                                                                                                                            parents work with CPS to solve their problems. The Judge will continue to watch over

. The Guide refers to a “child”, but oftentimes there is more than one child in a family and your brothers and sisters may also be


involved in the CPS case and court action.                                                                                  what happens to and for the child.

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       Dependency Court Hearings                                                                                                   If the parents do not agree with CPS and want their child back home, then there

                                                                                                                                will be other hearings that happen within the next few months.

                                   CPS Investigates and                                                                            First, there will be a hearing so the Judge can decide whether the child needs to be

                               Dependency Petition Filed                                                                        protected      even    if  the   parents    do   not   agree.    This   is  called   a  Dependency

                                                                                                                                Adjudication Hearing. At this hearing, the Judge hears from the parents, CPS and

                                                                                                                                other people (witnesses) who tell their side of the family story. It is the Judge’s job to

                                                                                                                                listen to everyone and decide what to do to keep the child safe. If the Judge decides

           Preliminary                    If parent does not             Initial Dependency Hearing                             the home is safe, the Judge will tell CPS to take the child back home, or the Judge can

    Protective Hearing (PPH)                 come to PPH                (no more than 21 days form                              decide that the parents need help before the child can go back home and be safe.

(no more than 5-7 days from                                            parents getting the petition)


                                                                                                                                   If the Judge decides that the parents need help before they can have their child back

                                                                                                                                home, there will be another hearing called a Dependency Disposition Hearing. At this

                                                                                                                                hearing,   the   Judge   decides   if   the   child   should   stay   living   where   he   or   she   is,   or   live

                                  Dependency Adjudication Hearing

                               (no more than 90 days from petition)                                                             somewhere   else,   while   the   family   works   on   getting   help.   Sometimes   the   Adjudication

                                                                                                                                Hearing and the Disposition Hearing happen at the same time.

                                   Dependency Disposition Hearing                                                                  When the Judge makes a decision to keep

  Case dismissed;            (no more than 30 days from adjudication)                                                           watch     over   the  child,   CPS  tries   to  work

  child goes home                                                                                                               together   with   the   family   to   fix   the   family            Report   and   Review  Hearings

                                                                                                                                problems and make the home safe for the                       are a special time when the Judge

                                     Report and Review Hearing

                                   (no less than every six months)                                                              child.  Until  the  Judge  decides  the  home  is             can hear directly from you. If you

                                                                                                                                safe, the child will live in foster care and will             are age 12 or older, you have the

                                                                                                                                get   medical   and   dental   care,   go   to   school       right   to   know   about   when   these

                                         Permanency Hearing                                                                     and get other help (such as counseling). The                  court hearings are going to happen

                              (no more than 12 months from removal                                                              Judge continues to watch over the case and                    and  to  take  part  in  the  hearings.

                                                                                                                                everyone comes to court again for a Report                    These hearings are good times for

                                                                                                                                and Review  Hearing which usually takes                       you to tell the Judge how you are

                                                                                                                                place    every   six   months.     Sometimes      the         doing,   if   everything   is   okay   and

       Termination of                                                           Alternative Planned                             Judge     will  bring   everyone     back   together          what you think should happen.               If

                                         Guardianship Hearing                    Permanent Living

       Parental Rights                                                                                                          sooner to find out what is happening.                         you cannot go to a hearing, make


                                                                                                                                                                                              sure   to   tell   your   attorney,   GAL,

                                                                                                                                   The    Judge     will  watch    over   the   child         CASA and CPS case manager what

      Adoption Hearing                   Case dismissed; child                                                                  through   Report     and   Review   Hearings   as             you want the Judge to know. You

                                          lives with guardian                                                                   long    as   the  child   is  in  foster  care   and          can also write a letter or note to

                                                                      Child may live             Court                          sometimes   even   when   a   child   goes   back             the     Judge.    [See    the   Frequently

                                                                      independently        jurisdiction ends                    home, to make sure the child is still okay.                   Asked      Questions      section     of  this

                                                                        at age 17+             at age 18                                                                                      Guide for more information about

Case dismissed; child lives with

      new adoptive family                                                         CPS services                                     At   any    court   hearing,    the  Judge     can         your participation in court.}

                                                                                   continue to                                  return the child home if it is safe.

