Saturday, January 19, 2019

Fentanyl


What is it?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine. Pharmaceutical fentanyl was developed for pain management treatment of cancer patients, applied in a patch on the skin. Because of its powerful opioid properties, Fentanyl is also diverted for abuse. Fentanyl is added to heroin to increase its potency, or be disguised as highly potent heroin. Many users believe that they are purchasing heroin and actually don’t know that they are purchasing fentanyl – which often results in overdose deaths. Clandestinely-produced fentanyl is primarily manufactured in Mexico.

Street Names

Apace, China Girl, China Town, China White, Dance Fever, Goodfellas, Great Bear, He-Man, Poison and Tango & Cash

How is it used?

  • Intense, short-term high
  • Temporary feelings of euphoria
  • Slowed respiration and reduced blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Fainting
  • Seizures
  • Death

Signs and Symptoms of Fentanyl Abuse

prescription fentanyl in lollipop form

Fentanyl is one of the strongest opiate drugs on the market. It is not a long-lasting drug so it is often used for surgery recovery and for breakthrough pain—meaning that when a person is already taking an opiate but has temporary pain that breaks through the opiate barrier, they may be given fentanyl.

Time-release formulations for fentanyl provide strong pain relief over time. They come in two forms—a lollipop and a patch. Fentanyl also comes as a small piece of film that can be dissolved under the tongue and a pill meant to be lodged inside the cheek. In hospital settings, fentanyl can be injected. For the individual abusing the drug outside a hospital, this is highly dangerous, as the difference between a therapeutic dose and a deadly dose is very small.

Fentanyl Most Likely Abused with Other Opiates

Several years ago illicit fentanyl entered the scene of the developing opioid crisis, where addicts seeking a stronger high were willing to risk overdose by using heroin cut with the drug. The fact that fentanyl is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine, even a tiny bit too much can be fatal. When dealers began mixing unknown amounts of fentanyl with heroin and other drugs in order to increase their profits—often selling to an unsuspecting customer—overdose began to take the life of countless individuals across the U.S.

Signs of Fentanyl and other Opioid Abuse

As with any opiate, the main symptoms of fentanyl abuse are euphoria, drowsiness, lethargy and mellowness. Fentanyl very quickly creates a tolerance to high doses, so a dose that is adequate for the intended high one week will probably not create that intended high even a few days later.

There are many other signs and symptoms of using fentanyl, either medically or illicitly, that are not desirable.

These include:

  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Dry mouth
  • Retention of urine
  • Suppression of breathing
  • Severe constipation
  • Itching or hives
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Headache
  • Difficulty seeing
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Bad dreams
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Swollen extremities

Addiction Is Also a Symptom of Abuse

overturned bag after stealing

In most cases, addiction is accompanied by a deterioration in personal integrity. It takes many unethical or criminal acts to maintain an addiction over time—either expenditure of large amounts of personal money or thefts, prescription fraud, doctor-shopping or other crimes, to get the drugs that are needed. A fentanyl addict normally has secrets from most or all of the people they encounter regularly. If the thefts are from a workplace, as often happens, they will be living a secret life while at work. Hospitals, pharmacies and nursing homes are often the sites of fentanyl theft by desperate employees.

Different people become addicted at different rates. Some addicts try to prevent addiction by letting time pass between usages of strong opiates and others feel compelled to use the drug continuously once they start, which walks them straight into addiction. Those coming off heavy fentanyl abuse will often be weaned down to a lower level before going through withdrawal, as unsupported withdrawal from strong opiates can be brutal.

If you suspect someone you care about is abusing opioids that may include fentanyl, get them help right away. Waiting until tomorrow could be one day too late.

Recovering from Opioid Addiction at a Narconon Rehab

The Narconon drug and alcohol rehab program located around the world has developed a humane way of helping a person through withdrawal and then taking them all the way to lasting sobriety.

If a person does not need weaning or medical detox, he can safely and tolerably come off his drugs through in the Withdrawal unit at a Narconon center. Each person is immediately given generous doses of nutritional supplements that help alleviate the worst of the body’s reactions to withdrawal. A person coming into a rehab is normally in a severely depleted condition, and these supplements begin the rebuilding process. They also assist the body in starting to eliminate the toxicity that exists from the drugs that were used.

A number of methods and exercises have been developed that help a person both mentally and physically during withdrawal. Specific supplements can help with diarrhea, vomiting or other symptoms. Assists are simple and gentle procedures that help relieve physical pain and mental anxiety. Objective exercises calm a person’s mind and enable him to direct his attention toward recovery and the future and get attention off pain and the past. Those going through this process often remark on how manageable this withdrawal procedure is.

This is followed by an innovative detoxification step. Opiate abusers experience a mental fog from using these drugs (as do users of many drugs). Drug residues that are not fully eliminated from the body can cause this fog to persist, even long after drugs are discontinued. The Narconon New Life Detoxification combines sauna, exercise and nutrition to activate the body’s ability to flush out these residual toxins. The result is clearer thinking and an improved outlook on life. Most people also state that their cravings for drugs are greatly reduced or eliminated altogether.

A person who wishes to stay drug-free for the long haul must then overcome a mental or psychological need for drugs. This means building the skills to deal with life as it is, without hiding or trying to escape. This is the final phase of the Narconon program.

Learn how this program can help someone you love recover from an addiction that may seem hopeless.


https://www.narconon.org/drug-abuse/fentanyl-signs-symptoms.html



Sunday, January 13, 2019

Arizona Department of Child Safety: Policy and Procedure Man



Chapter 1: Section 1

Hotline Receipt of Information



Policy

The Department shall operate a statewide Centralized Intake "Hotline" 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to protect children by receiving incoming communications/ referrals concerning suspected child abuse or neglect.



The Hotline encompasses a toll-free telephone number and an electronic reporting service, specifically for the purpose of accepting communications regarding suspected child abuse or neglect.



If a person communicates suspected abuse or neglect to a Department employee other than through the Hotline, the employee shall assist the person in making a report to the Hotline.



The Department accepts anonymous reports; however, individuals making a report will be asked to identify themselves while being informed that their identity is confidential and released only as required by law.



Procedures

Referrals

The Intake Specialist gathers information from reporting sources using the Department’s standardized interview questions and practice guide to meet the following criteria:

The suspected conduct would constitute abuse or neglect.
The suspected victim of the conduct is under eighteen years of age.
The suspected victim of the conduct is a resident of or present in this state.
The person suspected of committing the abuse or neglect is the parent, guardian, or custodian of the victim or an adult member of the victim's household.
Whether the suspected abuse or neglect involves criminal conduct, even if the communication does not result in the preparation of a report for investigation.
The appropriate investigative track for referral based on the risk to the child's safety.


Electronic Referrals

The Department provides an electronic reporting service available for professional mandated reporters to report non-emergency concerns regarding child abuse or neglect. An online submission shall meet the reporter's mandated reporting requirements. For all emergency situations where a child may be in immediate risk of abuse or neglect that could result in death or serious injury, professional mandated reporters are directed to 911 or the toll-free telephone hotline.



An Intake Specialist reviews all electronic referrals received and follows Department policy and procedures to determine if the information meets report criteria. See Decision to Take a Report.



If additional information is needed to make a report decision, the Intake Specialist contacts the reporting source for more information.



Types of Communications

Intake Specialist documents all concerns in CHILDS under a "Communication Type." Communications that meet the statutory definition of abuse or neglect are documented as reports. See Decision to Take a Report. Non-report communications may either require a response from the field or are maintained in CHILDS for future reference.



The following communications require a response or action from the field. These communications are assigned to the field and reviewed by a DCS Supervisor or designee to determine the appropriate response/action.



Action Request – A communication requesting the Department to respond to situations, such as to assist law enforcement or other state child welfare agencies even when there are no allegations of abuse or neglect. Action Requests alert the field to other situations that may require Department action.



Examples of Action Requests:

Court ordered pickup regarding children not in DCS care;
Court ordered investigation or services;
Runaway from other states who needs placement until a parent or guardian is able to make arrangements to pick-up the child;
Courtesy placement of an Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) child due to disruption in Arizona until the child’s state of residency is able to retrieve the child; or
Successor of a permanent guardian when the original permanent guardianship was filed through DCS.


Hotline assigns Action Requests to a DCS Supervisor, who dispositions the Action Request as either Action Taken or No Action Taken with an explanation provided.



Document any action taken by the Department in an appropriate case note.



During the Department’s response to an Action Request, if the parent, guardian, or custodian refuses to take custody of the child, or if allegations of abuse or neglect become known, the DCS Supervisor or designee contacts the Hotline to change the Action Request to a report.



Additional Information – A communication used in the following situations:

The original reporting source calls back within 72 hours from the time the original report was taken and has additional information but no new allegations. After the 72 hours, document this information as a status communication and link to the case or original report.
The DCS Specialist notifies the Hotline to report new allegations on an active investigation. The narrative contains the new allegations and is linked to the original report.


The Hotline links all Additional Information communications to a Report or Action Request.



The DCS Supervisor staffs with the DCS Specialist to determine if this information requires additional  action/response. Document any action taken by the Department in an appropriate case note.



Report – A communication that meets the statutory definition of abuse or neglect of a child. See Decision to Take a Report and Disposition of report and Initial Response.



Employee Report – A communication that meet the statutory definition of abuse or neglect of a child AND the parent, guardian, or custodian is identified as an employee of the following:

Department of Child Safety (including all programs and offices, such as the Comprehensive Medical and Dental Program (CMDP) and the Office of Child Welfare Investigations (OCWI); or
Protective Services Section of the Attorney General's Office.


See Investigations Involving Department of Child Safety Employees for more information.



Second Source – A communication from a second source pertaining to the same allegation or incident in an existing report. Information from a third source and any other subsequent sources are also entered as Second Source communications. When applying this procedures, there is no time limit from when the existing report was first taken to when the second source calls the Hotline. Any new allegations or incidents require a new report.



The Hotline links all Second Source communications to a report or action request.



The DCS Supervisor staffs with the DCS Specialist to determine if this information requires additional action/response.



When a Second Source communication is received on an active investigation, the DCS Specialist shall treat any additional "second sources" as a source and make contact as required by Interviews.



If a Second Source communication is received on a closed report/case, the Intake Specialist staffs with an Intake Supervisor to determine if the new information effects child safety or previous findings (unsubstantiated/unable to locate). If so, a new report shall be created.



Status Communication – A communication that does not qualify as a new Report or a Second Source  or Additional Information, and pertains to an open case or report that is pending disposition for assignment. The Hotline links all Status Communications to an open case or report that is pending disposition for assignment.



The DCS Supervisor and DCS Specialist review all status communications and determine the appropriate response.



Any indication that a child who is in the custody of the Department and may be in danger, injured by,  or engaged in sexual conduct with another child, requires a Department response. In these situations, the Intake Specialist sends a copy of the status communication via email to the following:

DCS Specialist and DCS Supervisor; and
DCS’ Office of Licensing and Regulation (OLR) if the child is residing in a licensed out-of-home placement.


During the response to a Status Communication, if allegations of abuse, neglect, or licensing concerns become known, the DCS Specialist contacts the Hotline to report the information.



Document the response taken in an appropriate case note.



The following communications are not transmitted to the field for response, but are maintained in CHILDS for future reference:



Alert – A communication that provides instructions or information to the Hotline or After-Hours staff, in the event a child or parent comes to the attention of the DCS. Examples are as follows:

Notification from another state child welfare agency regarding a family who has relocated or may be relocating to Arizona;
Notification from a DCS Specialist to advise how to handle a situation that may occur on a case during after-hours or on the weekend (For example, if a child-in-care has run away, and there are specific arrangements for when the child is located); or
Notification from the community or law enforcement of a situation where the Hotline may be contacted (for example, when the police are searching for a missing child and request notification if the child comes to the attention of the Hotline).


DCS History Request – A request made by law enforcement (or other entitled entity) and there is no case or a case is closed, and no report pending disposition for assignment. If a family has an open case or report pending disposition for assignment, then a Status Communication is entered, so that the assigned DCS Specialist knows that law enforcement (or other authorized persons) inquired about a family.



Data Correction - A communication entered in error that must be corrected. No communication may be completely deleted from CHILDS; therefore the Hotline uses Data Correction when uncorrectable errors are made. Examples are as follows:

Correct narrative errors as once a communication is dispositioned, the narrative may not be edited;
Delete a communication - two communications have been started for the same information, and one needs to be deleted; or
A correction when the wrong person is named as the source.


Hotline Communication - Information received from a source that does not meet criteria for a DCS report, AND there is no open case and/or no report pending disposition for assignment.



Licensing Issue - Information pertaining to DCS\DHS\DES licensed placement facilities (including foster homes, group homes, DDD homes and shelter facilities). Licensing Issues pertain to information that does not meet criteria for a report.



Resources Provided - communication type used in the following situations:

Law enforcement requests assistance from DCS staff, and there is not sufficient information to enter a DCS report or a Communication. (e.g., dispatch is calling for an officer out in the field); or
Relatives are willing to be caretakers of a child if DCS should become involved with a family in the future; however, there is no open case or report pending disposition for assignment.


Unborn Concerns - communication used when there are concerns for an unborn baby, and the concerns will meet report criteria upon the baby being born. Examples include:

Allegation that the unborn child has been prenatally exposed to drugs or substances, and the exposure was not the result of medical treatment and administered by a health care professional, which may include clinical indicators in the prenatal period, history of substance use or abuse, medical history, or results of a toxicology or other laboratory test on the mother;
Domestic violence that would place the baby in serious harm or impending danger; or
Existing mental health issues that would place the baby in substantial risk of harm.


Information Received by DCS Employees

DCS employees outside of the Hotline shall assist any person wishing to make a report of abuse or neglect in contacting the Hotline via the phone number 1-888-SOS-CHILD (1-888-767-2445), or if the person is a mandated reporter, the online reporting service website https://dcs.az.gov/services/suspect-abuse-report-it-now.



The following forms are available to provide more information about the Hotline: Hotline-Information guide for mandated reporters and Hotline Brochure.



Forms





Related Information

Law Enforcement Interview Questions

Mandated Reporter Interview Questions

Non-Mandated Reporter Interview Questions

How to find a Communication Guide





Legal



A.R.S. §.8-455. Centralized intake hotline; purposes; report of possible crime; report for investigation; risk assessment tools; access to information; public awareness; definition



A.R.S. § 8-807. DCS information; public record; use; confidentiality; violation; classification; definitions



A.R.S. § 13-3620. Duty to report abuse, physical injury, neglect and denial or deprivation of medical or surgical care or nourishment of minors; medical records; exception; violation; classification; definitions



A.R.S. § 41-1010. Complaints; public record



A.A.C. R21-3-101. Definitions

A.A.C. R21-3-201 Receipt of Information; Centralized Intake Hotline A.A.C. R21-3-202. Preliminary Screening  

A.A.C. R21-3-202. Preliminary Screening





Chapter 1: Section 2

Decision to Take a Report



Policy

Any incoming communication that meets the criteria for a report shall be taken as a report.



A communication meets DCS report criteria when the reporting source alleges the following:



Victim is currently under the age of 18;


Victim has been physically, emotionally, or sexually abused, neglected, abandoned, or exploited by a parent, guardian, custodian, or adult member of the victim's household who:
Has inflicted the abuse or neglect;


May have inflicted the abuse or neglect; or


Permitted another or had reason to know another person may inflict abuse or neglect;
Victim is a resident of or present in Arizona, and


The identity or current location of the child victim, the child victim's family, or the person suspected of abuse or neglect is known or can be reasonably ascertained.


For the purpose of a report, a child victim is a resident when:



The child victim attends school or is enrolled in child care in Arizona; or


The child victim's primary custodian resides in Arizona.


Except for criminal conduct allegations, the Department is not required to prepare a report if all of the following apply:



The suspected conduct occurred more than three years before the communication to the Hotline; and


There is no information or indication that a child is currently being abused or neglected.


Allegations of child abuse and neglect occurring in a Behavioral Health Inpatient Facility licensed by the Department of Health Services shall be referred to the Arizona Department of Health Services for investigation.



Procedures

Report for Field Investigation

If a communication meets the criteria for a report for field investigation, the Intake Specialist shall:



Inform the reporting source that a report is being taken and provide the reporting source with contact information for the field unit;


Search the Children's Information Library and Data Source (CHILDS) and the Department’s Central Registry (CPSCR) databases to determine whether there have been previous reports or communication on the family and the status of prior cases. This search assists the Intake Specialist to determine if:


The information was previously reported and another communication type is appropriate;


There is a pattern of concerning behavior outlined in communications that may be escalating and cumulatively would result in meeting the report criteria;


When needed, search the Arizona Technical Eligibility Computer System (AZTECS) database to gather and/or confirm demographic information on household composition and members, including absent parent information, if available.


Upon determination that DCS report criteria has been met and the response time has been determine, the Intake Specialist finalizes entry of the report in CHILDS and disposition to the appropriate DCS office.


Location or Identity of Child Victim, Child Victim's Family, or Perpetrator Unknown

When a communication meets all other criteria of a report for investigation but the source does not know the identity or location of the child, family, or perpetrator, or states that the parent has fled with the child to avoid contact from the police or the Department, the Intake Specialist takes the following steps to gather information that will allow the Intake Specialist or DCS Specialist to reasonably ascertain the identity or location of the child, family, or perpetrator:



Continue with the phone interview or follow-up with the reporting source who submitted an online report, to obtain all pertinent information regarding the maltreatment of the child;


Discuss different ways to locate the family;


Explore whether the reporting source can describe where the child/family might be located, or if there are other options to locate the child/family. This includes, but is not limited to:


Directions to a home or area, if enough details are provided (e.g., description of the home, cross streets, etc.)


Apartment or hotel name


Non-custodial parent's home


Any location where the child or parent is currently located (e.g., home of relative or friend, hospital, police station, juvenile detention center, etc.)


Parent's place of employment


A place a child can be found consistently (e.g., karate class, church, other enrichment class, etc.)


Parent’s jail address (if parent is currently in jail)


Consider a collateral contact to a professional mandated reporter; see Guide to Collateral Contact for more information.


If the reporting source does not have the above information, advise the reporting source to call the Hotline if it becomes available.



The Intake Specialist researches CHILDS and AZTECS to locate the child/family and assigns the report when the victim, the victim’s family or the perpetrator can be identified.



If none of the above information can lead to the identity or location of the victim, victim's family, or perpetrator, then report criteria is not met and the information shall be documented as a Hotline Communication.



Non-Reports

If a communication does not meet the criteria of a report for investigation, the Intake Specialist:

Informs the reporting source that the information provided did not meet report criteria and further research/review will take place to determine if there is any action the Department can take. If no action can be taken the information will be retained for future reference.


Refers the reporting source, when applicable, to a community resource that may address his or her concerns;


Directs the reporting source to notify law enforcement when information provided warrants police involvement and, in addition, cross reports the information to law enforcement; and


Searches CHILDS, CPSCR, and AZTECS databases to determine whether there have been previous reports or communications on the family and the status of prior cases. This assists the Intake Specialist to determine if:
The information was previously reported, closed, and the new information affects child safety or previous findings;


There is a pattern of concerning behavior outlined in previous communications that may be escalating and cumulatively would result in meeting the report criteria; and


The information in the report was previously investigated and closed, however the investigation resulted in an “unable to locate.”


Upon determination that DCS report criteria has not been met, the Intake Specialist immediately finalizes entry of the appropriate communication type in CHILDS.



At least weekly, a Child Abuse Hotline supervisor or designee shall review communications concerning abuse or neglect of a child that did not meet report criteria to verify that the communication was properly classified.



Non-Reports, Action Needed

If a communication does not meet the criteria of a report for investigation, but action is required, the Intake Specialist:



Documents the information and notifies the Child's Safety Specialist of concerns regarding a child in the care, custody, or control of the Department and placed in out-of-home care with a licensed or unlicensed caregiver. When applicable, provide s the information to the Office of Licensing and Regulations (OLR);


Documents the information and cross reports to the Department of Economic Security (DES), Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) or the Department of Health Services (DHS) when a child is not in the care, custody, or control of the Department, however, is in a facility licensed by the DHS or DDD;


Contacts the child abuse reporting line in the appropriate jurisdiction where the child resides for concerns regarding a child living in another jurisdiction who may be at risk of abuse or neglect; or


Directs the caller to notify law enforcement when a felony criminal offense has been committed involving child abuse or neglect by a person other than a parent, guardian, custodian, or an adult member of the child’s household without the knowledge of the parent, guardian, or custodian.






Chapter 1: Section 3

Prioritizing Reports and Communication Reviews             



Policy

For each report for investigation the Department shall determine the appropriate priority, investigative track, and whether there is criminal conduct based on the Department's standardized safety and risk assessment tools.



The Department shall assign one of the following priority levels and response times to each allegation within a report:

Priority 1 (2 hours)
Priority 2 (48 hours)
Priority 3 (72 hours)
Priority 4 (7 days)


The Department shall assign tracking characteristics that apply to all reports and communications.



For communications that require an immediate field response, Centralized Intake "Hotline" shall promptly notify the assigned DCS office or after-hours designee of the communication, For reports involving criminal conduct allegations, Centralized Intake shall immediately provide information to OCWI.



All reports shall be properly transmitted to the assigned DCS office for report disposition.





Procedures

Child Safety Decision and Risk Assessment

The Intake Specialist gathers and assesses information from the reporting source to determine the prioritization of reports. The Intake Specialist uses the standardized Hotline Report Decision tool to assist in determining the appropriate priority of each report.



Criminal Conduct Screening Tool

The Intake Specialist uses the standardized Criminal Conduct Hotline Screening Guide to assist in determining whether criminal conduct exists.



Tracking Characteristics

Tracking Characteristics are family conditions or special circumstances that may contribute to the abuse or neglect of a child. Not all reports or communications have a tracking characteristic, but for those that do, the Intake Specialist writes a narrative to support the specific tracking characteristic selected. A tracking characteristic can be assigned to a report after an investigation has determined the criteria is met, this is done through the After Investigation Findings window.



The Intake Specialist or DCS Specialist assigns one of the following Tracking Characteristics to a report or communication based on the criteria below:



Court Ordered Pick-up (CT ORD PKU C or A)

Used for DCS reports and Action Requests when a Judge, Commissioner or Hearing Officer has ordered DCS to pick-up a child and:

The court orders that the child remain in DCS Custody; and/or
The child is ordered not to return home; and/or
The court order contains allegations that meet report criteria.


When there are no allegations of abuse or neglect documented in the order, an Action Request is entered.



Child in Care (CHILD IN CARE C or A)

Used when the child victim in a DCS report or Action Request meets the following criteria:

Is placed out of home by DCS under a Voluntary Placement Agreement;
Is a ward of the court in an open DCS case and may be placed in a foster home, shelter or other placement by DCS; or
Is part of an in-home dependency (Children who are wards of the court and in DCS custody reside in their own home).


Court Ordered Investigation (CT ORD INV C or A)

Used for DCS reports and Action Requests when a Judge, Commissioner or Hearing Officer has ordered DCS to investigate possible abuse or neglect of a child who may be involved with the court in another type of hearing, such as a delinquency or family court matter.



When used in a DCS report, a minute entry must be received with information that meets report criteria or listed allegations.



If no allegations are listed, an Action Request is entered.



Criminal Conduct (CRIMINAL CONDUC)

Applies to DCS reports and serves as an alert to the DCS Specialist and Child Welfare Investigator of the need to coordinate with Law Enforcement. See Investigations Involving the Office of Child Welfare Investigations (OCWI).





Domestic Violence (DOM VIOLENCE-C)

Assigned to DCS reports when:

Children are present in the home (not just in the room) during a domestic violence incident; and/or
Domestic violence contributes to the reported abuse or neglect.


Drowning

Assigned to a DCS report when there is indication that a caretaker did not practice adequate supervision causing the child to drown or nearly drown, and the child is in serious or critical condition, or if a caretaker purposely drown or attempted to drown a child.



False Report (FALSE REPORT)

Only used by the DCS Specialist as an after-investigation finding. Intake Specialists do not assign this tracking characteristic to DCS reports. For more information see Substantiating Maltreatment.



Historical

Assigned to a DCS Report when the suspected abuse or neglect occurred more than three years before the communication to the hotline.



Near Fatality (NEAR FATLITY)

Assign to DCS reports when it is believed that the injury is most consistent with a non-accidental injury, and the child is in serious or critical condition because of the injury. If this tracking characteristic is assigned to a DCS report, the Hotline sends a notification to DCS administration.



Private Dependency Petition (PRIV DEP PETITN)

Entered when a private dependency petition (PDP) is filed by a private party or their legal counsel and the Department may be:

Joined as “a party to the petition” by the Juvenile Court; and/or
Instructed to investigate the circumstances of the petition.


Request for Assessment (REQ FOR ASSESSM)

The Intake Specialist screens in out-of-state courtesy assessments only with the approval of an Intake Supervisor and enters as an Action Request. Courtesy assessments may be received from other state child welfare agencies and:

Are usually for a safety assessment of the home of a non-custodial parent or relative who lives in Arizona in order to allow a visit by the child who may be a court ward in the requesting state; or
May include a request that DCS interview an alleged victim child on behalf of the out-of-state child welfare agency.


This is not used when a home study is being requested for a child to be placed (live with) a non-custodial parent or relative in Arizona. Placement of court wards from another state must go through the Interstate Compact on Placement of Children (ICPC).



Runaway Other State (RUNAWAY OTHR ST)

Used for Action Requests when a child has runaway from another state or a courtesy ICPC placement due to disruption in Arizona. This applies when a child has run away from another state and is need of a placement until the parent or guardian is able to make arrangements to pick-up the child. It also applies to children who are wards of the court in another state and who disrupt from ICPC placement in Arizona; thus, he/she is in need of shelter until the child’s state of residency is able to retrieve the child from Arizona.



Safe Haven Newborn (SAFE HAVEN NEWB)

Assigned when a newborn child, age 72 hours or younger, is left by the parent or the parent's agent at a Safe Haven, and there are allegations that meet report criteria. See Safe Haven Newborn Infant.



Safe Haven Non-Report (SAF HAVN NONRPT)

Assigned with a communication when there are no allegations and a licensed private adoption agency has the ability and desire to take custody of the infant within 48 hours of completion of a physical examination. See Safe Haven Newborn Infant.



Sex Trafficking

Assigned when the allegation contains information that a child was a victim of sex trafficking; sex trafficking means the recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for a commercial sex act.



Substance Exposed Newborn (SUB EXP NEWBORN)

Used when information indicates the mother prenatally exposed her child to a drug or substance that was not the result of a medical treatment administered to the mother or the newborn infant by a health professional. This is based on any of the following:

Clinical indicators in the prenatal period including maternal or the newborn presentation (e.g., newborn complications, withdrawal symptoms, etc.);
Information regarding history of substance use or abuse by the mother during pregnancy;
Admission by the mother or another person reports the use of drugs, non-prescribed controlled substances, or extensive use of alcohol by the mother during pregnancy;
Medical history of the mother, which may include positive toxicology screens during the mother’s prenatal visits or the mother received treatment during pregnancy for alcohol or substance abuse;
Positive toxicology or other laboratory test on the mother or the newborn at the time of birth; or
An infant under the age of one who is exhibiting symptoms that is consistent with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or Fetal Alcohol Effects.


Substance Abuse (SUBSTANCE ABUSE)

Used with clear indicators that the substance abuse (prescribed and non-prescribed) contributes to the maltreatment of the child. This tracking characteristic is not used for substance exposed newborn (SEN) reports.



Successor Permanent Guardianship (SUC PERM GUAD C or A)

Used for either a DCS report or Action Request. This tracking characteristic is used for DCS report when all of the following criteria are met:

The current permanent guardian is no longer willing or able to care for the child;
The child is without an appropriate caretaker (report criteria is met); and
The original permanent guardianship was filed through DCS.


For Action Requests, this tracking characteristics applies when the information provided does not meet report criteria.



Unknown Unknown

Assigned to a hotline communication when the only reason the report is not being taken is because the identity and location of the child victim, the child victim’s family or the alleged perpetrator cannot be reasonably ascertained.



Unsafe Sleep

Assigned to a DCS report where there is an indication that a caretaker did not place a child on his/her back, in a crib, or there is an indication that the caretaker slept with the child causing the child's death, near death, or other serious injury.



None (NONE)

Used when none of the tracking characteristic requirements are met.



Notification to DCS and OCWI

Intake Specialists assess whether or not any situation needs immediate response by DCS or OCWI. Situations requiring an immediate response include, but are not limited to the following:

All DCS reports with a response time 1;
DCS reports with a response time 2 on Friday evenings and Saturdays;
Action Requests that require immediate attention;
Emergency needs of a child in the care, custody, and control of the Department via court order or a Voluntary Placement Agreement. For example:
Emergency hospital admission for medical or psychological treatment;
Disrupted placement;
Visitation issues; or
Any situation concerning the health or welfare of a child in DCS custody;
Requests from a foster parent, caretaker, or service provider regarding a child in custody;
Parental requests for contact with a DCS representative;
Information received on any open DCS case, which may be significant to an investigation or case, and the DCS Specialist may need to know prior to the next regular business day;
Requests from Law Enforcement for assistance such as:
Requests for immediate DCS assistance on a DCS report, regardless of response time; or
Requests for immediate DCS assistance with no DCS report. The Intake Supervisor notifies the DCS Staff of the request for DCS assistance emphasizing that a DCS report was not taken and inform them to immediately call the Hotline back if child abuse or neglect allegations come to their attention.
Communications involving endangered missing children. Law enforcement may contact the Hotline to report that a child identified as an Endangered Missing Person by DCS has been located and an immediate response from DCS is needed. These may or may not be a report depending on the circumstances surrounding the family conditions.


After-Hours Notification Schedules

DCS and the OCWI office hours are defined as 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. In order for the Department to meet mandated response to situations where children are in present danger, a system of after-hours procedures and staff are maintained throughout the state. All information received by the Hotline during after-hours which may require a response from DCS and the OCWI staff, prior to the next regular working day, is referred to DCS and the OCWI after-hours staff.





DCS Reports for Child Placement Assistance Only

There are instances when a DCS report is taken from law enforcement solely for the purpose of providing shelter for a child due to a parent’s absence or arrest. These DCS reports may be changed to communications if all of the following circumstances are met:

DCS staff learn that the parent or a caretaker is available when the reporting source is called back;
There are no other allegations of abuse or neglect by the parent or caretaker; and
The DCS staff has not made contact with the family.


Communication Review

The Hotline conducts a review process so communications are reviewed for accuracy. DCS Supervisors, DCS management staff, Office of Licensing and Regulation (OLR) staff, or the Office of Child Welfare Investigations (OCWI) Manager may request a Communication Review of any communication type or assigned response time or tracking characteristic of a DCS report, prior to disposition for investigation.



To initiate a Communication Review

The following communication types may be processed via telephone request:

DCS reports with a Present Danger Response Time 1: The person making the request must describe the reasons for the needed change. Such changes can include the report being changed to a different communication type; adjustments to the maltreatment type; a change to a lower response time; or adjustments to the tracking characteristics.
The Intake Supervisor reviews the request. If agreed upon, Present Danger Response Time 1 reports may be changed to another communication type or another response time or category with no further documentation by the requestor. If agreement is not reached the requestor may request a second opinion from an Intake Manager.
Action Request Communications: The Intake Supervisor may review and complete this request when the Court orders DCS to take custody of a child and there is no allegation of abuse or neglect, or the parent could not be located. If allegations of abuse or neglect become known, or the parent refuses to take custody of the child after the initial contact, an Action Request can be changed to a DCS Report.


All other communication types can be processed by completing the Communication Review form. The requester completes the heading and the "Request for First Level Review" section, documents what changes is being requested and reason(s) supporting the request, and sends the form to the email address: Hotline QA noting, “QA Request – (Report or Caretaker’s Name)” on the subject line.



Review

Intake staff reviews the request and prior history on the family, if applicable, an assessment is conducted and recommendations provided regarding the request, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Intake staff sends the response via email to the requestor and copies the Intake Managers and the Intake Supervisor of the Intake Specialist who input the communication. If changes are recommended, Intake staff will make the appropriate changes and notify the requestor when completed.





Chapter 1: Section 4

Cross Reporting



Policy

The Department shall cross report to other jurisdictions if it is determined that the information received does not meet criteria for a DCS report in Arizona, but a child living in another jurisdiction may be at risk of abuse or neglect.



The Department is required to provide information to the appropriate law enforcement agency when information received does not meet the criteria for a DCS report, but there is reason to believe a felony criminal offense may have been committed. This information shall be reported to law enforcement even if the identity and/ or current location of the victim or person suspected of the abuse or neglect is not known.



In addition, when information is received regarding maltreatment of a vulnerable adult or of a child in child care or behavioral health facilities, the Department shall cross report to the respective authority for these facilities



Procedures

Cross Reporting to Other State Child Welfare Agencies

When The Hotline determines that the information received does not meet criteria for a DCS report, but that a child living in another jurisdiction may be at risk of abuse or neglect, the Intake Specialist:

Cross reports to the Child Welfare agency in the other jurisdiction for an investigation to proceed;
Provides all available information regarding the possible abuse or neglect; and
Enters as a communication including a notation in the narrative as to who the Intake Specialist reported the information to.


Cross Reporting to Law Enforcement

When information received by the Hotline does not meet criteria for a DCS report, but there is reason to believe a felony criminal offense of abuse or neglect against a child may have occurred, the Intake Specialist:

Informs the reporting source of the need to cross report and encourages the source to call law enforcement;
Contacts the law enforcement agency where the crime took place, providing the information and a copy of the written communication if requested by law enforcement; and
Enters as a communication, which includes the law enforcement agency contacted with the incident or police report number provided.


The Intake Specialist documents all the information in a Communication, including the following information, if available, within the narrative:

Child’s full name, age or date of birth, and how to locate;
Parent/ caretaker’s full name, address, phone, and other pertinent information to locate;
Identity of the perpetrator, relationship to the child, and how to locate;
Specifics of the alleged criminal activity;
When the criminal activity took place (or estimated time frame); and
Where the criminal activity occurred. This is critical to determine law enforcement jurisdiction. If out of state, identify the law enforcement entity, if possible.


Cross-Reporting to Arizona Adult Protective Services

If the Intake Specialist determines that information received by The Hotline concerns abuse or neglect of a person over the age of 18 living within the State of Arizona, the Intake Specialist:

Suggests that the reporting source notify the Department of Economic Security (DES)’s Adult Protective Services (APS); and
Cross reports the information to DES/Adult Protective Services and enters the information as a communication.




DCS Office of Licensing and Regulation

Information not meeting report criteria involving children in the care, custody or control of the Department who are placed in a DCS licensed home or facility is to be documented and cross reported by the Intake Specialist to the Office of Licensing and Regulations.



DES Certified Child Care Homes and Licensed Facilities

Information received about a child placed in a facility licensed by DES, that does not meet the report criteria, and does not involved children in the care, custody or control of the Department, is documented as a communication and cross reported to DES.



DHS Licensed Child Care Homes/Facilities and Locked Behavioral Health Facilities

The Department of Health Services (DHS), Child Care Licensing Division licenses individuals and facilities to provide child care while the DHS Behavioral Health Licensing Division licenses locked facilities. Information received about a child receiving child care services from or placed in a facility licensed by DHS, which does not meet the report criteria, and does not involve children in the care, custody or control of the Department, is documented as a communication and cross reported to DHS.



Chapter 1: Section 5

Safe Haven for Newborn Infants



Policy

The Safe Haven for Newborn Infants statutes, A.R.S. § 8-528 and § 13-3623.01(A), provide that a person is not guilty of abuse of a child pursuant to A.R.S. § 13-3623(B) solely for leaving an unharmed newborn infant with a Safe Haven provider.



If a parent or agent of a parent voluntarily delivers the newborn infant to a Safe Haven provider, the Safe Haven provider shall receive the newborn infant if both of the following are true:

The parent did not express intent to return for the newborn infant; and
The Safe Haven provider reasonably believes that the child is an unharmed newborn infant.


The Department shall attempt to locate a licensed private adoption agency on the Save Haven agency list to take legal custody of a newborn infant left with a Safe Haven provider for placement.



A DCS report is taken only when no licensed private adoption agency on the Safe Haven agency list has the ability and desire to take custody of the newborn infant within 24 hours of completion of a physical examination.



Procedures

Definitions and Criteria for Safe Haven Newborn

An Agent is someone who delivers the child to a Safe Haven provider on behalf of the parent.



A Safe Haven provider means any of the following:

Staff member or volunteer at a licensed private child welfare agency or licensed adoption agency or church that posts a public notice;
Firefighter on duty;
Emergency medical technician (EMT) on duty; and
Medical staff member at a health care institution (e.g., a hospital).


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 is not required to ask the parent or agent any questions. The Safe Haven provider immediately calls the Hotline upon receiving a newborn infant from a parent or an agent of a parent. The Intake Specialist determines if the information provided meets the statutory definition of a Save Haven newborn.



The Intake Specialist enters as a Hotline communication the following criteria for a Safe Haven newborn infant:

Infant is 72 hours old or younger or that the date of birth is unknown but the source believes the child is 72 hours old or younger; and
Infant delivered by the parent or agent of the parent to a Safe Haven provider.


The following situations do not fall within the Safe Haven for Newborn Infants statutory provisions and are taken as a DCS report:

Mother gives birth in a hospital and decides she does not want to take the infant home.
Infants born in a hospital and subsequently left by a mother who does not return by the time the infant is ready for discharge are not considered a Safe Haven newborn because the mother did not voluntarily deliver the child to a Safe Haven provider.


In the above situations, the Intake Specialists requests the name, date of birth, and other identifying information about the mother, child, and alleged father from the source as required by the mandated reporting statute.



Required Physical Examination of Newborn Infant

All Safe Haven newborn infants must be examined at a hospital. If the reporting source is not a hospital, the Intake Specialist advises the reporting source to immediately transport or arrange for the infant to be transported to a hospital for a physical examination. If the reporting source is a hospital, the Intake Specialist confirms that an exam will be conducted.



Confirmation of Safe Haven Newborn Infant

The Intake Supervisor or manager confirms that the infant qualifies as a Safe Haven newborn infant and takes the following action:

If the Safe Haven provider is a licensed private adoption agency or is affiliated with a licensed adoption agency that has the ability and desire to take custody of the infant, confirm that the agency is a licensed private adoption agency.
If the licensing agency does not have the ability and desire to take custody of the infant and place the infant for adoption or the Safe Haven Provider is not affiliated with a licensing agency, immediately contact the next agency on the rotating list of licensed, private adoption agencies maintained by the Hotline and the Department’s Safe Haven Liaison. The Hotline must make this contact within eight (8) hours of notification of the original call about the Safe Haven infant.
Inform the private adoption agency that the agency is next on the rotating list and confirm that the agency will take custody of the infant within 24 hours from the time of the completion of the physical examination.
If the private adoption agency is not able and willing to take custody of the infant, contact the next agency on the rotating list until a licensed private adoption agency is located that is able and willing to take custody of the infant.
If the first agency is able and willing to take custody of the infant, provide the name, address and phone number of the hospital where the child is located. Ask the agency to contact the Hotline when the agency takes custody of the infant.
Contact the hospital and provide the agency name, contact name, and address and phone number of the agency that will take custody of the infant.


Confirmation of Custody Taken

Hotline management confirms that the licensed private adoption agency took custody of the infant within 24 hours from the time of the completion of the physical examination by reviewing the documentation of the follow-up telephone call from the agency. If no telephone call was received, Hotline management calls the agency to confirm they took custody of the infant. If the adoption agency is unable to take custody, the Hotline management will take steps to see if the next licensed, private adoption agency on the rotating list is able to take custody of the child. If no adoption agency takes custody of the infant within 48 hours after the completion of the physical examination, the original Hotline communication will be changed to a DCS report.





Documentation

Document all information received into CHILDS.



Indicate at the start of the first paragraph of the Hotline communication narrative that this is a Safe Haven Newborn communication.





Chapter 2: Section 1

 Disposition of Reports and Initial Response



Policy

Upon receipt of a Department of Child Safety (DCS) report by a local office, a DCS Program Supervisor, OCWI Manager, or other designated staff acting in a supervisor role shall assign one of the following dispositions:

Field investigation;
Field Investigation Unknown Report; or
No jurisdiction.


Upon receiving information that there is or may be a federal statute, state statute, or court order that prohibits or restricts the Department from fully investigating the report (e.g. the alleged maltreatment occurred on Tribal reservation land), the DCS Program Supervisor or OCWI Manager shall review the court order and/or consult the appropriate jurisdiction to determine whether the Department will have a role in investigating the report.



The Department shall initiate the response to a DCS report in a timely manner, according to the report response timeframes specified in Chapter 1: Section 3 Prioritizing Reports and Response.



The DCS Specialist shall initiate the response to a DCS report by having in-person contact with an alleged child victim identified in the DCS report, or by attempting to have in-person contact with an alleged child victim at the child’s known or probable location.



The Department shall make reasonable efforts to have in-person contact with each alleged child victim within the assigned report response time frame.



The response time frame may be mitigated after law enforcement, other emergency personnel, or a professional mandated reporting source makes in-person contact with the alleged child victim(s) and provides information to the assigned local DCS office that confirms: (1) the child(ren)’s current whereabouts, (2) that the child(ren) are not in present danger, and (3) and that a mitigating factor is present. Mitigating factors are:

The child is hospitalized and will remain hospitalized during the mitigated response time frame.
The child is under continuous supervision of a responsible adult and will remain there during the mitigated response time frame.
The report is of a child death and it is confirmed that there is no other child in the home or the alleged perpetrator has no access to another child.


The initial report response time frame is measured from the time the local DCS office receives the report from the Child Abuse Hotline.



When the Department has received a DCS report, the Department shall make reasonable efforts to locate the child victim and family.



The Department shall notify the appropriate law enforcement agency when the DCS report contains allegations of criminal conduct, in accordance with joint investigation protocols. If during the course of an investigation the Department determines that a criminal offense may have been committed or a new allegation of abuse or neglect not previously reported is present, the Department shall immediately provide information to the appropriate law enforcement agency and the DCS Hotline.



The Department shall report immediately, and in no case later than 24 hours after receiving, information on missing or abducted children or youth to law enforcement authorities for entry into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database.



The Department shall report immediately, and in no case later than 24 hours after receiving, information on a missing or abducted children or youth to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).





Procedures

Disposition of Reports

When a DCS report is received by the local DCS office from the Child Abuse Hotline (the Hotline)the unit supervisor or another designated staff acting in a supervisory role will review the report to determine:

if there is agreement of the Hotline's decision to take the report based on the information provided or initiate a Communication Review; or
to disposition the report as one of the following:
Field investigation;
Field Investigation Unknown Report; or
No jurisdiction.


Disposition a report as Field Investigation Unknown Report when the family name is unknown but there is other identifying information, such as an address or location. The DCS Specialist or OCWI Investigator is required to respond to the DCS report based on the information provided and within the report response time frame. When the name of the family is determined, search CHILDS to determine if the family already has a history with DCS.

If there is a case history or a case ID for the family, the DCS Program Supervisor will link the current report to the existing case and change the disposition to Field Investigation.
If there is no case history or case ID for the family, the DCS Specialist or OCWI Investigator will update all unknown participants with their correct names and identifying information, and the DCS Program Supervisor or OCWI Manager will create a new case and change the disposition to Field Investigation.


Upon receiving information that a federal statute, state statute, or court order does or may prohibit or restrict the Department from fully investigating the report, the DCS Program Supervisor or OCWI Manager will review the court order and/or contact the appropriate jurisdiction to determine whether the Department will have a role in investigating the report.



After contacting the appropriate jurisdiction, if it is determined that the Department will not have a role in investigating the report (for example, when the family resides on an American Indian Tribal land, or upon confirming that a statute or court order prohibits the Department from taking investigative action) the DCS Program Supervisor or OCWI Manager will disposition the report as No Jurisdiction. The Department must provide a copy of the report to the responsible jurisdiction and document all contacts in a case note. For more information about coordination of investigations when a family is currently on Tribal land, see Chapter 6, Section 1, Identification of an Indian Child and Determination of Jurisdiction.