                                   *A day does not include weekends and holidays.    age 2 1

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The Ending - Options and Goals for Leaving Foster Care                                                                            Sometimes, adoption is not what’s best

   CPS and the parents have about one year to work together before the next big                                                or   possible   for   a   child.   In   that   case,   the          If you are age 12 and older,

decision     must    be  made.     After  a  year,   there   will  be  a Permanency          Planning                          Judge     may    decide    that   a  child   should           the Judge will ask you whether

Hearing. At this hearing the Judge again listens to the parents, CPS and others talk                                           permanently   live   with   a   relative,   a   family        you agree or do not agree to be

about what everyone is doing to fix the family problems. The decision as to what to                                            friend or the child’s foster family until the                 adopted by a particular family.

do next is often very hard to make so the Judge will require CPS to suggest a good                                             child is at least 18 years old.        This would

long-term plan to make sure the child can be healthy and safe.                                                                 require   another   type   of   hearing   called   a

                                                                                                                               Guardianship Hearing. If the Judge agrees to a guardianship, the family the child is

   The Judge will decide how soon the child can go back home, which will depend on                                             with will make all the decisions for the child even though the rights of the child’s birth

how well the parents are doing with solving                                                                                    parents have not ended. If everyone agrees, the child could continue to have contact

their problems. If the Judge decides it is not                                                                                 with   the   birth   parents   and   other   family   members   even   after   the   guardianship   is

safe   for   the   child   to   go   back   home,   the             The     Permanency          Planning                       approved. Contact with the birth parents and other family members may be sharing

Judge      will   tell  CPS    to   find    another           Hearing is another good time to                                  letters, pictures or visits.

permanent home for the child. This could                      make       sure    that   your     voice    is

be      living   with     relatives    or    friends          heard. If you want to attend this                                   When   the   child   cannot   go   back   home,   and   adoption   or   guardianship   are   not

permanently, or being adopted by another                      hearing,       ask.   And     be   sure     to                   possible, the child might stay in foster care until he is at least 18 years old. In this case,

family. Sometimes, a child will stay in foster                speak        with     your      CPS     case                     the Judge may agree to a case plan called, Alternative Planned Permanent Living

care until they are at least 18 years old.                    manager,        your     attorney,      your                     Arrangement,  where   the   child   continues   to   go   to   school,   get   services   and   skills

                                                              Guardian         ad   Litem     and     your                     training to help learn what he or she needs to know  about being an adult, before

   Depending on the decision of the Judge,                    CASA      before       the    hearing      to                    leaving foster care. If this plan is approved, the Judge continues to review the case and

other hearings may be needed. If the Judge                    make       sure    your    thoughts      and                     watch out for the child at Report and Review Hearings.

decides     a   child   should    be   adopted     by         wishes       about     your    future     are

another      family,   there   must    be   a   court         shared with the Judge.                                              By law, a child becomes an adult when he or she reaches the age of 18. At that time,

hearing first to decide whether the parents                                                                                    the Judge cannot make any more decisions about the child (young adult) in foster

will   no   longer   be   able   to   make   decisions                                                                         care. But, these young adults can choose to stay in foster care to receive help with

about   where   the   child   will   live   and   how   to   take   care   of   the   child.   This   is   called   a          services and life decisions until they are 21 or they can choose to leave foster care

Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) Hearing. If the Judge does end the parents’                                               when   they  turn   18  or   older.  (Note:   If   the   young   adult   leaves   foster   care   and   then

rights, it is CPS’ job to make sure that the child finds a good, forever, adoptive family.                                     decides that he or she really does need the help and support that CPS can provide,

Many times, the child is adopted by a relative or his or her foster parent. There are                                          they can return to CPS for help until they are 21 years old. Former foster children who

many   steps   to   a   child   being   adopted;   however,   the   final   step   is   the  Adoption                          want   to   return   for   help   from   CPS  through   the   independent   living   program   must

Hearing where   the   Judge   decides   that   the   child   will   be   placed   with   the   adoptive                        contact CPS directly. The court is not involved.)

family   forever.   At   this   hearing,   the   Judge   must   ask   a   child   who   is   age   12   or   older

whether they want to be adopted by the family. If the Judge and child agree, then the                                             Report and Review Hearings continue throughout the time a child is under the age

adoption is approved.                                                                                                          of 18 and stays in foster care.

   Sometimes the child can have contact with his or her birth parents and other family                                            After a child is safe at home, in an adoptive home, in a Guardian’s home or has

members after the child is adopted. To make this decision, the Judge may ask the                                               turned 18, the Dependency case is closed and no more court hearings are held.

child their opinion, especially if the child is at least 12 years old. Contact with the birth

parents and other family may be sharing letters, pictures or visits.

   When an adoption is approved, the Judge and CPS are no longer involved with the

child and the child’s new adoptive family.

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       Frequently Asked Questions                                                                                      IF I HAVE AN ATTORNEY, WHAT WILL THE ATTORNEY DO FOR ME?

                                                                                                                          If the court appoints an attorney for you, that attorney will “represent” you just the

                                                                                                                       same as all the other attorneys represent their clients. Your attorney will tell the Judge

WHEN CAN I GO HOME?                                                                                                    what   you   want   to   have   happen   with   regard   to   such   issues   as:   “Can   I   go   home?”

   At any of the court hearings, the Judge can allow you to go home if your parents                                    “When can I go home?” “Where do I want to live until I can go home?” “How often

have done what they needed to do to provide you a safe home.                                                           do I want to see my parents, sisters and brothers?” and “What kind of help do I need

   Many children leave foster care within a few months. If you are in foster care for                                  to deal with what is going on in my life?”         Your attorney will give the Judge all the

one year, the Judge will decide at a Permanency Planning Hearing whether returning                                     reasons   why   the   Judge   should   agree   with   you.   Your   attorney   may   give   the   Judge

you to your parents’ home is likely to happen at all. The decision will be made by                                     written   information,   or   may   ask   other   people   (witnesses)   to   tell   the   Judge   their

looking at whether your parents have done the things they needed to do to give you                                     opinions, to help the Judge decide. Your attorney may ask the Judge to listen to what

a safe home. Even if the Judge decides that returning home is still a good plan for                                    you have to say. Your attorney will explain the entire court process to you, tell you

you, going home may not happen right away. Your parents may still need to do some                                      when hearings are set, what could happen at the hearing, and answer any questions

things that the Judge has required. The Judge will review your case at least every six                                 you may have about what is going on in your case. Your attorney will work to make

months to make sure everyone is doing what they need to do to get you home.                                            sure that you get what you need to be safe and healthy while you are in foster care.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I CANNOT GO HOME?                                                                                      IF I HAVE A GUARDIAN AD LITEM (GAL), WHAT WILL MY

   If the Judge decides at a Permanency Planning Hearing that you can never safely                                     GUARDIAN AD LITEM DO FOR ME?

return home to your parents, then you will continue living in foster care until there is                                  A GAL’s job is to tell the Judge what the GAL believes is best for you. To do that, the

another plan for you that will give you a safe home. The Judge is responsible to make                                  GAL will meet with you to understand your needs. The GAL will look at your family’s

sure this happens. The plan could be: Adoption, Guardianship or Independent Living                                     case record and also do their own investigation to help decide what would be best for

(staying in foster care until you are 18 years of age or older.)                                                       you. Your GAL will work to make sure that you get what you need to be safe and

                                                                                                                       healthy while you are in foster care.


   Yes. You will have either an attorney or Guardian ad Litem (GAL). You may have                                      WILL I HAVE AN ATTORNEY AND A GUARDIAN AD LITEM (GAL)?

both. Also, you will have a CPS case manager and maybe a Court Appointed Special                                          No,   not   always.   Because   an   attorney’s   job   is   to   represent   what   you   want,   an

Advocate (CASA).                                                                                                       attorney is usually appointed for a child who is old enough to be able to say what they

                                                                                                                       want. For very young children, a GAL is usually appointed to tell the Judge what is

WHAT DO ATTORNEYS DO?                                                                                                  best for the child. However, an older child may have an attorney to tell the Judge what

   “Attorneys” or “Lawyers” are specially trained people who give advice and represent                                 the child wants and a GAL to tell the Judge what the GAL thinks is best for the child.

clients, such as parents and children in dependency court. The attorney’s job is always                                The Judge will decide if you need both. The Judge may also decide to appoint a CASA

to tell the Judge what their client wants and why the Judge should agree with their client.                            for you.

   (Lawyer   is   another   name   for   an   attorney.   We   have   used   the   term   “attorney”

throughout this Guide.)                                                                                                WHO ARE CASAS AND WHAT DOES A CASA DO?

                                                                                                                          Court   Appointed     Special   Advocates    [CASAs]    are  volunteers   who    are  specially

                                                                                                                       trained to “advocate” (look out) for you and advocate for everything you need to be

                                                                                                                       safe and healthy. Not all children have a CASA. If a judge appoints a CASA for you,

                                                                                                                       your CASA will meet with you often and spend time getting to know you. Your CASA

                                                                                                                       will   look   at   all   the   records,   do   their   own   investigation   of   your   needs,   attend   all

                                                                                                                       meetings and your court hearings, and write a report which goes directly to the Judge

                                                                                                                       before each court hearing. The Judge will listen very carefully to the CASA’s opinions

                                                                                                                       and recommendations.

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WHO ELSE WILL HAVE AN ATTORNEY IN MY CASE?                                                                             WHEN CAN I GO TO MY OWN COURT HEARINGS?

   An attorney will be appointed by the Judge to represent your mother and your                                           Ask your attorney or GAL if you can go to any of the hearings.

father in the dependency case. CPS case managers will have their own attorney, who                                        By law, children 12 and over must be told ahead of time when Report and Review

works for the state of Arizona to help them.                                                                           Hearings are scheduled and are allowed to go to these hearings.