Mitigating a Response Timeframe

The DCS Supervisor or OCWI Manager may mitigate the report response time frame when law enforcement, other emergency personnel, or a professional mandated reporting source made in-person contact with the alleged child victim(s) and provides information to the assigned local DCS or OCWI office to confirm:

each alleged child victim’s current whereabouts;
each alleged child victim is not currently in present danger;
there is no indication that any other child in the home is in present danger; and:
one or more of the following mitigating factors is present for each of the alleged child victims:
The child is hospitalized and will remain hospitalized during the mitigated response time frame.
The child is under continuous supervision of a responsible adult and will remain there during the mitigated response time.
The report is of a child death and it is confirmed that there is no other child in the home or the alleged perpetrator has no access to another child.


The response time frame may be mitigated while the mitigating factor is present, and for no more than 24 consecutive hours. A response time frame of seven days (Priority and Response Time 4) may not be mitigated. The Department must make reasonable efforts to have in-person contact with each alleged child victim while the mitigating factor is present and within the mitigated response time frame.



Contact law enforcement to request a welfare check in the following circumstances:

An alleged child victim is currently outside of Arizona, across a state or federal border.
A two hour response time frame is assigned, but a child victim is two or more hours away from the assigned local office, so that DCS is not able to make in-person contact with the child within the response time frame.
There is concern for the safety of the DCS Specialist based on information in the report or the criminal background of an adult in the home.
The Program Manager has approved the welfare check to be requested for another reason related to the safety of a child or DCS staff.


Response to DCS Reports

The report response time frame begins when a local DCS office receives the DCS report from the Hotline either by telephone notification or when the report is assigned (dispositioned) to the local office (appearing on the Supervisor’s Report Directory), whichever occurs first.



The DCS Specialist or OCWI Investigator must initiate the response to a DCS report within the assigned response time frame by having in-person contact with an alleged child victim identified in the report, or attempting to have in-person contact with an alleged child victim at the child’s known or probable location.



The following examples do not constitute an initial response:

calling the reporting source for additional information;
requesting law enforcement to complete a welfare check; or
having a telephone call with a school nurse, school social worker, relative, neighbor, non-abusing parent, etc., who claims to ensure the safety of the child.


The DCS Specialist or OCWI investigator must make reasonable efforts to have in-person contact with each alleged victim within the assigned response time frame. When there are multiple children in the report or a child’s location is not confirmed, initiate the response early enough to allow reasonable efforts to have in-person contact with all of the children within the report response time frame. Reasonable efforts include actions to identify and respond to the probable location(s) of the child victims (such as the child’s home, non-custodial parent’s home, school or child care setting, and/or other probable locations identified in the report or through other means). Prompt follow-up must occur until all alleged child victims and other children in the home have been seen in-person and the safety of each child has been assessed and managed, or reasonable efforts to locate each child have been made.



Locating the Child Victim and Family for Investigation

Make reasonable efforts to locate the child and family for all cases assigned for investigation as follows:

Make at least three (3) attempts to locate the alleged child victim(s) and any other children in the home through home visits at different times of day during the investigation.
Send a certified letter to the family's last known address.
Interview the reporting source or other persons who may have information about the location of the child victim or family such as the landlord or neighbors.
Review the Family Assistance Administration (FAA) AZTECS database to determine if a current address is available for the child and the child's family.
Contact the County Jail and the Department of Correction if the DCS report or other information indicates current or past incarceration.
If identifying information is available on one or more adult household members, complete the DPS background check and review MVD information, when available, to determine if a current or recent address is available for the child's family.


Complete the following reasonable efforts to locate the child if the circumstance applies to the child or family:

If the child is of school age;
contact the child’s school or school district, if known;
complete a search with the Arizona Department of Education, or
contact other schools in the area of the family’s last known address.
If the child is attending child care;

contact the child care provider, if known; or

contact the Department of Economic Security (DES) Child Care Administration to determine if the child is enrolled in another child care facility.



Request law enforcement assistance in locating:

the victim(s), or sibling(s) or other child(ren) living in the home with an alleged victim of a criminal conduct allegation, with DCS Program Supervisor approval; or
a child who is a ward of the court.


Submit a request to the Arizona Family Locate Service when the DCS report response time frame is Priority 1 or 2.



If the family is believed to have left the State of Arizona and the state to which the family is or may be moving is known, contact that state’s child protection agency.



If preliminary information gathered during the investigation indicates the child victim is in present danger and/or impending danger and the whereabouts of the child and family remain unknown, consult with the Attorney General’s Office regarding filing a petition for a court order for temporary investigative custody if the child is located. [ARS § 8-821(A)]



Family Locate

The Family Locate Unit can be used as part of reasonable efforts to locate a parent, guardian, or custodian. Complete the DCS Family Locate Referral, CSO-1310A and email it to the "Family Locate" mailbox.



Include the type of action that the request is related to (Investigation, Dependency, Severance, etc.) as these indicators are used to prioritize the incoming request. In addition, the Requesters Information section must be completed to serve as a contact mechanism should additional facts and/or clarification be needed to appropriately conduct the search. Other mandatory fields include:

CHILDS case name,
Missing person name,
Participant Identification Number (PID),
DCS Specialist’s name,
Site Code,
Telephone number
Fax number.


Provide as much information as possible in order to increase the likelihood of a successful and timely locate outcome. The PID number is crucial because documentation of results and the ability to refer to external vendors is dependent upon this data. If known, include information such as date of birth (DOB), Social Security Number (SSN), physical description, last known address (LKA), etc.



Missing Children, Notification, and Entry into Databases

The Department of Child Safety is required to notify the appropriate law enforcement agency when DCS receives a report made pursuant to A.R.S. § 13-3620 or receives information during the course of providing services to the child and family that indicates a child is at risk of serious harm and the child’s whereabouts are unknown (missing). A missing child may be determined to be at serious risk of harm based on the following:

the DCS report narrative and/or additional information from the reporting source or other collateral contacts and a thorough review of the family’s history with DCS, including any law enforcement involvement; or
an assessment that the child is in present danger or unsafe due to impending danger based on information collected from collateral sources and interviews conducted with family members or others.


The Family Locate Unit or the Office of Child Welfare Investigations (OCWI) at +OCWI Referrals may assist in completing additional efforts to locate the child. When all reasonable efforts have been made to locate the missing child and the child cannot be located, the child’s whereabouts are unknown and the child is considered missing.



When a child is at serious risk of harm and is missing or has been abducted, the Child Safety Specialist or OCWI Investigator shall consult with the DCS Supervisor or OCWI Manger to determine whether the child is a “missing child.” The DCS Supervisor or OCWI Manager must:

within 24 hours, contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) to add the missing or abducted child to their database. An online report may be made by visiting: https://cmfc.missingkids.org/reportit;
within 24 hours, notify the appropriate law enforcement agency that the child is missing; and
provide the mandatory information to enter the child into the Arizona Crime Information Center and the National Crime Information Center Missing Person Databases as an “endangered” missing child. This mandatory information includes:
Name,
Sex,
Race,
Date of Birth,
Height,
Weight,
Eye Color,
Hair Color, and
Date of last contact.


If known, provide the following additional information to assist law enforcement to locate the child:

last known address or location
Social Security Number
personal descriptors including scars, marks, tattoos and other physical characteristics
identifying information on siblings (name, date of birth, Social Security Number)
significant relationships (including grandparents or other extended family members)
current or last school attended
vehicle of the person believed to have the missing child in his/her custody, such as:
Vehicle make
Vehicle model
Vehicle style
Vehicle color
Vehicle identification number
Vehicle license plate number
Vehicle license state
Vehicle license type
If the vehicle information is not known, DCS may ask the local law enforcement agency to search the Motor Vehicle Division database for any vehicles registered to the person.


The person who may have custody of the missing child qualifies for entry into the Arizona Crime Information Center and the National Crime Information Center Missing Person Databases. If the person who may have custody of the missing child has a history of substance abuse, mental illness or a physical disability, request the appropriate law enforcement agency to enter the person under the missing person “disability” category. The DCS Supervisor or OCWI Manager shall file a signed Missing Person report if requested by law enforcement.



When filing an endangered missing child or a missing adult report, request the local law enforcement agency to contact the Child Abuse Hotline if the child or adult is located. If the Department locates the missing child or adult, the Department must contact and inform the assigned law enforcement agency within 24 hours.



If the local law enforcement agency does not accept a “missing” person report, the DCS Supervisor or OCWI Manager should contact his/her assigned Program Manager to elevate this decision to the next supervisory level within the appropriate law enforcement agency.



If the person who may have custody of the missing child does not meet the criteria for entry into the Arizona Crime Information Center and the National Crime Information Center Missing Person Databases, ask the local law enforcement agency to enter the person in the “wanted person file, attempt to locate (ATL)” in the Arizona Crime Information Center Database. Provide the child’s missing person report number to link this report to the “miscellaneous” field in the child’s missing person file.



Missing Child is Located

If notified by the Child Abuse Hotline that the missing child has been located by law enforcement, immediately contact the law enforcement officer to determine the child’s location and information concerning the child’s current circumstances. Respond to the location of the child, assess the child’s safety, and determine the need for a protective action. Coordinate and collaborate with the Region that filed the missing child report. It may be necessary to make arrangements for the child’s immediate placement if the child has been taken into protective custody by law enforcement. Obtain a copy of the temporary custody notice from the law enforcement officer.



If the child is located by means other than law enforcement, respond to the location of the child, assess the child’s safety, and determine the need for a protective action. Coordinate and collaborate with the Region that filed the missing child report. Immediately notify the appropriate law enforcement agency that the missing child has been located.



If a missing child on an open case is located, the Child Abuse Hotline will:

issue a status communication to the unit where the case is open, and
contact the local DCS office where the child is located for an immediate response.


If a missing child on a closed case is located, the Child Abuse Hotline will:

take a report based on the primary parent’s residence, and
contact the local DCS office where the child is located for an immediate response.


Documentation

Disposition and documentation of reports by DCS Program Supervisor or OCWI Manager

The DCS Program Supervisor or OCWI Manager shall use the Report Disposition window in CHILDS to enter and document the decision to assign a report as follows:

Field Investigation;
Field Investigation Unknown; or
No Jurisdiction.




Documentation of Reports Dispositioned as No Jurisdiction

Document how and when the report information was provided to the appropriate jurisdiction in the Report Disposition Window Explain Box.



Document the DCS Program Supervisor’s or OCWI Manager’s review and approval or denial of a decision not to take additional investigative action because there is a federal statute, state statute, or court order that prohibits or restricts the Department from fully investigating the report in the Report Disposition Window Explain Box.



Documentation of a Mitigated Response Timeframe

Use the CSRA, Section II, to document information obtained from law enforcement, other emergency personnel, or a professional mandated reporting source who made in-person contact with the alleged child victim(s) and confirmed the report met the criteria for a mitigated response time frame.



Documentation must include:

the name and profession of the person providing the information;
the date and time when the information was provided directly to the assigned local DCS office;
the date, time, and location of contact with each child victim;
information that indicates each alleged child victim is not currently in present danger;
information that indicates no other child in the home is in present danger;
information that indicates a mitigating factor is present for each child victim.


Use the Report Detail (LCH031) window to document the initial response. Enter the date and time of the initial response as well as the name and role of the person who made the initial response (e.g. “Law Enforcement” or “Other Emergency”).



Use the Report Detail (LCH031) window to document the name of the DCS Specialist or OCWI Investigator who made the initial Department response. Document the date and time the DCS Specialist or OCWI Investigator had in-person contact with an alleged child victim, or attempted to have in-person contact with an alleged child victim at the child’s known or probable location.



Documentation of Response Initiation by Child Safety Specialist or OCWI

For unmitigated reports, use the Report Detail (LCH031) window to document the name of the DCS Specialist or OCWI Investigator who made the initial Department response. Document the date and time the DCS Specialist or OCWI Investigator had in-person contact with an alleged child victim, or attempted to have in-person contact with an alleged child victim at the child’s known or probable location. Select field response “CPS”.



Documentation of In-Person Contact with Children

Use the CSRA, Section II, to document the actions taken to initiate the response, and reasonable efforts to have in-person contact with each alleged victim within the assigned response time frame, including actions to identify and respond to the known or probable location(s) of the child victims.



Use the CSRA to document continuing efforts to have in-person contact with all alleged child victims and other children in the home, and to assess and manage the safety of each child.



Missing child documentation for DCS Supervisor

Document that a child is “missing” and that a law enforcement report has been filed in a Locate Efforts case note in CHILDS. Document the date, time, law enforcement agency contacted, report number and the name of the specific child, parent, guardian, custodian or other person identified as “missing” in a Locate Efforts case note.



If law enforcement does not accept a “missing” child or adult person report, document efforts to make the report in a Locate Efforts case note including contact made by the assigned Program Manager elevating the decision to the next supervisory level within the appropriate law enforcement agency.



Within 24 hours of a missing child being located, enter a case note indicating that the child has been located and, if the child was located by means other than law enforcement, that the appropriate law enforcement agency has been notified.







Chapter 2: Section 2

Pre-Commencement Activities to Prepare for Initial Response

Policy

The DCS Specialist shall conduct pre-commencement activities to prepare and plan for conducting the Family Functioning Assessment – Investigation.



A DCS Specialist shall make concerted efforts to obtain and review the following prior to initiating the response to a DCS report:

prior Arizona CHILDS records concerning the alleged child victim, the child’s parents, other adults residing in the household of the alleged abuse or neglect, and alleged perpetrator(s);
any information obtained from another jurisdiction concerning the alleged child victim and alleged perpetrator (if during the course of an investigation it is discovered that abuse or neglect occurred in another state or jurisdiction, the DCS Specialist shall contact the appropriate agency to determine the outcome of that investigation);
criminal histories;
court orders; and
any additional documents that are known and available that may assist in the assessment of child safety and the investigation of the allegations.


The Department shall identify, promptly obtain, and abide by court orders that restrict or deny custody, visitation, or contact by a parent or other person in the home where the child resides.



Procedures

Pre-commencement activities prepare the DCS Specialist for conducting the Family Functioning Assessment – Investigation. The DCS Specialist obtains, reviews, and analyzes available information prior to initiating contact with the family; and develops a plan for the initial contact, including specific information to be collected at the initial contact.



Obtain and review as much information as possible before the initial contact, considering the urgency for response. For example, a Priority 1 response time frame may limit the Specialist’s ability to gather historical information prior to making contact with the family. When essential review activities cannot to be completed prior to initial contact, the DCS Specialist should complete a comprehensive record review as soon as possible, prior to conducting further investigative activities.



If the DCS Specialist discovers there is an order of protection in place, the Specialist must assess both worker and victim safety concerns and obtain additional information to the extent possible regarding the alleged perpetrator’s compliance or non-compliance with prior or current orders.



Obtaining and Reviewing History

Review the Arizona CHILDS database for any records involving the alleged child victim, the child’s parents, other adults residing in the household of the alleged abuse or neglect, and alleged perpetrator(s), including all reports, communications, and case history. The review will include the following information:

the current allegation narrative and parties involved;
all prior reports and investigation summaries to identify:
patterns of maltreatment types, alleged victims, alleged perpetrators, and investigative outcomes;
patterns of escalating maltreatment (i.e. increase in frequency of reports or severity of maltreatment) over time;
elapsed time between alleged maltreatment incidents (i.e. reports are occurring more frequently over the past 12 months, etc.);
injuries to a child victim that required hospitalization or medical treatment (or trauma therapy);
prior Department interventions (voluntary services, safety plans, judicial involvement);
change in household or familial composition;
patterns of pervasive individual or family conditions that have been unmanaged in the past (i.e. domestic violence, parental substance abuse, and unmanaged medical or mental health condition in a household member, etc.); and
services the family has been offered or participated in, the outcomes of these services (types, participation, progress, and completion), how these services addressed the identified safety threats and risks, and whether the services were successful.


Determine whether additional sources of information should be contacted, such as school or medical personnel, law enforcement, relatives, and other persons with knowledge about the allegations.



Determine whether additional information should be obtained, such as law enforcement records, medical records, school records, mental health records, and other relevant records.



If information is obtained that an allegation of child abuse or neglect may have been made in another state or other jurisdiction, contact the state or other jurisdiction to determine the outcome of any investigation of the allegation(s). If history exists, request records from the jurisdiction to incorporate into the current Family Functioning Assessment. A list of state child welfare agencies is available at Child Welfare Information Gateway. If a family has lived in another state or jurisdiction, consult with a DCS Program Supervisor to determine if contact with the other state or jurisdiction will occur.



Obtaining and Reviewing Department of Public Safety (DPS) background checks

Obtain Department of Public Safety (DPS) background checks and results when investigating and responding to all reports of child abuse and neglect. Include a review of National (NCIC), state (ACJIS), and a search of public records. If unable to complete a DPS background check or more information is needed to support or refute the allegations, conduct a check of local criminal histories, including requesting information from local law enforcement for recent contact history with the family and/ or at the residential address (if available).



In accordance with federal requirements, the criminal history information may only be used for these purposes and must be shredded when no longer needed for the investigation.



A request should be submitted for each case. Second and subsequent requests may be submitted as necessary, for example, when household composition changes or when updated information is needed. The criminal history information cannot be secondarily disseminated.



Submit a request for criminal history information on the parents of each child victim and all other adults in the home where the alleged abuse or neglect occurred to the DPS using the DPS Criminal Records Check Find window. Each request must include the person’s full legal name, date of birth, and valid social security number.



The criminal history information should be used in developing a strategy to initiate the assessment and assist in decision making concerning the safety of the children and DCS staff.



Upon receipt of the criminal history information, determine whether any adult in the home has any current or prior criminal activity:

that may pose a threat to the safety of the DCS Specialist or other child welfare staff;
involving a child or that places a child at risk of harm, including past abuse or neglect of a child;
involving substance abuse;
involving domestic violence where:
a child was assaulted; or
a child was injured or threatened, or may have attempted to intervene; or
a child was inadvertently harmed even though he/she may not be the actual target of the violence; or
the caregiver's own victimization (past or current) severely interferes with his or her ability to parent or protect child; or
a household member has past convictions regarding violent behaviors and acts toward others to include assault and battery, homicide, sexual assault or rape, or criminal acts involving weapons.


Obtaining and Reviewing Court Orders

The DCS Specialist must make a good faith effort to promptly obtain and abide by court orders that restrict or deny custody, visitation or contact by a parent or other person in the home with the child. A court includes but is not limited to city court, criminal court, domestic relations court, family court,  justice court, probate court, federal court, and tribal court. Limited information about orders for wants, warrants, orders of protection and injunctions will be available as part of the criminal history information obtained from DPS. The DCS Specialist should request copies of court orders by contacting the Clerk of Court, Superior Court in the county in which the order was entered. If the DCS Specialist confirms that the parent/caregiver's custody, visitation, or contact with the child was denied or restricted, abide by the terms of the order if the order is in effect. The DCS Specialist cannot facilitate or concur with placement or contact of the child with the parent/caregiver in any manner that conflicts with the order. If the DCS Specialist confirms that any adult in the home has restricted contact with a child, abide by the terms of the order if the order is in effect.



If the order has expired or the status of the order cannot be confirmed, consult with the Office of the Attorney General prior to facilitating or concurring with placement or contact of the child with the parent.



Information obtained from the order or court records must be considered during the investigation of  the allegation(s) and assessment of child safety and safety planning.



Collection and Review of Additional Information and Documents

Obtain and review medical, school, and/or behavioral health records for the child if:

the current allegations are directly related to the child’s physical health, education, or behavioral health;
there is reason to believe these records contain information that will fill a gap or reconcile an inconsistency in the information about child safety; or
there is reason to believe records contain evidence necessary for substantiation or a dependency.


When obtaining the child(ren)'s medical, school, and/or behavioral health records, the DCS Specialist should do the following:

Speak with the physician, school, and/or mental health professionals to gather additional information when safety threats or risks in the area of physical health, education, or behavioral health are identified or suggested through the interviews with the child or family members.
Utilize the Request for Release of Education Records (Investigations Only), (CSO-1048) when requesting a child's education records during a DCS investigation.
Utilize the Request for Release of Medical Information (Investigations Only), (CSO-1049) when requesting medical and behavioral records from the physician, mental health professional, or appropriate medical provider.
Utilize the Request for Release of Educational Records, (CSO-1050) when the child/youth is a ward of the Court in the legal care, custody, and control of the Department.


Obtain and review medical and/or behavioral health records or provider reports for parents, guardians, or caregivers if any of the following apply:

The parent’s, guardian’s, or custodian’s medical or behavioral health is directly related to the current allegation.
There is reason to believe these records contain or confirm information that will fill a gap or reconcile an inconsistency in the information about child safety.
There is reason to believe the records contain evidence necessary for substantiation or dependency action.


When obtaining the parent's, guardian's, or custodian's health, behavioral health, or substance abuse records, obtain signed consents authorizing release of the records utilizing the Authorization to Disclose Health Information, CSO-1038.



Required Reporter Contact

The DCS Specialist must attempt to contact the reporting source to verify information contained in the allegation narrative and to explore additional information the reporter might have on the maltreatment incident or about the child or family’s functioning. Attempt to contact the reporting source prior to the initial contact with the family, except when a concern for child safety and the need for expediency warrants a post-initial response contact, as in the following circumstances:

An immediate response is needed because a Priority 1 response time is required.
Attempting contact with the reporter may increase the risk of harm to the child or adult household member (e.g., reporter is a subject of the report or resides in the same home as the family and attempted contact may inadvertently alert the alleged perpetrator of the investigation, etc.).


When circumstances preclude contacting a reporting source prior to initial contact with the family or an attempted contact was unsuccessful, contact the reporting source as soon as practical after the initial response is completed.



Preparing for Specific Types of Investigations

The investigation of specific types of allegations may require additional preparation or action by the DCS Specialist, and/or may require the DCS Specialist to obtain and review additional documentation and information to support or refute the allegations of abuse or neglect.



Medical Examinations

Medical examinations and/or consultation by a physician with expertise in child abuse and neglect are required for specific injuries or circumstances. Examinations and/or consultations are available through the local Child Advocacy Centers or may be performed at a medical center or hospital where the child is located. This requirement applies to the following injuries or circumstances:

Head injury resulting in skull fractures or impact to the skull;
Internal organ injury;
Multiple injuries or multiple plane injuries (battering);
Severe facial bruises;
Fractures or bruises in a non-ambulatory child;
Fractures;
Instrumentation injury with risk of impairment;
Immersion burns;
Second and third degree burns;
Abusive Head Trauma;
Medical Child Abuse (e.g., Fabricated or Induced Illness/Factitious Disorder);
Delayed or untreated medical condition which is life threatening or permanently disabling which may include Infant Doe, comatose state or debilitation from starvation or possible non-organic failure to thrive;
Serious physical injury or illness due to neglect;
Child under age six (6) who has been provided prescribed/non-prescribed or illegal drugs or alcohol and is exhibiting symptoms of the drug or alcohol;
Child reporting vaginal or anal penetration or oral sexual contact (oral contact with the penis, vulva or anus) within the past seventy-two (72) hours, AND has not been examined by a medical doctor; or
Child reporting sexual abuse within the past 120 hours (5 days), AND has not been examined by a medical doctor.


Consider a medical examination/urine analysis if there is reason to believe a child has been residing in a home with extensive drug usage or sales, or if the child had access to the drugs.



Consider a medical examination of non-verbal siblings in cases of near fatality or fatality as a result of physical abuse.



Forensic medical examinations are generally required for cases involving criminal conduct allegations, especially when sexual abuse is indicated. Consult your county's joint investigation protocol to determine whether a forensic medical examination is required.



Based on consultation with your DCS Program Supervisor, medical examinations may be obtained in other circumstances to confirm whether the injury is non-accidental or suspected to have been inflicted.



Explain to the parent, guardian, or custodian the purpose of the medical examination and try to elicit their support and permission for the process.



If the parent, guardian, or custodian refuses to allow the child to be examined, place the child in temporary custody for up to 12 hours to have the child examined by a medical doctor or psychologist. Utilize the Temporary Custody Notice, CSO-1000, if the child is removed.



When it is suspected that abuse or neglect has occurred, but a physician or other medical personnel is unable to confirm the abuse or neglect, or differing or conflicting medical opinions have been received from the same or different physicians regarding the diagnosis or specific medical finding(s), the case, including all medical opinions should be reviewed within 48 hours with:

a physician who has substantial experience and expertise in child abuse and neglect diagnosis, or
a multidisciplinary team (including a physician who has substantial experience and expertise in child abuse or neglect diagnosis, any attending physician, the DCS Specialist and the DCS Supervisor).


If a multidisciplinary team or expert medical consultation is unavailable in your area, consult with your supervisor and have your DCS Program Supervisor or Program Manager contact the CMDP Medical Director at 602-351-2245.



Fatality and Near Fatality

When investigating a child fatality, coordinate with law enforcement and the Office of Child Welfare Investigations (OCWI), if available, to gather medical documentation to determine whether a child’s death was the result of abuse or neglect. Ask the physician (e.g. medical doctor or doctor of osteopathy):

Is the child's injury or condition consistent with a non-accidental injury and/or due to parent, guardian, or custodian neglect?
Based on the information the physician has at this time, is it his or her opinion that it is likely the child died as a result of this injury or condition?


When investigating a near fatality, ask the physician (e.g. medical doctor or doctor of osteopathy):

Is the child's injury or condition consistent with a non-accidental injury and/or due to parent, guardian or custodian neglect?
Is the child in serious or critical condition because of this injury or condition?


A child's injury may also be identified as a near fatality when a parent, guardian, or custodian has admitted to or has been arrested, indicted, charged, or convicted for causing the child's injury and the medical professional has confirmed the injury places the child in serious or critical condition.



Permitting a Child to Enter or Remain in a Structure or Vehicle in which Chemicals or Equipment is Found for Manufacturing a Dangerous Drug

Information gathering should focus on whether the parent, guardian, or custodian knew or should have known that dangerous drugs were being manufactured in the structure or vehicle, and whether he/she permitted the child to enter or remain in the structure or vehicle. Also, determine the frequency and duration that the child was in this location.



Indicators that the parent, guardian, or custodian may have known or should have known include the following:

the presence of drugs, drug equipment, or paraphernalia;
persistent noxious odor;
purchasing or sale of an illegal substance from the structure or vehicle; or
presence or observation of volatile, toxic, or flammable chemicals used for manufacturing a dangerous drug.


Inquire about or observe the following in assessing the parent’s, guardian’s, or caregiver’s knowledge.

Are there frequent visitors or activity at all times or at odd hours of the day/night?
Are the occupants unemployed, yet they appear to have money and other commodities?
Is there extensive security (such as cameras) or unusual ways to obscure the home or vehicle?
Is there indication of chemical waste dumping (such as “burn pits” or “dead spots”) in the yard?
Is there indication of the following chemicals or equipment: rubber tubing, bunsen burner, ammonium sulphate, kitty litter, sodium hydroxide, rock salt, camp fuel, solvent (such as lighter fluid), liquid propane, freon, iodine, lacquer thinner, sulfuric acid (such as Liquid Plummer), multiple packs or boxes of Sudafed and/or ephedrine or pseudoephedrine etc?


Medical Marijuana

If a parent, guardian, or custodian claims he/she is a qualifying medical marijuana patient with a debilitating medical condition, focus information collection on whether the medical use of marijuana impairs parental functioning, and/or whether the child has been intentionally or negligently exposed to medical marijuana; thus, placing the child in present or impending danger. In making this determination, ask about the following:

the debilitating medical condition;
method of consumption (smoking, vaporization, infused edible food products, etc.);
any action taken by the patient to ensure that any child in the home is not adversely affected by the patient’s medical use of marijuana such as,
plans to consume (smoking, vaporization, infused edible food products, etc.) when the child is not present,
plans to make arrangements so that the child is not exposed to “second hand” smoke or vapor;
any action taken by the patient to make arrangements so the child in the home does not have access to the marijuana, such as:
the marijuana is clearly labeled, out-of-sight and not accessible to the child;
if the patient is authorized to cultivate marijuana plants for the patient’s medical use, whether the plants are secured in an enclosed, locked facility;
if the patient cooks with marijuana, whether any resultant food products are clearly labeled, out-of-sight, and not accessible to the child;
the effect of the debilitating medical condition and the medical use of marijuana on the patient's ability to provide a safe home environment for the child, including:
transportation to/from appointments, and other routine activities,
any concerns by the patient's physician about the patient’s ability to provide for the child’s safety and well-being; and
whether there is another responsible un-medicated caregiver in the home when consumption occurs, and if more than one caregiver is a qualifying patient, plans to ensure that one caregiver is un-medicated (established routine where one caregiver is un-medicated at all times).


Substance Exposure to a Newborn Infant (under 30 days of age)

Information gathering should focus on documenting that a health professional has determined that a newborn infant was exposed prenatally to a drug or substance listed in section 13-3401 (does not include alcohol), and that this exposure was not the result of a medical treatment administered to the mother or the newborn infant by a health professional. The determination by the health professional shall be based on one or more of the following:

Clinical indicators in the prenatal period, including maternal or the newborn presentation
History of substance use or abuse including the type, frequency, and amount of drug used and the last time used
Medical history
Results of a toxicology or other laboratory test on the mother or the newborn infant


Obtain all relevant medical documentation regarding the determination made by the health professional. Health professionals include physicians, surgeons, nurse practitioners, or physician assistants acting under the direction of a physician or surgeon.



If available, collect additional information evidencing the parent’s, guardian’s, or custodian’s drug and/or alcohol use including but not limited to:

the child's complete medical records;
the mother's medical records pertaining to the period of pregnancy; and
any additional records (such as police report or medical records) evidencing the parent’s, guardian’s, or custodian’s drug and/or alcohol use.


Substance Exposure to Infant(from birth to up to one year of age)

In addition to the above, information gathering should focus on documenting that the use of a dangerous drug, narcotic drug, or alcohol by the mother adversely affected the infant’s health. Information gathering should include a:

medical diagnosis that the child was exposed to a dangerous drug, a narcotic drug or alcohol during pregnancy;
identification of the adverse effects of the prenatal exposure; and
medical interpretation that the infant’s symptoms are the result of the prenatal exposure.


Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) or Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE)

Information gathering should focus on documenting the diagnosis by a health professional of an infant under one year of age with clinical findings consistent with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) or fetal alcohol effects (FAE). The diagnosis may be made at any time during the child’s first year of life.



Deliberate Exposure to or Reckless Disregard of the Child’s Presence During Sexual Activity

Deliberate exposure means that the parent, guardian, or custodian knowingly and willingly subjected the child to sexual activities, including having the child read or view explicit sexual materials (pornography), buying the child explicit sexual materials (pornography), taking the child to a strip club, having the child view others engaged in sexual activity, or allowing the child to see activities of bestiality or materials depicting bestiality.



Reckless disregard means that the parent, guardian, or custodian knew or should have known that the child was present or would likely be present when engaging in sexual activity, and failed to take actions to prevent the child from observing the activity such as closing and/or locking the door, waiting for the child to sleep, etc. Note that this would not include infants who sleep in the same room as their parent, guardian, or custodian.



Information gathering should focus on obtaining statements from credible witnesses (including the child and parent) and corroborative evidence of the alleged behavior involved.



Child Victim of Sex Trafficking

Sex Trafficking involves recruiting, harboring, transporting, obtaining, maintaining, or benefiting financially from any commercial sex act involving a child. Gather information from interviews with the child and other sources to determine if the child is a victim of sex trafficking. A child who has been subject to commercial sexual exploitation is always considered a victim of sex trafficking,

not a perpetrator.



When information indicates that a child has been exposed to sex trafficking, follow procedures for Criminal Conduct or New Allegations disclosed during the Investigation found in Interviewing. Refer the child to appropriate services to address his/her needs.



Unreasonable Confinement

Confinement means the restriction of movement or confining of a child to an enclosed area and/or using a threat of harm or intimidation to force a child to remain in a location or position.



Information gathering should take into account the totality of the circumstances. The totality of the circumstances includes consideration of the method and length of confinement; and the child’s age, developmental and cognitive functioning, and any special needs such as mental illness, behavioral health, and physical limitations.



Examples of unreasonable confinement may include but are not limited to:

tying a child’s arms or legs together;
binding (tying) a child to a chair, bed, tree, or other object; or
locking a child in a cage.


Locking a child in a bedroom, closet, or shed may be unreasonable confinement, taking into account the totality of the circumstances, such as the length of time; whether the child was deprived of food, water, access to a bathroom; or had no means to leave in the event of an emergency.



Documentation

In the Child Safety and Risk Assessment (CSRA) under Section I: Background Information document the following:



Prior History in Arizona or other states or jurisdictions:

Document each report, including the current report, with the date, summary of allegations, findings, and service outcomes.
Document if there is a pattern of maltreatment, chronicity, increasing severity of the allegations, or a change in the household composition.


Department of Public Safety (DPS) background checks and results:

List any arrests, charges, and disposition for all parents of the child victim(s).
List any arrest, charges, and disposition for each adult in the home where the maltreatment occurred.
Document each adults relationship to the child(ren).


Court Orders Limiting or Restricting Contact:

Document efforts made to obtain the information, including the date that each parent, guardian, or custodian was asked if a current court order exists, and their responses.
List any court order that may restrict or deny custody, visitation or contact with the child(ren); including the jurisdiction and involved parties.
Summarize any court orders that indicate a potential safety threat.


Joint Investigation and/or Police Involvement:

Identify Law Enforcement agency, Detectives names, contact information, and DR# for the incident.
Document the status of the police investigation and outcomes.
Joint Investigation Detail (LCH 431) will still need to be completed for all reports containing the "Criminal Conduct" tracking characteristic.


Documents Reviewed (if applicable):

If any of the following documents were obtained and reviewed, file the document(s) in the hard copy record:

Police reports
Other Criminal history
Medical records
School records
Court orders
Provider reports on services provided to the family
Any other documents reviewed


Any consultation with the AAG shall be documented in the Case Notes window under AG Contact.



File written reports and documentation provided by collateral sources in the hard copy record.



Document a near fatality by confirming or entering the Near Fatality (TY) tracking characteristic in the Investigation Tracking Characteristic Findings window or the After Investigation Finding Detail window in CHILDS.



Document the child's medical need, examination and child's physician information using the Medical  Condition, Practitioner Detail and Examination Detail windows.



Update the Person Detail window to document each case participant's language preference and English proficiency.





Chapter 2: Section 3

Initial Contact and Conducting Interviews

Policy

The Department shall conduct investigations by interviewing and personally observing the alleged child victim, interviewing other children and individuals, reviewing documents, and using other accepted investigative techniques, as necessary to gather sufficient information to determine:

whether the alleged child victim is currently safe or unsafe;
the nature, extent, and cause of any condition created by the parents, guardians, custodians, or adult member of the household that would support or refute the allegation that the child is a victim of abuse or neglect;
the name, age, and condition of other children in the home; and
whether any child is in need of safety actions or services.


The Department shall:

contact the reporting source;
interview the alleged child victim, or personally observe the alleged child victim if the child cannot be interviewed due to age or inability to communicate;
interview other children living in the home of the alleged abuse or neglect;
interview the alleged perpetrator(s);
interview parent(s), guardian(s), and/or custodian(s) of the alleged child victim(s) living in the home of the alleged abuse or neglect;
interview all other adults living in the home of the alleged abuse or neglect (including the spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, significant other, roommates, etc.); and
interview parent(s), guardian(s), and/or custodian(s) of the alleged child victim(s) living in a different household, if the whereabouts can be reasonably determined.


The interviews listed above shall be conducted in-person, except for the following:

the reporting source may be interviewed by telephone;
parent(s), guardian(s), and/or custodian(s) living in a different household from the home of the alleged abuse or neglect may be interviewed by telephone, unless s/he is an alleged perpetrator or placement with him/her is being considered.


Interview other children, adults, and collateral sources of information who may have witnessed or been told about the alleged abuse or neglect and/or safety threats, or may be able to fill a gap or resolve a discrepancy in the information needed to assess family functioning and child safety. For example, these individuals may include:

siblings and half-siblings of the child victim who live in a separate household;
siblings and other children who frequent the home where the abuse or neglect occurred (a parent must provide written consent to interview the child unless the child initiates contact or is a sibling to an alleged victim);
other adults who frequent the home or have contact with the child (such as a parent’s spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, significant other, roommate);
school personnel;
medical providers;
child care providers;
relatives; and
neighbors.


Prior to interviewing a child, the Department shall obtain written consent from the parent, guardian, or custodian, except when the child being interviewed is:

the subject of an investigation;
a sibling of the subject of an investigation;
a child who lives with the subject of an investigation;
a child who initiates contact with the Department; or
a child identified in a report alleging a criminal conduct allegation (see the appropriate county's joint investigation protocols - Joint Investigation Protocols).


The Department may exclude a parent, guardian, custodian, household member, or any other individual from being present during the interview with the alleged victim, the alleged victim’s siblings, or other children residing in the alleged victim’s household.



DCS Personnel shall present a DCS Identification card to everyone interviewed.



Before interviewing a parent, guardian, and/or custodian who is an alleged perpetrator, the Department shall:

verbally inform the parent, guardian, and/or custodian of his/her rights and duties;
provide the parent, guardian, and/or custodian with the Notice of Duty to Inform; and
ask the parent, guardian, and/or custodian to sign a written acknowledgment of receipt of the information.


The Department shall collect information from parents about their child's ethnicity.



The Department shall coordinate investigations with law enforcement according to protocols established with the appropriate municipal or county law enforcement agency when one or more of the following circumstances exist:

The report alleges or the investigation indicates that the child is or may be the victim of criminal conduct;
The report alleges or the investigation indicates that the child is a victim of sexual abuse.
The report alleges or the investigation indicates that the child is a victim of commercial sexual exploitation or sex trafficking.
Law enforcement is conducting a criminal investigation of the alleged child abuse and neglect or an investigation is anticipated.


If during the course of an investigation, the Department determines that a criminal offense may have been committed or a new allegation of abuse or neglect not previously reported is present, the Department shall immediately provide information to the appropriate law enforcement agency and the Child Abuse Hotline.



As soon as possible but in no more than 24 hours, any child who is identified as a sex trafficking victim shall be reported to law enforcement for entry into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database.



In instances of criminal conduct against a child, the Department shall protect the victim's rights of the child.



If any participant involved with a case notifies the Department of enrollment in the Address Confidentially Program, the Department shall confirm enrollment and once verified shall maintain the participant's home address confidential and keep it separate from the case record (paper and electronic).



Procedures

Joint Investigation with Law Enforcement

Criminal conduct allegations require a joint investigation with the law enforcement entity of the jurisdiction where the allegations reportedly occurred. Prior to conducting interviews with the family, consult local law enforcement where the incident occurred and coordinate investigative efforts and interviews according to an appropriate interview sequence designated by the assigned law enforcement agent. Each county has different protocols for Joint investigations; these protocols may be accessed at: Joint Investigation Protocols



Joint Investigations are a partnership with law enforcement requiring clear role delineation. The roles and responsibilities of law enforcement and DCS personnel are different.



Protocols for Joint Investigation

Coordinate the investigation with the identified law enforcement agency. Coordination requires a shared, cooperative approach and ongoing consultation, collaboration, and communication. Joint investigations include:



developing a plan to complete the investigation;
responding with law enforcement;
communicating openly and frequently to discuss the status of the case; and
obtaining and sharing information in a timely manner, particularly at the following critical communication points:
completion of interviews;
filing of a dependency petition;
prior to the return of the child victim to the home at any time during the life of the case;
prior to the return of an alleged perpetrator to the home at any time during the life of the case;
re-assessment of safety to include a possible change in the safety plan or a change in placement; and
disclosure of information about the criminal conduct.
Initiate the investigation within the assigned Standard Response Time.



If law enforcement is not able to respond jointly within the response time requirements established for the Department, explain to the law enforcement agency that the Department is proceeding with its investigation of child safety.



When a child is identified as a victim in a report alleging criminal conduct, protect the child victim against harassment, intimidation, and abuse, such as not allowing the alleged abusive person or any other person to threaten, coerce, or pressure the child victim, or to be present during interviews, family meetings, or other Departmental actions with the child victim.



Prior to report closure, contact law enforcement to verify there are no additional steps needed by the Department and ask if law enforcement is pursuing prosecution.



Initial Contact – Interviewing and Observing Children

Interview a child who is the subject of investigation (identified as the child victim in the report) or another child who lives in the home prior to law enforcement involvement, when necessary, to determine child safety. Whenever possible, interview the child, siblings, and all other children living in the home in a safe and neutral location. Interview the child alone for all or part of the interview. Ask the parent who is not alleged to have abused or neglected the child to be present for the child interview if the child refuses or is reluctant to be interviewed without the parent being present.



If a child is non-verbal, substitute observation of the child and document the observation to replace the interview.



The alleged perpetrator shall not be present during the interview of a child who is the subject of an investigation, his or her siblings, or any other child in the household.

Provide children with information about the investigation process, including the role of various individuals in the process; explain that the Department is working to ensure their safety.



When a child is interviewed without consent of the parent, guardian, and/or custodian, initiate contact with the parent, guardian, and/or custodian the same day and inform of the child’s interview. The DCS Specialist should make reasonable efforts to inform the parent, guardian and/or custodian about the interview before the child returns home from school, when applicable.



If efforts to contact the parent, guardian, or custodian are not successful, talk to the reporting source, as appropriate, to determine if there is a means to contact the parent, custodian, and/or guardian. If there is no way to contact the parent, guardian and/or custodian, leave a copy of A Guide to the Department of Child Safety at the home, along with your name, address, phone number, and a request to be contacted.



Interviewing a Child at School

If an interview of a child needs to be conducted at school:

Be respectful to the school's rules, schedule, testing, and the child's educational needs.
Coordinate with the school's administrative personnel.
Provide DCS identification and a copy of the Request for Interview at School.
Ask to interview the child privately. If the child requests that a teacher or other school staff member be present for the interview, explain the need to speak with the child privately;
Limit the amount of time a child misses classroom instruction.
Do not share any additional details of the investigation with school personnel unless needed to determine the child's safety.
Collect additional information if needed by requesting school records and interviewing school personnel by using the Request of Release of Education Records (investigation only).


If interviewing the child at school and there is a joint investigation, criminal conduct allegation, or law enforcement involvement, the Department or law enforcement must have parental permission, a court order/warrant, or exigent circumstances to conduct the interview. Exigent circumstances means a child has suffered or will imminently suffer abuse or neglect, and it is reasonable to conclude the child will be in danger if the child returns home. Interview the child to assess the child's safety and determine if the child is or will be a victim of abuse or neglect.



For these circumstances, limit the interview to 20 minutes and ask who, what, where, when questions to determine whether the child has suffered or will imminently suffer abuse or neglect, and whether the child will be in danger if the child returns home that day. Assess for child safety only. Do not conduct a full interview with the child. If denied access to the child, notify your supervisor and contact the Attorney General's Office.



Photographing

If a child has visible injuries and/or visible indicators of neglect, arrange to have the child photographed, preferably by law enforcement, a Child Advocacy Center, or a medical professional; and at the same time as a medical evaluation to reduce the number of times the child is examined. If these personnel are not available, photograph the child by depicting the child's entire body and face, not just the external manifestation of abuse. The Department shall not take photographs of a child’s genitals. Photographs should include ruler and color bar where possible. Label each photograph with the child's name, date of photograph, date of birth, name of DCS Specialist , and name of the person taking the picture. Photographs of children can be taken without permission of the parent, guardian and/or custodian.



Preparing to meet with Parents, Guardians, and/or Custodians

Review the Person Detail (LCH016) window for each case participant to determine whether English is the participant's primary language spoken. If another language is the primary language, ask the participant if they wish to communicate in their primary language. If the participant wishes to communicate in their primary language, ensure translation services are in place; see Limited English Proficiency for more information on obtaining translation services.



Gather the following documents, and provide them to the parent, guardian, and/or custodian when appropriate and necessary, as defined below:

A Guide to the Department of Child Safety;
Notice of Duty to Inform (CSO-1005);
Safe Sleep for Your Baby (for families with a child under one year of age);
Authorization to Disclose Health Information (to obtain a parent/guardian/custodian or adult's medical or behavioral health records).
Present Danger Plan (if a child is found to be in present danger);
Safety Plan (if there is an impending danger safety threat to a child);
Present Danger Plan Signature Page or Safety Plan Signature Page (use with a present danger plan or safety plan);
Voluntary Placement Agreement (when parent, custodian, or guardian agrees to a voluntary placement);
Temporary Custody Notice (serve to a parent, guardian, and/or custodian when the Department has taken temporary custody of a child);
Notice of Removal (serve to a school, child care provide., or other location when the Department has taken temporary custody of a child or removed a court ward); and
Kinship Placement Agreement and Notification of Resources (for all kinship placements).