                                                                                                                          Many Judges will allow you to attend other hearings whenever you want to. Other

WHEN AND HOW OFTEN SHOULD I SPEAK WITH MY                                                                              Judges require you to get their permission first. Most Judges will ask you to leave a

ATTORNEY OR GAL?                                                                                                       hearing if they believe something will happen in court that will upset you or put you

   Your attorney or your GAL should contact you as soon as they are told by the Judge                                  in danger.

that you are their client. That will be before the first hearing (the Preliminary Protective

Hearing).   The   attorney  or   GAL   will   explain   to   you   what   “dependency”   means   and                   SHOULD I GO TO COURT OR TO SCHOOL?

about the court process. Your attorney and/or GAL will ask you what you want to have                                      This may not be an easy decision for you. Going to school is important to keep up

happen and what you want the Judge to know. Your attorney and/or GAL will also                                         with your work. On the other hand, you may feel that you are the only person who

explain their own job, what is confidential (private among the people involved in the                                  can tell the Judge what you want him or her to know - and you will always want to

case)   about   the   hearing   and   what   is  privileged  (private   between   you   and   your                     know   what   is   going   on   in   your   case.   It   is   a   good   idea   to   discuss   each   upcoming

attorney). Your attorney and/or your GAL will tell you how you can contact them. You                                   hearing with your attorney and/or GAL. You can decide together whether it is more

should   be   sure   that   the   name   and   phone   number   of   your   attorney   and   GAL   are                 important for you to be at court or at school. Ultimately, if you are 12 or older, it is

written down for you.                                                                                                  your decision.

   Your attorney and/or GAL should contact you before and after every hearing. It is                                      Your attorney or GAL can ask the Judge to hold the hearing in the morning or late

your attorney and/or GAL’s job to let you know when a hearing is coming up, and                                        afternoon so that you miss as little school as possible. There may also be some days

what could happen at that hearing. Your attorney and/or GAL will ask you what you                                      when your attendance at school is more important than on other days (such as test

want the Judge to know at the hearing and what you want to have happen.                                                day or field trip), and your attorney or GAL may be able to change the hearing date

   You may contact (call on the phone, email or write) your attorney and/or GAL whenever                               to a day when it is easier for you to miss school.

you want to. You should contact your attorney and/or GAL whenever something major is

bothering you or you don’t understand something important that has happened.                                           WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO PREPARE FOR COURT?

                                                                                                                          You don’t need to do anything special to prepare to go to court. However, it may

WHAT IS A CASE PLAN?                                                                                                   be a good idea to plan what you want to say to the Judge - maybe even write some

   The case plan is in writing and tells about the problems in the family (the reasons                                 notes.   You   may   also   want   to   take   some   things   with   you   to   court  -  perhaps   some

for court involvement), what is needed to help fix those problems, what each person                                    pictures of yourself or some school papers you got a good grade on, so that the Judge

must do to fix the problems, and when those things should be done. The case plan is                                    can get to know you better. If you are worried about remembering what you want to

written by the CPS case manager working with your parents, you, the attorneys, GALs,                                   say to the Judge, you may want to write a letter to give or send to the Judge.

the CASA and other people working with you and your family. You and all of these

people will look over the plan carefully and sign it if you agree with it. The case plan is                            WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?

given to the Judge. The Judge can approve it or change it. After the Judge approves the                                   Appropriate clothes for court would be the same clothes you would wear for any important

plan, your parents, CPS and you need to follow it. The case plan must be reviewed by                                   occasion where you want to make a good impression. What not to wear – It is not a good

the Judge regularly - at least every six months at the Report and Review Hearings.                                     idea to wear shorts, hats, bare midriffs, clothes with inappropriate words or symbols.

WHAT IS A PERMANENT PLAN?                                                                                              HOW DO I GET TO COURT?

   The permanent plan is the final goal for you and your family - what everyone wants                                     Depending on your living arrangement, your foster parent, group home staff, your

to happen for you by the time the case is closed. It may be putting your family back                                   CASA or your case manager will take you to court. Make sure they know you want to

together with one or both parents (called ‘reunification”), or it may be guardianship,                                 go to court well before the hearing. If you have any problem arranging a ride to court,

adoption, or independent living.                                                                                       talk with your attorney or GAL.

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HOW SHOULD I ACT IN COURT?                                                                                         WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT OTHERS TO TELL ME ABOUT

   You should be respectful to everyone in court. Don’t chew gum. Sit up straight.                                 UPCOMING COURT HEARINGS?

Listen to what is being said and don’t interrupt. You will be allowed to talk when it is                              Your attorney, GAL, and CASA should talk to you about court hearings - about when

your turn. Treat everyone else just as you would want to be treated.                                               the hearings will occur and what happens at each of them. Your CPS case manager

                                                                                                                   should also talk to you about the court hearings. They should each be asking you

WHEN CAN I, OR SHOULD I, SPEAK DIRECTLY TO THE JUDGE?                                                              about how you are doing and what you want to have happen so that they can give

HOW DO I ADDRESS THE JUDGE?                                                                                        the Judge that information.

   You   should   speak   to   the   Judge   when   the   Judge   speaks   to   you.   The   Judge   will

usually ask you directly if there is anything you want to say, or anything you want the                            CAN ANYONE COME TO A DEPENDENCY HEARING WHO

Judge to know. Do not interrupt when the Judge is talking. You address the Judge as                                WANTS TO?