Informing a Parent, Guardian and/or Custodian Under Investigation of His/Her Rights

Persons under investigation by the Department have specific rights in addition to any rights afforded in a law enforcement investigation or criminal proceeding. Inform all persons of their rights in a Department investigation, even when law enforcement has informed a parent, guardian, and/or custodian of their rights with regard to a criminal investigation. During a criminal conduct investigation, the Department is required to disclose the allegations, but statute allows the Department to withhold details that would compromise an ongoing investigation.



Upon initial contact (whether by telephone, in-person or other method), inform the parent, guardian, and/or custodian under investigation verbally and in writing of all of the following:



S/he is under investigation by the Department and the specific complaint or allegation made against the person.


The Department has no legal authority to compel cooperation with the investigation or to compel the parent, guardian, and/or custodian to receive services.


The Department shall proceed with the investigation (by interviewing other persons who have information about the alleged abuse or neglect and the safety of any child living in the home, etc.) whether agreed to or not.


Refusal to cooperate with the investigation or participate in services offered does not in itself constitute grounds for temporary custody.


The Department has the authority to petition the Juvenile Court for a determination that the child is dependent.


S/he has the right to file a complaint with the Ombudsman-Citizens Aide, the DCS Ombudsman Office and to appeal determinations made by the Department,


S/he has right to provide written, telephonic, or other verbal responses to the allegation(s), including any documentation, and to have the information considered in determining whether the child is in need of Department intervention.


Anything the person says or writes can be used in a court proceeding.


Any verbal response will be included in the report of the investigation.


Any written response, including any document, will be included in the case record.


Any information provided in response to the allegation(s) will be considered during the investigation.


After informing the parent, guardian, and/or custodian of the above rights, have the parent, guardian, and/or custodian sign the Notice of Duty to Inform, acknowledging receipt of notification of these rights. Provide a copy to the parent, guardian, and/or custodian.



Provide the parent, guardian and/or custodian with the telephone number for the Ombudsman-Citizens Aide and the DCS Ombudsman Office.



Conducting Interviews of Parents, Guardians, and/ or Custodians who Reside in the Household of the Alleged Abuse or Neglect



Prior to initiating contact with an adult who resides in the household of the alleged abuse or neglect, review the information available to effectively develop a strategy to engage the participant. Not every interview is the same and each person may require a different technique in order to effectively engage in the interview process. If needed, consult with other Department personnel to assist in this process.



Establish a working relationship with the family to facilitate information gathering. Spend sufficient time establishing and building rapport with the child’s parents, guardians and/or custodians by:



notifying parents, guardians and/or custodians of their rights relative to the investigative process at the very beginning of the investigation;
explaining, as part of the introductory process, the role of the DCS Specialist, role of the Department and the essence of the report (without getting into the details of the maltreatment until the interview process has begun in full);
addressing parental concerns, deflecting strong reactions, and demonstrating empathy in response to significant emotions resulting from the parent, guardian and/or custodian’s response to being a subject of an investigation;
empowering parents, guardians and/or custodians by asking for assistance in arranging for a private place to conduct interviews, scheduling follow-up interviews, and asking for additional contact information on family members, friends and individuals in their support network who they want the investigator to speak with about their family’s circumstances; and
guiding the interview process by redirecting the conversation back to the collection of relevant information when parents, guardians and/or custodians repeatedly move off-topic, recognizing the difference between intentional avoidance or misdirection and the need for the Specialist to address a legitimate concern before refocusing the interview.


During the initial interview with parents, guardians and/or custodians who reside in the household of the alleged abuse or neglect, the DCS Specialist should ask questions to elicit information related to the following domains of family functioning:



Extent of child maltreatment
Circumstances surrounding the maltreatment
Child functioning on a daily basis
Adult functioning on a daily basis
General parenting practices
Discipline and behavior management


For more information to assist in conducting interviews see Family Centered Interview Guide and Family Functioning Assessment at Investigation.



If unable to complete in-person interviews in the home, complete one visit to the home of the child victim to observe the physical condition of the home and the living environment, and to assess the safety of the children in the home. Document observations, and take photographs if appropriate.



Ask the parent, guardian, and/or custodian if the child's parent is of American Indian heritage/ancestry. On the Notice of Duty to Inform, document the response, including the name of tribe of which the child is a member or is eligible for enrollment.



Ask the parent, guardian, and/or custodian to identify their child’s ethnicity.



Conducting Interviews of Parents, Guardians, and/or Custodians who do not Reside in the Household of the Alleged Abuse or Neglect

The DCS Specialist shall gather information about any parent, guardian, and/or custodian of an alleged child victim who does not reside in the home of the alleged abuse or neglect in order to determine:

the person’s name, address, and other contact information;
whether paternity or other legal relationship has been established between the child and parent;
whether there are any court orders related to custody, visitation, or contact with the parent, guardian and/or custodian; and
the frequency, duration, and nature of contacts between the parent, guardian and/or custodian and child(ren).


The DCS Specialist shall interview all parent(s), guardian(s),and/or custodian(s) of the alleged child victim(s) who do not reside in the household of the alleged abuse or neglect, if the whereabouts can be reasonably determined. During the interview, the DCS Specialist will:

confirm the relationship between the child and the other parent, guardian and/or custodian;
inform the parent, guardian, and/or custodian of the allegation of abuse or neglect to his or her child;
gather information from the parent, guardian, and/or custodian regarding the six domains of family functioning pertaining to the home of the alleged abuse or neglect; and
gather information about the household of the parent, guardian, and/or custodian being interviewed as described in Family Functioning Assessment at Investigation.


For more information about conducting interviews see Family Centered Interview Guide and Family Functioning Assessment at Investigation.



Ask the parent, guardian, and/or custodian if either of the child's parents are of American Indian heritage/ancestry.



Ask the parent, guardian, or custodian to identify their child’s ethnicity.



Interviewing Collateral Contacts

In most instances, the reporting source should be the first individual contacted, prior to commencing the investigation. Contact the reporting source to corroborate information obtained by the Child Abuse Hotline and obtain other information the reporter might have on the extent of the maltreatment, circumstances surrounding the maltreatment, child functioning, adult functioning, general parenting, and disciplinary and behavior management practices. Ask the reporting source for the names and contact information of other reliable collateral contacts who know the family.



Identify collateral contacts likely to have relevant and reliable information on the family. Protect the identity of the collateral contacts, to the extent possible, when discussing with the family information shared about the family.



In addition to individuals who have direct knowledge about circumstances surrounding the maltreatment, collateral contacts or sources may include:

individuals who have regular contact with the child and are likely to be able to describe the child’s day-to-day functioning;
doctors or other professionals who have evaluated or maintain records on the child;
individuals with established personal or professional relationships with the parent, guardian and/or custodian who can likely describe the parent, guardian and/or custodian’s day-to-day functioning; and
individuals likely to have witnessed the interactions between the child and parent, guardian and/or custodian, and/or who can describe general parenting and disciplinary and behavior management practices.


When interviewing relatives, neighbors, and others about the alleged abuse or neglect, share only the information that is necessary to secure additional information about the child and family.



Address Confidentiality Program

If a participant notifies the Department of his/her enrollment in the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP), contact the Secretary of State's ACP office at 602-542-1892 to confirm the participant is currently enrolled. A case participant presents one of the following documents:

An ACP Authorization Card; or
A letter from the Secretary of State confirming ACP participation.


Whenever possible, request a copy of the above documents for the case record. If not possible, document all information from the ACP Authorization Card in the case record.



Once a participant has been verified as enrolled in the Address Confidentiality Program, contact the ACP liaison at PolicyUnit@azdcs.gov so that the participant's records are properly protected in CHILDS. At no time shall the ACP participant’s home address be entered into CHILDS, be kept in the written case record, or produced in response to a records request.



If a participant is enrolled in the Address Confidentiality Program and his/her home address is needed, complete the Non-Emergency Address Disclosure Request and send it to the ACP liaison at PolicyUnit@azdcs.gov. Do not require the participant to provide his/her home address.



Observing Family Interactions

If family members are seen together, observe family interactions and the family conditions to which the child(ren) are routinely exposed, protective capacities, style of communication, power and control dynamics, and parenting skills as actually applied compared to those described by parents, guardians and/or custodians.



Parent-Child Interactions

If a parent, guardian and/or custodian and child are seen together, observe attachment and interaction dynamics to assess child and adult functioning, general parenting, and parental disciplinary practices and behavior management. Observe whether any of the following are occurring in the parent-child interactions, to evaluate parental protective capacities:

Child displays behaviors that seem to provoke strong reactions from the parent, guardian and/or custodian.
Parent, guardian and/or custodian ignores inconsequential behavior or appropriately responds to child’s “acting out.”
Child has difficulty verbalizing or communicating needs to parent, guardian and/or custodian.
Parent, guardian and/or custodian easily recognizes child’s needs and responds accordingly.
Child demonstrates little self-control and repeatedly has to be re-directed by parent, guardian and/or custodian.
Child plays by himself or with siblings/friends age appropriately.
Child responds much more favorably to one family member.
Family members appropriately express affection for each other.
Parent, guardian and/or custodian demonstrates good / poor communication or social skills.
Parent, guardian and/or custodian is very attentive / ignores or is very inattentive to child’s expressed or observable needs.
Parent, guardian and/or custodian consistently / inconsistently applies discipline or guidance to the child.
Parent, guardian and/or custodian reacts impulsively to situations or circumstances in the home.
Parent, guardian and/or custodian demonstrates adequate coping skills in handling unexpected challenges.


Adult Interactions

If the parents, guardians and/or custodians are seen together, observe how the identified alleged perpetrator and non-offending parent, guardian and/or custodian (and other adult caregivers) relate to each other. Observe the following interpersonal and relationship dynamics to assess parental protective capacity to manage out-of-control behaviors, actions, or conditions identified in the home:

One individual appears much more dominant or controlling in the relationship (i.e., interrupts conversations, challenges partner’s statements, exhibits dismissive non-verbal communication in response to other person’s comments – rolling of eyes, smirks, etc.).
The non-offending caregiver appears very self-confident and self-assured.
The adult relationship appears volatile and “all consuming” leaving inadequate time or energy for non-offending parent to address child’s needs.
The non-offending caregiver attempts to demonstrate effective parenting efforts, but is undermined by the alleged perpetrator.
Only one individual appears to be effective in disciplining and managing child behavior.
A co-dependent, high/low functioning dynamic appears to exist between the individuals with significant caregiver responsibility with the identified alleged perpetrator not being held accountable for inappropriate or irresponsible behavior(s) by the higher functioning, more capable adult.


Criminal Conduct or New Allegations Disclosed During the Investigation

If during the course of the investigation, evidence suggests that the allegation should be coded criminal conduct, contact OCWI to determine if the report meets criminal conduct criteria. If the allegation meets criminal conduct criteria, the OCWI Manager adds a tracking characteristic of criminal conduct to the allegation and contacts law enforcement.



If during the course of an investigation, evidence suggests a new allegation or that a new allegation might be criminal conduct, contact the Child Abuse Hotline via an Intake Supervisor to add the allegation to the current report or create a new report for ongoing cases. If the Intake Supervisor believes that the allegation meets criminal conduct criteria (Chapter 2, Section 4.7 Investigations Involving OCWI), the Intake Supervisor adds a tracking characteristic of criminal conduct to the new allegation and contacts OCWI to assign the new allegation. Contact law enforcement. Document the new allegation in after investigations findings.



If during the course of the investigation, evidence indicates that a felony criminal offense perpetrated by someone other than a parent, guardian, or custodian or other adult member of the child's home has been committed, contact the appropriate law enforcement agency.



Documentation

In the Child Safety and Risk Assessment (CSRA) under Section II: Interviews, document all interviews in narrative form with the date, type, time, location, who was present, and information collected; or the concerted efforts to locate, contact, and interview.



For more information about proper documentation see the SAFE AZ Child Safety and Risk Assessment (CSRA) Documentation Guide.



Document ethnicity for each participant, in CHILDS under the Person Detail window. If the parent, guardian and/or custodian identifies any American Indian ancestry or heritage, document in the American Indian Detail window, reached through the Person Detail window.



Document any consultation with the Attorney General’s Office in a case note under AG Contact.



Document consultation with the Supervisor, or designee, in a case note under Supervisory/ Management Contact.



File written, telephonic, or verbal responses to the allegation provided by the subject of a DCS investigation, any written response to the allegation, and any documentation obtained from the subject of a DCS investigation in the hard copy record.



If possible, scan all written reports and documentation provided by collateral sources and attach to a case note, and file in the hard copy. See Case Note Types Guide.





Chapter 2: Section 4

Present Danger Assessment and Planning

Policy

In response to allegations of abuse or neglect, the department shall assess, promote, and support the safety of a child in a safe and stable family or other appropriate placement.



A present danger assessment shall be completed on all cases where a field investigation is completed and shall be documented in the Child Safety and Risk Assessment (CSRA).



Upon contact with the child and family, the DCS Specialist will determine whether any child in the home where the abuse or neglect was alleged to occur is in present danger.



A child is unsafe when present danger and/or impending danger exists.



A present danger plan shall be implemented for any child assessed as unsafe due to present danger, prior to leaving the child or family. If a present danger plan is implemented, the DCS Specialist must inform the parents that they have the right to an attorney and a hearing before a juvenile court judge if they do not agree to an in-home or voluntary present danger plan that is sufficient to control the danger, and the Department chooses to remove the child(ren) from the home and file a dependency petition.



A case cannot be closed when a child is unsafe.



Procedures

Present Danger Assessment

Upon contact with the child and family, the DCS Specialist will determine whether any child in the home where the abuse or neglect was alleged to occur is in present danger. A child is in present danger when there is an immediate, significant, and clearly observable family condition, child condition, or individual behavior that obviously endangers a child right now or threatens to endanger a child at any moment, and requires immediate action to protect the child before the comprehensive Family Functioning Assessment can be completed.



The DCS Specialist must obtain emergency medical treatment for a child when necessary, as soon as possible. Situations that may require emergency medical treatment include, but are not limited to:

head injuries or loss of consciousness,
abdominal injuries,
severe malnourishment or dehydration,
open wounds or burns, and
injury to the genitals.


Immediate, significant, and clearly observable are defined as follows:

“Immediate” for present danger means that the dangerous family condition, child condition, or individual behavior is active and operating. What might result from the danger for a child could be happening or occur at any moment. What is endangering the child is happening in the present, it is actively in the process of placing a child in peril. Serious harm will result without prompt investigation and/or DCS Specialist action.
“Significant” for present danger means that the family condition, child condition, or individual behavior is exaggerated, out of control, and/or extreme.
The danger is recognizable because what is happening is vivid, impressive, and notable. What is happening exists as a matter that must be addressed immediately. Significant is anticipated harm that can result in pain, serious injury, disablement, grave or debilitating physical health conditions, acute or grievous suffering, impairment, or death.
Present danger is “clearly observable” because there are actions, behaviors, emotions, or out-of-control conditions in the home that can be specifically and explicitly described, and which directly harm the child or are highly likely to result in immediate harm to the child.


In present danger, the dangerous situation:

is in the process of occurring (for example, a young child is alone on a busy street);
just happened (for example, a child presents at an emergency room with a serious unexplained injury);
happens all the time (for example, young children were left alone last night and are likely to be left home alone again tonight or the child will be accessible to a perpetrator upon release from school); or
requires an immediate protective action because the alleged abuse or neglect cannot be immediately ruled out and if the allegation is true, the child is in present danger (for example, a child has serious unexplained injuries or there are current allegations of sexual abuse).


Present Danger Conditions

The following conditions describe present danger when they are immediate (endangering a child right now), significant, and clearly observable:

child is unsupervised or alone now or on a daily basis, or has been left with a person who is unwilling or unable to provide adequate care, and the child is not capable of caring for himself/herself;
caregiver is unable to perform essential parental responsibilities right now or all of the time due to alcohol/substance use, mental health conditions, physical impairment, and/or cognitive limitations;
caregiver is unable or unwilling to perform essential parental responsibilities and there is no other appropriate caretaker immediately available;
caregiver is out of control and cannot focus or manage his/her behavior in ways to properly perform parental responsibilities;
caregiver’s behavior is currently violent, bizarre, erratic, unpredictable, incoherent, or totally inappropriate;
caregiver is brandishing weapons, known to be dangerous and aggressive, or is currently behaving in attacking or aggressive ways;
dynamics in the household include an adult establishing power, control, or coercion over a caregiver in a way that impairs necessary supervision or care of the child and has caused, or will likely cause, serious harm to the child’s physical, mental or emotional health;
caregiver has an extremely negative perception of the child, such as seeing the child as demon possessed; and/or has extremely unrealistic expectations for the child’s behavior;
physical conditions in the home are hazardous and immediately threaten a child’s safety, such as exposed live wiring, building capable of falling in, manufacturing of drugs (i.e. drug lab), or exposure to extreme weather;
caregiver is subjecting the child to brutal or bizarre punishment such as confined to a cage, tied to an object, locked in a closet, forced feeding, scalding with hot water, burning with cigarettes, etc.;
child requires immediate medical attention, and the absence of medical treatment could seriously affect the child’s health and well-being; such as a child who is severely malnourished, dehydrated or failure to thrive (the absence of routine medical care is not a present danger situation);
child’s behavior is actively endangering self or others and caregiver cannot or will not control the child’s behavior or arrange or provide necessary care;
evidence of recent sexual abuse, the perpetrator currently has access to identified victim, and no protective action is being taken by a non-offending caregiver;
injuries such as facial bruises, injuries to the head, or multiple plane injuries; different types of injuries on the child, such as a serious burn and bruising; bruising or injuries to a non-ambulatory child, or immersion burns;
severe to extreme maltreatment that is alleged to be occurring in the present (i.e., child has soft tissue injuries which pose a threat to vital organs; broken bones, burns, cuts, and lacerations; vicious beatings; biting; injuries to genitals; constantly being hit; physical torture; oral sex, anal sex, or intercourse; sexual abuse accompanied with physical abuse; bizarre sexual practices; pornography/sexual exploitation; constantly berating, double binding, verbal assault/intimidation; psychological torture such as constant scapegoating, indifference, condemnation, and/or rejections);
serious injuries that the caregivers and others cannot or will not explain, or the explanation is inconsistent with the observed or diagnosed injuries or condition;
child’s condition is the result of deliberate, preconceived planning or thinking that the caregiver is responsible for and that preceded the child’s serious injuries or condition;
child is profoundly fearful of their present home situation, or a particular person living in or having access to the home because of a specific concern of personal threat (this does not include generalized fear or anxiety);
there is evidence of abuse or neglect and the caregiver cannot or will not produce the child, refuses access to the child, is likely to flee with the child, or is actively avoiding DCS (such as not allowing others to have contact with the child or moving a child around among relatives, adults or different homes).


Present Danger Planning

If any child in the home is in present danger, the DCS Specialist must implement a present danger plan that controls the present danger prior to leaving the child or family. A present danger plan provides the child(ren) with responsible adult supervision and care so that the child will be safe while the DCS Specialist completes the Family Functioning Assessment, which assesses impending danger and protective capacity. A present danger plan is immediate, short term, and sufficient to control the present danger. These criteria are defined as follows:

Immediate means that the plan is capable of controlling the present danger the same day it is created. Before the DCS Specialist leaves the child or family, the present danger plan must be in motion and confirmed.
Short term means that the plan only needs to control the particular present danger situations until sufficient information can be gathered and analyzed to determine the need for a longer term safety plan. Present danger plans should be sufficient to control the present danger until the Family Functioning Assessment is complete (including an analysis of impending danger).
Sufficient means that the adults who will provide care and supervision to the child(ren) are responsible, available, trustworthy, and capable of fulfilling their responsibilities within the present danger plan. It must be confirmed that the responsible adults are willing to cooperate and emotionally and physically capable of carrying out the protective actions needed to keep the child safe.


The DCS Specialist works with the family to determine what protective action is necessary to control the immediate present danger condition and who, if needed, will serve as the responsible adults to protect the child when the danger threats are present or likely to be present.



If a present danger plan is implemented, the DCS Specialist must inform the parents that they have the right to an attorney and a hearing before a juvenile court judge if they do not agree to an in-home or voluntary present danger plan that is sufficient to control the danger, and the Department chooses to remove the child(ren) from the home and file a dependency petition.



Identifying Responsible Adult(s) to Implement Protective Actions

In order to implement a present danger plan, a responsible adult must be identified who is able to carry out the protective actions. The responsible adult could be a parent/caregiver, another adult who meets the criteria listed below, or a service provider who agrees to be responsible for a protective action. The responsible adult(s) must be present and be able to take action at any time a threat of danger is present.



Engage the family and ask for their assistance in identifying appropriate responsible adults who can assist in ensuring the child’s safety. Obtain information to determine if the responsible adult and members of his/her household (if applicable) are appropriate for this role. Meet in-person with any identified responsible adult to assess his/her ability to be responsible for protective actions. Areas to consider include whether the adult:

has demonstrated the ability to protect the child in the past (with or without DCS involvement) while under similar circumstances and family conditions;
believes the child’s report of maltreatment and is supportive of the child;
is capable of understanding the specific threat to the child and the need to protect the child;
displays concern for the child and the child’s experience and is intent on emotionally protecting the child;
has a strong bond with the child and he/she is clear the number one priority is safety and well-being of the child;
is physically able to intervene and protect the child;
does not have significant individual needs that might affect the safety of the child, such as severe depression, lack of impulse control, medical needs, etc.;
is emotionally able to carry out a plan and/or to intervene to protect the child (not incapacitated by fear of maltreating person);
has adequate knowledge and skill to fulfill caregiving responsibilities and tasks (this may involve considering the caregiver’s ability to meet any exceptional needs that the child might have);
has asked, demands, and expects the maltreating adult to follow the conditions of the present danger plan and can assure the plan is effectively carried out;
consistently expresses belief that the maltreating person is in need of help and he/she supports the maltreating person getting help (this is the individual’s point of view without being prompted by DCS);
while having difficulty believing the other person would maltreat the child, the individual describes the child as believable and trustworthy;
has adequate resources necessary to meet the child’s basic needs;
is cooperating with the DCS Specialist’s efforts to provide services and assess the specific needs of the family; and
does not place responsibility on the child for the problems of the family.


If the responsible adult is a member of the family network or an informal support (is not a licensed out-of-home caregiver or a professional service provider), complete a search for prior AZ DCS involvement and a criminal records check with the Department of Public Safety. Submit the DPS criminal history request to the DPS using the Justice Web Interface (JWI). Submit a G-22 Child Abuse request.



When a person does not have a social security number, the DPS Criminal Records Check shall still be completed using information currently in CHILDS (including assigned pseudo social security numbers). In this situation, additional searches are necessary, including a public records search or information available through local law enforcement.



If the results of the criminal records check are not immediately available, gather information from the prospective responsible adult regarding criminal history, complete a public records check, and contact local law enforcement to complete a records check. Within 24 hours, complete the criminal records check with DPS. If appropriate, request history from out of state child welfare systems (when the responsible adult has resided in another state).



If the safety plan includes the child residing in the home of a responsible adult for any period of time (including a parent, guardian, or custodian or a member of the family network), complete a preliminary kinship assessment, which includes:

a search for prior AZ DCS involvement;
a criminal records check with the Department of Public Safety for all adults residing in the home; and
an inspection of the home to ensure there are no safety hazards, utilizing the Home Safety Checklist for Kinship Foster Caregiver Household, CSO-1014.


If the present danger plan includes the child residing in the home of an unlicensed relative or non-relative follow the procedures in Kinship Care.



If the present danger plan includes the child residing with a parent, guardian, or custodian who resides in a different household from the home of the alleged abuse or neglect, so that the household was not assessed within the Family Functioning Assessment, consider the following:

What experience does the parent have with parenting this or other children? Does the parent have knowledge of parenting and child development?
Does the parent know and practice positive methods of discipline?
What support with the parent require to provide for the child’s needs (medical, behavioral health, dental, special needs, transportation, communicating with professionals, etc.)?
How will the parent provide sufficient and appropriate supervision for the child, including after-school or childcare if necessary? (If childcare will be paid for by DCS, include in the case plan.)
As appropriate, how is the parent able to assist the child in family time/visitation and other forms of communication with the other parent and siblings?
Is the parent willing and able to participate in meetings (TDMs, CFTs, IEPs, etc.)?
Does the parent aware that DCS and service providers will visit the home in order to fulfill safety plan oversight and service provision responsibilities?
What new expenses are anticipated if the child is placed in the home? Will the parent be able to provide sufficient care for the child without causing financial hardship for the family?
Will the parent need services or supports to maintain the child safely in the home? (Include any needed services and supports in the case plan.)


The DCS Specialist maintains responsibility and accountability for the sufficiency and implementation of the present danger plan, which includes oversight to ensure that all responsible parties are carrying out the actions and duties in the plan. The use of a responsible adult does not relieve the DCS Specialist of responsibility for oversight and administration of the present danger plan or continued assessment of the child’s safety. The present danger plan is intended to remain active until information is gathered to either eliminate the need for the present danger plan or create a safety plan due to identified impending danger threats. For the duration of the present danger plan, the DCS Specialist must continually review the adequacy of the protective action(s), and modify the plan when necessary. For effective oversight, the DCS Specialist must have an adequate understanding of the status of the present danger conditions(s) and the sufficiency, feasibility, and sustainability of the protective actions identified; and must anticipate potential crisis situations.



A present danger plan may not be in place for more than 14 days. Within the 14 days, the Family Functioning Assessment must be prioritized in order for the DCS Specialist to complete an analysis of impending danger and determine the need for a safety plan to replace the present danger plan.



Present Danger Plan Options

In-home, combination, and out-of-home present danger plan options are available. The DCS Specialist shall work with the family to identify the least intrusive plan that is sufficient to control the present danger condition(s). For the purposes of this section, “the home” refers to the location where the unsafe child is presently residing and where the danger threats need to be managed; for example, the child may be presently located in the family home, a hospital, a shelter, or other location.



The DCS Specialist works with the family to select one or more of the following present danger plan options, which are listed in order from least to most intrusive:



The threatening person leaves the home.
This option exists when the DCS Specialist is certain a responsible adult currently living in the home is adamant and committed to maintaining the absence of the threatening person, and the threatening person agrees to leave the home or is removed from the home by law enforcement.
The threatening person must remain out of the home throughout the time frame of the present danger plan.
This is an in-home present danger plan option.


The protective parent and child leave the home and go to a safe environment.
This option exists when there is a protective parent who is willing to leave the home of the threatening person, and a safe temporary environment is available throughout the time frame of the present danger plan (such as the home of a relative, or a domestic violence shelter).
In order to implement this type of plan, it must be determined that the protective parent will consistently act to keep the child safe.
This is an in-home present danger plan option.


A responsible adult is in the home at pre-determined specific times.
This option works when the safety threat happens at specific times and is predictable in frequency and nature. For example, when the safety threat involves inadequate feeding of a child with medical needs, a responsible and capable adult could come to the home at each meal time.
This option exists when a member of the family network, an informal support person, or a professional is available to be in the home periodically, as a responsible adult. This plan must include specificity in terms of when the adult will be in the home, how long the adult will be in the home, under what circumstances, and for what purpose.
This option only exists when the parent(s) agree to have the adult in their home at the times specified in the plan.
This is an in-home present danger plan option.


A responsible adult routinely monitors the home.
This option works when the threatening condition is not present at all times. For example, when the safety threat involves a parent who is occasionally incapacitated by depression and then unable to keep the home sufficiently clean, a responsible adult could monitor the mother’s mental health and the home’s condition by making a home visit every day.
This option exists when a member of the family network, an informal support person, or a professional is available to routinely monitor the home. “Routinely” must be defined in terms of frequency and circumstance. What is being monitored must be delineated.
This option only exits when the parent(s) agree to have the responsible adult monitor the home.
This is an in-home present danger plan option.


A responsible adult moves into the home seven days a week, 24 hours per day.
This option may be the least intrusive when the safety threat is happening at all times, or does not follow a predictable pattern.
This option exists when a responsible adult is available to move into the home throughout the time frame of the present danger plan.
The option only exists when parent(s) agree to have the adult reside in the home seven days a week, 24 hours per day.
This is an in-home present danger plan option.


The child is cared for outside the home periodically.
This option works when the present danger happens at specific times and is predictable in frequency and nature.
This option exists when arrangements can be made so that the child is not at home when the present danger is known to occur. For instance, a father may be protective but cannot be home during the day, so child care is used to separate the child from the present danger posed by the mother’s behavior. Any resource that supports temporary separation is acceptable such as babysitting, recreation programs, staying with a relative or neighbor, and so forth.
This option only exits when the parent(s) agree to the arrangements in the plan.
This is a combination present danger plan option.


The child lives with someone in the family network part-time.
This option works when the present danger happens at specific times and is predictable in frequency and nature.
This option exists when there is a responsible adult with whom the child can live part-time. For instance, a child might live with grandparents on weekends while the Family Functioning Assessment continues toward completion. This option could be used in combination with the child attending school and an after-school recreation program while living with the parents during the work week.
This option only exits when the parent(s) agree to the arrangements in the plan.
This is a combination present danger plan option.


The child lives with a responsible adult for seven days per week, 24 hours per day.
This option may be the least intrusive when the safety threat is happening at all times or does not follow a predictable pattern, and there is no responsible adult who is able and willing to move into the family home seven days per week, 24 hours per day.
This option only exists when the parent(s) are willing to voluntarily and temporarily relocate the child from the parents’ home to the home of a responsible adult in the family network, agreed upon by the parent(s) and the DCS Specialist. The parents must also be willing to cooperate to ensure that the child’s medical, educational, and behavioral health needs are met.
This option exists when there is a responsible adult in the family network with whom the child can live seven days per week, 24 hours per day, throughout the time frame of the present danger plan.
In order to implement this type of plan, the adult must be approved by the DCS Specialist, and the present danger plan must be overseen by the Department.
This is an out-of-home present danger plan option.


The child is placed in the temporary custody of DCS by a Voluntary Placement Agreement, CSO-1043.
This option may be the least intrusive when the safety threat is happening at all times, or does not follow a predictable pattern, and a Voluntary Placement Agreement is necessary because the parent agrees to have the child live temporarily outside of home and there is no responsible adult in the family network, so the child needs to reside with a foster parent.
In order to implement this type of plan with a non-licensed caregiver, it must be determined that the proposed adult is responsible, available, has no competing demands, and is trustworthy. Refer to Voluntary Placement for more information.
If the child is subject to the Indian Child Welfare Act, refer to Voluntary Placement of an Indian Child for specific procedures.
The option only exists when the parent(s) agree to the Voluntary Placement Agreement.
This is an out-of-home present danger plan option.


The child is placed in the temporary custody of the Department.
This is the most intrusive present danger plan and is only used when all other options are explored and not possible or sufficient to control the safety threats long enough to complete the Family Functioning Assessment.
This option is necessary when there is present danger and the parents, guardians, or custodians cannot or will not cooperate or participate in a less intrusive present danger plan that would be sufficient to control the safety threats.
If a child is taken into temporary custody, the DCS Specialist shall provide written notice (a Temporary Custody Notice) within six hours to the parent or guardian of the child, unless:
The parent or guardian is present when the child is taken into custody, then written and verbal notice shall be provided immediately.
The residence of the parent or guardian is outside this state and notice cannot be provided within six hours, then written notice shall be provided within twenty-four hours.
The residence of the parent or guardian is not ascertainable, then reasonable efforts shall be made to locate and notify the parent or guardian of the child as soon as possible.
The Temporary Custody Notice shall list the specific reasons as to why the child is being removed. The notice shall list the specific dangers that caused the determination that the child is unsafe.
The Temporary Custody Notice shall list services that are available to the parent or guardian, including a statement of parental rights and information on how to contact the ombudsman-citizens aide's office and an explanation of the services that office offers.
The DCS Specialist shall list the date and time of the taking of a child into custody on the  Temporary Custody Notice, as well as the name and telephone number of the assigned DCS Specialist and Program Supervisor.
A child who is taken into temporary custody must be returned to their parent(s) and/or guardian within seventy-two hours excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays unless a dependency petition is filed.
If a child is taken into temporary custody for an examination, the child must be returned within twelve hours unless abuse or neglect is diagnosed. The DCS Specialist will notify the parent(s) and/or guardian if the child will not be returned within the twelve hour time frame.
A Team Decision Making meeting should be held within 48 business hours of removal, unless the child is able to return home; the present danger has been resolved; and no impending danger was assessed during the analysis of the Family Functioning Assessment.
This is an out-of-home present danger plan option.


Implement the least intrusive present danger plan, given the unique circumstances of the family, including the family’s capacity to ensure child safety.



When a present danger plan is implemented, the DCS Specialist will make concerted efforts to complete the Family Functioning Assessment as quickly as possible and within no more than 14 days of implementing the present danger plan. Complete a written Present Danger Plan (CSO-1034A) form with the family, identified responsible adults, and/ or safety service providers. The plan will describe the specific action(s) that each adult is responsible for to sufficiently control the danger threat(s), when the action(s) are needed, the end date of the present danger plan, the level of contact allowed between the child and each parent/caregiver, and how the DCS Specialist will oversee that the plan is followed and sufficient.



Following the completion of the Family Functioning Assessment, the DCS Specialist will schedule a safety planning Team Decision Making (TDM) meeting to occur within no more than 14 days of implementing the present danger plan, unless the child is able to return home; the present danger has been resolved; and no impending danger was assessed during the analysis of the Family Functioning Assessment. If a TCN was served as part of the present danger plan, a Present Danger TDM must be held within 48 business hours.



Supervisor Consultation

A Program Supervisor must be involved in developing the present danger plan and must approve any  present danger plan the DCS Specialist initiates with the family. The DCS Specialist and Program Supervisor ensure the protective actions in the present danger plan are the least intrusive actions that are sufficient to control the present danger condition(s) until the Family Functioning Assessment is complete and it is determined the child is safe or a safety plan is created.



When present danger is identified by the DCS Specialist, a supervisor consultation to review the DCS Specialist’s assessment of present danger is required prior to the DCS Specialist leaving the child/family. During the consultation, the Program Supervisor should evaluate whether the danger is immediate, significant, and clearly observable:

Can the DCS Specialist clearly and specifically describe the dangerous family condition, child condition, or individual behavior that is active and currently endangers the child? In what observable ways is the danger actively in the process of placing a child in peril?
Can the DCS Specialist clearly and specifically describe how the dangerous condition or behavior is exaggerated, out of control, and/or extreme? Can the DCS Specialist specifically describe how the anticipated harm is significant (could result in pain, serious injury, disablement, grave or debilitating physical health condition, acute or grievous suffering, impairment, or death)?
Does the DCS Specialist feel compelled to take action immediately to ensure the protection of the child? If so, what present danger plan options have been considered with the family?


When present danger is identified by the DCS Specialist during a subsequent visit to the home or at any point in the life of the case, a follow up supervisor consultation should be conducted to review the considerations above.



If the present danger plan includes the child living with someone in the family network for seven days per week, 24 hours per day, a service authorization must be entered in CHILDS. The service group is FOSTER CARE, and the service type is 24/7 SAFETY PLN. This service authorization must be matched to 24/7 SAFETY PLAN PROVIDER. Do not match the service authorization to a Responsible Adult in the present danger plan. If the present danger plan includes the child being removed from their parent, guardian, or custodian, do not complete this service authorization.



Documentation

For field investigations, using the Child Safety and Risk Assessment (CSRA), document the following:

background information in Section I (Background Information);
contacts, interviews, and observations in Section II (Interviews with all required parties);
assessment and identification of present danger in Section III A (Analysis and conclusion of present danger), as soon as possible and within no more than two work days of interviewing or observing an alleged child victim as follows:
Narrative documentation shall include the child’s name; the contact’s date, time, and location; and a description of each child’s environment and condition at the time of the initial contact.
If present danger is assessed as occurring at the time of initial contact, document the specific family condition, child condition, or individual behavior and how it meets the criteria of immediate, significant, and clearly observable.
Include documentation of the present danger plan developed with the family. Note the date on which the parent/caregiver and, if applicable, the responsible adults were provided with a copy of the present danger plan.
The name of the Program Supervisor who was consulted during the assessment of present danger and provided approval of the development of a present danger plan (if applicable).


For voluntary or court-involved cases, using the Continuous Child Safety and Risk Assessment (C-CSRA), document:

as soon as possible and within no more than two work days of interviewing or observing a child in present danger, the specific family condition, child condition, or individual behavior as observed by the DCS Specialist, in Section II, A,
how it meets the criteria of immediate, significant, and clearly observable, in Section II, B,
the name of the Program Supervisor who was consulted during the assessment of present danger and provided approval of the development of a present danger plan; and
the present danger plan developed with the family, including the date on which the parent/caregiver and, if applicable, the responsible adults were provided with a copy of the Present Danger Plan.


File a copy of the Present Danger Plan (CSO-1034A)in the case record, or include a scanned copy of the Present Danger Plan in CHILDS using case notes, Key Issues type.



If the child is removed, complete the applicable removal windows in CHILDS.



Supervisor Documentation

For investigations, Program Supervisors will document the supervisory consultation and approval of the Clinical Supervision Decision in Section IV (Clinical Supervision Decision) of the Child Safety and Risk Assessment (CSRA). For voluntary or court-involved cases, Supervisors will document the Clinical Supervision Discussion in Section III, A of the C-CSRA.





Chapter 2: Section 5

Family Functioning Assessment at Investigation


Policy

In response to allegations of abuse or neglect, the Department shall assess, promote, and support the safety of a child in a safe and stable family or other appropriate placement.



An investigation must evaluate and determine the nature, extent, and cause of any condition created by the parents, guardian, or custodian or an adult member of the victim's household that would tend to support or refute the allegation that the child is a victim of abuse or neglect; and determine the name, age and condition of other children in the home.



An assessment of family functioning shall be completed on all cases where a field investigation is completed.



A case cannot be closed when a child is unsafe.



Procedures:

Family Functioning Assessment – Investigation (FFA – Investigation)

The assessment and management of child safety is initiated during the initial contact with the family and is continued throughout the investigation. The purpose of the Family Functioning Assessment is to gather sufficient and relevant information to make an informed decision about whether the child is safe or unsafe. The Family Functioning Assessment and analysis of information guides the DCS Specialist’s decisions about the child’s safety and what, if any, actions should be taken to protect the child



Information about family functioning is gathered through interviews, observations, and the review of documents (medical, police, school, behavioral health, etc.). The DCS Specialist completes the Family Functioning Assessment by:

gathering information on the six domains of family functioning: extent of the maltreatment, circumstances surrounding the maltreatment, child functioning on a daily basis, adult functioning on a daily basis, general parenting practices, and discipline and behavior management;
identifying whether there is a threat of danger to any child in the home of the alleged abuse or neglect;
assessing each household members’ protective capacity to control any threats of danger to the child(ren);
applying the five safety threshold criteria to any identified threat of danger; and
determining whether each child in the home is safe or unsafe due to impending danger.


A child is unsafe when there is a threat of danger to the child, the child is vulnerable to the threat of danger, and there is not sufficient parent/caretaker protective capacity to manage the danger.



If there is indication a child is unsafe, consult with a DCS Supervisor and use the Child Safety Intervention Guide to assist in determining if the child is safe or unsafe.



Gathering Information on the Six Domains of Family Functioning

Once an assessment of present danger is complete, the DCS Specialist shall proceed with the Family Functioning Assessment (FFA) to determine whether any child is unsafe due to impending danger.



The functioning of the following individuals must be assessed during the Family Functioning Assessment and documented in the CSRA:

the identified child victim(s);
any other child(ren) living in the home of the alleged abuse or neglect;
the alleged perpetrator(s);
the parent(s), guardian(s), and custodian(s) of the child victim(s) living in the home of the alleged abuse or neglect;
parent(s), guardian(s), and custodian(s) of the alleged child victim(s) living in a different household, if the whereabouts can be reasonably determined; and
other adults living in the home of the alleged abuse or neglect (including the spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, significant other, etc.) who have caregiving responsibilities.


The DCS Specialist will conduct interviews, in-person observations, and document reviews to gather the following information to assess family functioning, threats of danger, and parent/caregiver protective capacities:

1. Extent of child maltreatment

Assess for all types of maltreatment, not just the current allegation(s)
Severity of the maltreatment
Duration, pattern, progression of the maltreatment
Emotional and physical symptoms
Specific events, injuries, and circumstances
2. Circumstances surrounding the maltreatment

Analysis of previous maltreatment
History, duration, chronicity, increase in severity of maltreatment
Influences that led to the maltreatment occurring
Parent/caregiver’s explanation for maltreatment events or circumstances
Parent/caregiver’s openness and truthfulness/response to DCS
Contextual issues such as the use of objects, threats, intent, bizarre behavior
Parent/caregiver’s acknowledgement of and attitude about the maltreatment
3. Child functioning on a daily basis

Child’s explanation of maltreatment or events/circumstances
Child’s understanding of family circumstances/conditions
Ability to communicate
Physical/dental health and healthcare
Developmental status (cognitive and physical)
School attendance and performance
History of being sexually reactive/sexualized behavior
Mood, emotion, and mental health including suicidal or homicidal thoughts/behavior
Risk-taking behavior (substance use/sexual activity/runaway)
Traumatic experiences other than maltreatment (e.g. witnessing violence or major loss)
Peer/adult relationships, social outlets/activities,
Sleeping arrangements, including assessment of infant’s sleep environment
Sibling relationships
Child’s perception of relationship with parent(s)
Child’s awareness/understanding of drugs and alcohol
4. Adult functioning on a daily basis

Income and resource management/employment patterns/housing stability
Parent/caregiver’s history of abuse/neglect as a child
Trauma history (e.g. sexual, victim of violence, emotionally abused)
Criminal behavior/history
Problem awareness and problem solving skills
Impulse control
Physical health and healthcare
Mood, emotion, temperament, affect
Cognitive ability/intellectual functioning
Reality orientation/perception
Dependability and maturity
Quality of family relationships
Coping styles/stress management/ability to meet own emotional needs
History of or current domestic violence/power and control cycle (victim or perpetrator)
Aggressive or violent behavior/other family violence
Mental health (diagnoses, medications, undiagnosed mood or behavior concerns)
Substance use (history from first use to current, use of drugs and/or alcohol in childhood home/parent’s perception of effect of substance use on current circumstances)
Social relationships/degree of isolation/existence of positive supports
Educational history/literacy
Tolerance
5. General parenting practices

History of protective behavior
Ability to accurately identify threats to child safety or recognize danger
Perception of the child
Ability to put child’s needs before their own
Displays concern for child
Emotionally able to intervene to protect
Knowledge of child development
Manner of responding to child
Expresses love, empathy/sensitivity for child
Knowledge and demonstrated skill in parenting
Awareness of and rationale for parenting style
History of/experience with parenting (this or other child(ren)
Cultural practices related to parenting
Parent is aligned with the child
Adaptive and assertive as a parent/caregiver
Understands own protective role and can articulate plan to protect child
6. Discipline and behavior management

Methods of discipline
Concepts and purpose of discipline
Cultural practices related to discipline
Emotional state of parent when disciplining
Is discipline based on reasonable expectations of the child
Self-awareness regarding the effectiveness of disciplinary approaches and parent/caregiver’s reaction(s) toward the child
Expectations for child behavior and response
Can explain the difference between parenting and discipline
If a joint investigation is being completed with law enforcement during a criminal conduct investigation; at times, law enforcement and/or the alleged maltreating caregiver’s attorney will consent to an interview if the maltreatment “incident” is not discussed. In those instances, the DCS Specialist should refrain from asking questions related to domains 1 and 2 listed above.



Gathering Information about Parents, Guardians, or Custodians who Reside in a Different Household

The DCS Specialist will gather information about the household of a parent, guardian, or custodian of an alleged child victim who does not reside in the home of the alleged abuse or neglect, if the person’s whereabouts can be reasonably determined, including information about:

who resides in the parent’s, guardian’s, or custodian’s household;
extent and nature of substance use in the home;
nature of relationships between the parents and between adults in the home, including shared-parenting arrangements and any history of violence;
mental health of the adults in the home;
disciplinary practices in the home;
general parenting practices in the home;
supervision and child care arrangements; and
whether the child identifies harm from, or fear of, a person in the home.