“Your Honor” or “Sir” or “Ma’am”.                                                                                     Only if the Judge decides they can. When the Judge lets other people come into a

                                                                                                                    hearing, the Judge tells them they cannot talk about any personal information they

WILL I EVER BE ABLE TO SPEAK TO THE JUDGE ALONE?                                                                    learn in the hearing. That means they cannot go outside the hearing and talk about

   The Judge will not speak with you - or any other person in your case - alone. That                              who the hearing was about. You, your parents and CPS can request through each of

is called “ex parte” communication, and is not allowed. The Judge may arrange to talk                              your attorneys or GAL that the Judge not allow other outside people to attend and

to you with only the attorneys and a court reporter present or, with the agreement of                              the Judge will decide what to do. Dependency cases are “confidential” which means

the attorneys, with only a court reporter- but that would be very unusual.                                         that people cannot talk about what is going on in a dependency case to other people

                                                                                                                   who are not already a part of the case.


“PRIVILEGED” INFORMATION?                                                                                          WHAT DOES THE FOSTER CARE REVIEW BOARD DO?

   “Confidential” means that the court, parties, attorneys, CPS, etc. may not reveal information                      The Foster Care Review Board [FCRB] is a group of people who look at what is

about the people involved in your case to other people. Violation of confidentiality may be                        going on with dependent children who are placed out of their parents’ homes. These

considered a crime. Your CPS and court records are confidential by law.                                             people do not work for CPS, but are asked by Judges to review cases of children in

   “Privilege” means that your attorney cannot tell anyone about what you told your                                foster care at least once every six months. You, your parents, CPS and other interested

attorney unless you say it is okay. There are certain limited exceptions to privilege,                              people attend these reviews to tell them how things are going and what needs to

such as the need to prevent a crime. Not following these rules of “privilege” could                                 happen next. The FCRB writes a report to the Judge telling the Judge what they think

mean serious trouble for an attorney.                                                                               is happening and should happen in the case.

                                                                                                                      The FC RB wants to hear from all children in foster care. You should receive a green

WHAT INFORMATION ABOUT MY CASE CAN I SHARE WITH                                                                     notice inviting you to a FCRB review about one to two weeks before your case is to

MY FRIENDS?                                                                                                         be reviewed.

   It   is   up   to   you   what   you   want   to   tell   your   friends.   Once   you   tell   your   friends     You are allowed to attend FCRB meetings if you wish to. If you would like to attend

something,   they   may   tell   others.   Remember   that   some   information   about   other                    a review, you should let your foster parent, CPS case manager, CASA, attorney or GAL

people in your case is confidential, so before you talk about your family situation, you                            know that you want to attend the next FCRB review.

should ask your attorney  or GAL if it is okay. As with any personal information, be                                  If you cannot attend a FCRB review, you may mail, e-mail or fax, or call in to leave

careful what you share and who you share it with.                                                                  a  message     for  the  Board   before   the  review   date.  In  some   counties,  you   may

                                                                                                                    participate by conference call.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF SOMEONE ELSE TELLS OTHER PEOPLE                                                                   For more information on how to participate in the FCRB review, call 602-452-3400

ABOUT MY FAMILY OR ME?                                                                                             or 1-866-320-1959 or go to the FCRB website at

   If   you   are   upset   because   you   believe   that   someone   has   shared   “confidential”

information about you or your family, contact your attorney or GAL and discuss what

happened and work together to fix the problem.

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WHAT CAN I DO IF I DO NOT AGREE WITH THE                                                                         WHAT HAPPENS IF I GET INTO TROUBLE WITH THE LAW?

JUDGE’S DECISIONS?                                                                                                 If you are accused of committing a crime, a Delinquency Petition can be filed

   If you do not like a Judge’s decision, talk to your attorney or GAL immediately. You                          with the Juvenile Court.

may disagree with a decision the Judge makes, such as a decision to make you a                                       You are not allowed to do certain things because you are under age 18,  such as

dependent child, about where you live or the help and services you get, or how often                             running away from where you live, skipping school or refusing to obey the adults

you can see or talk to your parents or your brothers and sisters. Your attorney or GAL                           where you live. If you do, an Incorrigibility Petition can be filed with the Juvenile

can ask the Judge to “reconsider” the decision, and may be able to give the Judge                                Court. (This can happen for children living at home as well as children in foster care.)

additional information to change the Judge’s mind. Sometimes your attorney or GAL                                  If a Delinquency or Incorrigibility Petition is filed, an attorney will be appointed to

will tell you that the decision is not likely to change even though you disagree with it.                        represent you. It may be the same attorney you have for your dependency case, or a

You still have the right to tell your attorney or GAL to ask the Judge to review the                             different attorney who specializes in these cases. There will be other court hearings to

decision again. If you still disagree with the Judge, certain decisions can be “appealed”                        review the problems outlined in the Delinquency or Incorrigibility Petitions. You may

to a higher court.                                                                                               see the same Judge you see in Dependency Court or a different Judge. If the Judge

                                                                                                                 agrees that you did do what you are charged with, you could be placed on juvenile

HOW DOES AN “APPEAL” WORK AND HOW LONG DOES IT                                                                   probation and there could be other consequences for your behavior.