If the information gathered indicates that a situation or adult behavior in the household could pose a safety threat to a child, collect additional information to explore the area of concern. Make a report to the Child Abuse Hotline and conduct a separate Family Functioning Assessment of this household if the information collected reveals new or previously unreported incidents of abuse or neglect, or possible safety threats in the household.



Identifying Threats of Danger to a Child

Impending danger refers to a child being in a continuous state of danger due to caregiver behaviors, attitudes, motives, emotions and/or situations posing a specific threat of severe harm to a child. Impending danger is often not immediately apparent and may not be active and threatening child safety upon initial contact with a family. Identifying impending danger requires thorough information collection regarding family and parent/caregiver functioning to sufficiently assess and understand how family conditions occur.

In order to determine if a child is in impending danger, the information gathered on the six domains of family functioning must be sufficient to indicate whether a safety threat exists and if so, how it meets all five safety threshold criteria. The safety threats are as follows:

Parent, guardian, or custodian leaves child alone or fails to provide adequate supervision and child is not capable of caring for self, or leaves child with persons unwilling or unable to provide adequate care, and as a result, the child is likely to suffer serious or severe harm.
Parent, guardian, or custodian deliberately harmed the child, has caused serious or severe harm to the child, or has made a threat to cause serious or severe harm to the child.
Parent, guardian, or custodian’s explanation for the child’s injury or physical condition is inconsistent with the observed or diagnosed injury or condition.
There is evidence of abuse or neglect and the parent, guardian, or custodian cannot produce the child, refuses access to the child, is likely to flee with the child, or is actively avoiding DCS.
Child sexual abuse is suspected and perpetrator access places the child in immediate serious or severe harm.
Physical conditions of the home are hazardous and may directly cause serious or severe harm to the child.
Child is profoundly fearful of parent, guardian, or custodian, other family members or other people living in or having access to the home.
The behavior of a child living in the home threatens serious or severe harm to him/herself or to others and the parent, guardian, or custodian cannot control the behavior or is unwilling or unable to arrange or provide necessary care.
Parent, guardian, or custodian’s behavior is violent, bizarre, erratic, unpredictable, incoherent, or totally inappropriate and may cause serious or severe harm to the child.
Dynamics in the household include an individualadult establishing power, control, or coercion over a caregiver in a way that impairs the necessary supervision or care of the child and has caused, or will likely cause, serious or severe harm to the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health.
Parent, guardian or custodian is unable to perform essential parental responsibilities due to alcohol/substance use, mental health conditions, physical impairment, or cognitive limitations, and as a result, the child is likely to suffer serious or severe harm.
The parent, guardian, or custodian’s involvement in criminal activity or the criminal activity of any other person living in or having access to the home may result in serious or severe harm to the child.
Parent, guardian, or custodian has extremely negative perceptions of the child, and/or is hostile when talking to or about the child, and/or has extremely unrealistic expectations for the child’s behavior.
Parent, guardian, or custodian has not, cannot, or will not protect a child from serious or severe harm, including harm from other persons living in or having access to the home.
Parent, guardian, or custodian is unable or unwilling to perform essential parental responsibilities or to meet the child’s immediate needs for food, clothing, shelter, and/or medical or mental health care, which may result in serious or severe harm to the child.
Parent, guardian, or custodian previously threatened the safety of a child and/or caused harm to a child and circumstances indicate the person could cause serious or severe harm to the child.


Assessing Parent/Caretaker Protective Capacities

Protective capacities are personal qualities or characteristics that contribute to vigilant child protection. They are personal and parenting characteristics that specifically and directly can be associated with being protective of one’s children. They are “strengths” that are explicitly associated with one’s ability to perform effectively as a parent in order to provide and ensure a consistently safe environment.



Assessment of a parent/caregiver’s capacity to protect a child begins with identifying and understanding how specific safety threats are occurring within the family system. At this point in the assessment process, the DCS Specialist determines whether each parent/caregiver has demonstrated the specific protective capacities associated with the identified threats of danger to a child.



Consider the following behavioral, cognitive, and emotional parental/caregiver protective capacities when gathering information for the Family Functioning Assessment:

Behavioral Protective Capacity – Specific action, activity, performance that is consistent with and results in protective vigilance.
Cognitive Protective Capacity – Specific intellect, knowledge, understanding, and perception that results in protective vigilance.
Emotional Protective Capacity – Specific feelings, attitudes, identification with a child and motivation that results in protective vigilance.


The DCS Specialist’s assessment of protective capacity pertains to the parent/ caregiver’s overall functioning, and is not based solely on an isolated incident or singular event. The DCS Specialist will assess all of the following 19 protective capacities in relation to the adult’s overall functioning and general parenting practices.



In the Child Safety and Risk Assessment (CSRA), indicate whether or not the parent/caregiver(s) have demonstrated protective capacities in each of the following areas:

Behavioral Protective Capacities

Cognitive Protective Capacities

Emotional Protective Capacities

Has a history of protecting
Takes action
Demonstrates impulse control
Sets aside her/his needs in favor of a child
Has and demonstrates adequate skill to fulfill caregiving responsibilities.
Is adaptive and assertive as a parent/caregiver
Plans and articulates a plan to protect the child
Is self-aware as a parent/caregiver
Is intellectually able to fulfill caregiving responsibilities and tasks
Is able to accurately identify threats to child safety or recognize danger
Has an accurate perception of the child’s needs
Understands his/her protective role
Meets own emotional needs
Is resilient as a parent/caregiver.
Is tolerant as a parent/caregiver.
Is emotionally stable
Expresses love, empathy and sensitivity toward the child; experiences specific empathy with the child’s perspective and feelings
Is positively attached with the child and is clear that the number one priority is the well- being of the child.
Is aligned with and supports the child


If the DCS Specialist is unable to assess the parent/caretaker protective capacities due to an inability to locate or a parent’s refusal to participate in the assessment after attempting to engage him/her, indicate unknown for each protective capacity.



Applying the Five Safety Threshold Criteria

Following the identification of a threat of danger to a child, the DCS Specialist shall determine whether the child is in impending danger by applying the following five safety threshold criteria. All five criteria must be met for at least one identified safety threat in order to determine a child is in impending danger.

Observable Family Condition: A family condition that endangers a child and is real, can be described and reported, and is evidenced in explicit and unambiguous ways. This does not include suspicion or gut feelings.
Vulnerable child: A vulnerable child is dependent on others for sustenance and protection, and/or is exposed to circumstances that she or he is powerless to manage. Vulnerability is judged according to age, physical and emotional development, and ability to communicate needs and seek protection.
Unmanaged: The family conditions pose a danger to the child and are unmanaged, without limits or monitoring, and not subject to influence, manipulation or internal power within the family’s control (that is, no one in the family can control the situation). There are insufficient caregiver protective capacities to manage the danger threat.
Severity: Severity is the harshness of the effects of maltreatment that would include harm that has just occurred, is occurring now, or could potentially occur in the near future. Severe harm is something that results in serious pain, serious injury, suffering, terror, extreme fear, impairment or death.
Imminent: A belief that threats to child safety are likely to become active without delay; a certainty about occurrence within the immediate to near future. This is consistent with a degree of certainty or inevitability that danger and severe harm are possible, even likely outcomes, without intervention.


Note: If a child is a registered member or an eligible member of a Native American Tribe, please refer to Chapter 6 Indian Child Welfare for more information as to specific laws pertaining to the assessment, removal, and placement of an Indian child.



At the conclusion of the Family Functioning Assessment, determine the safety threats that are present and explain how each threat meets all five safety threshold criteria. For each safety threat identified, specify the child(ren), adults, and household to which it applies.



Making the Safety Determination – Safe or Unsafe

For each alleged child victim, the DCS Specialist, in consultation with a DCS Program Supervisor, must make a determination as to whether the child is safe or unsafe.

A child is safe if there is no threat of danger to the child.
A child is safe if an existing threat of danger to the child is being effectively controlled and managed by a parent, guardian, or custodian in the home.
A child is unsafe when there is a threat of danger to a child that meets all five safety threshold criteria, including that the parent/guardian does not have sufficient protective capacity to effectively control and manage the danger without DCS intervention and oversight.


Safe

If all of the children subject to the investigation are determined to be safe, the DCS Specialist, in consultation with a DCS Program Supervisor, will identify the appropriate level of services to be provided or recommend to the family. If the case will not remain open for services with the Department, conduct aftercare planning with the family. Refer to Aftercare Planning for more information.



Unsafe

When a child is determined to be unsafe, the DCS Specialist must identify the least intrusive safety plan sufficient to manage the impending danger. See Safety Planning



Assessment of a Child in the Hospital, Incarcerated/Detained, or in Out-of-Home Care

While a child victim is hospitalized, incarcerated, in detention, or in out-of-home care, the Family Functioning Assessment is conducted based on the child’s return home environment.



The FFA is completed on DCS cases and some Young Adult Program (YAP) cases only. The FFA does not need to be completed under the following circumstances:

Out-of-Home Caregivers – This includes foster, relative, adoptive or non- custodial parent homes unless the caregiver or any member of the household is identified as an alleged perpetrator in a new report.
Action Requests - Communications that do not require an investigation, but may require an action by DCS. These specific communications are contained in the DCS Response System, Prioritizing Reports and Response.
Border Cases - A case involving a child whose family does not reside within the United States and the Department’s involvement is limited to returning the child to his/her family in coordination with U.S. Border Patrol and/or ICE and the case is being closed.
False (Malicious) Reports - After investigation, evidence indicates the reporting source knowingly and intentionally made a false (malicious) report, and the investigation results in no identified safety concerns or indication of risk. To determine if the reporting source knowingly and intentionally made a false report and should be referred to the County Attorney, refer to Substantiating Maltreatment.
Both parents are deceased or have had their parental rights terminated, and there is no guardian.


The FFA is not completed for the following case types:

Adoption
Adoption Subsidy
Adoption Registry
Guardianship Subsidy
ICPC
DDD Eligibility
IV-E Eligibility
Non-DES Eligibility


Documentation

Using the Child Safety and Risk Assessment (CSRA), document:

information gathered in relation to each of the six domains of family functioning from each case participant contacts;
information gathering from collateral contacts and reviewed documents;
conclusions about the protective capacities of each parent/caregiver by indicating yes, no, or unknown for each of the 19 protective capacities;
the determination of whether each child in the home of the alleged abuse or neglect occurred is safe or unsafe due to impending danger;
if it is determined that a child is unsafe, all safety threats that exist and how each of the threats meets all five safety threshold criteria;
if it is determined that a child is unsafe, the in-home, combination, or out-of-home safety plan.


If the child is removed, complete the applicable removal windows in CHILDS. See Emergency Removal for procedure.



Document information gathered about parents, guardians or custodians who reside in a different household, in the CSRA under the related person’s interview.



Documentation in the CSRA should be complete within 45 days of investigation assignment.



Utilize the SAFE AZ CSRA Documentation Guide for further documentation instructions.



Supervisors

Through a case file review and/or consultation, the DCS Program Supervisor ensures the DCS Specialist has gathered sufficient information to assess the six domains of family functioning, identify threats of danger to any child in the home, and determine parent/caregiver protective capacities. Through a case file review and/or consultation, the DCS Program Supervisor ensures that the information gathered and documented supports the DCS Specialist’s determination of whether each child is safe or unsafe, including that any identified impending danger safety threats meet all five of the safety threshold criteria.



Supervisors shall document the Clinical Supervision Discussion and approval of the Clinical Supervision Decision in Section IV (Clinical Supervision Decision) of the CSRA, within five days of investigation completion or opening the case for ongoing services.



Forms:

Safety Plan and Safety Plan Signature Page, CS0-1034B,

Safety Plan and Safety Plan Signature Page (Spanish), CS0-1034B,



Related Information:

Parent/ Caregiver Protective Capacities Scaling Template, CSO-1587

Child Safety and Risk Comparison

Family Centered Strengths and Risk Assessment Interview and Documentation Guide

Administrative Directive 15-01

Family Functioning Assessment – Field Guide



Caregiver Protective Capacity- Investigations Reference Guide

Assessing Caregiver Protective Capacity



Legal

A.R.S. § 8-451 Department (of Child Safety); Purpose



A.R.S. § 8-456 Investigative function; training; criminal offenses; definition



A.R.S. § 8-801 Dependent Children; Definitions



A.A.C.R21-4-103 Methods of Investigation





Chapter 2: Section 6

Substantiating Maltreatment

Policy

The Department shall enter an investigation finding within 45 days of the date that the Department received the initial report information.



The Department shall notify the alleged perpetrator (alleged abuser) and the reporting source (if source is a parent, guardian or custodian) of the investigation finding in writing at one of the following times:

when the report is “unsubstantiated”; or
when the report is “proposed substantiated perpetrator unknown”; or
after the time to request a hearing on a proposed substantiated finding has lapsed without the Department receiving a request for the hearing; or
after a final administrative decision has been made on the proposed substantiated finding.


The Department shall advise the parent, guardian or custodian of his or her right to appeal their proposed substantiated finding before entry of the finding into the CHILDS Central Registry and of the right to receive a redacted copy of the report.



If the investigation indicates the probability the reporting source knowingly made a false report, the DCS Specialist shall consult with the Attorney General's Office regarding referral to law enforcement.



Procedures

Making the Investigation Finding “Unable to locate”

If you are unable to complete the investigation because you are unable to find the child victim, refer to Unable to Locate Procedures in Assessment .

Were reasonable efforts made to locate the child victim? See procedures in “Efforts to Locate the Child and Family”.
Is the location of the identified child victim unknown despite reasonable efforts to locate the child?
Is there insufficient evidence to conclude the child was abused or neglected without interviewing or observing the child?


Documentation

Enter a finding of "unable to locate" in the Investigation Allegation Finding Window (LCH048) when:

the child victim cannot be located; and
there is insufficient evidence to conclude that the child was abused or neglected without interview or observing the child.
This finding will remain in CHILDS and is not subject to the appeals process.


Making an Investigation Finding

Consider the following questions in your investigation:

Are there facts which support a probable cause finding that abuse or neglect occurred? PROBABLE CAUSE means the information gathered during the investigation would lead a reasonable person to believe that an incident of abuse or neglect occurred, and that the abuse or neglect was committed by the parent, guardian or custodian.
Has any parent, guardian or custodian admitted being abusive or neglectful?
Did the parent, guardian or custodians have reason to know another person would abuse or neglect the child? How did they know?
Did the parent, guardian or custodian allow another person to abuse or neglect the child and fail to take appropriate action? How and when?
Did the child provide age appropriate description and details of abuse or neglect?
Did the child identify the person who caused the abuse or neglect?
Are there any witnesses? What did they see? Did they document what they saw?
Did you observe physical or behavioral signs of abuse or neglect? Are these signs consistent with the account provided by the child, witnesses or the alleged abusive parent, guardian or custodian?
What do the reports of medical professionals, psychologists or other professionals indicate? If there are conflicting professional opinions, consult with a Multidisciplinary Team (including a physician) with 48 hours.
Is there a diagnosis by a medical doctor or psychologist that the child is suffering serious emotional damage as evidenced by severe anxiety, depression, withdrawal, or untoward aggressive behavior that is the result of behavior by the parent, guardian or custodian?
What do the reports of law enforcement indicate? What forensic evidence has law enforcement provided?
To what extent is the information provided by members of the family consistent?


Additional information to be considered in substantiating or unsubstantiating the allegation:

Is there a prior history of child abuse or neglect? Does the current report involve the same abusive parent, guardian or custodian and child? Does the current report involve allegations similar in nature to previous reports?
Is there a pattern of domestic violence or substance abuse by the child’s caregivers that contributes to the child’s abuse or neglect? Has this been verified by background checks, police contact, verbal reports from caregivers, the child, other collateral contacts or DCS Specialist observation?


Enter a finding of unsubstantiated when the information gathered during the investigation does not support that an incident of abuse or neglect occurred based upon a probable cause standard. This finding will remain in CHILDS.



Determining the credibility of information

Consider the following questions in your investigation:

Is the child able to provide consistent descriptions or details about the abuse or neglect? Please consider the child’s age and development.
Is the child known by others to be truthful? Again, consider the child’s age and development.
Is the information corroborated by other independent evidence?
Was the information provided at the same time as the incident or immediately after?
Does the information contain sufficient detail?
Was the information consistent throughout the investigation?
Does the source of information have a motive to lie?
Was the information prepared in the official course of business? (i.e. reports from police, emergency medical personnel, physicians).
Is the reporting source related to the alleged abusive parent, guardian or custodian or has an interest in the outcome of the investigation?
Is the reporting source of the information willing to sign a statement/ affidavit or testify in a court proceeding?


Documentation of Investigation Finding

Using the Child Safety and Risk Assessment (CSRA), record all information obtained from persons interviewed, and correspondence received. Describe:

the type of abuse or neglect that occurred;
physical description or condition of the child;
the shape, size, color, location of injuries;
the unreasonable risk of harm to the child;
physical condition of the home;
statements from the psychologist or physician that the child is exhibiting severe anxiety, depression, withdrawal or untoward aggressive behavior which is caused by the parent, guardian or custodian;
evidence of sexual activity involving a child;
evidence of deliberate exposure of a child to sexual activity;
evidence of reckless disregard of whether the child is physically present during sexual activity;
evidence of the determination by a health professional that a newborn was exposed prenatally to a drug or substance;
evidence of a diagnosis by a health professional that an infant under one year of age with clinical findings consistent with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) or fetal alcohol effects (FAE);
evidence that of the use by the mother of a dangerous drug, a narcotic drug or alcohol during pregnancy if the child, at birth or within a year after birth, is demonstrably adversely affected by this use;
evidence of unreasonable confinement of a child;
the reasons the information obtained and/or the persons providing the information are or are not credible;
all facts obtained during the investigation that indicate the original report was made by a person who knew the allegation was false at the time the report was made; and
reasons why the perpetrator is unknown.


Use the Documentation Tips tool for guidance on how to fully document the investigation findings.



Enter the finding using the Investigation Allegation Findings Window (LCH048) within 45 days of the date the Department received the initial report information.



Proposing Substantiated

When the information gathered during the investigation supports that an incident of abuse or neglect occurred based upon a probable cause standard consult with and obtain the approval of the supervisor to determine the outcome of the investigation and investigation finding. Consult with the Protective Services Review Team (PSRT) Specialist when there is uncertainty or questions regarding whether the evidence supports the finding.



Remember, PSRT is neutral but is able to advise on the information needed to meet the criteria or on specific wording requirements for substantiation. PSRT cannot advise whether the worker should be substantiating or not. PSRT cannot act as a supervisor regarding substantiation. For additional assistance with substantiation please see the Substantiation Guidelines, CSO-1355.



A person may request copies of their DCS reports and records by completing and submitting a notarized Request for Department of Child Safety Report, CSO-1100A



Documentation

Enter Request Proposed Substantiate using the Investigation Allegation Findings Explain window (LCH242) within 45 days of the date the Department received the initial report information. Upon supervisor approval CHILDS will alert PSRT (Protective Services Review Team).



When entering your Finding Statement, document services offered or provided to the family using the Investigation Allegation Findings Explain window.



This finding is subject to the appeals process and a hearing by the Office of Administrative Hearing (OAH) Administrative Law Judge



The alleged perpetrator can exercise the appeal process if they disagree with the finding. PSRT will notify the alleged perpetrator regarding the findings and how they can appeal the decision.



Fatalities

When completing fatality investigations, the autopsy report must be obtained prior to entering the finding(s) on the DEATH CHILD ABUSE or DEATH CHILD NEGLECT allegation(s), unless investigative information establishes probable cause to propose substantiation, absent the report from the Office of the Medical Examiner. When entering a finding absent the report from the Office of the Medical Examiner, the case shall be staffed with a Program Administrator or OCWI Deputy Chief prior to the entering of findings.



Proposing Substantiated Pending Dependency Adjudication

Enter a finding of “proposed substantiated pending dependency adjudication” when DCS or a private  party file a dependency petition alleging abuse or neglect. Select Proposed Substantiated Pending Dependency Adjudication using the Investigation Allegation Findings Explain window (LCH242) within 45 days of the date the Department received the initial report information. [ARS §8-802(C)(9)]



When DCS files a dependency petition alleging abuse or neglect, and all parties agree that it is a child’s best interest to establish Permanent Guardianship without a dependency adjudication pursuant to A.R.S. § 8-871, notify PSRT providing the dependency petition, order granting permanent guardianship and the DCS report number, document investigation findings and submit a proposed substantiated finding when indicated, as outlined in the above procedures titled, “Documentation of Investigation Finding” and “Proposed Substantiated.



Use the Finding Statement Templates and Finding Statement Examples tools to assist with documenting the Finding Statement. When entering your Finding Statement, document services offered or provided to the family using the Investigation Allegation Findings Explain window.

PSRT

The PSRT will enter the substantiated finding when the court adjudicates the child dependent based on an allegation of abuse or neglect contained in the dependency petition. The DCS Specialist may need to fax, email or interoffice the order adjudicating the child a ward of the court .



PSRT makes good efforts to locate these documents but is unable to always get the documents effectively. The DCS Specialist is responsible for getting the orders to the PSRT.



This finding is not subject to a hearing by the Office of Administrative Hearing (OAH)/ Administrative Law Judge (ALJ ).

Proposing Substantiated Perpetrator Deceased

After an investigation, when the evidence supports that an incident of abuse or neglect occurred based upon a probable cause standard, and the abusive parent, guardian or custodian dies prior to entry of the finding, the DCS Specialist will select Propose to Substantiate Perp Deceased. Enter this finding using the Investigation Allegation Findings Explain window (LCH242) within 45 days of the date the Department received the initial report information. This finding will remain in CHILDS and is not subject to the appeals process. No notification is necessary as the perpetrator is deceased. 



Proposing Substantiated Perpetrator Unknown

Has all the evidence been thoroughly considered?
After thorough consideration of the evidence, is the perpetrator unknown?
Is there unreasonable risk of harm to the child? How?


After an investigation when the information gathered during the investigation supports that an incident of abuse or neglect occurred based upon a probable cause standard and the abusive parent, guardian or custodian cannot be identified. The DCS Specialist will enter a finding of Propose to Substantiate Perp Unknown using the Investigation Allegation Findings Explain window (LCH242) within 45 days of the date the Department received the initial report information.



Determining if the reporting source knowingly made a false report

To determine if the reporting source knowingly made a false report, consider the following questions:

Is there a likelihood of financial gain or other benefit to the reporting source?
Has the reporting source admitted making a false report? To whom?
Has the reporting source made a prior report where the evidence indicated the report to be false?
Is there a history of family disputes?
Are custody issues being decided concurrently with the report?
Was the report made to harass, embarrass, intimidate or harm another?
Have statements been made during the investigation which indicate retaliation?


Once you have determined the a reporting source made a false report, consult with the Attorney General’s Office and your supervisor prior to referring a reporting source to law enforcement for knowingly making a false report.



Document a false report by adding the Tracking Characteristic FR (False Report Indicated) on the After Investigation Allegation Finding Detail window.



Providing Written Notification

The DCS Specialist will provide written notification at the conclusion of the investigation at the following times:

When a proposed substantiated finding is made, notice shall be made" to the parent, guardian or custodian who is the alleged perpetrator (alleged abuser), using the Notice of Proposed Substantiation of Child Safety Report, CSO-1024


After verifying the identified reporting source is the parent, guardian, or custodian; written notification shall be provided using a Notice of Child Safety Investigation Conclusion or Findings, CSO-1022 , for the following investigation findings:
Unsubstantiated
Proposed substantiated perpetrator unknown
Unable to locate


Note: This finding will remain in the CHILDS Case Management Information System and is not subject to the appeals process.



When an unsubstantiated finding is made the parent, guardian or custodian who is the alleged perpetrator (alleged abuser), using the Notice of Unsubstantiated Child Safety Report, CSO-1023.


When a proposed substantiated perpetrator unknown finding is made the parent, guardian or custodian who is the alleged perpetrator (alleged abuser), using the Notice of Proposed Substantiation of Child Safety Report (Perpetrator Unknown), CSO-1025.


File a copy of the notification letters in the case file.



Additional Procedure for DCS Supervisor

Review the case record to ensure that the evidence supports the finding. If additional information is necessary to support the finding, return the case to the DCS Specialist to obtain the additional information. Review and approve or modify the proposed finding within five days of completion of the investigation. For “proposed substantiated” findings or "proposed substantiated pending dependency adjudication", ensure that the Finding Statement and services offered or provided to the family are documented on the Investigation Allegation Findings window.



For “proposed substantiated” findings concerning an out-of-home care provider or child welfare agency, review and approve or modify the proposed finding within one day of completion of the investigation or the case conference.



Chapter 2: Section 7

Safety Planning

Policy

The Department shall develop and implement a safety plan and if applicable, conditions for return, when the Department concludes a child is unsafe due to impending danger.



The Department shall develop and implement a separate and individualized safety plan and if applicable, conditions for return, when the Department concludes a child is unsafe due to impending danger in more than one household in which a child resides.



When the Department concludes the child is safe, a safety plan shall not be implemented.



Safety plans shall include actions and services that are the least intrusive to the family, sufficient to control the identified impending danger safety threat(s), feasible to implement, and sustainable.



The Department shall engage the family and child to the greatest extent possible to develop and implement the safety plan.



The Department maintains responsibility for oversight of the sufficiency and implementation of the safety plan.



A case cannot be closed when a safety plan is in effect. A case must be opened for services if a child has been assessed as unsafe.



Procedures

Safety Planning

When a child is assessed as unsafe, the DCS Specialist will develop and immediately implement a safety plan to control all identified impending danger safety threats.



A safety plan will not be implemented for children assessed as safe. Refer to Providing Services for Families with Children Assessed as Safe for information on assessment and service planning for families in which the children are determined to be safe.



A safety plan is a written arrangement between the parent, guardian, and/or custodian; the responsible adult(s) who will take action to control danger threats; and the Department. The safety plan establishes how impending danger threats to child safety will be controlled. The safety plan describes safety actions that must be taken in order to control anticipated danger and prevent harm to the child.



Safety plans are not the same as case plans. Safety plans describe actions intended to control danger threats and may contain safety services to support those actions. Case plans include services and supports designed to effect long-term behavioral change by enhancing parental protective capacities to eliminate the need for a safety plan.



Safety plans must:

be sufficient to control or manage impending danger threats;
have an immediate effect;
be immediately accessible, feasible, and available;
contain safety actions, and safety services when applicable;
be sustainable as long as the safety plan is expected to be needed; and
not contain promissory commitments by a parent as a safety action (such as a parent promising not to use drugs/alcohol or agreeing to participate in a treatment service


Sufficient, feasible, and sustainable are defined as follows:

Sufficient means the plan is a well thought-out approach that identifies the most suitable people that will take the necessary actions at the right times and frequency to control threats of danger to the child(ren) and/or substitute for diminished parent/caregiver protective capacities.
Feasible means that the responsible adults, the safety services, and the Department are accessible and available to implement and oversee the plan immediately and without delay.
Sustainable means that responsible adults and safety services will be accessible and available until the child is safe from impending danger and a safety plan is no longer needed; and that there is willingness and cooperation on behalf of the parent(s), guardian(s), and/or custodian(s) to participate in change-related activities, including willingness to meet, discuss, and ultimately begin necessary change-related activities.


For a safety plan to be effective, the DCS Specialist must know the following about each identified impending danger threat:

Duration: How long has the condition been concerning or problematic?
Consistency: How often is the negative condition actively a problem or affecting parent/caregiver performance?
Pervasiveness: What is the extent or intensity of the problem, and how consuming is it to caregiver functioning and overall family functioning?
Influence: What stimulates or causes the threat to child safety to become active?
Effect: What effect does the negative condition have specifically on the ability of a caregiver to provide for the care and protection of the children?
Continuance: How likely is the negative condition to continue or get worse without DCS intervention?


The written safety plan must:

specify the impending danger safety threat(s);
identify how each safety threat(s) will be controlled, including:
the responsible adult(s) who will implement each action;
the safety action(s) required to control threats of danger;
the circumstances under which the responsible adult(s) will perform the safety actions (e.g., location, who else will be there, etc.);
other people, such as safety service providers, who will support safety actions;
the timeframes for when the safety actions will occur (frequency, duration, and exact times and days);
be based on an assessment of the suitability of the responsible adult(s) who will implement the safety actions, and include confirmation of their availability and accessibility at the times the threats are present and need to be controlled; and
describe how the DCS Specialist will oversee that the safety plan is being followed and sufficient to maintain child safety, including a communication plan among participants.


A safety plan must remain in place until the impending danger threat is no longer active or the parents have been able to enhance protective capacity in order to manage all impending danger threats, and the child has been assessed as safe.



In-home Safety Analysis

The determination that a child is unsafe does not always mean that the child must be removed from the home. In some cases, the danger can be sufficiently controlled, and the child can remain in the home, with help and support from family members, other responsible adults, and/or safety services.



Safety plans can use in-home, out-of-home, or a combination of actions. The DCS Specialist must complete an analysis of whether an in-home or a combination safety plan can be implemented by determining the answers to the following questions.

If all five criteria are present, an in-home safety plan option will be considered and typically can be used.



If any of the following criteria are not present, an out-of-home safety plan must be implemented, and the Department must take custody of the unsafe child either through a Voluntary Placement Agreement or filing a dependency petition and placing the child in out-of-home care. Follow policy and procedures outlined in Voluntary Placement and Out-of-home Dependency.



An in-home safety plan will be considered and is typically appropriate when all five of the following questions are answered yes (indicating the criteria is present):



Question #1: Is there a combination of safety actions and/or services capable of sufficiently controlling the identified danger threats, and are there sufficient resources within the family network or community to control the identified threats? 
Safety actions and services to control the safety threats are dependent upon the identified impending danger threat. The safety actions and services must be available to the family at the necessary days, times, and locations, and they must be sufficient to control the identified danger threats. Responsible adults and safety services must be immediately available whenever the danger threats are or could be present.

Question #2: Are the parents, guardians, or custodians willing for an in-home or combination safety plan to be implemented and have they demonstrated that they will cooperate with the responsible adults, safety service providers, and safety actions identified in the safety plan? 
Willing to accept and cooperate refers to the most basic level of agreement to allow a safety plan to be implemented in the home and to participate according to agreed assignments. The parents, guardians, and/or custodians do not have to agree that a safety plan is the right thing, nor are they required to like the plan; but they must be willing to accept and cooperate with the plan in order for it to be effective.

Question #3: Is the home environment calm and consistent enough for an in-home safety plan to be implemented and for responsible adults and/or safety service providers to be in the home safely? 
Calm and consistent refers to the environment, it’s routine, how constant and consistent it is, its predictability to be the same from day-to-day. The environment must accommodate plans, schedules, and services and be non-threatening to those participating in the safety plan.

Question #4: Can an in-home safety plan and the use of in-home safety actions and/or services sufficiently control impending danger without the results of outside professional evaluations (substance abuse, psychiatric/psychological, medical)? 
This question is concerned with specific knowledge that is needed to understand impending danger threats, caregiver capacity, or behavior or family functioning specifically related to impending danger threats; and whether the absence of such information hinders the DCS Specialist’s ability to know what is required to control threats. Specifically, whether there are gaps in information related to family functioning after the completion of the Family Functioning Assessment, and a clinical evaluation by a professional is needed in order to provide further clarification in identifying specific circumstances related to caregiver capacity and behavior that influenced the identified danger threat(s). Evaluations that are concerned with treatment or general information gathering (not specific to impending danger threats) can occur in tandem with in-home safety plans.
Question #5: Do the parents, guardians, or custodians have a suitable place to reside where an in-home or combination safety plan can be implemented? 
A suitable place to reside refers to (1) a home/shelter exists and can be expected to be occupied for as long as the safety plan is needed, and (2) caregivers live there full time. Home refers to an identifiable domicile. A domestic violence or other shelter, or a friend’s or relative’s home, qualifies as an identifiable domicile if other criteria are met (e.g., expected to be occupied for as long as the safety plan is needed, caregivers live there full time, etc.).


If any of the above five questions are answered “no,” an out-of-home safety plan is established and in most circumstances, conditions for return must be developed and recorded within the safety plan. For circumstances in which conditions for return are not developed, see Conditions for Return.



If all of the above questions are answered “yes,” an in-home safety plan may be established if feasible and sustainable. An in-home safety plan may not be appropriate when any of the following are present:

Safety threats are so extreme that no safety actions and/or safety services can sufficiently control the danger threats with the child remaining in the home.
The nature of the home environment is chaotic, unpredictable, or dangerous.
The parent, guardian, and/or custodian's willingness to accept and cooperate with the responsible adults, safety services providers, and safety actions cannot be confirmed or relied upon into the future.
The parent, guardian, and/or custodian has expressed an unwillingness to care for the child.
The child is profoundly afraid of a caregiver who continues to live in or have access to the home.
An in-home safety plan would violate the child’s victim rights, such as when the non-offending  parent does not believe the child’s description of abuse or neglect, placing the child at risk to be coerced.
Medical child abuse is suspected (see Investigating Munchausen by Proxy).
Any of the aggravating circumstances listed below are present (for more information on aggravating circumstances, refer to: Selecting the Permanency Goal).
The child previously was removed, adjudicated dependent due to physical or sexual abuse and, after the adjudication, the child was returned to the parent or guardian and then removed within eighteen months due to additional neglect or abuse.
The parent, guardian, or custodian has expressed no interest in reunification with the child.
The parent or guardian is suffering from a mental illness or mental deficiency of such magnitude that it renders the parent or guardian incapable of benefiting from the reunification services. This finding shall be based on competent evidence from a psychologist or physician that establishes that, even with the provision of reunification services, the parent or guardian is unlikely to be capable of adequately caring for the child within twelve months after the date of the child's removal from the home.
The parent or guardian:
committed an act that constitutes a dangerous crime against children as defined in A.R.S. § 13-705; or
caused a child to suffer serious physical injury or emotional injury; or
the parent or guardian knew or reasonably should have known that another person committed an act that constitutes a dangerous crime against children as defined in A.R.S. § 13-705; or
caused a child to suffer serious physical injury 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 discharge his/her parental responsibilities.
The child has been removed from the parent on at least two previous occasions, reunification services were offered or provided to the parent/guardian after removal, and the parent/guardian is unable to discharge parental responsibilities.
The parent or guardian of a child has been convicted of:
a dangerous crime against children as defined in A.R.S. § 13-705; or
murder or manslaughter of a child; or
sexual abuse, sexual assault or molestation of a child; or
sexual conduct with a minor; or
commercial sexual exploitation of a minor; or
sexual exploitation of a minor; or
luring a minor for sexual exploitation.
The parent or guardian of a child has been convicted of aiding or abetting or attempting, conspiring or soliciting to commit any of the crimes listed directly above.
A child who is currently under six months of age was exposed to a drug or substance and the exposure was not the result of a medical treatment administered to the mother or the newborn infant by a health professional and both of the following are true:
The parent of the child is unable to discharge parental responsibly because of a history of chronic abuse of dangerous drugs or controlled substances.
Reasonable grounds exist to believe that the parent’s condition will continue for a prolonged or indeterminate period based on a competent opinion from a licensed health care provider with experience in the area of substance abuse disorders, as follows:
physician;
Psychologist;
nurse practitioner who focuses on psychiatric mental health; and
licensed independent substance abuse counselors.


The Department may file an In-Home Intervention or In-Home Dependency Petition for court supervision and oversight (See In-Home Intervention and In-Home Dependency Filing).



The DCS Specialist will schedule and hold a Safety Planning Team Decision Making (TDM) meeting as required per Team Decision Making .



Safety Actions and Safety Services

Safety actions are active and intentional efforts made by responsible adults (family members, informal supports, or other members of the family network) who take responsibility for assuring that a child’s basic needs and need for safety are met.



Safety services may be included in the safety plan to support responsible adults in the completion of safety actions. Safety services focus on behavior management, crisis management, social connection, separation, and resource support. Safety services are immediately available, always accessible, and focused on controlling the danger within the home (rather than the long-term treatment outcomes for families).



Developing a safety plan that is not full time out-of-home placement requires knowledge about other actions or methods that might immediately control threats of danger. The following safety actions and  services may help substitute for a parent/caregiver’s diminished protective capacities:



Practical Resources

These actions and services provide practical help to the family in order to mitigate threats of danger to the child. Examples include:

resource acquisition, obtaining financial help, help with basic needs;
transportation services;
employment assistance; and
housing assistance.


Crisis Management

Crisis, in this context, is a perception or experience of an event or situation as horrible, threatening, or disorganizing. The event or situation overwhelms the caregiver’s and family member’s emotions, abilities, resources, and/or problem solving. A crisis for families may not necessarily be a traumatic situation or even in actuality, but a perception of those individuals involved.



Crisis management aims to halt a crisis, return a family to a state of calm, and to solve problems that fuel threats of danger. Appropriate crisis management handles precipitating events or sudden conditions that immobilize parents’ capacity to protect and care for children. Examples include:

crisis intervention;
mobilize problem solving;
counseling;
resource acquisition,
obtaining financial help; and
help with basic parenting tasks.


Social Support and Connection

These services may be useful with young inexperienced parents who are not meeting basic protective responsibilities; anxious or emotionally immobilized parents; parents needing encouragement and support; parents overwhelmed with parenting responsibilities; and developmentally disabled parents. Services or actions include:

friendly visitor (formal or informal supports directly related to purposefully reducing isolation and connecting caregivers to direct support);
basic parenting assistance and teaching (focused on essential knowledge and/or skill a caregiver is missing or failing to perform);
homemaker services;
home management;
supervision and monitoring;
social networking; and
in-home babysitting.


Control or Manage Threatening Behavior

This type of service in a safety plan is concerned with aggressive behavior, passive behavior, or the absence of behavior – any of which can threaten a child’s safety. Activities or services that are consistent with this action can include, for example:

in-home health care;
supervision and monitoring;
stress reduction (actions that can help reduce the stress a caregiver is experiencing);
out-patient or in-patient medical treatment;
substance abuse intervention, detoxification;
emergency medical care; and
emergency mental health care.


Separation of Parent and Child

Separation as a safety action may range from one hour, to a few days, to extended out-of-home care. Separation may involve hourly babysitting, temporary out-of-home placement, or both. Besides ensuring child safety, separation may provide respite for parents and children. Separation creates alternatives to family routine, scheduling, and daily pressures. Separation also can serve a supervisory or oversight function. Examples include:

planned parental absence from home;
respite care;
child care;
after school care;
planned activities for the children;
short term out-of-home placement of child for weekends, several days, few weeks; and
extended out-of-home care.


If the least intrusive intervention necessary to keep the child safe requires a parent, guardian and/or custodian to leave the home for longer than the duration of the present danger plan, and there are no current court orders that already restrict or deny contact between the parent guardian, and/or custodian who is leaving the home and the child, a dependency petition must be filed with the juvenile court. Refer to In-Home Dependency: Filing and Out-of-home Dependency for procedures related to filing a dependency petition.



Identifying Responsible Adults to Implement Safety Actions

In order to implement a safety plan, a responsible adult must be identified who is able to carry out the required safety actions. The responsible adult(s) may be a parent, guardian, and/or custodian in another household, a family member, or another adult who meets the criteria listed below. The responsible adult(s) must be present and immediately able to take action at any time a threat of danger is present. The DCS Specialist may not be assigned as a “responsible adult.”



Engage the family and ask for their assistance in identifying appropriate individuals within their family network or who have a significant relationship with the child and can assist to control threats of danger to the child. Obtain information to determine if the prospective responsible adult(s) and members of his/her household (if applicable) are appropriate for this role. Meet in-person with any identified prospective responsible adult to assess his/her ability to be responsible for safety actions. Areas to consider include whether the adult:

has demonstrated the ability to protect the child in the past (with or without DCS involvement) while under similar circumstances and family conditions;
believes the child’s report of maltreatment and is supportive of the child;
is capable of understanding the specific threat to the child and the need to protect the child;
displays concern for the child and the child’s experience and is intent on emotionally protecting the child;
has a strong bond with the child and he/she understands the number one priority is the safety and well-being of the child;
is physically able to intervene and protect the child;
does not have significant individual needs that might affect the safety of the child, such as severe depression, lack of impulse control, medical needs, etc.;
is emotionally able to carry out a plan and/or to intervene to protect the child (not incapacitated by fear of the maltreating person);
has adequate knowledge and skill to fulfill caregiving responsibilities and tasks (this may involve considering the caregiver’s ability to meet any exceptional needs that the child might have);
has asked, demands and expects the maltreating adult to follow the conditions of the safety plan and can assure the plan is effectively carried out;
consistently expresses belief that the maltreating person is in need of help and that he or she supports the maltreating person getting help (this is the individual’s point of view without being prompted by DCS);
if having difficulty believing the other person would maltreat the child, the individual describes the child as believable and trustworthy;
has adequate resources necessary to meet the child’s basic needs;
is cooperating with the DCS Specialist’s efforts to provide services and assess the specific needs of the family; and
does not place responsibility on the child for the problems of the family.


If the safety plan includes a child remaining in the home of his or her parent, guardian, and/or custodian, complete a search for prior AZ DCS involvement and a criminal records check of public records for the responsible adult(s).



Gather information from the prospective responsible adult(s) regarding criminal history, complete a public records check, and contact local law enforcement to complete a records check. If appropriate, request history from out of state child welfare systems (when the responsible adult(s) has resided in another state and there is an indication that there is a history of out of state child welfare involvement).



If the safety plan includes the placement of a child in the home of an unlicensed relative or non-relative, follow the procedures for background checks located in Kinship Care.



Parents as Responsible Adults

If a child has been determined to be unsafe due to impending danger in the household where the alleged abuse or neglect has occurred, and an in-home safety analysis reveals that an in-home safety plan cannot sufficiently manage the safety threats in that home, and the child is placed with a parent, guardian and/or custodian in another household, a safety plan must still be developed and implemented. Placement of a child with a parent, guardian and/or custodian in another household does not, in and of itself, resolve the safety threat in the household of the abuse or neglect.



If the safety plan includes the child residing with a parent, guardian, and/or custodian who resides in a different household from the home of the alleged abuse or neglect, and this household was not comprehensively assessed using the Family Functioning Assessment - Investigation, consider the following:

What experience does the parent, guardian and/or custodian have with parenting this or other children? Does the parent, guardian and/or custodian have knowledge of parenting and child development?
Does the parent, guardian and/or custodian know and practice positive methods of discipline?
What support will the parent, guardian and/or custodian require to provide for the child’s needs (medical, behavioral health, dental, special needs, transportation, communicating with professionals, etc.)?
How will the parent, guardian and/or custodian provide sufficient and appropriate supervision for the child, including after-school or childcare if necessary? (If childcare will be paid for by DCS, include in the case plan.)
As appropriate, how is the parent, guardian and/or custodian able to assist the child in family time/visitation and other forms of communication with the other parent, guardian and/or custodian and siblings?
Is the parent, guardian and/or custodian willing and able to participate in meetings (TDMs, CFTs, IEPs, etc.)?
Is the parent, guardian and/or custodian aware that DCS and service providers will visit the home in order to fulfill safety plan oversight and service provision responsibilities?
What new expenses are anticipated if the child is placed in the home? Will the parent, guardian and/or custodian be able to provide sufficient care for the child without causing financial hardship for the family?
Will the parent, guardian and/or custodian need services or supports to maintain the child safely in the home? (Include any needed services and supports in the case plan.)


Responsible adult in a safety plan who is a qualified patient of medical marijuana

If a potential responsible adult identified in the safety plan is also a qualifying patient, designated caregiver, or cultivator of medical marijuana, the following factors should be addressed in evaluating the person’s suitability, reliability, and ability to control threats of danger to the child(ren):

any action taken by the potential responsible adult/placement to ensure any child in the home does not have access to the marijuana;
action taken by the potential responsible adult/ placement to ensure any child in the home is not adversely affected by the patient’s medical use of marijuana;
the effects of the “debilitating medical condition” and the medical use of marijuana on the prospective responsible adult’s ability to provide a safe home environment for the child, and meet the child’s placement needs, including transportation to/from appointments, visitation, and other routine activities;
concerns by the prospective responsible adult’s physician about their ability to provide for the child’s safety and well-being (if the adult is a qualifying patient).