   You have the right to “appeal” certain decisions, such as the decision to make you                            WHEN CAN I GET SENT TO DETENTION?

a dependent child or to dismiss the dependency, and decisions about where you will                                 You can only be put into detention if you are accused of having committed a crime

live.   Appeal   means   to   ask   the   “higher”   court   (the   Court   of   Appeals)   to   make   a        (a   delinquent   act).   You   cannot   be   placed   into   detention   just   because   you   do   not

different decision. The appeal must be done quickly but a decision by the Court of                               follow your Dependency Case Plan.

Appeals can take a very long time – perhaps a year or more – before a final decision

is   made.   In   order   to   win   an   appeal,   you   must   show   that   the   decision   was   legally

wrong, not just that you disagree or don’t like it. If you decide to appeal a decision,

the Judge’s decision in Dependency Court will still hold until, and only if, the Court of

Appeals changes it.



   You should always tell your attorney, GAL, your CASA and CPS case manager as

soon as you can when something frightens you or makes you feel unsafe. They must

act quickly to protect you by solving the problem, or asking the Judge to move you to

a different placement, or asking the Judge to order CPS to do what is necessary to

make the placement you are in safe for you.


   Yes. Your CPS case manager may have already asked you. But if not, you should tell

your case manager, your attorney, GAL or CASA right away, because it may give you                              n




certain benefits.                                                                                              a




















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                       Glossary of Terms                                                                                   responsible for investigating problems that are reported about a family situation or

                                                                                                                           may be responsible for getting services to help a family resolve its problems. The case

                                                                                                                           manager will check on children in foster care and the other family members to see

ADOPTION: Is when the court gives the rights, responsibilities and legal relationship                                      how everyone is doing, and write a report to the court about the progress the child

to a child to a new parent(s). Adoption can only occur if the birth parents’ agree to the                                  and family are making before each hearing.

adoption, or if their legal rights have been terminated by the court, or they have passed

away. If you are aged 12 or older, the judge will ask you if you agree to be adopted.                                      DELINQUENT CHILD: A person under age 18 who is under the supervision of the

                                                                                                                           court for the commission of an offense that would be a crime if committed by an

ALTERNATIVE PERMANENT PLANNED LIVING ARRANGEMENT: A permanent                                                              adult, such as stealing, destroying property, or using illegal drugs.

case plan that does not involve adoption or guardianship but should include at least

one    adult   playing   a  permanent      and   important    role  in  the  child’s  life.  Includes                      DEPENDENCY: A decision by the juvenile court judge to allow court intervention in

“independent living.”                                                                                                      order to protect children from neglect, abuse or abandonment.

APPEAL: The legal process by which a “party” (including the child) to a dependency                                         DEPENDENCY ADJUDICATION HEARING: A hearing to decide whether the child

asks a higher court (the Court of Appeals) to review a decision of the dependency                                          will be made “dependent”. The hearing must be completed within ninety days after

court judge about ordering or dismissing a dependency, where the child lives, and                                          the parents receive a copy of the Dependency Petition.

certain other issues. If a party disagrees with the Judge’s decision, they must file an

appeal within 15 days of the date the decision was made.                                                                   DEPENDENCY DISPOSITION HEARING: A hearing to decide where a child who has

                                                                                                                           been made a dependent ward of the court will live. The disposition hearing must be

ATTORNEY: An individual licensed to practice law by the State of Arizona, also called                                      completed within 30 days after the child is found to be a dependent ward of the court.

a lawyer.

                                                                                                                           DEPENDENCY   PETITION: A  written   legal   document   (pleading)   which   gives   the

CASE PLAN: A written report that tells about the problems in the family (the reasons                                       facts about why a child is in danger in their home, what things were tried to help make

for court involvement), what is needed to help fix those problems, what each person                                        things safe and why those things are not enough to keep the child safe. The Petition

must do to fix the problems, and when those things should be done.                                                         asks    the   Juvenile   Court    Judge    to  protect    the   child  from    neglect,   abuse    or

                                                                                                                           abandonment by making the child a ward of the court.

CHILD: A person under the age of 18 years.