Safety Plan Oversight

The DCS Specialist maintains responsibility for oversight of the sufficiency and implementation of the safety plan, which includes oversight to ensure that all responsible parties are carrying out the actions and duties in the plan. The use of a responsible adult does not relieve the DCS Specialist of responsibility for oversight and management of the safety plan or continued assessment of the child’s safety.



A safety plan must be implemented, active, and continuously managed and monitored by the DCS Specialist. The DCS Specialist must continuously reassess the family conditions and dynamics, and the sufficiency of the plan. The DCS Specialist is responsible for safety plan oversight as long as threats of danger to a child exist and caregiver protective capacities are insufficient to ensure the child is protected in the home.



For the duration of the safety plan, the DCS Specialist must continually review the adequacy of the safety action(s), and modify the written plan when necessary. In addition, the DCS Specialist is responsible for updating the written safety plan whenever the following changes occur:

the responsible adult(s) identified as responsible for actions in the safety plan have changed;
the safety actions required to manage new or existing impending danger threats have changed;
new or additional safety services are being included;
parent-child contact restrictions or supervision described in the safety plan have changed;
an assessment reveals that the safety plan is insufficient and must become more restrictive; or
an assessment reveals changes to behavior or circumstances that indicate a plan can become less intrusive.


For effective oversight, the DCS Specialist must have an adequate understanding of the status of the safety threats and the sufficiency, feasibility, and sustainability of the safety action(s) identified; and must anticipate potential crisis situations.



A case cannot be closed when a safety plan is in effect. A case must be opened for services if a child has been assessed as unsafe.



Supervisor Consultation

A Program Supervisor must be involved in developing the safety plan and must approve any safety plan the DCS Specialist initiates with the family. The Program Supervisor should confirm that the actions in the safety plan are the least intrusive actions that are sufficient to control the identified impending danger threat(s). If the plan is an out-of-home safety plan, the Program Supervisor and DCS Specialist will develop the conditions for return prior to discussing them with the family.



The Program Supervisor shall discuss how the DCS Specialist will continue to provide oversight and management of the safety plan and the plan for continued assessment of the child’s safety.



Documentation

Document the in-home safety analysis and the safety plan for each applicable household, and conditions for return (if applicable) on the Safety Plan and Safety Plan Signature Page, CS0-1034B. Give a copy of both documents to each parent/caregiver, and any responsible adult(s) identified in the plan. File a copy of the safety plan in the case record, or include a scanned copy of the safety plan in CHILDS using case notes, Key Issues type.



If an out-of-home safety plan is created, assess the responsible adult’s home by completing the Family and Home Evaluation found in the Court Document Directory (CT05300).



In CHILDS:

Document DPS and DCS checks for all non-licensed responsible adults named in the safety plan in a Key Issue case note type or Section I,B in the CSRA. Include the individual’s name, his/her relationship to the child, and the name of the Program Supervisor who reviewed the information and approved the individual as a responsible adult named in the safety plan.
Document discussions with all non-licensed responsible adults about their ability to use judgment and take actions that will protect the child, and to be present with the child at all times when there are anticipated threats to the child’s safety.
Document the essential components of the safety plan in Section III, D (Safety Plan) of the CSRA.
Document the results of the in-home safety plan analysis in Section IV, D (Safety Plan).
Document whether an in-home safety plan, combination, or an out-of-home safety plan was implemented with the family.
If an out-of-home safety plan was implemented, the information documented should reflect why an in-home safety plan would be insufficient to manage the identified danger threats.
In the C-CSRA, document the safety plan in Section II, C (Safety Decision).
Document the search for relatives in the Locate Efforts case note type.


If the child is removed as part of an out-of-home safety plan:

Complete the following windows in CHILDS when a temporary custody notice has been issued:

Legal Status
Removal Status
Removal Settings
Placement/Location Directory


Follow documentation procedures in Voluntary Placement if a voluntary foster care agreement was implemented.



DCS Program Supervisors

Complete a review of the sufficiency of any active safety plan with the DCS Specialist monthly during clinical supervision.



Document supervisory consultations as described in Providing Strength-Based Supervision.







Chapter 2: Section 7.1

Conditions for Return



Policy

If a child is assessed as unsafe due to impending danger, and an out-of-home safety plan is implemented, the Department shall identify the conditions for return of the child to the parent(s).



The conditions for return shall be provided in writing to the parent(s), guardian(s) or custodian(s), any child age 12 or older, and the out-of-home caregiver.



Progress toward meeting the conditions for return shall be assessed in conjunction with the Family Functioning Assessment-Ongoing and the Family Functioning Assessment-Progress Update.



PROCEDURES

Conditions for return are written statements of specific behaviors, conditions, or circumstances that must exist before a child can return and remain in the home with an in-home safety plan.



The conditions for return are directly connected to the specific reasons why an in-home safety plan could not be put into place. Conditions for return describe the caregivers’ behaviors and family circumstances that would need to exist in order for a sufficient, feasible, sustainable in-home safety plan to be implemented.



The DCS Specialist and Program Supervisor will develop the conditions for return prior to discussing them with the family. The Program Supervisor will approve the conditions for return as part of approving the safety plan. The DCS Specialist and Program Supervisor must ensure the conditions for return are comprehensive and sufficient to address all circumstances preventing the use of an in-home safety plan.



The DCS Specialist will engage with the family to review and discuss the conditions for return. This may happen during the Team Decision Making (TDM) meeting held after a child’s removal. If a TDM meeting is not required or is not held, the DCS Specialist and/or Program Supervisor will review the conditions for return during the case plan staffing, checking for understanding from family and team members. The DCS Specialist reviews the safety plan, including the conditions for return and progress toward meeting the conditions for return, with the parents and the Program Supervisor at least monthly.



Conditions for return should not be developed for any parent, guardian, or custodian whose whereabouts are unknown at the time of the Family Functioning Assessment. Once the missing parent, guardian, or custodian is located, a full assessment shall be completed and, if an out-of-home safety plan remains necessary, conditions for return will be developed at that time.



Conditions for return should not be developed for any parent, guardian, or custodian with whom reunification will not be pursued due to aggravating circumstances of abuse or neglect, or whose child(ren) have a permanency goal other than reunification.



At any time the safety plan is reassessed, the DCS Specialist and Program Supervisor will assess whether current circumstances still indicate the need for an out-of-home safety plan, and whether any or all of the conditions for return have been met.



When the in-home safety analysis indicates that a sufficient, feasible, and sustainable in-home safety plan can be implemented, the DCS Specialist will engage with the family and service team to develop a reunification transition plan. For more information on reunification planning, see Family Reunification.



When the conditions for return are met and a child is able to return to the home of a parent, guardian or custodian with an in-home safety plan, the family’s DCS ongoing services case will remain open until the children are determined to be safe with no need for a safety plan (threats of danger are no longer present or a parent, guardian, or custodian has demonstrated an enhancement of identified diminished protective capacity to consistently manage all threats of danger).



Identifying the Conditions for Return

Prior to identifying the conditions for return, the DCS Specialist and Program Supervisor identify, discuss, and analyze:

how each identified impending danger threat is manifested in the family;
the safety threshold criteria, particularly the observable and specific family condition and the out of control nature of the threat;
caregiver protective capacity, attitude, and awareness; and
the potential for threatening caregivers or persons to leave the home.


The DCS Specialist and Program Supervisor should consider the following questions when determining specific conditions for return to the family:

Why was an out-of-home safety plan originally necessary (i.e., caregiver behaviors that were violent or out-of-control, there are safety issues with the home environment, and/or lack of resources or support within the family network)?
Are the child(ren) fearful of returning home? Is an in-home safety plan feasible considering the child(ren)’s current emotional needs?
Are there adequate services and/or supports (responsible adults) that can substitute for all diminished caregiver protective capacities to control the impending danger within the home? What are those services/supports?
What level of supervision is necessary to ensure child safety?
At what times or days, or under what circumstances must responsible adults or safety services be available to ensure child safety?
Do the stated conditions for return address all of the issues that made an out-of-home safety plan necessary?
If the stated conditions for return are met, will a sustainable in-home safety plan be possible?
Do the stated conditions for return include conditions related to the parent demonstrating the willingness and consistent ability to support an in-home safety plan?
Will meeting the stated conditions for return confirm the parent is willing and able to continue working toward completion of the case plan and identified treatment goals?


Development of the Conditions for Return

Conditions for return describe what the particular family’s behaviors, conditions, and circumstances will look like when all five of the in-home safety analysis questions are answered yes, and there are responsible adults and/or safety services who can substitute for the parent/caregiver’s diminished protective capacity, so that threats of danger are consistently controlled.



To develop the written statements of conditions for return, consider each of the five in-home safety analysis questions. For any question answered no, document the specific reason(s) why it was and continues to be answered no.



Question #1: Is there a combination of safety actions and/ or services capable of sufficiently controlling the identified danger threats, and are there sufficient resources within the family network or community to control the identified threats?

Safety actions and services to control the safety threats are dependent upon the identified impending danger threat. The safety actions and services must be available to the family at the necessary days, times, and locations, and they must be sufficient to control the identified danger threats. Responsible adults and safety services must be immediately available whenever the danger threats are or could be present.



Condition for return statements associated with the sufficiency of resources should reflect what would need to be different in comparison to what was determined to require an out-of-home safety plan. The written conditions should describe:

The specific safety actions and/or services that would need to be in place to control safety threats in the home.
The level of effort necessary to manage behavior and/or provide social connections and/or provide basic parenting assistance etc. (identify what).


Question #2: Are the parents, guardians, or custodians willing for an in-home or combination safety plan to be implemented and have they demonstrated that they will cooperate with the responsible adults, safety service providers, and safety actions identified in the safety plan?

Willing to accept and cooperate refers to the most basic level of agreement to allow a safety plan to be implemented in the home and to participate according to agreed assignments. The parents, guardians, or custodians do not have to agree that a safety plan is the right thing, nor are they required to like the plan; but they must be willing to accept and cooperate with the plan in order for it to be effective.



Conditions for return statements associated with a caregiver’s lack of acceptance and willingness to participate in developing an in-home safety plan should reflect what would need to be different in comparison to what was determined to require an out-of-home safety plan. For example:

Caregiver is open to having candid discussion about the reason for a safety plan and what the safety plan would involve regarding child safety.
Caregiver expresses genuine remorse about (specific maltreatment) toward child and is willing to discuss the need for a safety plan.
Caregiver expresses a genuine interest in doing what is necessary to have the child return to the home.


Question #3: Is the home environment calm and consistent enough for an in-home safety plan to be implemented and for responsible adults and/or safety service providers to be in the home safely?

Calm and consistent refers to the environment, it’s routine, how constant and consistent it is, its predictability to be the same from day-to-day. The environment must accommodate plans, schedules, and services and be non-threatening to those participating in the safety plan.



Conditions for return statements associated with the home environment should reflect what would need to be different in comparison to what was determined to require an out-of-home safety plan. For example:

Specific individuals (identify and describe what was problematic about certain people being in the home and threatening to child safety) no longer reside in the home and the caregiver’s commitment to keeping them out of the home is sufficiently supported by in-home safety actions and/or services.
Caregiver no longer expresses or behaves in such a way that reasonably will disrupt an in-home safety plan (describe specifically what would be different that was preventing an in-home safety plan), expresses acceptance of the in-home safety plan and concern for child; and safety actions and/or services are sufficient for monitoring and managing caregiver behavior as necessary.
Specific triggers for violence in the home are understood and recognized by caregivers, and the responsible adults and/or in-home safety service providers can sufficiently monitor and manage behavior to control impulsivity and prevent aggressiveness.


Question #4: Can an in-home safety plan and the use of in-home safety actions and/or services sufficiently control impending danger without the results of outside professional evaluations (substance abuse, psychiatric/psychological, medical)?

This question is concerned with specific knowledge that is needed to understand impending danger threats, caregiver capacity, or behavior or family functioning specifically related to impending danger threats; and whether the absence of such information hinders the DCS Specialist’s ability to know what is required to control threats. Specifically, whether there are gaps in information related to family functioning after the completion of the Family Functioning Assessment, and a clinical evaluation is needed in order to provide further clarification in identifying specific circumstances related to caregiver capacity and behavior that influenced the identified danger threat(s). Evaluations that are concerned with treatment or general information gathering (not specific to impending danger threats) can occur in tandem with in-home safety plans.



Conditions for return statements associated with a caregiver’s capacity should reflect the information needed from an evaluation in order to fully assess family functioning, including information necessary to understand what is contributing to the manifestation of impending danger. The additional information gathered from the evaluation(s) may result in the need to reassess and revise the safety plan and/or the conditions for return. Although a diagnosis or clinical condition of a caregiver may not be immediately available, the DCS Specialist should still identify observable behaviors and/or circumstances that must be controlled or managed in order for an in-home safety plan to be successful. For example:

Caregiver has participated in the recommended evaluation(s) and the results provide sufficient information to understand how the danger threat(s) manifest within the family.
Caregiver demonstrates increased emotional stability and/or behavioral control (describe specifically what would be different) to the point where an in-home safety plan and safety management can assure child safety.
Caregiver is demonstrating progress toward (describe specifically what would need to be different; e.g., stabilizing emotionally; increased control of behavior) to the extent that in-home safety services can be sufficient and immediately available for effectively managing caregiver behavior.
There are responsible adults and/or sufficient safety service resources available and immediately accessible to compensate for a caregiver’s cognitive limitations and provide basic parenting assistance at the level required to assure that the child is protected and has his or her basic needs met.
There are sufficient responsible adults and/or safety service resources available and immediately accessible to compensate for a caregiver’s physical limitation by providing basic parenting assistance to assure the child’s basic needs are met.


Question #5: Do the parents, guardians, or custodians have a suitable place to reside where an in-home or combination safety plan can be implemented?

A suitable place to reside refers to (1) a home/shelter exists and can be expected to be occupied for as long as the safety plan is needed, and (2) caregivers live there full time. Home refers to an identifiable domicile. A domestic violence or other shelter, or a friend’s or relative’s home, qualifies as an identifiable domicile if other criteria are met (e.g., expected to be occupied for as long as the safety plan is needed, caregivers live there full time, etc.).



Conditions for return statements associated with a caregiver’s residence should reflect what would need to be different in comparison to what was determined to require an out-of-home safety plan. For example:

Caregiver has a reliable, sustainable, consistent residence in which to put an in-home safety plan in place.
Caregiver maintains the residence and there is confidence that the living situation is sustainable.
Caregiver demonstrates the ability to maintain a sustainable, suitable, consistent residence (describe specifically on an individual case by case basis what would be a sufficient demonstration of a caregivers ability to maintain an adequate place to reside and implement an in-home safety plan).


Supervisors

If the conclusion of the Family Functioning Assessment-Investigation and the in-home safety plan analysis results in a decision that an out-of-home safety plan is necessary to sufficiently manage child safety, the DCS Specialist, with guidance of the Program Supervisor, will document what is required in order for an in-home safety plan to be established and the child(ren) returned home (conditions for return).



The Program Supervisor will participate in identifying the conditions for return with the DCS Specialist. All conditions for return statements must be approved by a Program Supervisor prior to providing a written copy to the family.



The Program Supervisor will confirm the conditions for return are directly connected to the specific reasons/justification from the in-home safety plan analysis and the reasons why an in-home safety plan could not be put into place at the conclusion of the Family Functioning Assessment and/or maintained as a part of ongoing safety management.



Documentation

Document the conditions for return on the Safety Plan and Safety Plan Signature Page, (CS0-1034B). Following Program Supervisor approval, copies are to be provided to the parents, guardians, or custodians; any child age 12 or older; the out-of-home caregivers; and any adults or service providers who are responsible for carrying out identified safety actions and/or services. Place a copy in the electronic or hard copy/case file.










Chapter 2 Section 8 - Team Decision Making 

Policy

The Department will convene the appropriate type of Team Decision Making (TDM) meeting under the following circumstances:



Present Danger TDM:

the Family Functioning Assessment and impending danger determination have not been completed and a child has been removed as a protective action in a present danger plan, including when a Temporary Custody Notice (TCN) and/or Notice of Removal has been served, or a parent, guardian and/or custodian has signed a Voluntary Placement Agreement; or
the Department requested a court ordered pick-up and the child(ren) have been located and placed in the temporary physical custody of the Department.


Safety Planning TDM:

the Family Functioning Assessment has been completed and a determination has been made that the child is unsafe due to an impending danger threat; and
a safety plan has been implemented; or
a child has been removed as a safety action in a safety plan (including when a TCN and/or Notice of removal has been served, or a parent, guardian and/or custodian has signed a Voluntary Placement Agreement);
the present danger plan is expiring, unless the Family Functioning Assessment has resulted in a  determination that the child is safe (the TDM meeting must occur before the present danger plan expires);
within no less than 30 days from the expiration of a 90 Day Voluntary Placement Agreement, and/or the parent, guardian and/or custodian’s request to rescind the Voluntary Agreement, unless the Department has determined the child is safe;
conditions for return have been met, the child will begin the reunification transition to his or her family, and an in-home safety plan is necessary to manage impending danger; or
a previously developed in-home or out-of-home safety plan may be insufficient to control the danger threat(s) and may need to be revised.


A Safety Planning TDM meeting may also be held when:

a private dependency petition has been filed and the Department disagrees with the allegation, placement, and/or court orders after the Family Functioning Assessment has been completed.


Placement Stabilization TDM:

there is potential for placement disruption; or
an unplanned placement change has occurred for a child in out-of-home placement.


Reunification/Permanency Planning TDM:

a child will begin the reunification transition to his/her family and an in-home safety plan is not necessary because the child has been assessed as safe; or
the permanency goal may need to change.


Age of Majority TDM:

a youth in care is within 6 months of turning 18;
a young adult age 18 through 20 is participating in a plan for continued voluntary foster care, and wants to exit the program or is in substantial non-compliance with their case plan; or
a young adult is participating in a plan for continued voluntary foster care and is within 30 days of turning 21.


Hold the Age of Majority TDM within no more than seven days of learning that the youth wants to exit the program or is in non-compliance, excluding weekends and holidays.



A Present Danger TDM meeting is not required when:

the present danger plan is that the child lives with a responsible adult for seven days per week, 24 hours per day (a Safety Planning TDM meeting would be held within 14 days of implementing this plan, unless the child is determined to be safe);
a Temporary Custody Notice (TCN) has been served, but the child is returned to the parent, guardian and/or custodian because the child is determined to be safe within the 72 hour time frame;
a TCN has been served for no more than 12 hours, to obtain an examination of a child by a medical doctor or psychologist; or
only DCS staff and service providers are present.


A Safety Planning TDM meeting is not required when:

a present danger TDM meeting was previously held and at the conclusion of the Family Functioning Assessment; and
the present danger plan remains sufficient to control identified impending danger threats and will become the safety plan with no changes to safety actions, safety services, or responsible adults; or
only DCS staff and service providers are present.


A Placement Stabilization TDM meeting is not required when:

a child is served through a Child and Family Team (CFT); or
any planned placement is made through a CFT.


The Department will facilitate the TDM meeting as a collaborative decision making process that is strengths-based and engages the family network in addressing the safety, placement, and permanency of children.



The Department shall engage the family (custodial and non-custodial parents, guardians and/or custodians and the child age 12 and older, when appropriate), family supports, (relatives, friends, community members), and partnering agencies including, as applicable, tribal representatives, behavioral health providers, and other service providers involved with the family in the TDM process



Procedures

The purpose of a TDM meeting is to engage the family in decisions about the safety, stability, and permanency of a child at critical points in a case. (See Team Decision Making Field Guide (CSO-1638) for detailed information). The meeting is a collaboration between the Department, parents, guardians and/or custodians, child(ren), extended family and kin, family support persons, and service providers,



A trained facilitator will facilitate all Team Decision Making meetings. The TDM facilitator’s role is to guide group discussion surrounding the safety and/or permanency of the child(ren) involved in a DCS case. The facilitator will strive to reach group consensus that the recommended plan is the least restrictive and least intrusive, sufficient to maintain child safety, and in the best interest of the child(ren).



The TDM facilitator will conduct the meeting according to the guidelines in the TDM Field Guide, and engage all team members to review and provide input into the following decisions and/or recommendations, depending on the TDM type:

Present Danger TDM meeting:
the child’s living arrangement, including recommendations for the present danger option selected;
the level of authorized contact and visitation between child and parent, guardian and/or custodian, and child and any siblings in out-of-home care (if applicable); and
any information to be gathered after the TDM meeting, in order to complete the Family Functioning Assessment and make a determination of impending danger.
Safety Planning TDM:
the child’s living arrangement and services, including the safety plan, conditions for return, and safety services;
the level of authorized contact and visitation between child and parent, guardian and/or custodian, and child and any siblings in out-of-home care, if applicable; and
a reunification transition plan if the conditions for return have been met and the child will begin the reunification transition to his or her family.
Placement Stabilization TDM:
the cause of potential placement disruption and a plan to determine if services can preserve the placement;
respite or short-term placement and a plan to transition the youth back to the original placement; or
if placement cannot be preserved and a new placement type is identified, a transition plan (which may be a reunification transition plan if the conditions for return are met).
Reunification/Permanency Planning TDM:
a reunification transition plan; or
there may be a recommendation for a change in the permanency goal.
Age of Majority TDM meeting:
whether the youth should remain in foster care under a Voluntary Foster Care Agreement,
supports for the youth to allow him or her to succeed under the Voluntary Foster Care Agreement,
whether a Voluntary Foster Care Agreement should be terminated, and
a plan for discharge when the youth exits foster care.


Roles and Responsibilities

The family, DCS Specialist, Program Supervisor and TDM Facilitator are all responsible for ensuring decisions/recommendations made during the TDM meeting sufficiently address child safety. However, the final decision regarding the safety plan is the responsibility of the DCS Specialist and the Program Supervisor. The DCS Specialist is responsible to request the TDM, invite participants, and ensure timely notification to the attendees. The DCS Program Supervisor is responsible for scheduling the TDM. (See Key Roles and Responsibilities for more information on the TDM process.)



The DCS Specialist should invite the following individuals to the meeting:

the parents, guardians, and/or custodians, including custodial and non-custodial parents, all alleged fathers and step-parents;
youth (12 years and older), if appropriate (consider victim’s rights, child/youth's level of functioning and school schedule);
caregivers, including kin, foster parents, group care providers, or other caregivers;
Tribal or consulate representatives;
mental health professionals, therapists/counselors, or other service providers currently involved with the family (including the AZ Families F.I.R.S.T. representative if appropriate, and the Regional Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA) network representative); and
juvenile probation officers.


The following individuals may be invited to the meeting by the parents, guardians and/or custodians, or child(ren):

any support persons identified by the family such as:
siblings and other relatives;
friends, neighbors, caregivers or babysitters;
significant others (boyfriend/girlfriend);
members of the family’s faith/spiritual community;
school contacts such as teachers, principals, counselors, coaches;
military command;
potential kinship caregivers/ placements; or
attorneys (see Attorney Participation below).


Attorney Participation

Criminal Defense Attorneys

The DCS Specialist shall inform the parent, guardian and/or custodian that if an attorney is representing him/her in a criminal proceeding, a criminal court order is required for the criminal defense attorney to attend the TDM meeting. If a court order is obtained, the criminal defense attorney can attend the TDM meeting, but should not be allow to question any of the TDM participants, except for his/her client.



Dependency Attorneys

The parent, guardian and/or custodian or child's attorney may attend the TDM meeting; however, no substantive legal issues should be discussed with the attorney at any time or in his/her presence. Substantive legal issues include, but are not limited to, the factual or legal basis for the removal, any criminal conduct allegations, the grounds for termination, or the sufficiency of the evidence. Privileged information such as attorney-client information, or confidential (private) information such as criminal history record information obtained from Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) or addresses also cannot be discussed.



The role of the parent, guardian and/or custodian or child's attorney should be minimal and must only focus on safety planning. He/she cannot be considered as a possible responsible adult or as a placement for the child. He/she should not be allowed to question the TDM participants except for his/her client.



The allegations of abuse and/or neglect should not be discussed in the TDM meeting or with the attorney outside the TDM meeting.



If an attorney for any participant is expected to attend the TDM meeting:

obtain the attorney’s name and phone number,
ask the participant whether or not the attorney has been retained to represent him/her and in what capacity (e.g. is the attorney representing the participant in a dependency or criminal proceeding);
confirm with the participant whether or not the attorney plans to attend and/or participate in the TDM meeting;
inform the participant that if an attorney is representing him/her in a criminal proceeding involving the DCS matter, a Criminal Court Order is required for the attorney to attend and/or participate in the TDM meeting; and
notify the Duty or Assigned Assistant Attorney General.


TDM Meetings involving Criminal Conduct Allegations

If the child is part of a case where the report alleges criminal conduct, or the case involves an ongoing criminal investigation, or current or pending prosecution, communication between the DCS Specialist, Law Enforcement, and the OCWI Investigator (if applicable), should occur prior to holding the TDM meeting. The DCS Specialist should also communicate with the Duty or assigned Assistant Attorney General (AAG) before the TDM meeting is held. The TDM meeting may be held without prior communication with Law Enforcement if attempts have been made to contact Law Enforcement and detailed messages have been left.



The following questions should be discussed with Law Enforcement and the Duty AAG prior to the TDM meeting:

What is the purpose of the TDM meeting (possible topics of discussion)?
Are there participants who should be excluded from the TDM meeting? If so, why?
Should Law Enforcement or an AAG be included in the TDM meeting? If so, why?
Are there any specific topics that should not be discussed at the TDM meeting? If so, what and why?


Do not discuss the criminal conduct allegation(s) during the TDM meeting.



If any admission of personal responsibility occurs during the TDM meeting or further information is obtained about the allegations, the DCS Specialist will immediately notify and provide the information to the AAG and Law Enforcement to assist in the criminal investigation and prosecution.



If information is revealed indicating a new allegation, the DCS Specialist will immediately notify the Child Abuse Hotline and if applicable, Law Enforcement and the Office of Child Welfare Investigations.



The child victim and the alleged perpetrator will not be in the same room or on the phone together during a TDM meeting when the case involves:

criminal conduct allegations or domestic violence;
an ongoing criminal investigation;
current or pending criminal prosecution; or
the child victim feels threatened or unsafe.




Notification of the TDM Meeting

The DCS Specialist will:

Have a conversation with the parent, guardian and/or custodian, and the child (age 12 and older) regarding the safety threat(s) and the reason for the TDM meeting.
For parents, guardians and/or custodians who cannot attend in-person (e.g. resides out-of-the-area, out-of-state, or are incarcerated, etc.), to the fullest extent possible, arrange for his/her participation telephonically.
If possible, provide a copy of the Team Decision Making (CSO-1088A) pamphlet to the parent, guardian or custodian prior to the TDM meeting.
If possible, provide a copy of the Team Decision Making (A Guide for Teens, CSO-1085A) to any child age 12 and older prior to the TDM meeting.
Notify the Assigned AAG of all TDM meetings involving cases where a dependency petition has been filed with the Juvenile Court.
Discuss with the Duty AAG TDM meetings even if a dependency petition has not been filed if:
the child is part of a case where the report alleges criminal conduct or the case involves an ongoing criminal investigation or a current or pending prosecution; or
the TDM meeting is being held on a case in which a Dependency Petition was dismissed within the previous six (6) months; or
the DCS Specialist and Program Supervisor wish to consult about legal options for a case.


If a Dependency Petition is filed, send a copy of the TDM Summary Report to the Duty AAG.



Scheduling the TDM Meeting

The DCS Specialist will request a TDM meeting by completing and submitting the Team Decision Making Referral (CSO-1102) to the Program Supervisor, who will provide the date, time, and location of the meeting to the DCS Specialist for notification to attendees. TDM Meetings will be scheduled as follows:

Present Danger TDM: Within 48 hours of removal excluding weekends and state holidays.
Safety Planning TDM: As expeditiously as possible, but no later than seven calendar days of determining that a child is unsafe, or conditions for return have been met. (In the interim, if a safety threat has been identified, a safety plan must be in place.) When a Family Functioning Assessment has been completed, and an out-of-home safety plan has been implemented and a TCN and/or Notice of Removal has been served, schedule the TDM within 48 hours of removal, excluding weekends, and state holidays.
Placement Stabilization TDM: Within 48 hours of the living arrangement disrupting, excluding weekends and holidays. For potential disruptions, the TDM is scheduled as expeditiously as possible, but no later than 72 hours from the time the potential disruption became known.
Reunification TDM: Prior to transitioning the child to his/her family.
Permanency Planning TDM: Prior to changing the permanency goal.
Prior to scheduling a Permanency Planning TDM, the DCS Specialist will discuss permanency planning with the assigned Assistant Attorney General.
The Age of Majority TDM is scheduled as follows:
within 6 months prior to a youth in care turning 18;
within 7 days for a young adult age 18 through 20 who wishes to voluntarily exit the continued voluntary foster care program;
as expeditiously as possible, but no later than 72 hours, when a young adult age 18 through 20 may exit care due to program disruption/substantial non-compliance with their case plan; and
within 30 days of the young adult's 21st birthday




Review

A request for a management review should be initiated when department staff participating in the TDM cannot reach consensus on decisions or recommendations pertaining to the purpose of the TDM  meeting.



Whenever possible, the intent to request a Management Review should be stated at the TDM meeting. The reason for the review shall be explained to the participants. The TDM Facilitator will contact the appropriate manager in the order of preference/availability outlined below, and state the reason for the review. The DCS Specialist and Supervisor will be given the opportunity to share their opinions about the reason for the review. The management level reviewer may ask for additional information prior to making a decision.



The Management Review will be completed by a manager in the following order of preference and availability, as appropriate to the assigned Region or OCWI unit:

The Program Manager or OCWI Regional Manager
The Program Administrator or OCWI Deputy Chief
The Deputy Director of Field Operations or OCWI Chief


Documentation

The TDM Facilitator will:

Complete and provide a written copy of the TDM Summary Report to all participants within one business day, unless otherwise agreed upon.
Request the written translation of the TDM Summary Report in the parent, guardian and/or custodian's primary language within 72 business hours of the TDM, if applicable.
Add the TDM Summary Report as a PDF file into a case note, Case Conference type.


The DCS Specialist will document who was invited and notified of the TDM.



The DCS Specialist will place a copy of the TDM Summary Report, including the Signature Sheet, in the case file.



For Permanency Planning TDMs, the DCS Specialist will document the conversation with the AAG in CHILDS case notes, AG Contact type.



The TDM Facilitator will document who attended, topics discussed, decisions/recommendations reached, consensus of parties, agreement of attendees and other information on the appropriate TDM Summary Report.







Chapter 2: Section 9

Temporary Custody

Policy

A child may be taken into temporary custody by the Department if probable cause exists to believe that temporary custody is clearly necessary to protect the child from suffering abuse or neglect and it is contrary to the child’s welfare to remain in the home.



A child shall only be taken into temporary custody when:

the child’s parent or guardian consents to placing their child in the temporary custody of the Department;
a dependency petition is filed and temporary orders from juvenile court place the child in the temporary custody of the Department;
a court order authorizing temporary custody is obtained from the Initial Appearance court; or
exigent circumstances exist and temporary custody is clearly necessary to protect the child.


The Department shall engage the child's family to the greatest extent possible in planning for voluntary interventions that minimize Department intrusion while ensuring the safety of the child.





Procedures

Temporary Custody

Temporary custody of a child may be necessary if the child has been determined to be in present or impending danger and:

there is no less intrusive alternative to taking temporary custody of the child that would reasonably and sufficiently protect the child’s health or safety, or
the child is suspected to be a victim of a sexual offense or an offense involving a serious physical injury that can be diagnosed only by a physician or health care provider who is licensed and has specific training in forensic evaluations of child abuse.


When removal from the parent or guardian is necessary to ensure the safety of a child, the options for obtaining temporary custody include the following:

The child’s parent or guardian consents to placing the child in the temporary custody of the Department.
A dependency petition is filed and temporary orders from juvenile court place the child in the temporary custody of the Department.
A court order authorizing temporary custody is obtained from the Initial Appearance court.
A Temporary Custody Notice (TCN) is served without obtaining court authorization to protect the child because exigent circumstances exist.


Any child taken into temporary custody must be returned to their parent or guardian within 72 hours, excluding weekends and holidays, unless a dependency petition is filed or the parent or guardian enters into a Voluntary Placement Agreement with the Department. Refer to Out-of-Home Dependency and Voluntary Placement for more information.



Engage the child's family, including a parent who resides in another household if applicable, to the greatest extent possible in discussions about the child's safety and planning for voluntary interventions that minimize intrusion in the life of the family. Refer to Present Danger Assessment and Planning, and Safety Planning for more information.



When taking temporary custody of a child, the DCS Specialist:



advises the parent or guardian of the specific reasons why the child is being taken into temporary custody;


requests the names, locations, and contact information of adult relatives of the child;


requests the names, locations, and contact information of significant others in the family network;


asks about the child’s medical (including allergies), educational, social, behavioral health, nutritional, and developmental needs;


obtains prescription medication(s) and the child’s clothing;


explains to the child what is happening, in a developmentally appropriate manner and in a private area, if possible, including:
why the child is being removed,

what the child can expect will happen in the next few hours to the next few days,

when the child will next see or speak to the parent(s), if known; and

if the child is part of a sibling group that will be separated, where the siblings will be and when the child will next see or speak to them;


gives the child an opportunity to ask questions; and

provides all parents and guardians with required documents.


Obtain medical information about the child from the parent, guardian, and/or custodian including:

whether the child has a medical need, allergies, or chronic illness that requires special care or treatment; and
the name and telephone number of the child's physician.


If possible, obtain the parent's, guardian's, or custodian's authorization to provide emergency medical care for the child. If the parent, guardian or custodian refuses or is unavailable, consult with a DCS Program Supervisor regarding authorization for procedures.



If the child has a medical need or chronic illness, make reasonable efforts to contact the child's physician or the physician who most recently examined or treated the child to confirm the diagnosis of the medical need or chronic illness, and obtain information on the daily care and treatment required to meet the child's medical need or chronic illness.



Obtain information about relatives, kin, and others who have a significant relationship with the child who may be able to be a placement option for the child. See Present Danger Assessment and Planning, and Kinship Care for information on assessing and placing with a kinship caregiver.



Parent or Guardian Consent

If a parent or guardian provides consent for his or her child to be placed in the temporary custody of the Department, court authorization to remove the child is not required.



The DCS Specialist shall explain to the parent or guardian providing consent for the Department to take temporary custody of the child that he or she is also consenting to the following:

his or her child will be placed out of their custody with a licensed out-of-home care provider, an adult relative, or a person with a significant relationship with the child;
limitations may be placed on his or her care, custody, and control of the child, including limitations on contact; and
there will be on-going intervention by the Department including, but not limited to, an assessment of child safety and development of a family-centered case plan, if applicable.


Unless the parent or guardian is entering into a Voluntary Placement Agreement with the Department, a Temporary Custody Notice (TCN) must be provided to the parent or guardian. See below for more information regarding serving a Temporary Custody Notice.



Dependency Process

Temporary custody of a child may be obtained or continued through the filing of a dependency petition:

with consideration of weekends and holidays, if there is sufficient time to obtain temporary orders before the expiration of the existing plan that is managing child safety if the conclusion reached at the end of a Family Functioning Assessment is:
the child is in impending danger,
the in-home safety analysis reveals that the child’s safety is unable to be managed in the home (Refer to Safety Planning for more information), and
there is currently a plan (e.g. present danger plan, safety plan, or Voluntary Placement Agreement) that is sufficiently managing child safety and is sustainable until the dependency petition is filed and temporary orders are received; or


within 72 hours of serving the Temporary Custody Notice.


When the court has granted a dependency petition and temporary orders are received from the juvenile court, serve all parents and guardians with a copy of the temporary orders signed by the juvenile court judge. If a parent cannot be identified or located, arrange for service by publication in the newspaper, with publication to occur at least five days prior to the dependency hearing. See Locating Missing Parents and Family for Notification.



Court Authorization from the Initial Appearance court

The DCS Specialist shall submit, under oath to the court, an application for authorization to take temporary custody of a child when the child is in present or impending danger unless:

a parent or guardian consents to the Department taking temporary custody of the child; or
a less intrusive plan is sufficient to manage threats to the child’s safety; or
the child is already a temporary or adjudicated court ward in a dependency matter; or
exigent circumstances exist (See Exigent Circumstances below).


The DCS Specialist or DCS Program Supervisor shall submit a written application utilizing the Juvenile Access Communication Exchange (JAX) web portal. The application must state:

the professional qualifications of the DCS Specialist or DCS Program Supervisor who is submitting the application;
specific present danger condition(s) or impending danger threat(s) for each child listed on the application;
circumstances that require temporary custody including a detailed account of circumstances and supporting facts;
specific reasons why a less intrusive option is not feasible or sufficient to manage the safety of the child in the home and why remaining in the home is contrary to the child's welfare; and
the identity and description of each child to be placed in temporary custody, including if there is reason to know if the child is an Indian child (see Removal and Temporary Custody of Indian Children).


In addition to the information required above, the application must also explain facts that demonstrate probable cause exists to believe temporary custody of the child is clearly necessary to protect the child from suffering abuse or neglect, and remaining in the child’s current home is contrary to the welfare of the child.



For any child believed to be an Indian child or ICWA eligible (see Removal and Temporary Custody of Indian Children) the facts stated must support a finding that temporary custody is necessary to prevent imminent physical damage or harm to the child.



As soon as possible after receipt of a written application, a judicial officer will consider the application. The judicial officer may question the DCS Specialist and/or DCS Program Supervisor who submitted the application. Any additional information requested shall be submitted in writing by the DCS Specialist or DCS Program Supervisor.



In the event the online application is inoperable, complete the Juvenile Removal Offline Form and fax the completed form to the Initial Appearance (IA) court at (602) 253-2645. Include a return fax number to receive the order of approval or denial.



If the JAX web portal and the fax system cannot be used, telephone the IA court at (602) 876-8240 and provide the information required in the application verbally. Contact the IA court directly if there are any problems with the submission of an application.



Upon receipt of an approved order, the Department may:

execute the order (remove the child(ren) included in the order) within ten (10) calendar days of the issuance of the order; or
elect to not execute the order if:
additional information or case circumstances indicate temporary custody is no longer necessary to protect the child; or
case circumstances have changed and a less intrusive plan will be sufficient to manage any threats to the child's safety.


The temporary custody authorized by the order will expire 72 hours after the execution of the order, excluding weekends and holidays, unless a dependency petition is filed or the parent or guardian enters into a Voluntary Placement Agreement with the Department.



If the judicial officer denies the application:

immediately contact the Program Manager and consult with the Attorney General’s Office to determine if independent grounds exist to file a dependency petition with the juvenile court; and
send an e-mail to CourtAuthorizedRemovals@AZDCS.gov with the Case Name, Case ID Number, and the information contained in the application.


When executing the court order authorizing the removal of the child, provide the parent or guardian a Temporary Custody Notice, a printed copy of the application for court authorization, and the order signed by the judicial officer.



If the disclosure of the application for court authorization and the order signed by the judicial officer would cause specific material harm to a DCS or criminal investigation, only provide a copy of the Temporary Custody Notice to the parent or guardian. Scan all documents into a Key Issue case note type and document the specific reasons why disclosure of the application and order would cause specific material harm.



If a dependency petition is filed, the application and order for temporary custody must be filed with the petition, in addition to the Temporary Custody Notice. Notify the Duty Attorney General at the time of filing the dependency petition if specific material harm concerns continue to exist regarding the disclosure of the application and order. (See Safeguarding Case Records.)



Serving a TCN under Exigent Circumstances

Exigent circumstances exist when there is probable cause to believe that the child is likely to suffer serious harm in the time it would take to obtain a court order for removal and either of the following is true:

There is no less intrusive alternative to taking temporary custody of the child that would reasonably and sufficiently protect the child’s health or safety (See Present Danger Assessment and Planning and Safety Planning), or
The child is suspected to be a victim of a sexual offense or an offense involving a serious physical injury that can be diagnosed only by a physician or a health care provider who is licensed and has specific training in forensic evaluations of child abuse.


If exigent circumstances exist, the child may be taken into temporary custody without prior court authorization. The DCS Specialist shall provide each parent, guardian, and/or custodian a copy of the Temporary Custody Notice and/or Notice of Removal. See below for more information regarding serving a Temporary Custody Notice and/or Notice of Removal.



A child who is taken into temporary custody for a medical examination must be returned to their parent or guardian within 12 hours unless the examination reveals abuse. If the examination reveals abuse, the DCS Specialist will notify the parent or guardian if the child will not be returned within the 12-hour period.



If the examination reveals abuse and the child will not be returned within the 12-hour period, make the following determinations within 72 hours of serving the temporary custody notice:

Whether or not a less intrusive plan would be sufficient to manage the child’s safety in the home, and
Whether or not a dependency petition will be filed.


When the DCS Specialist suspects that abuse has occurred, but a physician or other health care provider is unable to confirm the abuse, or the DCS Specialist has received differing or conflicting medical opinions from the same or different physicians regarding the diagnosis or specific medical finding(s), the case (including all medical opinions) should be reviewed within 48 hours with:



a physician who has substantial experience and expertise in child abuse diagnosis, or
a multidisciplinary team (including a physician who has substantial experience and expertise in child abuse diagnosis, any attending physician, the DCS Specialist and the DCS Program Supervisor).


The DCS Specialist will base the intervention on the most serious diagnosis if a multidisciplinary team or expert medical consultation is unavailable.



If a multidisciplinary team or expert medical consultation is unavailable in your area, consult with a Program Supervisor and have the Program Supervisor or Program Manager contact the CMDP Medical Director at 602-351-2245.



Notice of Temporary Custody

If a child is taken into temporary custody when the parent or guardian is not present, the DCS Specialist must attempt to notify the parent or guardian immediately either in person or by phone.



The DCS Specialist must provide verbal and written notification of the removal to all parents or guardians within six hours unless one of the following circumstances exists:



The parent or guardian is present when the child is taken into custody. In this case, written and verbal notice shall be provided immediately.


The parent or guardian resides or is incarcerated out-of-state and notice cannot be provided within six hours. In this case, written notice must be provided within 24 hours.


The address and location of the parent or guardian is not known. In this case, locate and notify the parent or guardian of the child as soon as possible, and:
Make reasonable efforts to obtain the parent or guardian's address by contacting relatives, friends, and/or employers.

if the address cannot be obtained, initiate a search for missing parent with the Arizona Parent Locator Service. See Locating Missing Parents and Family for Notification.


When notification must occur in writing, the DCS Specialist shall deliver or express mail the following to the parent or guardian:

Temporary Custody Notice, CSO-1000A,
A copy of the application and court order authorizing removal, if applicable, and
A Guide to the Department of Child Safety, CSO-1010.


If the parent or guardian is not available and the place of employment is known, the DCS Specialist will discreetly leave their name, phone number and Department name, and request a return call.



The DCS Specialist shall execute the TCN by doing the following:



Complete the Temporary Custody Notice, noting the following information on the form:
the specific danger threat(s) that are the reason for temporary custody,

select how temporary custody was obtained (Parent or Guardian Consent, Court Authorized, or Exigent Circumstances),

the services available to the parent or guardian, including a statement of parental rights and information on how to contact the Ombudsman-Citizens' Aide office and an explanation of the services that office offers,

the date and time when the child was taken into custody, as well as the name and telephone number of the assigned DCS Specialist and Supervisor, and

if available, record the date, time, and place of the Preliminary Protective hearing on the Temporary Custody Notice.


Explain to the family what will happen next, and when they can expect to hear from the DCS Specialist again.


If serving the parent or guardian in-person, request they sign the Temporary Custody Notice. If they decline to sign, record “Declines to Sign” on the signature line.


If the date, time, and place of the Preliminary Protective Hearing are not available at the time the Temporary Custody Notice is served, provide written notice of this information to the parent, guardian and/or custodian within 24 hours of filing the dependency petition.


The DCS Specialist must send a copy of the Temporary Custody Notice to:



any divorced or non-custodial parent, regardless of the specific arrangements of the custody agreement; and


any person alleged to be the child's father, whether or not his name appears on the birth certificate and whether or not allegations that they are the father are confirmed.


Notice of Removal

If the child was removed from a setting other than the home of a parent, guardian, and/or custodian, complete the Notice of Removal, CSO-1039. Give one copy to an appropriate individual at the place of removal. Proceed with verbal and written notice of parents, guardians and/or custodians.