                                                                                                                           DEPENDENT CHILD: A  person under age 18 who is under the supervision of the

CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES OR CPS: Child Protective Services [CPS] is the state                                             court due to abuse, neglect or abandonment.

agency  assigned by Arizona law to protect children. CPS  has the legal authority to

investigate reports of family problems including children being hurt by their parents,                                     DETENTION: A locked facility which houses children accused of delinquent acts.

children   not   being   protected   by   their   parents,   children   being   left   alone   in   unsafe

situations,   or   when   parents   do   not   provide   a   safe   home,   do   not   provide   critical                  FOSTER CARE: Any placement for a child which is not in the home of a parent or

medical care or neglect to properly feed, shelter or care for their basic needs. CPS can                                   legal   guardian,   and   which   may   include   a   licensed   foster   home,  group   home   or

take   custody   of   children   in   danger,   and   file   dependency  petitions.   The   court   may                    residential   setting,   a   court ordered   placement   with   a   friend   or   relative,   and   an

make CPS responsible for the care of children found to be dependent, and to provide                                        independent living setting.

services to help the family get back together or to make another permanent plan for

the child.                                                                                                                 GUARDIAN   AD   LITEM   (GAL): An   attorney   or   CASA   appointed   by   the   court   to

                                                                                                                           protect the child’s best interest.

CHILD   PROTECTIVE   SERVICES   (CPS)   CASE   MANAGER:  A                       specially   trained

person   who   works   for   Child   Protective   Services.   The   CPS   case   manager   may   be

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GUARDIANSHIP: The temporary substitution of legal (parental) responsibility for a                                           PRELIMINARY PROTECTIVE HEARING OR PPH: A  hearing which will be held

child by someone other than a parent. Usually, guardianship is with a relative or a                                         within five to seven days after the child is removed from home. At this hearing, the

friend who already has a relationship with the child.                                                                       Judge will make preliminary (“for the time being”) decisions about whether the child

                                                                                                                            will stay in foster care and which services will be provided to the parents and child. The

INDEPENDENT LIVING: A case plan for youth who expect to remain in foster care                                               parents will be asked whether they agree with the dependency. If the parents do not

until they reach age 18. Special services and skills training are provided so that youth                                    appear at the PPH, there will be an Initial Dependency Hearing. If the parents attend

can learn how to successfully live on their own.                                                                            the    hearing   but   do  not   agree   with   the  dependency,      the  judge    will  schedule   a

                                                                                                                            dependency adjudication hearing.

INCORRIGIBLE CHILD: A person under age 18 who is under the supervision of the

court for the commission of acts such as running away, truancy (skipping school),                                           PLEADING: A formal written document filed with the court which asks the court to

refusing to obey a parent, or committing an offense which is only illegal for children.                                     do something.

INDIAN CHILD: An unmarried person under the age of 18 who is either a member                                                REPORT AND REVIEW HEARING: At least every six months after the child is found

of a recognized Indian tribe or who is eligible for membership.                                                             to be a dependent ward of the court, the court will hold a Report and Review Hearing

                                                                                                                            to look at the progress the family is making. Courts usually hold review hearings more

INITIAL      DEPENDENCY           HEARING:  The        second    hearing    which   is  held  after  a                      frequently in the beginning of the case. At a review hearing, the Judge may order that

Dependency  Petition  is  filed.  The  first  hearing  is  the  Preliminary  Protective  Hearing                            the child remain in foster care, or be returned to home, or placed somewhere else.

(PPH). If a parent does not appear at the PPH, an initial dependency hearing will be

held within 21 days after the Dependency Petition is filed with the court. At the Initial                                   TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS: When the court ends the parent’s rights,

Hearing, the parents will be asked whether they agree with the dependency or whether                                        responsibilities   and   legal   relationship   to   a   child.   This   court  decision   is   sometimes

they do not agree. If they agree, the child will be made a dependent ward of the court.                                     called a “severance.”

If a parent disagrees, the next hearing will be a Dependency Adjudication Hearing.

                                                                                                                            WARD   OF   THE   COURT: Another   name   for   a   dependent   child   who   is   under   the

JUDGE: A lawyer either elected by voters or appointed by the Governor to serve on                                           special protection of the Arizona Courts due to abuse, neglect or abandonment. When

the court and make decisions about questions that are brought to court, based on the                                        a child is a “ward of the court” the Judge will decide who has legal responsibility for

law and the information that is given to him or her.                                                                        the   child,   which   means   deciding   where   the   child   will   live,   go   to   school,   etc.   A

                                                                                                                            delinquent or incorrigible child may also become a “ward of the court”.

JUVENILE DEPENDENCY COURT: A special court with trained Judges who oversee

the cases of abused, neglected and abandoned children who need protection.

PERMANENCY PLANNING HEARING: Within a year of the removal of any child

from the home, the court will hold a permanency planning hearing, to decide what

the best permanent plan is for the child. The Judge may decide that termination of

the   parents’   rights   and   adoption,   or   guardianship,   or   continuing   to   work   toward

reunification   with   the   family   is   the   best   plan,   or   the   Judge   may   decide   that   that

independent   living   is   best   for   the   child.   Whatever   the   Judge   decides,   CPS   will   be

ordered to do what is necessary to achieve that goal.