The following reasons may require removal of a child without caregiver knowledge:

immediate need for a medical examination;
provision of emergency out-of-home placement due to present danger to the child; or
identity or whereabouts of caregiver are unknown.


Temporary Custody of Siblings

The child's sibling(s) shall only be taken into temporary custody if independent probable cause exists to believe that temporary custody is clearly necessary to protect the child from suffering abuse or neglect. If siblings are removed, the DCS Specialist must make every possible attempt to place them together.



Emergency Removal of Court Wards

Children who remain in their homes

Court authorization to take temporary custody is required to remove a child who is a temporary or adjudicated dependent court ward under an in-home dependency and is currently in the care of their parent or guardian from the juvenile court with current jurisdiction over the child.



Unless emergency circumstances exist, prior to taking temporary custody of the child submit a worksheet to the Attorney General’s office requesting a motion for removal using the Motion for Change of Physical Custody (CT01700).



If emergency circumstances exist that require a child who is a temporary or adjudicated dependent court ward to be removed from the home of their parent or guardian the DCS Specialist shall:

provide a Notice of Removal to the parent or guardian and make reasonable attempts to notify all parents/guardians of the child, and the child’s tribe (if applicable),
inquire about any family or kin who may be an option for placement, and
schedule a Team Decision Making meeting as outlined in Team Decision Making.


If the child will not be returning to the parent or guardian, immediately contact the assigned Assistant Attorney General and submit a motion for removal using the Motion for Change of Physical Custody (CT01700) to the juvenile court.



Children placed in out-of-home care

If a child who is already in the temporary custody of the Department or is already adjudicated dependent must be removed from a licensed foster home or kinship placement to protect the child from harm or risk of harm, the DCS Specialist shall:

provide a Notice of Removal to the current out-of-home care provider of the child,
make reasonable attempts to notify all parents and guardians of the child, and the child’s tribe (if applicable), and inquire about any family or kin who may be an option for placement, and
schedule a Team Decision Making meeting or Child and Family Team meeting as outlined in Team Decision Making.


If removing a child from a licensed foster home and the licensed foster parent disagrees with the plan to move the child, follow procedures in Placement Stability for Children in Out-of-Home Care including the Foster Home Transition Conference.



If the child will not be returning to the placement, contact the assigned Assistant Attorney General and submit a Motion for Change of Physical Custody (CT01700) to the juvenile court within 10 days of the emergency removal of the child from the placement.



Supervisor Approval

Supervisor approval is required prior to taking temporary custody of any child. In emergency situations, a child may have to be removed without prior consultation if failure to do so would be a danger to the child.



If emergency removal of a child is necessary and prior consultation with a supervisor is not possible, notify the supervisor within two hours if the removal occurred during regular working hours or by 8:30 a.m. the next morning if removal occurred after regular working hours.



Documentation

Any time a child is removed from the care of their parent or guardian, provide each parent and guardian a copy of the Temporary Custody Notice and/or Notice of Removal unless temporary custody was obtained or already exists through a dependency petition.



If temporary custody was obtained through the IA court, in addition to providing a Temporary Custody Notice, provide each parent or guardian a copy of the application and signed court order authorizing temporary custody, unless it would cause specific material harm to a DCS or criminal investigation.



If court authorization was obtained, file a copy of the Temporary Custody Notice, the application and a copy of the signed order authorizing temporary custody in the hard copy record. Scan all documents into a case note, Key Issues type.



If court authorization was not obtained, document the circumstances under which the parent or guardian consented or the exigent circumstances that were present at the time of the emergency removal in a case note, Key Issues type. Scan the Temporary Custody Notice and/ or Notice of Removal into the same case note. File a copy of the Temporary Custody Notice, and/or the Notice of Removal, in the hard copy record.



Complete the following windows in CHILDS under Legal Status when a child is taken into temporary custody:



Deprivation Factors
Household of Removal
Legal Status
Removal Status
Removal Settings


Document the present danger plan or safety plan and placement in Section III of the Child Safety and Risk Assessment (CSRA) and the Placement/Location Detail window.



Document the results of the emergency DPS criminal history records check, Central Registry and CHILDS Case Management Information System check of the potential out-of-home kinship placement in Section I, B of the CSRA. Document all efforts and contact with potential kinship caregivers as outlined in Kinship Care.



Document the following in Section II of the CSRA:

verbal and written notification of and reason for the child's removal to the parent, guardian, or custodian;
a parent, guardian's or custodian's response to the Temporary Custody Notice;
reasonable efforts to contact the child's physician or the physician who most recently examined or treated a child who has a medical need or chronic illness; and
the daily care and treatment required to meet the child's medical need or chronic illness.


If a dependency petition is filed after a child has been taken into temporary custody, a copy of the Temporary Custody Notice and if applicable, the application and court order authorizing temporary custody must be filed with the petition. In addition, fill out and append the Verification, CT04600, found in the Court Document Detail. Submit the Verification to the Attorney General's Office for filing with the dependency petition.



File one copy of the notice of the date, time and place of the Preliminary Protective hearing in the hard copy record if the date, time and location of the hearing was not available at the time the Temporary Custody Notice was served.



Submit the Report to the Juvenile Court for Preliminary Protective Hearing and/or Initial Dependency Hearing as described in Court Reports. This report must be submitted to the juvenile court no later than 24 hours before the hearing.



Document the child's out-of-home placement using the Service Authorization Request and Service Authorization Provider Match windows and by following the procedures outlined in Placement Needs of Children in Out-of-Home Care and Foster Care Rate Assessment and Payment.



Document the child's medical need or chronic illness, examination and child's physician information using the Medical Condition, Practitioner Detail and Examination Detail windows.



Forms

Notice of Removal, CSO-1039A



Temporary Custody Notice, CSO-1000A

Temporary Custody Notice, Spanish, CSO-1000AS



A Guide to the Department of Child Safety, CSO-1010A

A Guide to the Department of Child Safety, CSO-1010AS



Related Information

Relative Search Best Practice Guide

Using the Removal Status Window Practice Guide

22 Danger Threats

Court Authorized Removal Template Guide for JAX

Emergency Removal (Temporary Custody) Decision Matrix

Juvenile Removal Fax Procedure

Juvenile Removal Offline Form





Legal

A.R.S. § 8-514 Placement in foster homes.



A.R.S. § 8-514.02 Placement with parent or relative



A.R.S. § 8-802 Child safety worker; fingerprint clearance cards; interview requirements; temporary custody limit; cooperation and coordination; alteration of files; violation; classification



A.R.S. § 8-821 Taking into temporary custody; medical examination; placement; interference; classification



A.R.S. § 8-822 Removal of child from home



A.R.S. § 8-823 Notice of taking into temporary custody.



Arizona Supreme Court No. R-17-0046







Chapter 2: Section 10

Reasonable Candidate for Foster Care Determinations



Policy

For each child residing with a parent or guardian who has a case open for services, the Department shall determine if the child is a reasonable candidate for foster care. A child is a reasonable candidate for foster care when it is reasonable to believe that absent effective preventative services, foster care is the planned arrangement for the child.



If a child is determined to be a reasonable candidate for foster care, the child’s case plan must describe services offered and provided to prevent the removal of the child from the home.



The Department shall review the determination that a child is a reasonable candidate for foster care no less than every six months while the case is open and the child remains in the home.



Procedures

Determining if a Child is a Reasonable Candidate for Foster Care

The Department may claim and receive federal funding for the administrative costs associated with children who are residing at home and are reasonable candidates for foster care.



A child is a reasonable candidate for foster care if:

the child is residing with a parent or guardian;
the child is at serious risk of removal from his or her home, as defined below;
reasonable efforts to prevent the child’s removal are being made by providing safety services as part of a safety plan and/or treatment services to enhance parental protective capacities; and
if it becomes necessary to remove the child from the home, the child is expected to be placed in foster care and is not expected to be placed in a detention facility, correctional facility, behavioral health inpatient facility, or hospital.


The child is at serious risk of removal from his or her home if he or she is residing with a parent or guardian and:

the Family Functioning Assessment has resulted in a determination that the child is unsafe due to impending danger and an in-home or combination safety plan has been developed to control the safety threat(s);
the Family Functioning Assessment has resulted in a determination that the child is currently safe from impending danger, the case has been opened for Department-monitored services and supports, and if these services are not effective emergency removal of the child will be necessary;
a petition for in-home intervention has been filed;
a petition for in-home dependency has been filed; or
the child has been reunified with a parent or guardian, is a temporary court ward or adjudicated dependent, and the Department continues to provide safety services as a part of a safety plan and/or treatment services to enhance parental protective capacities and prevent re-entry into foster care.


Develop a family centered case plan following the procedures in Developing and Reassessing the Family Centered Case Plan. The child’s case plan must identify services, strategies, and supports to assist the parent, guardian, and/or custodian(s) and family to achieve the desired behaviors identified in the case plan. Tailor services to meet the specific needs of the family to prevent removal of the child.



Review the determination that the child is a reasonable candidate for foster care no less than every six months while the case is open and the child remains in the home. This review shall occur as part of the Family Functioning Assessment – Progress Review and/or reassessment of the case plan.



Documentation

When the permanency goal of Remain with Family is selected in a child’s case plan, select Yes/No to document the Reasonable Candidate for Foster Care determination. If the child is a Reasonable Candidate for Foster Care, select Yes under the statement: Absent effective preventative services, foster care is the planned arrangement for the child.



Using the case plan, document the re-determination that a child is a reasonable candidate for foster care no less than every six months.





Chapter 2: Section 11.1

Family Functioning Assessments Involving Substance Exposed Newborns

Policy

The Department shall investigate all reports alleging that a newborn infant has been prenatally exposed to alcohol or a controlled legal or illegal substance.



The Department shall collaborate with health care professionals, and local substance abuse assessment and treatment providers when available, to assist in the investigation, assessment, and delivery of quality services for infants who have been prenatally exposed to alcohol or a controlled legal or illegal substance, and their families.



The Department shall develop an Infant Care Plan for newborn infants who were prenatally exposed to alcohol or a controlled substance by the mother, and children up to one year old diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder



Procedures

In addition to policy and procedures specified in Initial Contact and Conducting Interviews, and the Family Functioning Assessment at Investigation complete the following:

Gather information concerning the medical condition of the newborn, including any complications from the substance exposure, the discharge status and instructions (where applicable), and any recommendations for follow-up medical care.
If available, obtain documentation by the health care professional(s) about the newborn infant’s prenatal substance exposure including:
clinical indicators in the prenatal period including maternal and newborn infant presentation;
information regarding history of substance abuse or use by the mother;
medical history; and
toxicology results and/or other laboratory test results on the mother and the newborn infant.
Obtain information from the health care professional(s) regarding their observations of the parental responsiveness to the newborn, visitation, feeding, understanding of the newborn’s special needs, or any other information to assist in the safety assessment and development of the Infant Care Plan.
Obtain the hospital discharge plan and recommendations from the health care professional about post-discharge infant care and medical follow-up.
If the newborn is hospitalized at the time of the report, visit the newborn’s home environment prior to the newborn’s discharge. If it is not possible to visit the home prior to discharge, visit the home on the day of the newborn’s discharge.
If the newborn is hospitalized at the time of the report, advise the health care professional that an assessment of the newborn’s safety in the home environment is being completed and request he/she notify DCS prior to the newborn’s discharge from the hospital.
Obtain the name(s) and contact information of the health care professional(s) who will provide routine health care for the newborn, and any recommended special medical care. Contact the child’s health care professional(s) to verify that newborn follow-up appointments have been scheduled and attended.
Ask the newborn’s health care professional about potential impacts of breast feeding on the newborn’s health if the mother is using prescribed or non-prescribed drugs.
Gather information on the six domains of family functioning, as described in Family Functioning Assessment at Investigation. In addition, gather the following information to assess family functioning, threats of danger, and parent/caregiver protective capacities in a family with a substance exposed newborn:
Parent/caregiver’s history of depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns that would place the parent/caregiver at risk for post-partum depression.
Parent/caregiver’s history of substance use, including types, frequency, and amount of drugs used.
Parent/caregiver’s history of substance exposed newborn births.
Parent/caregiver’s history of participation in substance abuse treatment services and other prevention or intervention services.
Parent/caregiver’s perception of his/her caretaking role and responsibilities.
Parent/caregiver’s plan to meet the newborn’s basic needs for shelter clothing, medical care, etc.
Parent/caregiver’s proposed feeding plan for the newborn.
Parent/caregiver’s ability to purchase baby formula or obtain formula through the Arizona WIC Program in order to meet the newborn’s nutritional needs.
Whether tobacco is smoked in the home, and plans to discontinue use.
Identification of the proposed caregivers of the newborn on a daily basis and when the mother is unavailable, and the parent/caregiver’s knowledge of each caregiver’s ability to provide safe care to the newborn.
Sleeping arrangements, including assessment of whether the infant has a safe sleep environment. If multiple births, ensure separate safe sleep environments for each infant.
Parent/caregiver’s history of parenting, including parenting of siblings in the past or currently.
Parent/caregiver’s knowledge of child development and behavior management, including the adequacy and accuracy of this information.
If needed, consult with a community and/or contracted substance abuse treatment professional to gain clinical expertise and advice regarding severity of drug usage, signs and symptoms, behavioral indicators, and motivation for treatment.
Some parents may be engaged in Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT) to control an opioid addiction. The MAT program should include the use of medications, such as Methadone or Buprenorphine, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a whole-patient approach to the treatment of the parent/caregiver substance abuse disorder. To determine if a parent/caregiver is appropriately engaged in MAT, ask the parent/caregiver to sign a Release of Information with their provider. Talk to the provider to find out:
How long has the parent/caregiver been engaged in MAT?
Does the parent/caregiver’s treatment plan include counseling and behavioral therapies to address their substance use disorder?
Is the parent/caregiver compliant with their treatment plan and are they consistently participating in the program?
Does the parent/caregiver receive random urinalysis testing?
Is the parent/caregiver receiving regular dosages of their medication?
Can the Provider share a monthly progress report of the parent/caregiver’s participation with the DCS Specialist?
Check in regularly with the MAT provider throughout the Family Functioning Assessment process, and, if the case remains open, throughout the duration of the case, to assure the parent remains compliant and no additional safety issues have been identified.
For infants suspected of having Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, obtain as soon possible or within one year:
documentation of the diagnosis by a health professional indicating clinical findings consistent with FASD;
the child’s medical records; and
the health professional’s recommendations for services for the child.


Provide the Safe Sleep flyer to the parent/caregiver and review it with them. Visit the home to observe the sleeping conditions of the child and discuss any observed risks. If needed, make referrals to community resources.



Developing the Infant Care Plan

Develop an Infant Care Plan (DCS-1262) for the newborn infant who was prenatally exposed to alcohol or substance use by the mother, or child up to one year old diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Actively involve the parents/caregivers, the infant’s health care professionals, the  parent’s/caregiver’s substance abuse treatment service providers, MAT providers, out-of-home care providers, and supportive adults identified by the parents/caregivers (if applicable) to develop the Infant Care Plan.



The Infant Care Plan describes the services and supports that will be provided to ensure the health and well-being of the infant, and addresses the substance abuse treatment needs of the parent or caregiver. Each plan addresses the following areas:

substance abuse treatment needs of the parents/caregivers;
medical care for the infant;
safe sleep practices;
knowledge of parenting and infant development;
living arrangements in the infant’s home;
child care; and
social connections.


If a case involving a substance exposed newborn is opened for ongoing services, oversee the implementation of the Infant Care Plan by observing, discussing, and assessing the child’s status indicators and participation with health care providers during monthly in-person contacts with the child and the child’s caregiver.



If a parent has been referred to substance abuse treatment or other services, oversee the sufficiency  of the services by observing, discussing, and assessing the parent’s progress and participation in services during monthly in-person contacts with the parent and through communication with the parent’s service provider(s).



Review and reassess the Infant Care Plan during case plan staffings, Child and Family Team meetings, and whenever there is indication that the child’s health or health care needs resulting from prenatal substance exposure have changed. Update the Infant Care Plan if indicated and distribute to the parent/caregiver and other team members.



In ongoing services cases, development and oversight of the Infant Care Plan may end when:

the infant is at least 3 months old and will remain in an out-of-home placement that is consistently meeting all of the infant’s medical, developmental, social and emotional needs;
the infant has turned one year of age (ensure any on-going medical, developmental or other needs of the child are met through the DCS Case Planning process); or
DCS is closing the ongoing services case prior to the infant turning one year of age, and
has met with the protective parent, the child’s health care provider, and other service providers (e.g. home visitors) to update the plan;
has ensured that anticipated future needs of the infant are addressed in the plan; and
has developed the Aftercare Plan including additional referrals for the family not addressed in the Infant Care Plan.


If a case involving a substance exposed newborn will close at investigation, review the Infant Care Plan with the protective parent, guardian, or custodian; the child’s health care provider; the parent’s substance abuse assessment or treatment provider (if applicable); other services providers (e.g. Home Visitors); and any other adults who have a role in the plan to determine that each person is able and willing to consistently and reliably implement the actions described in the Infant Care Plan. During the Aftercare Planning discussion with the parents and caregiver’s, discuss and provide a copy of the Infant Care Plan.



Determining the Need for Ongoing Services

Complete a Family Functioning Assessment (FFA) to determine whether the infant is unsafe due to impending danger, following the policies and procedures in Family Functioning Assessment at Investigation.



A newborn infant who has been prenatally exposed to alcohol or a controlled legal or illegal substance, or is demonstrating withdrawal symptoms resulting from controlled substances, is considered vulnerable to abuse or neglect. The overall substance use by the parent (including prenatal drug use, whether prescribed or not) and the parents’ ability to perform essential parental responsibilities must be considered in the assessment of the newborn’s safety.



If the child is assessed as unsafe due to impending danger, immediately implement a Safety Plan following the policies and procedures in Safety Planning. A case cannot be closed when a child is assessed as unsafe.



If the child is assessed as safe, consider the following to determine whether the case should be opened for ongoing services:

Does the parent/caregiver have diminished protective capacities that impact his/her ability to consistently and reliably follow the Infant Care Plan?
Does the family need services to strengthen protective factors, in order to reduce the risk of future abuse or neglect (assess the family’s protective factors following the policies and procedures in Aftercare Services)?
What is the likelihood that the parent and/or caregiver will consistently and reliably follow the Infant Care Plan without Department and/or court oversight, including plans for routine and specialized infant health care, use of safe caregivers, participation in parental substance abuse treatment (if applicable), and other actions listed in the Infant Care Plan? Consider parent/caregiver history and behavior such as:
history of SEN reports,
follow through with the newborn screening medical appointment,
follow through with current substance abuse assessment recommendations (if applicable),
history of participation in treatment services offered in the past (if applicable), stability of his/her current living arrangement,
demonstrated ability to consistently and reliably meet his/her own needs for housing, medical care, nutrition, etc.,
demonstrated understanding of the Infant Care Plan.


Does the parent/caregiver recognize the problem and is he/she motivated to make necessary behavioral changes? Identify the family’s needs for agency and/or court oversight, following the policies and procedures in Opening a Case for Services; In-Home Intervention; and In-Home Dependency Filing.



Referring for Substance Abuse Assessment and Treatment Services

Follow policies and procedures in Adult Behavioral Health & Substance Abuse Services. Refer the parent, guardian, or custodian(s) to Arizona Families F.I.R.S.T. (AFF). Provide the parent with a copy of the Arizona Families F.I.R.S.T. (CSO-1118) and encourage the parent’s participation in substance abuse treatment, if recommended, in order to achieve behavioral changes and improve family functioning.



For more information on coordination of substance abuse treatment services, see Roles and Responsibilities in the Coordination of SEN Cases.



If the Arizona Families F.I.R.S.T provider or other substance abuse resource informs the DCS Program Supervisor that the family has refused or discontinued treatment, reassess the family member’s substance abuse treatment needs, and the level of Department and court oversight.



If the Arizona Families F.I.R.S.T provider or other substance abuse resource reports a new allegation of abuse or neglect, ask the provider to make a report to the Child Abuse Hotline.



Determining when to Close an Ongoing Services Case Involving a Substance Exposed Newborn

To determine when it is appropriate to close an ongoing services case involving a substance exposed newborn, determine whether the parent:

understands the care necessary to help the newborn overcome the effects of the substance use, and reliably acts to provide necessary care;
has taken steps to change or control the behavior or conditions that placed the child in impending danger, and whether these steps are sufficient to determine the child is safe from impending danger;
is involved with extended family members, community support networks, or service providers who will help the family maintain these changes over time; and
understands the Infant Care Plan and knows how and where to access help if additional needs for health care or substance abuse treatment arise in the future.


Prior to closing the case, complete an Aftercare Plan as described in Aftercare Planning and Services.



Documentation

Document the outcome of the Family Functioning Assessment using the Child Safety and Risk Assessment (CSRA).



Document the Infant Care Plan. Obtain signatures from the parents and out-of-home caregivers and file a copy in the hard copy record.



Document the Aftercare Plan (CSO-1349). Obtain signatures from the parents and file a copy in the hard copy record.





Chapter 2: Section 11.2

Investigating Munchausen by Proxy

Policy

Reports alleging that the parent, guardian or custodian is suspected of causing or exaggerating a child’s illness require a prompt response and safety assessment. Primary consideration shall be given to the safety and well-being of the child.



Reports of suspected causation or exaggeration of a child’s illness; excessive or unnecessary health care utilization; symptom or condition falsification; medical abuse; or Munchausen by Proxy (MBP) may require an immediate and specific protective action to ensure the child’s safety.



A present danger assessment of all siblings in the home with the caregiver must be completed to determine whether a protective action is needed to ensure their safety.



Once the child’s safety has been assured, to the extent practicable, a multidisciplinary team (MDT) should be consulted to assist in further investigation, assessment, and case planning and management of the case.



Procedures

To determine if there is reason to suspect Pediatric Condition Falsification (PCF), consider if one or more of the following questions are true:



PCF Related Indicators

Does the child have a history of unexplained or unexpectedly difficult to treat medical, developmental or psychiatric symptoms or illnesses?
Does the child have a history of very frequent visits to doctors, clinicians or therapists of any type, hospitalizations, medical procedures or surgeries?
Is the child more disabled or less functional than one would expect for the reported diagnosis?
Have the child’s healthcare providers reported discrepancies with the history reported by the parent, guardian or custodian and clinical assessments?


Suspected Perpetrator Indicators

Does the parent, guardian or custodian:
have an intense desire to maintain close relationships with the clinical staff (physicians, clinicians or therapists of any type), or regularly engage in conflicts with staff regarding diagnostic and treatment decisions?
request or demonstrate unusual acceptance of recommendations for invasive, and/or painful procedures?
fail to express relief when presented with negative (normal) test findings?
appear to have more of an interest in the medical, developmental or psychiatric conditions than in the child’s well-being?
insist on performing procedures or routine care in the hospital?
demonstrate a strong resistance to having the child discharged from medical care?
report numerous dramatic or life-threatening events?
Has the parent, guardian or custodian confessed to exaggerating or inducing illness in the child?
Has Pediatric Condition Falsification previously been suspected or confirmed?
Is there (direct or circumstantial) evidence that the parent, guardian or custodian falsified illness in the child?


Parent-Child Relationship Indicators

Does the parent, guardian or custodian demonstrate excessive attention towards the child in the form of enmeshment, overprotection, restriction of activities and relationships?
Do older child victims behave similarly as the suspected parent, guardian or custodian (reporting symptoms, wanting clinical interventions, etc.)?
Do younger child victims appear to have a passive tolerance of painful procedures?
Has a child reported illness fabrication, coaching by a parent, guardian or custodian, being given unknown medications or other concerning information?
Have video surveillance tapes revealed that the parent, guardian or custodian is neglectful or abusive of the child when others are not present?
Do symptoms occur only when the suspected parent, guardian or custodian is present or within a few hours after they leave? (see the “Separation Section” of Munchausen by Proxy Fact Sheet)
Does separation of the child from the suspected parent, guardian or custodian result in a decrease of symptoms or disability in the child?
Does the child’s illness respond to standard medical treatment when away from the suspected parent, guardian or custodian?


Family Indicators

Does another family member have a history of unexplained or unexpected difficult to treat medical, developmental or psychiatric symptoms or illnesses?
Does another family member have a history of frequent visits to the doctors, clinicians or therapists of any type, hospitalizations, medical procedures or surgeries?
Is another family member more disabled or less functional than one would expect for the reported diagnosis?
Has there been a sibling death due to sudden infant death syndrome, unclear reasons or due to symptoms similar to the suspected victim?
Is there a reported history of physical or sexual abuse in suspected parent, guardian or custodian’s family of origin?


Implementation

The DCS Specialist and his/her Supervisor should begin to identify and convene the multidisciplinary team (MDT) as soon as practicable after determining that the report involves a caregiver who is suspected of placing the child in present or impeding danger by causing or exaggerating his/her illness or symptoms.



The MDT participants may vary depending on the specific circumstances and needs of the case. Reasonable efforts should be made to include the DCS Specialist and his/her supervisor, the assigned Assistant Attorney General, a medical specialist who is familiar with child abuse and neglect, and a mental health specialist who is familiar with factitious disorders on the MDT. Depending on the nature of the case, other team members may include law enforcement, visitation supervisors, probation officers, clinicians treating the various family members including the child’s Primary Care Physician (PCP) and/or others.



Review the Munchausen by Proxy (MBP) and Pediatric Condition Falsification Fact Sheet for more information and guidance.



Investigation

Follow the procedures for investigating child abuse and/or neglect as described in Initial Response and Conducting Interviews, Family Functioning Assessment-Investigations) and Substantiating Maltreatment.



An immediate protective action must be taken to protect the child where the caregiver’s suspected behavior(s) places the child at risk for invasive medical tests or interventions; potentially unneeded medications; physical or emotional abuse; harmful neglect; and/or death.



A present danger assessment of all siblings must be completed, as it may be necessary to take a protective action to ensure their safety.



Interview family members and other persons with knowledge of the family, to obtain a detailed social history on all children, parents, guardians or custodians, and other significant family members.  If possible, interview persons separately, but one right after the other, so that there is little or no time for family members to coordinate their answers.



Consult with the Assistant Attorney General to identify a mental health specialist who is familiar with factitious disorders.



In most suspected Pediatric Condition Falsification (PCF) cases, placing the child with a relative or family friend is not a safe option.



If considering placement with a non-abusive parent, extended family member or other significant person as a safety monitor or placement, carefully assess the perspective caregiver’s ability and willingness to protect the child from the suspected parent, guardian or custodian, including his or her perception of whether the suspected abuse did or could have occurred. You must also consult with a mental health specialist who is familiar with factitious disorders when assessing placement with the non-abusive parent, a relative or significant person as a safety monitor.



The child’s placement must be one in which the parent, guardian or custodian does not have unsupervised contact with the child and does not have the ability to influence daily care or medical treatment of the child.



Gather relevant information with guidance and direction from a mental health specialist who is familiar with factitious disorders, if one is available, qualified health professional(s) and/or reporting source. Relevant information may include the following:

The diagnoses of and treatment being provided to the parent, guardian or custodian if he/she is being treated by a clinician.
Medical and other clinical records (from clinicians, hospitals, clinics, laboratories, emergency services, home health agencies and health insurance companies) including birth records for the suspected victim and all siblings who have been under the care of the suspected parent, guardian or custodian. You may need to enlist the assistance of the CMDP Medical Director to obtain these records, especially from health insurance companies.
Medical facilities often keep separate records for clinic visits, emergency Department visits, hospitalizations, and home visits. Consequently, it is important to ask for all records.
In the requests for records, specifically request inclusion of nursing notes and notes from mental health professionals.
If concerning behavior was recorded via video or audiotape, the record request should also include a copy of these recordings.
If falsification during pregnancy is suspected, it may also be necessary to request prenatal outpatient and inpatient records for the mother in addition to birth records.
School records
Record of visits to the school nurse, telephone logs, attendance records, and Individual Education Plans (IEP) reports should be requested.


Contact and Visitation

Assess the danger of the parent, guardian or custodian’s contact with the child. Ensure that visitation, including visitation in a hospital setting, is closely supervised by one or more persons who are familiar with PCF and have been instructed to observe all physical contact between the parent, guardian or custodian and the child and to monitor all communication. Contact the Assistant Attorney General if the parent’s behavior during visitation causes a concern for the child’s safety.



Strict guidelines are needed for visitation and contact. Frequency of visitation and contact depends on the nature of the case. It is imperative that the child feel safe during visitation and contact with the suspected parent, guardian or custodian. Use the following guidelines to develop a visitation and  contact plan:

All visitations should be closely monitored in a neutral location by one or more persons familiar with the safety concerns in the case.
The parent, guardian or custodian cannot discuss the case or health-related issues, including diet, with the child.
The parent, guardian or custodian should not give the child anything that the child can consume (such as food, drinks, candy, gum, or medicine) or anything the child can put in their mouth (pacifiers, etc.).
Ointments or other topical agents cannot be applied to the child by the parent, guardian or custodian.
All conversation must be audible to the monitor.
All physical contact, activities and gifts must be developmentally and socially appropriate.
Diaper changing should not be excessive.
Clothing changes should be restricted when excessive or inappropriate.
Telephone calls must be monitored.
Letters and cards must be read by the monitor prior to being shared with the child.
Audio and video recording and photographing the child are prohibited.


Case Management

Case planning includes obtaining an assessment and recommendations from the mental health specialist regarding critical decisions including diagnosis, treatment, visitation guidelines and reunification.

Obtain an independent, non-treating expert to conduct the assessment for suspected Pediatric Condition Falsification and the evaluation of associated psychopathology (such as Factitious Disorder).


A Primary Care Physician (PCP) who is familiar with PCF should be assigned by the Comprehensive Medical and Dental Program (CMDP) to manage and coordinate the ongoing care of the child while in the care, custody and control of the Department. This person may also participate in the MDT.



In order to meet the acute and ongoing needs of the child and family, ensure open and regular communication with the MDT and, to the extent practicable, consult with the team when any changes are made to the case plan, including changes to the permanency goal, placement, visitation and service provision.

The MDT should include the assigned DCS Specialist , Supervisor, the Assistant Attorney General, the mental health specialist who is familiar with factitious disorders, clinicians treating the various family members, visitation supervisors, the safety monitor and/or child’s caregiver.
Depending on the nature of the case, the MDT may include law enforcement, the child’s guardian ad-litem, CASA or tribal representative, if applicable.
Team members should be provided with relevant information regarding any diagnosis; treatment recommendations and progress; outcome of visitation/ contact and services provided; and progress towards achieving the permanency goal.
The team may be convened to discuss:
Unexpected increases in symptoms, visitation problems, or other acute issues.
Increase in concerning symptoms and other clinical issues should also be communicated to the assigned PCP and/or other clinicians.
When any change is considered related to the placement, visitation, service provision, ongoing assessment of safety and risk, evaluation of progress in obtaining the permanency goal and change in the permanency goal.
Consider holding conference calls and/or meetings with the team monthly or less frequently depending on the needs of the case.


On an ongoing basis, obtain relevant records to monitor the ongoing physical and emotional status of the child including medical, psychological and/or school records as appropriate.



As necessary, consult with the Assistant Attorney General regarding any court action required to expedite gathering of medical records, to restrict or deny visitation, or to compel the suspected parent, guardian or custodian or other family members to participate in assessment or treatment services.



Documentation

For investigations, document outcomes of the assessment including collaboration and consultation with members of the MDT in Section II of the Child Safety and Risk Assessment.



For ongoing, document contacts including collaboration and consultation with the members of the MDT in case notes.



If the child is removed:

Complete the following windows in CHILDS when a temporary custody notice has been issued:

Legal Status
Removal Status
Removal Settings
Document the search for relatives in the Locate Efforts case note type.







Chapter 2: Section 11.3

Investigations Involving Allegations of Criminal Conduct

Policy

The Department shall investigate all reports containing criminal conduct allegations of child abuse with the appropriate law enforcement agency.



The Office of Child Welfare Investigations shall assess, respond to or investigate all criminal conduct, which shall be a priority, but not otherwise exercise the authority of a peace officer, pursuant to ARS 8-471.



The Department shall coordinate investigations with law enforcement according to protocols established with the appropriate municipal or county law enforcement agency when one or more of the following circumstances exist:

The report alleges or the investigation indicates that the child is or may be the victim of a criminal conduct;
The report alleges or the investigation indicates that the child is a victim of sexual abuse.
The report alleges or the investigation indicates that the child is a victim of commercial sexual exploitation or sex trafficking.
Law enforcement is conducting a criminal investigation of the alleged child abuse and neglect or an investigation is anticipated.


If during the course of an investigation, the investigator determines that a criminal offense (a felony crime committed against a child by someone other than their parent, guardian, custodian or adult member of their household) may occurred, the investigator shall immediately provide the information to the appropriate law enforcement agency.



If during the course of an investigation, the investigator determines that abuse or neglect not previously reported is present, the investigator shall immediately provide the information to the Child Abuse Hotline.



As soon as possible but in no more than 24 hours, any child who is identified as a sex trafficking victim shall be reported to law enforcement for entry into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database.

In instances of criminal conduct against a child, the Department shall protect the victim's rights of the child.



Procedures

Criminal Conduct and the OCWI Criteria

Criminal conduct allegations require a joint investigation with the law enforcement entity of the jurisdiction where the allegations reportedly occurred. Prior to conducting interviews with the family, contact local law enforcement where the incident occurred and coordinate investigative efforts and interviews according to an appropriate interview sequence designated by the assigned law enforcement agent. Each county has different protocols for Joint Investigations; these protocols may be accessed at Joint Investigation Protocols.



Joint Investigations are a partnership with law enforcement requiring clear role delineation. The roles and responsibilities of law enforcement and DCS personnel are different.



When a communication is received at the Child Abuse Hotline and meets the statutory criteria for a child abuse or neglect report, and the allegations include criminal conduct, a tracking characteristic of criminal conduct will be applied, see DCS Criminal Conduct Hotline Screening Guide, CSO-1365. In Maricopa and Pima counties, the Hotline assigns the report directly to OCWI. In all other counties, the Hotline assigns the report to the local DCS Supervisor for assignment.



For reports in Maricopa and Pima Counties, the Child Abuse Hotline will notify OCWI via telephone of reports with criminal conduct allegations that are a response time 1. Upon receipt of a report with criminal conduct allegations, the OCWI Manager, or designee, shall review the report using the Criminal Conduct Assessment Guidelines, CSO1366 to determine the level of OCWI involvement, following the timelines indicated in the guidelines. Should the OCWI Manager, or designee, determine that OCWI Assessment is the appropriate level of involvement; they shall complete the OCWI Criminal Conduct Assessment Form, CSO-1347. The completed form shall be emailed to the appropriate DCS Supervisors, Program Specialist and Program Manager within the designated timeframes as well as create an OCWI Investigation case note and attach the form to the case note. If there is a disagreement with the assessment decision, the involved parties shall follow the conflict resolution process immediately.



If the OCWI Manager, or designee, determines that the report will be assigned for investigation, the OCWI Investigator shall respond and complete the investigation according to policy and procedure.



Protocols for Joint Investigation

Coordinate the investigation with the identified law enforcement agency prior to making contact with the family. Coordination requires a shared, cooperative approach and ongoing consultation, collaboration, and communication. Joint investigations include:

developing a plan to complete the investigation;
responding with law enforcement;
communicating openly and frequently to discuss the status of the case; and
obtaining and sharing information in a timely manner, particularly at the following critical communication points:
completion of interviews;
filing of a dependency petition;
prior to the return of the child victim to the home or at any time during the life of the case;
prior to the return of an alleged perpetrator to the home at any time during the life of the case;
re-assessment of safety to include a possible change in the safety plan or a change in placement; and
disclosure of information about the criminal conduct.


Initiate the investigation within the assigned Standard Response Time.



If law enforcement is not able to respond jointly within the response time requirements established for the Department, explain to the law enforcement agency that the Department is proceeding with its  investigation of child safety.



When a child is identified as a victim in a report alleging criminal conduct, protect the child victim against harassment, intimidation, and abuse, such as not allowing the alleged abusive person or any other person to threaten, coerce, or pressure the child victim, or to be present during interviews, family meetings, or other Departmental actions with the child victim.



Prior to report closure, contact law enforcement to verify there are no additional steps needed by the Department and ask if law enforcement is pursuing prosecution.



Interviewing a Child at School

If interviewing the child at school and there is a joint investigation, criminal conduct allegation, or law enforcement involvement, the Department or law enforcement must have parental permission, a court order/warrant, or exigent circumstances to conduct the interview. Exigent circumstances means a child has suffered or will imminently suffer abuse or neglect, and it is reasonable to conclude the child will be in danger if the child returns home. Interview the child to assess the child's safety and determine if the child is or will be a victim of abuse or neglect.



For these circumstances, limit the interview to 20 minutes and ask who, what, where, when questions to determine whether the child has suffered or will imminently suffer abuse or neglect, and whether the child will be in danger if the child returns home that day. Assess for child safety only. Do not conduct a full interview with the child. If denied access to the child, notify the Program supervisor and contact the Attorney General's Office.



Photographing

If a child has visible injuries and/or visible indicators of neglect, arrange to have the child photographed, preferably by law enforcement, a Child Advocacy Center, or a medical professional; and at the same time as a medical evaluation to reduce the number of times the child is examined. If these personnel are not available, photograph the child by depicting the child's entire body and face, not just the external manifestation of abuse. The Department shall not take photographs of a child’s genitals. Photographs should include a ruler and color bar where possible. Label each photograph with the child's name, date of photograph, date of birth, name of DCS Specialist, and name of the person taking the picture. Photographs of children can be taken without permission of the parent, guardian or custodian.





Informing Parent, Guardian or Custodian of Rights

Persons under investigation by the Department have specific rights in addition to any rights afforded in a law enforcement investigation or criminal proceeding. Inform all persons of their rights in a Department investigation, even when law enforcement has informed a parent, guardian, or custodian of their rights with regard to a criminal investigation (Notice of Duty to Inform). During a criminal conduct investigation, the Department is required to disclose the allegations, but statute allows the Department to withhold details that would compromise an ongoing investigation.



Criminal Conduct or New Allegations Disclosed During the Investigation

If during the course of an investigation, evidence suggests there is a new allegation or that a new allegation might be criminal conduct, the DCS Supervisor should then contact an OCWI Manager regarding these new allegations and the OCWI Manager will complete an assessment. The DCS Specialist should contact the appropriate law enforcement agency and document the new allegation after investigations findings.



If during the course of the investigation, evidence indicates that a felony criminal offense perpetrated by someone other than a parent, guardian, or custodian or other adult member of the child's home has been committed, the investigator shall contact the appropriate law enforcement agency.



Team Decision Making

Follow all policies in Chapter 2, Section 8: Team Decision Making, if the child is part of a case where the report alleges criminal conduct or the case involves an ongoing criminal investigation or current or pending prosecution, communication between the DCS Specialist or OCWI Investigator, and Law Enforcement should occur prior to holding the TDM meeting. The DCS Specialist or OCWI Investigator should also communicate with the Duty or assigned Assistant Attorney General (AAG) before the TDM meeting is held.



The following questions should be discussed with Law Enforcement, and the Duty or assigned AAG prior to the TDM meeting:

What is the purpose of the TDM meeting (possible topics of discussion)?
Are there participants who should be excluded from the TDM meeting? If so, why?
Should Law Enforcement or an AAG be included in the TDM meeting? If so, why?
Are there any specific topics that should not be discussed at the TDM meeting? If so, what and why?


If there are concerns that a TDM meeting may compromise the criminal investigation, the DCS Program Manager or OCWI Regional Manager will discuss the issues with the assigned Supervisor/Manager to determine whether or not to hold the TDM meeting.



The child victim and the alleged perpetrator will not be in the same room or on the phone together during a TDM meeting when the case involves:

criminal conduct allegations or domestic violence;
an ongoing criminal investigation;
current or pending criminal prosecution; or
the child victim feels threatened or unsafe.


No discussion regarding the criminal conduct allegation is to occur at any point during the TDM meeting.



Safeguarding Case Records

The Department's case records are confidential and shall not be released, except as specified by law. Information received from the OCWI, including the OCWI documentation within the CHILDS case record, is DCS information and subject to the same confidentiality protection afforded all DCS information.



The Department is not required to release information when such release would cause a specific, material harm to a Department of Child Safety or criminal investigation or when such release would likely endanger the life or safety of any person. If the Department releases information, it must take reasonable precautions to protect the identity and safety of the reporting source.



If it is believed that the release of records may harm a criminal investigation, the OCWI Investigator (or the DCS Specialist in a case not involving the OCWI) will contact the County Attorney's Office. If the County Attorney agrees that the disclosure of information would cause a specific, material harm to the criminal investigation, the County Attorney must provide DCS with written documentation supporting his/her assertion.



Conflict Resolution

If at any times there is a disagreement with a decision to remove a Criminal Conduct tracking characteristic or assessment decision, the DCS Supervisor and/or OCWI Manager may elevate the issue through their chain of command to seek resolution. The escalation process is as follows:

DCS Supervisor and OCWI Manager
DCS Program Manager and OCWI Regional Manager
DCS Program Administrator and OCWI Deputy Chief
DCS Deputy Director and OCWI Chief


Documentation

The DCS Specialist or OCWI Investigator will use the CSRA to document the investigation as outlined Chapter 2 Section 4 of the policy manual.



Fatalities

When completing fatality investigations, the autopsy report must be obtained prior to entering the finding(s) on the DEATH CHILD ABUSE or DEATH CHILD NEGLECT allegation(s), unless investigative information establishes probable cause to propose substantiation, absent the report from the Office of the Medical Examiner. When entering a finding absent the report from the Office of the Medical Examiner, the case shall be staffed with a Program Administrator or OCWI Deputy Chief prior to the entering of findings.





Chapter 2: Section 11.4

Investigations Involving Immigrant Children

Policy

In responding to a report concerning a foreign national child, including a child who is believed to be undocumented, in addition to the taking the actions described in Interviews, the Department shall communicate with the applicable Consulate to obtain information to assist in:

Verifying the child’s nationality;
Identifying and locating the child’s parent(s);
Identifying and assessing placement options for the child (if applicable); and
Identifying resources for the child and the family that would assist in safely maintaining the child in the home.


When consulting with the Attorney General’s Office to file an out-of-home dependency petition concerning a child believed to be a foreign national child, including a child who is believed to be undocumented, the DCS Specialist shall provide information to assist with notification to the appropriate consulate.



If a child is a lawful permanent resident (holder of a green card), a visitor on a temporary visa, or an undocumented person, when an out-of-home dependency petition is filed, there is a duty to notify the applicable consular post. For consular notification purposes, a child reported to be born in a foreign country may be assumed to be a foreign national.



This policy does not apply to those considered to be United States citizens in the following situations:

Children who are born in the United States;
Children who have one parent who is undocumented and another parent who is a United States citizen; or
An abandoned child who is under age five (5).


Procedures

In responding to reports of a foreign national child, including a child who is believed to be an undocumented child, as part of the assessment of child safety, the DCS Specialist will communicate with the applicable Consulate, including providing identifying information concerning the family, for the purposes of:

Verifying the child’s nationality;
Identifying and locating the child’s parent(s);
Identifying and assessing placement options for the child (if applicable); and
Identifying resources for the child and the family that would assist in safely maintaining the child in the home.


If the child is a Mexican National, to determine which Mexican Consulate office to contact, refer to the Fact Sheet – Mexican Consulates in Arizona and their County to locate the office responsible for the geographical area where the child resides.



Any information regarding the family that is received from the consular official should be considered in assessing the child’s safety.



In situations where a dependency petition is filed for a child who is reasonably believed to be undocumented the DCS Specialist shall make diligent efforts to verify the child’s status. Actions taken include, but are not limited to:

Requesting information from the child, if possible, and any available source to determine date and location of the child’s birth;
Obtaining identifying information about the child’s parents/legal guardians;
Contacting the applicable Consulate for the geographical area where the child was taken into temporary custody to assist in verifying the child’s and parents’ nationality; and
Following your region’s operating procedure for obtaining birth certificates.
Provide the following information to the Attorney General’s office if filing an out-of-home dependency petition:
name of the child;
date and location of the child’s birth, if known;
mother’s full maiden name,
father’s name;
names of guardians or custodians;
name, address and phone numbers of the assigned DCS Specialist and DCS Unit Supervisor;
date the child was taken into DCS custody; and
information obtained during any previous contact with the applicable Consulate.


Collaboration with the Mexican Consulate



After a dependency petition is filed on an undocumented child, collaboration shall occur with the applicable Consul after the Consul has responded to official notification by the Attorney General’s Office. Collaboration activities include inviting the consul to court, FCRB proceedings, and case planning meetings.



The DCS Specialist is to cooperate with requests by the applicable Consulate to interview, visit and otherwise communicate with children in DCS custody who are Nationals of their respective country. Before the visit or interview is arranged, the DCS Specialist will contact the child’s court-appointed attorney or guardian ad litem regarding the request by the applicable Consulate to interview, visit or communicate with the child. Visits and access by the applicable Consulate should be consistent with the best interests of the child, or as ordered by the Court.



The DCS Specialist should request from the Consulate:

Assistance with obtaining official copies of birth certificates that are certified for authenticity; and
Names of appropriate agencies within the country that can assist in:
identifying relatives or other placement options, and
conducting necessary background checks and home studies.


Documentation

Using the Child Safety and Risk Assessment (CSRA) document the following in Section II,

Efforts to obtain information regarding the child’s nationality and family history, and
Responses or questions of the applicable Consulate and any information provided to them.


Any consultation with the AAG shall be documented in the Case Notes window under AG Contact







Chapter 2: Section 11.5

Investigation Involving Licensed and Unlicensed Foster Homes

Policy

Procedures governing investigations of reports concerning an out-of-home placement are aimed at ensuring the health and safety of children while respecting the rights of providers.



All reports of abuse or neglect concerning an out-of-home care provider shall be investigated by DCS. This includes investigations of reports involving the following placement settings:

unlicensed non-relatives;
unlicensed relatives;
licensed family foster homes;
certified adoptive homes; and
DES certified child care homes.


Procedures

Coordinate with the child’s DCS Specialist , OLR and the licensing agency/specialist in order to clarify the allegations and the investigation process.



Within six hours, in emergency situations where the child has been removed, provide the out-of-home care provider with the Notice of Removal, CSO-1039.



If the temporary custody of the provider’s child is clearly necessary to prevent abuse or neglect and the provider is present when the child is taken into temporary custody, verbal and written notice (Temporary Custody Notice) must be provided immediately. If the provider is not present at the time of removal, the DCS Specialist must attempt to notify the provider immediately either in-person or by phone. The Temporary Custody Notice must be served within six hours of removal. For more information on providing notice of temporary custody, see Providing Emergency Intervention.



Also, notify the following individuals within 24 hours of the removal:

the child’s DCS Specialist and/or Supervisor;
the out-of-home care provider’s licensing agency/specialist and/or supervisor, if applicable;
the Office of Licensing and Regulations representative, if applicable;
the Regional Program Administrator or designee; and
the Assistant Attorney General, if applicable.


Follow the procedures outlined in Placement Stability for Children in Out-Of-Home Care if the licensed foster parent disagrees with the removal of the child and requests a case conference.



For Reports Alleging Criminal Conduct

Conduct the investigation in accordance with protocols established with the appropriate municipal or county law enforcement agency (see Chapter 2: Section 3- Interviews ).



Contact the following individuals:

DCS Specialist and/or Supervisor for each child in the home.
The child’s DCS Specialist will notify the child’s parent or legal guardian and the child’s attorney and/or guardian ad litem and CASA if applicable of the report
the Office of Licensing and Regulations (OLR), by email at FHGHReportsLICISSClosures@AZDCS.gov , if applicable;
the DES Office of Licensing, Certification, and Regulation for Child Developmental Homes under DDD, by email at DDDNotificationsFromDESAgencies@azdes.gov., if applicable; and
the out-of-home care provider’s licensing agency/specialist and/or supervisor, including public or private licensing agencies, verbally or by email, if applicable.


For Non-Criminal Conduct Allegations

Notify the following individuals of the report:

DCS Specialist and/or Supervisor for each child in the home.
The child’s DCS Specialist will notify the child’s parent or legal guardian and the child’s attorney and/or guardian ad litem and CASA if applicable of the report.
the Office of Licensing and Regulations (OLR), by email at FHGHReportsLICISSClosures@AZDCS.gov, if applicable;
the DES Office of Licensing, Certification, and Regulation for Child Developmental Homes under DDD, by email at DDDNotificationsFromDESAgencies@azdes.gov, if applicable;
the out-of-home care provider’s licensing agency/specialist and/or supervisor, including public or private licensing agencies, verbally or by email, if applicable, and
the out-of-home care provider.


Notify the out-of-home care provider within six hours when a child has been interviewed



Investigation Finding



Follow the procedures found in Substantiating Maltreatment to determine the investigation finding.



The finding and tracking characteristic (if applicable) should be entered in the Investigation Allegation Findings window and/or Investigation Tracking Characteristic Findings window within 45 days of the date that the Department received the initial report information.



If the findings indicate that the report is unsubstantiated:

Notify each child’s DCS Specialist and/or Supervisor, the out-of-home care provider and other staff of the finding with eight working hours;
The child’s DCS Specialist will notify the child’s parent or legal guardian and the child’s attorney and/or guardian ad-litem and CASA if applicable of the investigative findings within eight working hours.
Provide written notification of the investigation findings to the alleged perpetrator within three working days
Provide written notification to OLR by email at FHGHReportsLICISSClosures@AZDCS.gov of the investigation findings and any licensing concerns within three working days
Inform the out-of-home care provider’s licensing agency/ specialist of any licensing concerns within three working days.
Complete the written report of the investigation and findings within ten working days after completion of the investigation.


If the Department intends to propose substantiation of the report:

Verbally notify each child’s DCS Specialist and/or Supervisor, the out-of-home care provider and other staff of the proposed substantiated finding with eight working hours of completing the investigation;

The child’s DCS Specialist will notify the child’s parent or legal guardian and the child’s attorney and/or guardian ad-litem and CASA if applicable of the investigative findings within eight working hours.


Within five working days after completing the investigation, convene a case conference that includes the following

the out-of-home care provider;
the investigating DCS Specialist and Supervisor;
each child’s DCS Specialist and Supervisor;
the out-of-home care provider’s licensing agency/ specialist and supervisor;
the Office of Licensing, Certification and Regulations representative;
the Assistant Attorney General responsible for licensing;
the Regional Program Administrator or designee; and
other staff member, law enforcement or attorneys as necessary.


The out-of-home care provider may bring a person representing his or her interests. The provider must waive his or her right of confidentiality prior to this person's participation in the case conference. Personally identifying information shall not be disclosed to persons not authorized to receive information pursuant to ARS §8-807.



At the case conference:

Discuss the proposed substantiated investigation findings
Discuss and determine any agency recommendations regarding licensing.
Provide the out-of-home care provider an opportunity to discuss the findings of the DCS investigation and licensing issues.


Be aware of the following responsibilities for follow-up:

If the case conference results in a licensing recommendation other than revocation, OLR/ Family Home Licensing liaison sends the licensed out-of-home provider a letter discussing any licensing issues within three days of the case conference.
If the recommendation of the case conference is to revoke the license of a provider, OLR may offer the provider the option of voluntary withdrawal from the program.
If revocation is required, the OLR Program Administrator or designee sends the provider a letter within four weeks of the case conference, after consultation with an Assistant Attorney General
If the case conference confirms a proposed substantiated finding, enter the finding and/or tracking characteristic if applicable in the Investigation Allegation Findings window and /or Investigation Tracking Characteristic Findings window within one day of the case conference.


Documentation

In addition to the requirements for documentation of DCS investigations, described above, document the following in Section II of the Child Safety and Risk Assessment (CSRA):

notification of each child's parent(s) or legal guardian, DCS Specialist and/or supervisor, OLR and the out-of-home care provider’s licensing agency/ specialist and/or supervisor of the report; and
the opening conference with the out-of-home care provider or the reason that the conference did not occur.


If the child is removed:

Complete the following windows in CHILDS when a temporary custody notice has been issued:

Legal Status
Removal Status
Removal Settings
Document the search for relatives in the Locate Efforts case note type.



If the report is unsubstantiated:

Document the verbal and written notification of parent(s), legal guardian, out-of-home care provider and staff of the finding;
Send a copy of the confidential written report of the investigation to each child's DCS Specialist , OLR, the out-of-home care provider’s licensing agency/ specialist and/or supervisor and the Regional Program Administrator; and
File the original report in the hard copy record.


If the Department intends to substantiate the report:

Send a copy of the confidential written report of the investigation to each child's DCS Specialist , OLR, the out-of-home care provider’s licensing agency/ specialist and/or supervisor and the Regional Program Administrator; and
File the original report in the hard copy record.






Chapter 2: Section 11.6

Investigations of Group Care

Policy

The Department shall investigate reports of child abuse and neglect in congregate care facilities licensed by the Department of Child Safety, Department Economic Security and the Department of Health Services. Congregate care facilities are child welfare agencies including shelters and group homes licensed by the Department of Child Safety and Department of Economic Security, and Level I residential treatment centers and Level II and III behavioral health facilities licensed by the Arizona Department of Health Services.



All reports of child abuse and neglect concerning congregate care facilities shall be investigated by a DCS Specialist. The investigation shall be coordinated with the licensing authority, the child placing agency(s) and, as appropriate, the licensed congregate care facility.



The investigation of allegations of criminal conduct behavior shall be investigated jointly with law enforcement, according to protocols established with the appropriate county law enforcement agency. Joint investigations may be initiated on other cases as determined necessary by the DCS Specialist and Supervisor.



Procedures

All investigations of abuse or neglect in a congregate care facility shall be conducted in accordance with the Department’s investigation policies and procedures except as specifically set forth below.



When conducting investigations of alleged physical abuse occurring in congregate care facilities, an Investigator or Specialist must comply with policies set forth in Initial Contact and Conducting Interviews Family Functioning Assessment at Investigation, Present Danger Assessment and Planning, and Substantiating Maltreatment, unless all of the following criteria are met:



The alleged victim presents with no visible evidence of the alleged offense (i.e. bruises, marks, lacerations, or abrasions).
The alleged victim has no injuries discovered during medical imaging (i.e. x-rays, MRI, CT Scan).
There is no indication or information that additional children living within, or previously within the group home have relevant information regarding the alleged physical abuse.
The OCWI Chief; Deputy Chief, or Program Administrator have approved.




If the above criteria are met, an Investigator or Specialist is not required to interview all children living in the group home at the time of the alleged physical abuse. They must, however, determine and document the name, age and current condition of those children. In doing so, the investigator may use the assigned on-going case manager’s Family Functioning Assessment. The Investigator or Specialist shall document, in the CSRA, the date contact was made, the case identification number pertaining to those contacts, and the complete name of the DCS Specialist who completed the contact.



Coordinate investigation of criminal conduct allegations with law enforcement, according to protocols established with the appropriate county law enforcement agency. More information can be found in Conducting Interviews.



Complete the Unusual Incident Report (DCS-1125) and route according to the form’s instruction as applicable. See (Quality Assurance; Unusual Incidents) for specific instructions and procedures for completing and routing the Unusual Incident Report.



Identify the licensing authority and contact person for the facility, and the child placing agency(s) for the alleged victim.



Notifications



For criminal conduct allegations, notification must be made in accordance with protocols established with the appropriate municipal or county law enforcement agency.



For all other allegations and unless otherwise indicated, make every attempt to notify the following as soon as possible but no later than the next business day of receipt of the report:



the licensing authority;


the child victim’s placing agency(s) or assigned case manager(s), if known;


the facility’s administrator or designee (unless an unannounced visit is necessary); and


the identified child victim’s parent or guardian if the child is placed by the child’s parent or guardian, if known.


Provide an opportunity for the licensing authority representative and the identified child victim’s placing agency(s) to participate in the investigation. As appropriate, provide an opportunity for the facility’s administrator or designee to cooperate with the investigation.



Guidelines for Conducting an Investigation



The investigation process should be a collaborative effort through ongoing communication among all involved agencies.



The congregate care facility:



will be informed of the investigation and nature of the allegation and be informed of staff and children who will be interviewed, except when the administrator is the alleged abusive person or when prior notice may jeopardize the safety of the child;


may seek legal counsel at any time during the investigation process;


have the opportunity to present and discuss information relevant to the investigation before a finding is made;


will be given a status report on the progress of an investigation not completed within 45 days of the date that the Department received the initial report information; and


may receive a redacted copy of the summary of the investigation.


Visits will be coordinated with the facility to minimize disruption whenever possible. If the visit is unannounced, notify the agency administrator or designee immediately upon arrival.



Investigative techniques may vary depending upon the nature of the report and the congregate care setting. Investigations include gathering or reviewing information that is pertinent to the allegation being investigated. Information may include but is not limited to:



the facility’s policies and procedures;


the child victim’s specific records including daily log sheets, progress notes, therapeutic notes, medical reports, incident reports, restraint reports, and video monitor tapes;


any prior allegation and outcome of an investigation of child abuse or neglect concerning the alleged perpetrator;


the licensing and accreditation records including any corrective action plans or enforcement action; and


the alleged perpetrator’s staff record.


The DCS Specialist may examine and photograph the facility’s physical structure as warranted.



Coordination with Other Agencies Throughout the Investigation

Throughout the investigation process, maintain contact and exchange information with the:



licensing authority;


child victim’s placing agency(s) or assigned case manager(s),


facility’s administrator or designee; and


child’s parent or guardian if the child is placed by the parent or guardian.


Ensure that information pertinent to child safety and well-being are communicated to the above persons. Provide contact information for the DCS Specialist and Supervisor in order to facilitate communication.



Finding



Follow the procedures found in Substantiating Maltreatment to determine the investigation finding.



The finding and tracking characteristic (if applicable) should be entered in the Investigation Allegation Findings window and/or Investigation Tracking Characteristic Findings window within 45 days of the date that the Department received the initial report information.



Closing the Investigation



Every attempt should be made to complete the investigation within 45 days. Consult with the Supervisor if the investigation is expected to remain open for more than 45 days.



Complete a summary of the investigation that includes the following:



the name of alleged victim and alleged perpetrator,


each allegation investigated,


the names of all the persons interviewed,


all documents reviewed,


summary of the information gathered,


the finding,


concerns and/or recommendations regarding the facility’s ability to ensure the protection of the children in placement.
The concerns and/or recommendations should relate directly to the specific allegations and/or safety and well-being of children placed in the facility.
Within 15 working days of the investigation closure, provide a redacted copy of the summary of the investigation to the:



licensing authority;


child victim’s placing agency(s) and assigned case manager(s) (the assigned DCS Specialist may receive an un-redacted copy of the summary);


the facility’s administrator or designee (if the administrative head is the alleged perpetrator, send the summary to the administrative supervisor and/or facility's board of directors; and


the child victim’s parent or guardian, if the child is placed by the parent or guardian.


For DES licensed facilities: if concerns regarding a licensing standard are noted, the Office of Licensure and Certification (OLCR) will follow its protocols to address such concerns.



For DHS licensed facilities: if concerns regarding a licensing standard are noted, the, DHS will follow its protocols to address such concerns



Status Communications Concerning Physical Injury or Sexual Conduct between Children

Follow the procedures as described above. Gather information to answer the following questions:



Was the child placed in out-of-home care due to physical or sexual abuse?


Does the child have a history of sexually acting out behavior or sexual conduct with another child?


Does the child have a history of inflicting physical injury to another child?


Was the facility aware of the child’s history of physical injury or sexual conduct with another child?


Discuss the information gathered with the Supervisor. Determine whether the physical injury or sexual conduct between children was the result of inadequate supervision based on the following questions:



Was the facility aware or informed of the child’s history of inflicting physical injury to or sexual conduct with another child?


What efforts were made by the facility to adequately supervise the children in the facility?


What efforts were made to assist the facility in supervising the children?


Make a report to the Child Abuse Hotline when physical injury or sexual conduct between children was the result of inadequate supervision, or when there are other indicators of neglect or abuse.




Chapter 2: Section 11.7

Investigation Involving Department of Child Safety Employees

Policy

The Department shall conduct investigations in a manner to ensure the safety of the child and protect the privacy and confidentiality of the employee when the report:

Alleges abuse or neglect of a child by a Department employee; and/or
Involves an employee's child.


A Department employee as referenced in this policy includes all employees of the Department and the Protective Services Section of the Attorney General’s Office.



The Department shall refer any report alleging the abuse or neglect of a child by an employee or any report alleging an employee's child is the victim of abuse or neglect directly to the Regional Program Administrator of the region where the primary caretaker resides.



The Department requires each employee to notify their immediate supervisor when identified as a subject of a child abuse or neglect report; this is a condition of continuing employment with the Department.



Procedures

Hotline

If a participant is an employee of the Department or Protective Services Section of the AG’s office, which includes any parent, guardian and/or custodian:

Search CHILDS in Person Directory and check for a Y under Staff;
Search the State Employee Directory book at http://ebook.state.az.us; or https://ibook.state.az.us;
Search the internal regional employee lists;
Search CHILDS under Staff Management, Staff Registry; and
Search email address book in Outlook.


All communications regarding employees are confidential including all reports, status, second source, additional information and licensing issue communications regarding an employee. The Intake Specialist taking an employee communication discusses the communication as needed directly with the Intake Supervisor or designee maintaining the strictest confidence, and does not discuss the communication with any other Department employee.



If it is determined an incoming communication pertains to an employee:



Notify an Intake Supervisor or Intake Program Specialist;


Identify the employee’s PID(s) in the person directory window:
Do not use the staff person PID or source person PID if the employee’s role is a mandated reporter;


If a participant or provider PID already exists, use that PID;


Create a new participant PID for the employee, entering only the employee's date of birth.


DO NOT ENTER the social security number, address or phone number.
If the communication meets report criteria, enter the communication type, “Report on DCYF”;


In the narrative, define which individual is the employee; and


If the communication meets report criteria, assign and disposition the report to the Regional Program Administrator. If there is an employee report flag on the existing case, the Intake Specialist may not link the communication and will need to consult with an Intake Supervisor or Intake Program Specialist.


To limit access to employee reports in CHILDS, the Intake Supervisor or Designee will do the following:



Verify employee status (if necessary).


Link the communication to the existing case, if applicable.


Flag the case as “Employee Rpt" in the High Profile window as follows:
If there is an existing case, search and select the case from the Case Directory; or


If there is not an existing case, disposition the report for investigation and assign to the Regional Program Administrator.


After the report is assigned for investigation and the case is created, the case will be flagged as "Employee Rpt."
Provide necessary explanation in the text box of the High Profile window.


If the report is a Response Time 1, immediately notify the assigned Regional Program Administrator.


If the Hotline receives a report on a foster parent who is also an employee, assign the report as an “Employee Rpt.” The Intake Specialist shall indicate in the narrative that the employee is a foster parent.



If the Hotlines receives a communication from a source whose complaint is regarding the performance of an employee, do not enter into CHILDS. After determining the source does not have concerns about the welfare of children, the Intake Specialist may refer the caller to:



the appropriate DCS Supervisor, Program Manager or OCWI Manager if the caller has not already informed that person of the concern;


the DCS Office of the Ombudsman; or


an Intake Supervisor if the concern is immediate or the caller cannot be referred to the DCS Supervisor, Program Manager, DCS Office of the Ombudsman, or the OCWI Manager.


If the Hotline receives a communication after the employee leaves Department employment, the Hotline Program or designee removes the flag on all communications and case as "Employee Rpt" in the High Profile window.



Investigation of Employee Reports

The Child Abuse Hotline Program Manager or designee sends an e-mail to the Deputy Director of Field Operations with notification of the report of a Department employee. The Deputy Director of Field Operations develops a plan of action for the investigation of the report, including report assignment and coordination with the OCWI, if applicable. The Deputy Director of Field Operations will additionally be notified if the report involves a Department Central Office Employee.



If during an investigation, information reveals the report involves an employee, the receiving DCS Program Supervisor notifies the Regional Program Manager who notifies the Regional Program Administrator. The Regional Program Administrator informs the Deputy Director of Field Operations and the Deputy Director of Support Services, if applicable.



The DCS Program Supervisor may consult with the Program Manager or Regional Program Administrator if there are concerns about any perceived conflict.



To limit access to employee reports, when it is determined that a report involves an employee, the following will occur:



The Regional Program Manager contacts an Intake Supervisor or designee and request the case be flagged as “Employee Rpt” in the High Profile window and provides the necessary explanation in the text box;


The Hotline Program Manager, or designee, will notify the Deputy Director of Field Operations, the Chief Human Resources Officer, and if applicable, the Deputy Director of Support Services about the report via email, and notifies the following individuals:
The Regional Program Administrator where the employee resides (if the employee works in another region within DCS), and


The Central Office Program Administrator (if the employee works at Central Office), or


The Chief of the OCWI (if the employee works in the OCWI);
The Hotline Program Manager, or designee, notifies the Chief of the OCWI if criminal conduct allegations exist;


The Hotline Program Manager or designee:
Deletes the social security number, address, and phone number from the Person Detail window; and/or


Flags all other associated communications.
The Deputy Director of Field Operations may request that another region or local office outside the geographical area of the employee’s place of residence investigate the report. The employee shall not be notified of the report and confidential information shall not be released without the written consent of the alleged abusive caretaker.



If another region or local office is requested to investigate the report, the Program Manager or Regional Program Administrator will respond within 24 hours of the request to approve the request. The Regional Program Administrator may need to request additional information. The assigned investigator completes the investigation according to DCS Policy.





Chapter 2: Section 12

Determining the Level of Department Intervention, Services and Court Oversight

Policy

The Department may arrange, provide, and coordinate programs and services that protect children and may provide programs and services that achieve and maintain permanency on behalf of the child, strengthen the family and provide prevention, intervention, and treatment for abused and neglected children.



After completing the Family Functioning Assessment – Investigation, the Department shall determine the level of Department intervention necessary to manage child safety and reduce risk of future abuse or neglect. The Department shall determine whether to:

conduct aftercare planning and close the case, or
open a case for ongoing services.


If a case will be opened for ongoing services, the Department shall determine if the services will be provided:

with no court oversight,
pursuant to a petition for in-home intervention, or
pursuant to a petition for in-home or out-of-home dependency.


When the Family Functioning Assessment (FFA) – Investigation results in a determination that all children in the home are safe from impending danger, the Department shall engage with the family to identify areas of need that may be addressed through community-based, Department-referred, or Department-monitored services or supports to strengthen family protective factors in order to reduce the risk of future abuse or neglect; and:

if Department-monitored services or supports are needed, open a case for voluntary in-home services (see Providing Services to Families with Children Assessed as Safe); or
develop an aftercare plan with the family and close the case, as outlined in Aftercare Planning and Services.


When the Family Functioning Assessment (FFA) – Investigation results in a determination that a child in the home is unsafe due to impending danger, the Department shall:

implement a safety plan;
open a case for services;
determine whether court oversight is necessary; and
if court oversight is necessary, file a petition for an in-home intervention, in-home dependency, or out-of-home dependency.


When a child is assessed as unsafe and the child is in out-of-home care or the safety plan includes the child being separated from one or both parents, the Department shall file a dependency petition.



The Department shall engage the child's family to the greatest extent possible in planning for interventions that minimize Department intrusion while ensuring the safety of the child.



Procedures

Determining the Level of Department Intervention for Families with Children Assessed as Safe

To determine whether the family may benefit from community-based, Department-referred, or Department-monitored services, assess the family’s protective factors. The protective factors are:

social and emotional competency of children,
social connections,
concrete support in times of need,
knowledge of parenting and child development, and
parental resilience.


Seek input from the parents, guardians, and/or custodians, and the children when developmentally appropriate, to identify protective factors and caregiver protective capacities that can be strengthened in order to reduce the likelihood of future abuse or neglect. Refer to Guided Pathways – Services for Safe Children for guidance on evaluating protective factors and determining the need for services.



Consider the following questions to determine the level of Department services and intervention necessary to strengthen the family’s protective factors, and to gauge the family’s commitment to participating in services:

What is the perceived likelihood that without service participation the parent, guardian and/or custodian’s protective factors will be unchanged or lessen, or DCS will receive another report about abuse or neglect in this family?
Has the family received services previously, and did they participate and benefit from the services without Department intervention?
Do the parents, guardians, or custodians demonstrate a recognition of the problems in the family and a readiness to change? (See Practice Guidelines- Parents Readiness for Change)
Does the family have a community and/or support network that is likely to assist the family access and participate in services?
Does the family require the assistance of the Department to access services, or services that require an open case with DCS?
What is the least intrusive level of intervention that will sufficiently strengthen the identified protective factors?
Is the family willing to participate in voluntary ongoing case management services from the Department?


Community Based Services and Case Closure

If the family’s identified needs can be met by a community-based or DCS-referred service, the family does not require DCS intervention and case management to encourage and monitor service participation, and the family is in agreement, complete an Aftercare Plan with the family following the procedures in Aftercare Planning and Services. Arrange or provide information about the identified services, and close the case.



Voluntary In-home Services and Case Transfer

If it is determined that the family would benefit from DCS-monitored services and/or for ongoing case management by the Department and the family is in agreement, the DCS Specialist shall transfer the case to ongoing case management following the procedures in Case Transfer.



Determining the Level of Department Intervention for Families with Children Assessed as Unsafe

Upon completing the Family Functioning Assessment – Investigation, if any child in the home is determined to be unsafe due to impending danger, the Department shall implement a safety plan and open a case for services. Follow the procedures in Safety Planning to determine the level of Department intervention necessary to sufficiently manage child safety in the least intrusive manner. Transfer the case to ongoing case management following the procedures in Case Transfer.



Determining the Level of Court Oversight

Upon determining that a child is unsafe due to present and/or impending danger, or upon completing the Family Functioning Assessment – Investigation, determine whether court oversight is needed, and the necessary level of court oversight. Levels of court oversight include in-home intervention, in-home dependency, and out-of-home dependency.



In-Home Intervention

A petition for an in-home intervention may be filed for a child who has been assessed as safe or unsafe as long as the child remains in the care of their parent, guardian, or custodian. To determine if a child is eligible for a petition for an in-home intervention, follow policy and procedure as outlined in In-Home Intervention.



In-Home Dependency

A petition for an in-home dependency petition may be filed for a child who has been assessed as safe or unsafe as long as the child remains in the care of their parent, guardian, or custodian. To determine if a child is eligible for a petition for an in-home dependency, follow policy and procedure as outlined in In-Home Dependency.



Out-of-Home Dependency

The Department must file a petition for an out-of-home dependency when:

the child has been assessed as unsafe and the safety plan is out-of-home care or separation of the child from one or both parents (such as a safety plan that requires a parent to leave the home as a safety action); and
legal grounds for dependency exist.


Follow policy and procedures outlined in Emergency Removal if any child is taken into temporary custody. For more information, see Out-of-Home Dependency.



Documentation

Document in Case Notes, contacts with the following persons:

family members,
Department personnel,
members of the service team,
tribal social services representatives, and/or other service team members regarding the case.


Documentation of contacts should include information on dates, places, individuals involved, and the nature of the contact, and provide a factual summary of the following:

observations of the family's interactions, written in behavioral terms; and
observations of the environment.


Document all conversations with the family regarding the Department’s level of intervention. These conversations may be documented in either the CSRA or in case notes.



Document all conversations with the family regarding protective factors that may be strengthened, including information on community-based or Department provided service referrals. These conversations may be documented in either the CSRA or in case notes.



File a copy of the PS-067 and any additional addendum in the hard copy record.



File copies of all assessments, treatment records, monthly reports, and other related documents in the hard copy record.



If the case will be closed at the conclusion of the investigation, follow documentation requirements as outlined in Aftercare Planning and Services.



The DCS Program Supervisor will document the level of intervention and court oversight (if needed) in either the Clinical Supervision Discussion in the CSRA or in the Supervisory Case Progress Review in the Court Document Directory.



The DCS Program Supervisor will document the decision and justification regarding level of intervention in either the Clinical Supervision Discussion in the CSRA or in the Supervisory Case Progress Review in the Court Document Directory.



File a copy of service referrals in the hard copy record.







Chapter 3: Section 1

Providing Ongoing Services for Families with Children Assessed as Safe 

Policy

The Department may arrange, provide, and coordinate programs and services that protect children and may provide programs and services that achieve and maintain permanency on behalf of the child, strengthen the family and provide prevention, intervention, and treatment for abused and neglected children.



If a child and the child's family require assistance from the Department, all of the following apply:

The health and safety of the child is the primary concern.
Reasonable efforts must be made to provide the assistance in the method that is least intrusive and least restrictive to the family and that is consistent with the needs of the child.
Reasonable efforts must be made to deliver the assistance in a culturally appropriate manner and as close as possible to the home community of the child or family requiring assistance.


Services may be provided directly by DCS staff, by contract, or through referral to other organizations or community agencies.



The Department shall maintain continued contact with children and parents/caregivers for all open cases to plan for and monitor the safety, permanency, and well-being of the child and to promote the achievement of the permanency goal.



While a case is open for services, the DCS Specialist shall have face-to-face contact with the child and his or her parents, guardians and/or custodians at least once every month, including parents, guardians and/or custodians who reside in another household (if the parent, guardian and/or custodian requests to be involved) in order to determine whether:

the parents, guardians and/or custodians continue to be able to meet the child’s needs;
any new concerns regarding child safety have been observed or reported; and
the services and supports continue to be effective in enhancing family protective factors and caregiver protective capacities in order to reduce future risk of abuse and neglect.


The DCS Specialist’s monthly face-to-face contact with the child and his or her parents, guardians and/or custodians shall occur in the child’s home.



If the child is verbal or able to communicate through other means (such as through writing, an augmentative communication device, sign language, etc.), part of at least one contact per month shall be alone with the child.



Procedures

Preparing to Meet the Family

Upon assignment, the receiving DCS Specialist reviews the case information to identify any information gaps and develop plans for the first meeting with the family following case transfer to ongoing services.



The DCS Specialist:

becomes as informed as possible about information already known about family functioning,
learns about the family’s involvement with, and response to, past and current DCS and service interventions;
identifies information gaps that must be filled, and discrepancies that must be reconciled; and
identifies strategies for family engagement.


To the extent possible, the DCS Specialist should complete the following activities prior to the initial meeting with the family following case transfer:

Review historical information in CHILDS including prior reports and the outcome of prior case open episodes.
Review information gathered through the current investigation, including by reviewing the FFA – Investigation.
Identify any gaps in information related to family functioning and the rationale for the safety determination.
Identify the household composition and which household members should be included in the case planning process (including asking parents, guardians and/or custodians who reside in another household if they wish to be involved).
Identify household members or others who do not have a caregiver role, but who may provide a support to the family, including any significant other of the caregiver, extended family members, and persons with significant relationship to the child such as teachers, coaches, neighbors, other family support persons, or service providers.
Identify any professional records that should be obtained, or interviews conducted with persons/professionals formerly involved with the parents, guardians and/or custodians, to further understand what is known, and what additional information needs to be learned.
Form initial impressions of the specific enhanced and diminished protective capacities that are, are not, or might be impacting child safety.
Develop general areas of inquiry/ discussion questions based upon the assessment of protective capacities.


The DCS Specialist will coordinate the timing, location, and circumstances of the initial meeting with the parents, guardians, and/or custodians including the following:

the location of the meeting, which should be the most family-like setting possible;
the day and time of the meeting, based on the family’s schedule (work/school/services/visitation) and access to transportation;
when domestic violence has been identified as present in a family, a plan to have separate meetings with the parents, guardians, and/or custodians.


Case Planning

The assigned DCS Specialist will schedule a case plan staffing to develop a written case plan, at a time and location that is convenient for the family.



The family and service team should be actively involved in case planning, to include:

assessment and identification of family strengths and protective capacities;
identification of behavioral changes necessary to enhance protective capacities and/or protective factors;
identification of services and supports recommended to achieve the identified behavioral changes; and
assessing the family’s progress.


The DCS Specialist will provide or refer the family for services and supports identified in the case plan in order to enhance diminished caregiver protective capacities, strengthen family protective factors, and reduce the likelihood of future abuse or neglect. See Developing and Reassessing the Family-Centered Case Plan.



Services are available through a referral to:

community organizations and agencies,
faith-based and family support networks, and
DCS contracted services.


To request specific DCS contracted services, complete the Request for Services – PS06700 and the appropriate addendum and submit per instructions in applicable Service Guides, the Service Referral Approval Matrix, and/or regional directive.



Assessing Progress

At least every 90 days, reassess the family’s progress toward achieving the outlined behavioral changes in the case plan. Consider each parent, guardian and/or custodian’s engagement in services and supports, and whether the services and supports identified in the case plan are promoting the desired behavioral changes.



To determine whether the positive change is occurring within the family, reassess the family’s protective factors. The protective factors are:

social and emotional competency of children,
social connections,
concrete support in times of need,
knowledge of parenting and child development, and
parental resilience.


Refer to Guided Pathways – Services for Safe Children for guidance on evaluating protective factors.



If the information gathered indicates that a situation or adult behavior in the household could pose a safety threat to a child, collect additional information to explore the area of concern. Make a report to the Child Abuse Hotline and conduct a separate Family Functioning Assessment of this household if the information collected reveals new or previously unreported incidents of abuse or neglect, or possible safety threats in the household. See Family Functioning Assessment – Investigation.



At any point in time, if any child in the home is observed to be in present danger, the DCS Specialist must implement a present danger plan that controls the present danger prior to leaving the child or family.



If the family’s identified needs can be met by a community-based or DCS-referred service, the family does not require DCS intervention and case management to encourage and monitor service participation, and the family is in agreement, complete an Aftercare Plan with the family following the procedures in Aftercare Planning and Services. Arrange or provide information about the identified services, and close the case.



Contact with Children and Parents/Caregivers

The assigned DCS Specialist must have monthly face-to-face contact with the child(ren) and parents, guardians and/or custodians.



More frequent face-to-face contact and/or telephone contact from the DCS Specialist between required monthly contacts may be necessary based on the case circumstances. See Contact with Children, Parents and Out-of-Home Caregivers.



Documentation

Document in Case Notes, contacts with the following persons:

family members,
Department personnel,
members of the service team,
tribal social services representatives, and/or other service team members regarding the case.


Documentation of contacts should include information on dates, places, individuals involved, and the nature of the contact, and provide a factual summary of the following:

observations of the family's interactions, written in behavioral terms; and
observations of the environment.


Document all conversations with the family regarding protective factors that may be strengthened and include information on community-based or Department provided service referrals. These conversations may be documented in either the C-CSRA or in case notes.



The DCS Specialist will document all services provided to the family (via DCS or another agency/source) including:

type of service or service name, including:
services the family is already involved in prior to DCS (e.g., counseling through the RBHA, DDD services, etc.);
referrals by the DCS Specialist to any community-based agency (e.g., parenting classes, food boxes, etc.), and;
any referral to services directly provided by DCS or DES (e.g., DES childcare, Building Resilient Families, S.E.N.S.E. program, etc.);
date of referral, and;
outcome of services.


File a copy of the PS06700 and any additional addendum in the hard copy record.



File copies of all assessments, treatment records, monthly reports, and other related documents in the hard copy record.



File a copy of service referrals in the hard copy record.



Follow the Child and Caregiver Visitation Note Outline (DCS-1592) to document all face-to-face visits with the child and parent/caregiver, using the Case Notes window designated as Family Contact type.

Select the "In Person" contact type radio button
Highlight the names of all parties including the DCS Specialist in the “Contact With” list on the Case Notes window; and
Select the "In Placement Contact" check box if the contact occurred in the caregiver's home.


If a Courtesy Case Manager is responsible for making the ongoing monthly face-to-face visits, add the case manager with ongoing responsibility for the monthly visits to the case, using the Case Creation window.





Chapter 3: Section 2

Family Functioning Assessment at Ongoing




Policy

In response to allegations of abuse or neglect, the Department shall assess, promote, and support the safety of a child in a safe and stable family or other appropriate placement.



While a child is assessed as unsafe and a safety plan is active, the Department shall complete the Family Functioning Assessment – Ongoing to continue to assess safety and to develop a change strategy and case plan for the family.



The DCS Specialist shall complete a Family Functioning Assessment – Ongoing within 60 days of a child’s removal or opening the case for ongoing services, whichever is earlier.



Without compromising child safety, coordinate services to achieve and maintain permanency on behalf of the child, strengthen the family, and provide prevention, intervention, and treatment services.



A case cannot be closed when a child is unsafe.



Procedures:

The DCS Specialist conducts the Family Functioning Assessment – Ongoing (FFA-Ongoing) to identify enhanced and diminished protective capacities that are directly related to the identified impending danger threat(s). The FFA-Ongoing answers the following questions:

Is the safety plan sufficiently managing impending danger threats in the least intrusive way possible?
What is the relationship between the identified impending danger threat(s) and currently diminished protective capacities?
What is the parents’, guardians’, or custodian’s perspective or awareness regarding danger threats and their relationship to diminished protective capacities?
What is the parent’s, guardian’s, or custodian’s readiness for change?
What are the areas of disagreement between the parents, guardians, and/or custodians and the Department regarding what needs to change?
How can existing protective capacities be built upon in order to make needed behavioral changes?
What change actions, services, and activities will be used to enhance diminished protective capacities?


The DCS Specialist conducts the FFA-Ongoing through contacts with the parents, guardians, and/or custodians, in order to guide a mutual understanding of what must change for the parents to regain responsibility for the care and safety of the child. See Practice Guidelines-High Quality Parent Contacts.



While the child is assessed as unsafe and the safety plan remains active, the DCS Specialist will actively manage child safety and continuously gather information to assess progress made toward enhancing diminished protective capacities and eliminating the impending danger threats identified in the Family Functioning Assessment - Investigation. The DCS Specialist gathers the information through contact with the parents, the child(ren), extended family, the out-of-home provider, case participants, and other service team members.



If a parent, guardian, and/or custodian whose whereabouts were previously unknown is located after a case has been opened for services, the DCS Specialist will gather information about the person and his or her household through interviews, in-person observations, and applicable background checks. If the information gathered indicates that a situation or adult behavior in the household could pose a safety threat to a child, collect additional information to explore the area of concern. Make a report to the Child Abuse Hotline and conduct a separate Family Functioning Assessment of this household if the information collected reveals new or previously unreported incidents of abuse or neglect, or possible safety threats in the household. See Family Functioning Assessment – Investigation.



Conduct the Family Functioning Assessment based on the child remaining in the home or the child's return to the parents, guardians, and/or custodians.



If there are indications the child is a victim of sex trafficking and/or commercial sexual exploitation, a new report should be made to the Hotline and Law Enforcement.



The FFA – Ongoing process is completed in four stages:

Stage 1: Preparation

Stage 2: Introduction

Stage 3: Exploration

Stage 4: Change Strategy and Case Planning

Each stage has a distinctly defined purpose in procedure.
There is no set amount of time for the completion of each stage. As the purposes of one stage are completed, proceed to the next stage.
Of the four stages, all but the first require face-to-face contact with parents, guardians and/or custodians, children, and others. A family will not always require three interviews or meetings to complete the stages of the FFA - Ongoing. Additional or fewer meetings may be needed.
The transition from one stage of the process to the next should evolve smoothly between identifying needs (diminished protective capacities), strengths (enhanced protective capacities), and solutions (actions, services, and activities).


Stage 1: Preparation

The DCS Specialist conducts preparation activities to identify information gaps and develop plans for the first meeting with the family following case transfer to ongoing services. During the preparation stage, the DCS Specialist:

becomes as informed as possible about information already known about family functioning,
learns about the family’s involvement with, and response to, past and current DCS and service interventions;
assesses the adequacy of the safety plan (For more information about safety planning, see the Safety Planning policy);
identifies information gaps that must be filled, and discrepancies that must be reconciled; and
identifies strategies for family engagement.


To the extent possible, preparation activities should be completed prior to the initial meeting with the family following case transfer. The DCS Specialist will conduct the following preparation activities:

Review historical information in CHILDS including prior reports and the outcome of prior case open episodes.
Review information gathered through the current investigation, including by reviewing the FFA – Investigation.
Identify any gaps in information related to impending danger, the rationale for the safety plan option chosen, and efficiency of the safety actions to control the danger.
Identify the household composition.
Identify which household members have a caregiver role and should be assessed in the Family Functioning Assessment process.
Identify household members or others who do not have a caregiver role, but who may provide a support to the family, including any significant other of the caregiver, extended family members, and persons with significant relationship to the child such as teachers, coaches, neighbors, other family support persons, or service providers.
Identify any professional records that should be obtained, or interviews conducted with persons/professionals formerly involved with the parent/caregivers, to further understand what is known, and what additional information needs to be learned.
Identify the specific enhanced and diminished protective capacities that are, are not, or might be impacting child safety.
Develop general areas of inquiry/ discussion questions based upon the assessment of relevant protective capacities.
If the child is a registered or eligible member of a Native American Tribe, involve the child’s tribe as soon as possible in the assessment and planning process.
If the child is a temporary or adjudicated court ward, and the tribe has not been notified, immediately notify the tribe of the child’s legal custody status.
Explore available services of the tribe that may address the safety and cultural needs of the child.
Assist the tribe in determining the tribe’s ability to assume custodial care or offer services or placement assistance for the tribe (See Indian Child Welfare policy for more information involving Indian Children).


The DCS Specialist will coordinate the timing, location, and circumstances of the initial meeting with the parent, guardian, and/or custodian, including the following:

the location of the meeting, which should be the most family-like setting possible;
the day and time of the meeting, based on the family’s schedule (work/school/services/visitation) and access to transportation;
when domestic violence has been identified as present in a family, a plan to have separate meetings with the parent, guardian, or custodian.


The DCS Specialist is responsible for overseeing the safety plan. At the point of case transfer, the DCS Specialist will make contact with the responsible adult(s) assigned to review outlined safety actions and confirm roles and responsibilities.



Stage 2: Introduction

During the introduction stage, the DCS Specialist focuses on building a positive working relationship with the parent, guardian and/or custodian by building rapport, setting the stage for establishing a partnership, providing information, and allowing the parents, guardians, and/or custodians to express themselves. Allow parents, guardians and/or custodians to express their thoughts about what has happened up to this point and their plans for future involvement with DCS. This is critical to the ability to co-construct meaningful case plan outcomes and strategies for change.



The DCS Specialist’s initial discussions with the family are intended to help transition the family from the investigation to continued case management. Introduction activities should occur with the parents, guardians, and/or custodians, and to the extent possible and in an age-appropriate manner, the child. During the initial meeting with the family:

Explain the role of the DCS Specialist and expectations regarding communication and contact, including expectations of the family members, and what the family can expect from the DCS Specialist.
Be open and clear about the agency’s objective and desire to work in partnership with the family to understand and address the reasons for the Department’s current involvement with their family, due to identified safety threats to the child.
Discuss and explain the role of service providers and expectations for communication between the family, service providers, and the DCS Specialist.
Ask about the family’s understanding and perspectives as to conditions and/or circumstances that led to current agency involvement:
Do the parents, guardians and/or custodians know and understand the identified safety threat(s)? If not, clearly explain the identified threat(s) and the reason for DCS involvement.
Determine if the parents, guardians, and/or custodians deny the threat, are in partial agreement, or are in nearly complete agreement.
If needed, help them understand specifically what is making the child unsafe.
Provide clear, honest answers to the family’s questions.
Review the safety plan with the parents, guardians, and/or custodians, and:
explain the DCS Specialist’s responsibility to manage the safety plan and provide oversight to monitor that it is being followed and sufficient;
determine if all the elements described in the plan are happening or not happening, and;
ask how the plan is working from the perspective of the child(ren) and the parents, guardians, and/or custodians.
If Conditions for Return have been defined, gather the parents, guardians, and/or custodians’ input as to what would need to happen to assist them with achieving the conditions.
Explain the difference between a safety plan and a case plan.
Explain what to expect during the ongoing case management and case planning process, including frequency of court hearings, case plan staffings, and time frames for permanency planning.
Provide opportunities for family members to discuss their concerns, ask questions, and receive answers.
Explain what the family can expect during the assessment that will occur in the next contacts (the Exploration phase of the Family Functioning Assessment – Ongoing).
If one or more of the parents, guardians, and/or custodians are unwilling to commit to the assessment process, the DCS Specialist should try to gain additional information and discuss the reasons they are unwilling to participate in the process.
The DCS Specialist should seek to find some areas of mutual agreement such as meeting their child’s needs, which can serve as a point of further discussion or allow for some collaborative planning between the parents, guardians, and/or custodians and the DCS Specialist.
Gather additional and clarifying information about family functioning in the areas of child functioning on a daily basis, adult functioning on a daily basis, general parenting practices, and discipline and behavior management.