PERMANENT PLAN: The permanent plan is the final goal for the child and family -

what everyone wants to happen for the children by the time the case is closed.

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               Contact Information                                                            Notes:

                          In My Case                                                           __________________________________________________________


CPS CASE MANAGER:         Name __________________________________                              __________________________________________________________

                          Phone Number    __________________________                           __________________________________________________________

                          Email address ____________________________                           __________________________________________________________


CPS SUPERVISORS:          Name __________________________________


                          Phone Number    __________________________                           __________________________________________________________

                          Email address ____________________________                           __________________________________________________________


ATTORNEY:                 Name __________________________________



                          Phone Number


                          Email address ____________________________



GUARDIAN AD LITEM:         Name __________________________________


                          Phone Number    __________________________


                          Email address  ____________________________

                                                                                              FOSTER CARE REVIEW BOARD: 602-452-3400 or 1-866-320-1959

CASA:                     Name __________________________________                   

                          Phone Number    __________________________                          DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC SECURITY - CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES:

                                                                                              General Website:

                          Email address ____________________________

                                                                                              To   report   Child   Abuse   or   Neglect   or   in   an   emergency   call:   1-888-SOS-CHILD   or


JUDGE’S NAME:  ______________________________________________

                                                                                              CPS OMBUDSMAN: If you have a problem in foster care that is not getting resolved,

                                                                                              the   Ombudsman   will   discuss   your   options   and   help   you   try  to   fix   the   problem.

                                                                                              (602) 277-7292; 1-800-872-2879 or

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4001 North 3rd Street                               2850 North Swan Road

Suite 160                                           Suite 160

Phoenix, Arizona 85012                              Tucson, AZ 85712

602-266-0707                                        520-795-4199                                                                                             2007 Board of Directors

                                                                                                                                                                   David J. Bodney

Children’s Action Alliance is a non-profit, non-partisan research, education and                                                                                       Chairman

advocacy organization dedicated to promoting the well-being of Arizona’s children

and families.                                                                                                                    Laura Almquist                       Jack Gibson                       John Loredo

                                                                                                                                  David Bartlett                   MaryAnn Guerra                 Steve Mittenthal, Ph.D.

                                                                                                                               Charles Blanchard                   Jaime Gutierrez                     Susan Navran

                                                                                                                                    Fred DuVal                       Nora Hannah                    Christine Nowaczyk

                                                                                                                                   Kay Ekstrom                       David Howell                     Brenda Sperduti

                                                                                                                                 Armando Flores                       Martin Latz                     Ricardo Valencia

Administrative Office of the Courts                                                                                            Sybil Francis, Ph.D.                  Mark Lodato                      Carolyn Warner

Dependent Children’s Services Division

(602) 452-3400                                                                                                                                                   Dana Wolfe Naimark                                                                                                                                    President and CEO

   Under      the   direction    of  the   Arizona    Supreme      Court’s    Chief    Justice,  the                         This   guide   was   prepared   by   Children’s   Action   Alliance   with   assistance   and   great

Administrative   Office   of   the   Courts   (AOC)   provides   the   necessary   support   for   the                     appreciation to C. Eileen Bond, Esq. consultant and Beverlee Kroll, DES Independent

supervision and administration of all state courts. The programs administered by the                                       Living   Program   Specialist.   We   also   thank   the   Governor’s   Youth   Advisory   Board,   the

Dependent Children’s Services Division are designed to ensure that the best interests                                      judicial officers, attorneys, and staff of the Arizona Department of Economic Security and

of   Arizona’s   dependent   children   are   served   by   providing   a   system   of   information,                     Administrative Office of the Courts who helped to review and advise on its contents.

advocacy and review.

                                                                                                                             This   publication    is  primarily  underwritten   by     Home    at   Last   (HAL),  a   national

                                                                                                                           nonpartisan education and outreach project supported through a grant from The Pew

                                                                                                                           Charitable Trusts to Occidental College and the Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles.

                                                                                                                           The   HAL   project   seeks   to   encourage   action   on   the   recommendations   of   the   Pew

                                                                                                                           Commission on Children in Foster Care. The opinions expressed in this  document

Arizona Department of Economic Security                                                                                    are those of the  authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Home At Last or

(602) 542-3882                                                                                                             The   Pew   Charitable   Trusts.  To   learn   more   about   the   Home   At   Last   Project,   go   to                                                                                             

   Mission: The Arizona Department of Economic Security promotes the safety, well-                                         Additional supporting partners include:

being, and self sufficiency of children, adults, and families.                                                             Margaret T. Morris Foundation

   Vision:   Every  child,   adult,   and   family   in   the   state   of   Arizona   will   be   safe   and              J.W. Kieckhefer Foundation

economically secure.                                                                                                       Arizona Republic and Channel 12’s Season for Sharing


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