Conclude the Introduction stage by seeking a commitment from parents, guardians and/or custodians to participate in the FFA-Ongoing process and in case planning. Ask for their continued participation, express appreciation for their participation, and reaffirm a desire for a collaborative partnership. Whenever possible, set the date, time, and place of the next contact.



If at any time the DCS Specialist identifies or observes the safety plan to be insufficient to control the danger, the safety plan must be immediately revised.



More than one meeting might be required to achieve the purpose of introduction activities, especially for families with a history of child welfare system involvement or multiple challenges.



Stage 3: Exploration

During the exploration phase, the DCS Specialist jointly explores with the parents, guardians, and/or custodians what must change in order for the family to achieve a safe, stable, and permanent home for the child(ren), ultimately allowing for case closure. This phase facilitates the identification of the enhanced protective capacities (strengths) and diminished protective capacities (needs) directly related to the identified safety threats. This stage concludes with the DCS Specialist assisting the parents, guardians, and/or custodians in raising self-awareness, and in recognizing the parent’s, guardian’s, and/or custodian’s motivation for change, alleviating any fears or misconceptions, and determining what actions, services, and activities the parents, guardians and/or custodians are ready and willing to participate in to increase their protective capacities.



During the exploration phase, the DCS Specialist gathers deeper information about child functioning, adult functioning, parenting practices, discipline practices, caregiver protective capacities, and the relationship of all to the identified danger threats. Refer to Family Functioning Assessment – Investigation and Family Functioning Assessment – Field Guide for additional information regarding the domains of family functioning.



The DCS Specialist will meet and have discussion with the parents, guardians, and/or custodians to identify the diminished protective capacities that have resulted in their inability to protect the child from danger and complete the following:

Explain the concept of protective capacities in a way they can understand, providing examples.
Share and discuss their protective capacity, seeking the parent, guardian, and/or custodian’s assessment of their own protective capacities.
Encourage them to offer their perspective as to which diminished protective capacities led to an unsafe child.
As necessary, help them understand specifically what makes the child unsafe by discussing with the family the current family behaviors, conditions, and circumstances that are creating danger threats and explore the following:
Information about how the family functions in the areas of child functioning, adult functioning, general parenting practices, discipline and behavior management.
What has changed in the family that creates the unsafe situation?
What has/hasn’t worked in the past around that change?
Seek to reach agreement as to which diminished protective capacities directly impact child safety. If the parents, guardians and/or custodians are unable or unwilling to offer their perspective, offer suggestions as to which protective capacities may be diminished and ask for feedback.
Identify family strengths, supports, and existing protective capacities that contribute to child protection. Ask the parents, guardians and/or custodians to identify strengths about themselves as individuals and in their caregiving role.
Explore what they might do to enhance protective capacities and improve diminished protective capacities.


Child Well-Being Indicators

The DCS Specialist continuously assesses child functioning, which includes specific indicators of child well-being. The Child Well-Being Indicators will be assessed throughout the family’s involvement with the Department, to identify child needs that must be addressed in the child’s case plan.



During the FFA – Ongoing, the DCS Specialist will use all information gathered about child functioning to evaluate each of the Child Well-Being Indicators and identify child needs that should be the focus of case plan services and interventions. The DCS Specialist will assess child functioning and the Child Well-Being Indicators by:

talking about child functioning, including current well-being strengths and needs, with the child’s parents, guardians and/or custodians and other involved caregivers, service providers, and the child if age appropriate; and
observing parent-child, sibling, and other family interactions to assess protective capacities and child needs.


Scaling Criteria

Each indicator is rated as “A, B, C, or D.” An “A” or “B” rating reflects that a child is doing well in that area. A “C” or “D” rating reflects that a child is not doing well and requires attention.

The common criteria applied to each individual rating are:

A = Excellent
Child demonstrates exceptional ability in this area.
B = Acceptable
Child demonstrates average ability in this area.
C = Some Attention Needed
Child demonstrates some need for increased support in this area.
D = Intensive Support Needed
Child demonstrates need for intensive support in this area.


The DCS Specialist will assess child functioning and the Child Well-Being Indicators by:

talking about child functioning, including current well-being strengths and needs, with the child’s parents, guardians, and/or custodians, other involved caregivers, service providers, and the child if age appropriate; and
observing parent-child, sibling, and other family interactions to assess protective capacities and child needs.


Refer to Child Well-Being Indicators Scaling Guide (DCS-1594) for the specific scaling criteria for each indicator that the DCS Specialist will use each time the FFA is updated. The Child Well-Being Indicators are defined as follows and should be assessed based on each child’s age, ability and developmental level:

“Emotion/trauma” means the degree to which the child is displaying a pattern of appropriate self-management of emotions.
“Behavior” means the degree to which the child is displaying appropriate coping and adapting behavior.
“Development /Early Learning” means that the child is achieving expected developmental milestones in in key child development domains.
“Academic Status” means the child is actively engaged in instructional activities; reading at grade level or IEP expectation level; and meeting requirements for annual promotion and course completion leading to a high school diploma or equivalent or vocational program. (This applies to school-aged children.)
“Positive Peer/Adult Relationships” means that the child demonstrates adequate positive social relationships.
“Family Relationships” means that the child demonstrates appropriate patterns of forming relationships with family members.
“Physical Health” means that the child is achieving and maintaining positive health status which includes physical, dental, audio and visual assessments and services. If the child has a serious or chronic health condition, the child is achieving the best attainable health status given the diagnosis and prognosis.
“Cultural Identity” means that important cultural factors such as race; class; ethnicity; religion; tribal affiliation; gender, gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation; and other forms of culture are appropriately considered in the child’s life.
“Substance Awareness” means that the assessment of substance awareness is multi- dimensional. First, the assessment includes the child/youth’s awareness of alcohol and drugs, and their own use. Second, for children who have experienced the negative impact of parental substance misuse within their home, the assessment includes their awareness of alcohol and drugs and treatment/recovery for their parent, guardian, and/or custodians.
“Preparation for Adult Living Skill Development” means that the child is gaining skills and competencies in preparing for adulthood, in areas such as education, work experience, building long-term relationships and connections, managing income, and housing/home management. Also includes adolescent sexual health and awareness. (This applies only to children 14 and over.)


The DCS Specialist will complete the following activities in order to assess child functioning and the Child Well-Being Indicators outlined above:

Talk with the child’s parents, other caregivers involved, service providers, and the child, if age appropriate, about child functioning including current well-being strengths and needs.
Observe parent-child, sibling and other family interactions to assess protective capacities and child needs.


Caregiver Protective Capacities

The DCS Specialist will use all information gathered in the domains of family functioning in order to update, evaluate, and rate progress in each of the caregiver protective capacities using a four point scale. Refer to Family Functioning Assessment – Investigation for additional information regarding assessment of the caregiver protective capacities. The ratings of caregiver protective capacities are used to identify those that need to be the focus of behavioral change goals and interventions in case planning.



Scaling Criteria

Each caregiver protective capacity is rated as A, B, C, or D. An “A” or “B” rating reflects that a parent, guardian, and/or custodian is doing well in that area. A “C” or “D” rating reflects that a parent, guardian, and/or custodian requires attention in that area. The common criteria applied to each individual rating are:

A = Excellent – Caregiver demonstrates exceptional ability in this area.
B = Acceptable – Caregiver demonstrates average ability in this area.
C = Some Attention Needed – Caregiver demonstrates some need for increased support in this area.
D = Intensive Support Needed – Caregiver demonstrates need for intensive support in this area.


Refer to the Caregiver Protective Capacities Scaling Guide (CSO-1588) for specific rating criteria for the individual caregiver protective capacities.



Developing the Danger Statement

The DCS Specialist will review with the parents, guardians, and/or custodians the identified danger threats and re-evaluate if they are denying the presence of danger threats, are in partial agreement, or are in near complete agreement.



The DCS Specialist will co-construct the Danger Statement with the parents, guardians, and/or custodians when possible. The danger statement is a behaviorally based statement in very clear, non-judgmental language, which states the following:

What the parents, guardians, and/or custodians actions were.
What the impact was/is on the child(ren).
What the DCS Specialist is concerned about that could happen in the future.


The DCS Specialist will ensure that the Danger Statement (to the fullest extent possible):

Is simple enough so the youngest person in the family with the ability to comprehend can understand.
Is in the family’s language as it serves as the framework for effective safety planning and case planning.


Identifying Readiness for Change

The DCS Specialist will work with the parents, guardians and/or custodians to assess their readiness for change after all of the activities to gather information from the family are conducted, and the protective capacities that resulted in the identified danger threats are assessed and scaled. Knowing the stage of change a parent is currently experiencing will guide the Department’s efforts to help the parents, guardians, and/or custodians move forward through the Stages of Change. See Practice Guideline: Parent Readiness for Change for additional information on assessing a parent/ guardian’s readiness for change.



The Stages of Change are as follows:

Pre-contemplation: The parent, guardian and/or custodian has no perception of having a problem or a need to change and is not aware that life can be improved if he or she changes his or her behaviors.
Contemplation: There is an initial recognition that behavior may be a problem and ambivalence about change. A parent, guardian and/or may start to gather information about possible solutions.
Preparation: The parent, guardian and/or desires change and makes a conscious determination to change. A motivator for change is identified.
Action: Parents, guardians and/or custodians take steps to implement change.
Maintenance: A parent, guardian and/or custodian actively works on sustaining change strategies and maintaining long term change.


Engaging the Parents, Guardians, and/or Custodians

When a parent, guardian, and/or custodian are unable or unwilling to engage in these discussions and the change process, or there is disagreement about the reason for the Department’s involvement or what needs to change, the DCS Specialist will continue to actively seek the parent, guardian, and/or custodian’s engagement and recognition of the danger, and exploration of diminished protective capacities. Refer Practice Guidelines on High Quality Parent Contacts and Parent Readiness for Change for more information on engagement strategies.



When a parent, guardian, and/or custodian misses scheduled appointments, decreases or stops attending services and/or visitation, or shows other signs of disengaging from the case planning and change process, the DCS Specialist will make diligent efforts to engage the parent, guardian, and/or custodian in the following ways:

Attempt contact by phone, email, letter, and unannounced home visits. If they do not respond to other attempts at contact, try to locate them at other probable locations.
Talk with them to seek input about any barriers to participation in the family assessment, case planning, and change process.
Frequently and actively re-invite their participation.
Continue to work toward establishing a partnership by stating the DCS Specialist’s desire and need for their perspectives, ideas, and input.
Interview other persons who know them to elicit suggestions for engaging them.


Stage 4: Change Strategy and Case Planning

The DCS Specialist will work with the parents, guardians, and/or custodians in order to prioritize what must change and create an individualized case plan, and:

Review the relationship between the identified safety threat(s) and the diminished protective capacities.
Discuss what behavior, conditions, or circumstances must exist to manage or remediate the identified safety threat(s).
Seek agreement regarding which diminished caregiver protective capacities should be prioritized to include in the case plan.
Consider and identify the specific needs of each child that must be addressed in the case plan.
Document the expected outcomes in behavioral change terms that can be measured (see Developing and Reassessing the Family-Centered Case Plan for more information on developing behavioral change goal statements).
If an agreement cannot be achieved, be clear about what the Department expects to change in relation to the impending danger threat(s) and and how specific actions, activities, supports, and services in the case plan can be helpful to the family and ultimately the child.
Schedule a case plan staffing according to procedures in Developing and Reassessing the Family-Centered Case Plan .


Evaluating Safety Plan Sufficiency and Progress toward the Conditions for Return

The DCS Specialist, in consultation with the DCS Program Supervisor, will identify existing impending danger threat(s) within the family, the sufficiency of the current safety plan, and if applicable, the written Conditions for Return. The DCS Specialist will do the following:

Review the updated information about the six domains of family functioning and determine whether or not a threat of danger exists.
Determine whether the child is in impending danger by applying the five safety threshold criteria. All five criteria must be met for at least one identified safety threat in order to determine a child is in impending danger. For more information see Family Functioning Assessment at Investigation and FFA and Safety Determination Reference Guide.
If information gathered during this process indicates that a child previously assessed as unsafe is now safe, consult with a DCS Program Supervisor to identify the appropriate level of services to be provided or recommended to the family. See Providing Services for Families with Children Assessed as Safe . If case closure is appropriate, see Aftercare Planning and Services.
Determine if the current safety plan is the least intrusive option sufficient to control the impending danger safety threat(s).
Review the in-home safety analysis questions to determine whether an in-home safety plan can be implemented or should continue.
If the safety plan is too restrictive or is not sufficient to manage the danger threat(s), immediately implement a new safety plan capable of managing the danger threat(s). Convene a Safety Planning Team Decision Making meeting. See Safety Planning and Team Decision Making for more information.
If applicable, review the Conditions for Return and determine if the conditions provide in sufficient detail what needs to occur for a sufficient, feasible, and sustainable in-home safety plan to be implemented. If the Conditions for Return will be changed or updated:
consult with the DCS Program Supervisor to discuss the recommended changes,
meet with the family to explain the changes (See Conditions for Return procedure for more information), and
provide the updated Conditions for Return in writing to all parties involved in the case.


Documentation

Document the conclusions of the FFA – Ongoing for each applicable household in a separate C-CSRA as follows:

Section I: Reason for the C-CSRA
Section II. A: Assessment of the six domains of family functioning.
Document new and updated information collected to evaluate family functioning; including the extent of maltreatment, the circumstances surrounding the maltreatment, child functioning, adult functioning, general parenting, and disciplinary practices.
Utilizing the Child Well-Being Indicators template, document the ratings of the Child Well-Being Indicators for each child utilizing the Child Well-Being Indicators scaling guide.
Document each parent, guardian, and/or custodian’s Stage of Change and evidence to support that determination under the adult functioning domain.
Section II. B: Caregiver protective capacities
Utilizing the Caregiver Protective Capacities template, document the protective capacities for each caregiver in the home. Evaluate progress and scale each protective capacity using an A, B, C, or D utilizing the Caregiver Protective Capacity Scaling Guide.
Section II. C: Safety Decision and identified Safety Plan, if applicable
Document a brief description of the safety plan, including the location of the child and the identity of the responsible adults involved in the plan. Include information to indicate where a copy of the safety plan can be located.
Document the results of the in-home safety analysis.
If applicable, document the Conditions for Return as written on the Safety Plan form.
Section II. D: Continuous assessment of impending danger
For each child, document a determination of safe or unsafe due to impending danger:
For each child assessed as safe, document how that determination was made. Document any concerns that may have been present during the assessment, but did not meet the safety threshold criteria. Explain why the threshold were not met.
For each child assessed to be unsafe due to impending danger, document each safety threat that exists; specifically describe each threat and how it manifests in the family. Document how each observable threat meets all five safety threshold criteria: observable family condition, vulnerable child, unmanaged, severity, and imminent.


The DCS Specialist should document contacts with case participants and case associates in case notes in CHILDS.



Document relevant contacts, observations, behaviors, conditions, circumstances and activities of the family in CHILDS in a case note.



The DCS Specialist will document the Danger Statement in the Case Plan.



The DCS Supervisor or designee documents the results of the clinical supervision discussion and approval of the C-CSRA utilizing the Supervisory Case Progress Review – Ongoing (CT09402) which is located in CHILDS under Court Documents and Forms.



Forms:

Safety Plan and Safety Plan Signature Page, (CS0-1034B)

Safety Plan and Safety Plan Signature Page (Spanish), (CS0-1034B)



Court Document Directory

Supervisory Case Progress Review – Ongoing (CT09402)


Related Information:

SAFE AZ C-CSRA Documentation Guide (CSO-1641)

Family Centered Strengths and Risk Assessment Interview and Documentation Guide

Family Functioning Assessment – Field Guide

Parent/ Caregiver Protective Capacities Scaling Template (CSO-1587)

Caregiver Protective Capacities Scaling Guide (CSO-1588)

Child Well-Being Indicators Scaling Template (DCS-1606)

Child Well-Being Indicators Scaling Guide (DCS-1594)

Parents Readiness for Change Practice Guide



Legal:

A.R.S. § 8-451 Department (of Child Safety); Purpose



A.R.S. § 8-801 Dependent Children; Definitions



A.A.C. R21-4-107Procedures for Temporary Custody (page 3255)



Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act (P.L. 113-183).







Chapter 3: Section 2.1

Family Functioning Assessment – Progress Update

Policy

While a child is assessed as unsafe and a safety plan is active, the Department shall continuously assess and actively manage child safety.



The DCS Specialist shall continuously gather information about family functioning, provide or arrange services and supports to enhance parental protective capacities, and assess progress toward enhancing the diminished protective capacities and eliminating the impending danger threats identified in previous Family Functioning Assessments. The DCS Specialist shall continuously gather information through contact with the parents, the child(ren), involved kin, the out-of-home care provider, and other service team members.



A Family Functioning Assessment – Progress Update shall be completed:

minimally every 90 days;
at case plan reassessment and revision;
when there is an indication that the child may be unsafe;
when circumstances indicate a substantial change has occurred or is anticipated to occur within the family, including;
changes in household composition (additions or departures of individuals from the household);
when changing the permanency goal;
when considering unsupervised visits;
when considering reunification; or
when considering case closure.


The FFA - Progress Update is not completed in cases:

that are open for in-home services to a family in which all children have been assessed as safe;
in which both parent’s rights have been terminated;
in which the child’s permanency goal is APPLA and there is no parenting time (visitation) or consideration to initiate parenting time with a parent, guardian, or custodian.


A case cannot be closed when a child is unsafe. A safety plan must remain in place until the impending danger threat is no longer active, the parents have been able to enhance protective capacity in order to manage any safety threat, and the child has been assessed as safe.



Procedures

Family Functioning Assessment – Progress Update

The DCS Specialist conducts the Family Functioning Assessment (FFA) – Progress Update in order to evaluate the parent, guardian and/or custodian’s progress toward enhancing the diminished protective capacities and eliminating the impending danger threats identified in previous Family Functioning Assessments.



The FFA – Progress Update analysis shall:

provide an evaluation and scale progress of each child’s well-being indicators;
provide an evaluation and scale each parent’s, guardian’s, or custodian’s progress toward behavioral change and enhanced protective capacities;
inform decisions surrounding the sufficiency of the safety plan, including whether or not the Conditions for Return have been met for a child in out-of-home care or need to be changed;
inform the safety determination of the child(ren), including any determination that a safety threat no longer exists because the parent, guardian, or custodian has successfully enhanced the necessary protective capacities to manage the danger threat; and
inform the case plan, including any change to case plan goals or services, parenting time (visitation), or the permanency goal.


Based on the results of the FFA – Progress Update, the DCS Specialist will:

determine if the impending danger threats in the home are being sufficiently managed in the least intrusive way possible,
determine if the services being provided as part of the case plan to enhance parental protective capacities are effective and sufficient;
determine if the parent’s, guardian’s and/or custodian’s perspective or awareness of the danger threats and diminished protective capacities has shifted; and
engage the family and service team to make adjustments to the case plan and safety plan, as needed.


An FFA – Progress Update is not completed for the following case types:

Adoption;
Adoption Subsidy;
Adoption Registry;
Guardianship Subsidy;
ICPC;
DDD Eligibility; and
IV-E Eligibility.


Conducting the FFA – Progress Update

The DCS Specialist engages in ongoing communication and partnership with the family, team members, and the court (if applicable) to effectively evaluate family progress. The DCS Specialist conducts the FFA – Progress Update through high quality contacts with the parents, guardians, and/or custodians in order to guide a mutual understanding of what must change for the parents to regain responsibility for the care of the child.



The DCS Specialist will continuously gather information to understand:

what conditions must change to achieve lasting child safety and permanency;
changes in family dynamics that indicate a need for changes in safety management;
the extent of progress towards enhancement of child functioning and caregiver protective capacities;
whether the behavioral change goals and outcomes of the case plan remain appropriate or have been met; and
whether the strategies, services, and interventions are working effectively.


The DCS Specialist prepares for the FFA – Progress Update by:

reviewing the prior Family Functioning Assessment(s);
gathering additional and clarifying information about family functioning, including child functioning, adult functioning, general parenting practices, and discipline and behavior management through contact with:
parents, guardians, and/or custodians,
child(ren),
extended family members,
out-of-home care providers,
other household members,
collateral contacts, and
service providers and other team members;
reviewing service provider reports;
analyzing the information to assess progress related to:
the enhancement of parental protective capacities, and
alleviating any previously identified impending danger threat(s); and
assessing the presence of any additional danger threat(s).


The DCS Specialist will complete a full assessment of any addition to the household composition (for example, when a roommates or a significant other joins the household); and for a parent, guardian, or custodian whose whereabouts were previously unknown and who has been located after a case has been opened for services. The DCS Specialist will gather information about the person and their household through interviews, in-person observations, and applicable background checks. If the information gathered indicates that a situation or adult behavior in the household could pose a safety threat to a child, collect additional information to explore the area of concern. Make a report to the Child Abuse Hotline and conduct a separate Family Functioning Assessment of this household if the information collected reveals new or previously unreported incidents of abuse or neglect, or possible safety threats in the household. See Family Functioning Assessment – Investigation.



Conduct the Family Functioning Assessment based on the child remaining in the home or the child's return to a parent, guardian, and/or custodian.



Child Well-Being Indicators

The DCS Specialist continuously assesses child functioning, which includes specific indicators of child well-being. The Child Well-Being Indicators will be assessed throughout the family’s involvement with the Department, to identify child needs that must be addressed in the child’s case plan.



During the FFA – Progress Update, the DCS Specialist will use all information gathered about child functioning to evaluate progress in each of the Child Well-Being Indicators and identify child needs that should be the focus of case plan services and interventions. Refer to the Family Functioning Assessment – Ongoing for additional information regarding assessment of the Child Well-Being Indicators. The DCS Specialist will assess child functioning and the Child Well-Being Indicators by:

talking about child functioning, including current well-being strengths and needs, with the child’s parents, other involved caregivers, service providers, and the child if age appropriate; and
observing parent-child, sibling, and other family interactions to assess protective capacities and child needs.


Scaling Criteria

Each indicator is rated as A, B, C, or D. An “A” or “B” rating reflects that a child is doing well in that area. A “C” or “D” rating reflects that a child requires attention in that area. The common criteria applied to each individual rating are:

A = Excellent – Child demonstrates exceptional ability in this area.
B = Acceptable – Child demonstrates average ability in this area.
C = Some Attention Needed – Child demonstrates some need for increased support in this area.
D = Intensive Support Needed – Child demonstrates need for intensive support in this area.


Refer to Child Well-Being Indicators Scaling Guide (DCS-1594) for the specific scaling criteria for each indicator.



Caregiver Protective Capacities

The DCS Specialist will use all information gathered in the domains of family functioning in order to update, evaluate, and rate progress in each of the caregiver protective capacities using a four-point scale. Refer to Family Functioning Assessment – Investigation for additional information regarding assessment of the caregiver protective capacities. The DCS Specialist may change the protective capacities’ ratings identified in the FFA-Investigation. The ratings of caregiver protective capacities are used to identify those that need to be the focus of behavioral change goals and interventions in case planning.



Scaling Criteria

Each caregiver protective capacity is rated as A, B, C, or D. An “A” or “B” rating reflects that a parent, guardian, or custodian is doing well in that area. A “C” or “D” rating reflects that a parent, guardian, or custodian requires attention in that area. The common criteria applied to each individual rating are:

A = Excellent – Caregiver demonstrates exceptional ability in this area.
B = Acceptable – Caregiver demonstrates average ability in this area.
C = Some Attention Needed – Caregiver demonstrates some need for increased support in this area.
D = Intensive Support Needed – Caregiver demonstrates need for intensive support in this area.


Refer to the Caregiver Protective Capacities Scaling Guide (CSO-1588) for specific rating criteria for the individual caregiver protective capacities.



Identifying and Encouraging Readiness for Change

During the FFA – Progress Update process, the DCS Specialist will identify the parent’s, guardian’s, or custodian’s current readiness for change, using the Stages of Change. During contacts with the parent, guardian, or custodian, the DCS Specialist will make efforts to move the parent, guardian, or custodian forward through the Stages of Change. See Practice Guideline: Parent Readiness for Change for additional information.



The Stages of Change are as follows:

Pre-contemplation: The parent has no perception of having a problem or a need to change. The parent is not aware that life can be improved if he or she changes his or her behaviors.
Contemplation: There is an initial recognition that behavior may be a problem and ambivalence about change. A parent may start to gather information about possible solutions.
Preparation: The parent desires change and makes a conscious determination to change. A motivator for change is identified.
Action: Parents take steps to implement change.
Maintenance: A parent actively works on sustaining change strategies and maintaining long-term change.


Engaging the Parent, Guardian, and/or Custodians

When the parent, guardian, and/or custodians are unable or unwilling to engage in these discussions or the change process, or there is disagreement about the reason for the Department’s involvement or what needs to change, the DCS Specialist will continue to actively seek the parent, guardian, and/or custodian’s engagement and recognition of the danger and exploration of diminished protective capacities. Refer to Family Functioning Assessment – Ongoing as well as Practice Guidelines on High Quality Parent Contacts and Parent Readiness for Change for more information on engagement strategies.



Evaluating Safety Plan Sufficiency and Progress toward the Conditions for Return

The DCS Specialist, in consultation with the DCS Program Supervisor, will identify existing impending danger threat(s) within the family, the sufficiency of the current safety plan, and if applicable, the written Conditions for Return. The DCS Specialist will do the following:

Review the updated information about the six domains of family functioning and determine whether or not a threat of danger exists.
Determine whether the child is in impending danger by applying the five safety threshold criteria. All five criteria must be met for at least one identified safety threat in order to determine a child is in impending danger. For more information, see Family Functioning Assessment at Investigation and Family Functioning Assessment – Field Guide.
If information gathered during this process indicates that a child previously assessed as unsafe is now safe, consult with a DCS Program Supervisor to identify the appropriate level of services to be provided or recommended to the family. See Providing Services for Families with Children Assessed as Safe. If case closure is appropriate, see Aftercare Planning and Services.
Determine if the current safety plan is the least intrusive option sufficient to control the impending danger safety threat(s).
Review the in-home safety analysis questions to determine whether an in-home safety plan can be implemented or should continue.
If the safety plan is too restrictive or is not sufficient to manage the danger threat(s), immediately implement a new safety plan capable of managing the danger threat(s). Convene a Safety Planning Team Decision Making meeting. See Safety Planning and Team Decision Making for more information.
If applicable, review the Conditions for Return and determine if the conditions provide in sufficient detail what needs to occur for sufficient, feasible, and sustainable in-home safety plan to be implemented. If the Conditions for Return will be changed or updated:
Consult with the DCS Program Supervisor to discuss the recommended changes.
Meet with the family to explain the changes (See Conditions for Return procedure for more information).
Provide the updated Conditions for Return in writing to all parties involved in the case, using the Safety Plan and Safety Plan Signature Page (CS0-1034B).


Recommending changes in Parenting Time (Visitation)

When a child is in out-of-home care, visitation and parenting time opportunities must be evaluated for quality and frequency. See Parent & Child Visitation.



Evaluation of Progress Toward Permanency

Based on the assessment of the parent’s progress towards achieving the desired behavioral change goals, the amount of time the child has been in out-of-home care (if applicable), and the child’s best interests, the DCS Specialist will, in consultation with the DCS Program Supervisor, determine whether to:

continue efforts to achieve the current permanency goal;
initiate concurrent planning activities, and/or add a concurrent permanency goal;
consider changing the permanency goal.


Refer to Selecting the Permanency Goal and Concurrent Planning for additional information.



When considering reunification of a child currently in out-of-home care, follow the procedures in Family Reunification. In addition to completing the FFA-Progress Update as outlined above, the DCS Specialist will:

Complete a criminal records check of adult household members and all adults who have been identified as having caregiving responsibilities of the child in the home as outlined in Kinship Care and including:
A G-13 DPS Criminal History Records Check by submitting to DPS: and
A Public Records search (https://apps.supercourt.az.gov/publicaccess); and
Conduct a visit to the home to observe the current conditions of the home.


For children with a permanency goal of APPLA, the DCS Specialist will complete the FFA – Progress Update:

minimally every 90 days when parenting time (visitation) with the parent, guardian, and/or custodian is occurring,
when considering whether to initiate or change current parenting time (visitation) (e.g. supervised to unsupervised), and
when considering changing the permanency goal to reunification.


Documentation

Document the conclusions of the FFA – Progress Update for each applicable household in a separate C-CSRA as follows:

Section I: Reason for C-CSRA
Section II. A: Assessment of the six domains of family functioning.
Document new and updated information collected to evaluate family functioning; including the extent of maltreatment, the circumstances surrounding the maltreatment, child functioning, adult functioning, general parenting, and disciplinary practices.
Utilizing the Child Well-Being Indicators Template (DCS-1606), document the ratings of the Child Well-Being Indicators for each child utilizing the Child Well-Being Indicators scaling guide.
Document each parent, guardian, and/or custodian’s Stage of Change and evidence to support that determination under the adult functioning domain.
Section II. B: Caregiver protective capacities
Utilizing the Caregiver Protective Capacities Template (CSO-1587), document the protective capacities for each caregiver in the home. Evaluate progress and scale each protective capacity using an A, B, C, or D utilizing the Caregiver Protective Capacity Scaling Guide.
Section II. C: Safety Decision and identified Safety Plan, if applicable
Document a brief description of the safety plan, including the location of the child and the identity of the responsible adults involved in the plan. Include information to indicate where a copy of the safety plan can be located.
Document the results of the in-home safety analysis.
If applicable, document the Conditions for Return as written on the Safety Plan form.
Section II. D: Continuous assessment of impending danger
For each child, document a determination of safe or unsafe due to impending danger:
For each child assessed as safe, document how that determination was made. Document any concerns that may have been present during the assessment, but did not meet the safety threshold criteria. Explain why the threshold were not met.
For each child assessed to be unsafe due to impending danger, document each safety threat that exists; specifically describe each threat and how it manifests in the family. Document how each observable threat meets all five safety threshold criteria: observable family condition, vulnerable child, unmanaged, severity, and imminent.


Document contacts with case participants and case associates in case notes in CHILDS.



Document relevant contacts, observations, behaviors, conditions, circumstances, and activities of the family in case notes in CHILDS.



The DCS Supervisor or designee documents the results of the clinical supervision discussion using the Supervisory Progress Review (Ongoing) (CT09402) which is located in CHILDS under Court Documents.













Chapter 3: Section 3-Developing and Reassessing the Family-Centered Case Plan

Policy

The Department shall facilitate the development of an individualized, family centered, written case plan for every child, youth, and family receiving ongoing services from the Department.



The Department shall develop the written case plan with the family after completing the Family Functioning Assessment – Ongoing.



When the Preliminary Protective/ Initial Court Hearing is held before the Family Functioning Assessment – Ongoing has been completed, the Department shall develop and submit to the court a proposed case plan that identifies:

the permanency goal,
any specialized assessments known to be needed by a child or parent, guardian and/or custodian,
any services known to be needed by a child or parent, guardian and/or custodian, and
the initial parenting time (visitation) plan if the child is in out-of-home care.


At the time of the Preliminary Protective/ Initial Court Hearing, the Department may propose a permanency goal of “undetermined” when the Department is considering termination of parental rights due to the presence of aggravating circumstances.



The initial case plan for all permanency goals shall include reunification services for the parents, guardians, and/or custodians unless the Department is relieved of providing reunification services pursuant to A.R.S § 8-846.

The Department shall conduct a case plan staffing and create the initial written case plan:

within 60 days of the case being identified to receive in-home services; or
within 60 days of the child(ren)'s removal from home; or
within 10 working days of a child's placement with a Voluntary Placement Agreement.


The Department shall conduct a case plan staffing and reassess the case plan:

at least every 6 months; and
at specified key decision points in the life of a case, including when a change in the permanency goal is considered or there is a significant change in case circumstances.


The Department shall involve the family receiving DCS services in the development of the case plan. When a parent, guardian, and/or custodian is unwilling or unable to participate in the case plan development, the Department must continue to make efforts to engage the parent, guardian and/or custodian in the process.



For children age 14 years and older, the case plan shall include:

the youth's education, health, visitation, and court participation rights;
the right to receive a credit report annually, if available;
age/developmentally appropriate services and supports necessary to assist the youth to prepare for adulthood; and
a signed acknowledgment that the youth was provided notice of these rights and that they were  explained in an age-appropriate way.




Procedures

Case Plan Content

When the Preliminary Protective/ Initial Court Hearing is held before the Family Functioning Assessment – Ongoing has been completed, the Department shall develop and submit to the court a proposed case plan that identifies:

the permanency goal,
any specialized assessments known to be needed by a child or parent, guardian, and/or custodian,
any services known to be needed by a child or parent, guardian and/or custodian, and
the initial parenting time (visitation) plan if the child is in out-of-home care.


Develop the initial written case plan after completing the Family Functioning Assessment – Ongoing.

Explain the case planning process to the family during the introduction stage of the Family Functioning Assessment – Ongoing.



Explain the case planning process to the family during the introduction stage of the Family Functioning Assessment – Ongoing. During the exploration stage, engage the parents, guardians, and/or custodians to identify the diminished protective capacities that have resulted in their inability to protect the child from danger. Address these diminished protective capacities in the initial written case plan.



Arranging and Facilitating Case Plan Staffings

Preparation for the Staffing

Prior to a case plan staffing, the DCS Specialist should discuss the following with the parents, guardians, and/or custodians, and children invited to attend the staffing:

what a case plan is;
what a case plan staffing is;
who DCS invites to the meeting;
who the family may invite to the meeting;
what happens at the meeting, including the types of decisions made;
why attendance at the meeting is important; and
how to prepare for the meeting.


Based on information gathered and conversations with the family during the exploration stage of the Family Functioning Assessment – Ongoing, develop a draft danger statement and draft desired behavioral change statements.



Scheduling

Schedule the case plan staffing at a time and location that meets the needs of parents, guardians, and/or custodians, out-of-home care providers, and children. Schedule the case plan staffing with at least two weeks’ notice to allow attendees to make arrangements to attend. Inform service team members who cannot attend the case plan staffing in person that they may provide a written report, a verbal report, or participate by conference call. Arrange interpreter services if necessary.



Invitations

Invite the following service team members to participate in the case plan staffing:

parents, guardians and/or custodians;
child, if age 12 years or older (See Notice of Rights for Children and Youth in Foster Care, CSO-1141);
extended family members identified as an active or potential resource/support;
out-of-home care provider;
licensing worker of out-of-home care provider;
service providers working with the family, such as the parent aide;
tribal social service representative;
tribal legal representative;
Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA);
child's and/or parent, guardian and/or custodian’s Regional Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA) case manager;
child's attorney and/or guardian ad-litem;
parent, guardian and/or custodian's attorney and/or guardian ad-litem; and
Assistant Attorney General assigned to the case.


Inform youth who are age 14 years or older that they may invite two individuals selected by the child who are not the DCS Specialist or the foster parent to the case plan staffing. It is permissible to reject an individual selected by a youth to be a member of the case planning team at any time if there is good cause to believe that the individual would not act in the best interests of the child. One individual selected by a youth to be a member of the child’s case planning team may be designated to be the child’s advisor and, as necessary, advocate, with respect to the application of the reasonable and prudent parent standard to the child.



Invitees may also include:

other significant individuals with whom the child may be placed or who have knowledge of or an interest in the welfare of the child;
DCS Specialist's supervisor;
school personnel;
law enforcement personnel including probation and parole officers; and
other DCS personnel or contracted staff.


Identify services, strategies, and supports to assist the parent, guardian, and/or custodian(s) and family to achieve the desired behaviors identified in the case plan. Tailor services to meet the specific needs of the family to prevent removal of the child and/or reunify the family. See Family Functioning Assessment – Ongoing and Services and Supports to Achieve Permanency.



All case plans (excluding a “proposed” case plan) shall identify the following:

permanency goal
concurrent planning activities to ensure that potential or identified alternate caregivers are prepared to care for the child on a permanent basis, if needed (when the prognosis of achieving family reunification is unlikely to occur within 12 months of the child’s initial removal)
placement type
danger statement (reasons why DCS is involved with the family)
desired family behaviors
services to help the family
child's needs, supports, and services (medical, educational, and psychological)
educational stability
preparation for adulthood plan (for children in out-of-home care age 14 and older)
parenting time (visitation) plan
out-of-home care plan
adoption (actions taken to identify an adoptive family for children with a permanency goal of adoption)
case plan agreement


Select a permanency goal for all children, and identify an expected date of achievement. See Selecting the Permanency Goal .



A concurrent permanency goal must be established within six months of actively working with the family on both the reunification plan and concurrent planning activities. This applies to all children placed in out-of-home care with a permanency goal of family reunification when the prognosis of achieving family reunification is assessed as poor (unlikely to occur within 12 months of the child's initial removal). See Concurrent Planning



Identify the placement type for children placed in out-of-home care. Placement type options include: detention, foster home, group home, non-relative, other, relative, residential treatment, and runaway.



Developing Behavioral Change Statements

In collaboration with the parent, guardian or custodian(s), and based on the diminished caregiver protective capacities identified during the exploration stage of the Family Functioning Assessment – Ongoing, develop behavioral change statements that describe the new desired behaviors. The behavioral change statements are included in the written case plan and describe the behaviors that will be observed when the diminished caregiver protective capacities have been enhanced. The desired behavioral changes indicate the positive behaviors or conditions that will result from the change.

Behavior change statements provide clear direction for change. Written behavioral change statements are:

behaviorally stated – they describe in positive terms how the parent, guardian and/or custodians would behave in order to demonstrate an enhanced caregiver protective capacity that contributes to child safety and permanency;
specific – they are individualized based on the unique dynamics of the family, how impending danger is manifested, and which caregiver protective capacities are diminished;
timely – they are necessary for achieving progress, a priority related to what must change, and likely to contribute to timely change and additional change.
understandable –the description of the desired behavior and its relationship to the reason for DCS involvement should be self-evident to parents, guardians and/or custodians and other service team members who may review the case plan; and, language should be absent of jargon, straightforward, and consistent with a parent, guardian, and/or custodian’s capacity to read and understand what is stated;
measureable - in the sense of specifically defining what must change and/or exist related to caregiver thinking, feeling, and behaving;
achievable –they must be reasonable, not far-fetched, and not beyond the capacity and motivation a parent, guardian and/or custodian has or expresses; and
relevant - they reflect how a parent, guardian and/or custodian’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior are interrelated and influence caregiver performance and the ability to behave protectively.


Identifying Services, Supports, and Tasks to Include in the Case Plan

Using information gained during the exploration stage of the Family Functioning Assessment – Ongoing, the DCS Specialist, parents, guardians and/or custodians, and other service team members decide together what will assist the family in making the necessary change. Explore the available intervention options with the parent, guardian and/or custodian(s) and consider their input to ensure services are culturally relevant and maximize the family’s self-determination and commitment to the process of change.



Services and supports for parents, guardians and/or custodians should be relevant to enhancing the specific diminished caregiver protective capacities targeted in the behavioral change statements. Services and supports for children should be relevant to the needs identified as a result of the rating of the child status needs indicators from the Family Functioning Assessment.



A case plan staffing is not required in order to change the services or supports provided to a family. At any time a service or support is determined to be ineffective or an additional service becomes necessary, the DCS Specialist should discuss the change with the individual receiving the service and discuss the plan to modify the service or support.



Record the danger statement in the box labeled “Reasons why CPS is involved with your family.”



Record the desired family behaviors that were finalized at the case plan staffing for all parents, guardians, and/or custodians with a case plan goal of remain with family or family reunification.



List the agreed upon services to help the family for all parents, guardians, and/or custodians with a case plan goal of remain with family or family reunification. Services must be tailored to meet the specific needs of the family, and include services for the out-of-home caregivers where appropriate, to prevent removal of the child and/or reunify the family. See Services and Supports to Achieve Permanency.



Record the child’s needs as well as supports and services for children placed in out-of-home care to ensure that the child's medical, educational, and psychological needs are addressed. Include the most recent information available regarding the child's needs and the identified services to address the needs.

Medical
name and address of the child’s health care providers;
record of child's immunizations;
known medical problems;
known medication; and
health information.
Educational
the name and address of the current school attended;
the child’s education status, including grade level and participation in special education services;
how the child will be transported to school; and
extra-curricular activities in which the child is currently involved;
before or after-school programs; and
any other educational support programs, including tutoring or other academic support services, in which the child is currently enrolled or needed to support the educational success.
Psychological/ Behavioral Health
name and address of the child's behavioral health care providers;
behavioral health diagnosis;
behavioral health medications; and
behavioral health information.


Include for each child, age or developmentally appropriate activities the child is participating or will participate in, and services or tasks to achieve this.



Educational stability

Describe Educational Stability for school-aged children placed in out-of-home care. School-aged children are entitled to remain in their original school even when they move to a foster placement in a  different school district, to the extent feasible, unless it is against the parent, guardian and/or custodian’s wishes. When remaining in the original school is not feasible, the Department works with the school district to enroll the child in a new school to meet his/her education needs. See Education for Children in Out of Home Care.



Attach the most recent Key Issue case note regarding Educational Stability, which documents the following:

efforts made to keep the child in his/her home school;
why it is not in the child's best interest to remain in the home school;
any delay in enrolling the child in school; and/ or
any delay in transferring the child's educational records to the new school.




Preparation for Adulthood (Young Adult/Independent Living) Plan

Complete the Preparation for Adulthood Plan for all children age 14 and older, and for young adults age 18 and older participating in continued care through a voluntary agreement. See Independent Living Services and Supports.



For youth in out-of-home care age 14 and older, describe the plan developed with the youth, parents, guardians and/or custodians, out-of-home caregiver and others to prepare for adulthood, and include:

the rights of the youth to education, health, visitation, and court participation;
the services and supports needed to assist the child to build the skills necessary to make a successful transition to adulthood; and the right to receive a credit report annually, if available, and to receive assistance resolving any inaccuracies.


Request the youth sign the Notice of Rights, which acknowledges that the youth was provided their rights, and the rights were explained in an age-appropriate manner. See Preparation for Adulthood Services and Supports





Parenting time (visitation) plan

Describe the parenting time (visitation) plan for children placed in out-of-home care. See Parent and Child Visitation.



Out of Home Care Plan

Include the following information for children placed in Out-of-Home Care:

services and supports provided to the out-of-home caregiver to help him/her meet the child's needs or, when applicable, achieve a concurrent permanency goal or goal other than family reunification;
description of how the placement for the child is in the least restrictive (most family-like) setting available;
document that the placement has been provided the Out of Home Care Provider Statement of Understanding, which contains information about the "reasonable and prudent parent" standard;
description of how the placement is in close proximity to the home of the parent, guardian and/or custodian(s) when the case plan goal is reunification and if not, the reason(s) why;
how at least one of the child's caregivers speaks the same language as the child; and if not, efforts made or planned to secure a living arrangement where at least one caregiver speaks the same language as the child; and
description of how the placement is consistent with the best interests and special needs of the child.


For children with a permanency goal or concurrent goal of Adoption, include actions taken to identify an adoptive family. See Selecting the Adoptive Family.



Adoption

When a child has a permanency goal of adoption, specify the actions that will be taken to finalize the goal, including identifying an adoptive family.



Case Plan Agreement

Explain to the service team that the case plan agreement signature sheet serves as acknowledgement that the DCS Specialist has reviewed the case plan with the family, other service team members and participants.



Ask the family and other service team members in attendance at the case plan staffing to sign the case plan agreement, and note whether they agree or disagree with the plan.



Provide a copy of the case plan to all members of the service team, whether or not they attend the case plan staffing, within five days of completing the case plan staffing.



Reassessment of Case Plan

Based on information gathered throughout the Family Functioning Assessment – Progress Update, reassess the case plan with the family and other service team members:

at least every 6 months; and
at specified key decision points in the life of a case, including when a change in the permanency goal is considered or there is a significant change in case circumstances.


Confirm that services have been initiated as scheduled, and are addressing the needs of the family. Although the case plan is reassessed and revised at specific intervals, ongoing monitoring of services occurs on a monthly basis. Changes to services may be made at any time it is appropriate to do so.



The reassessment of the case plan should determine whether:

desired behavioral changes have been achieved, meaning previously diminished caregiver protective capacities have been sufficiently enhanced;
the same services and supports shall be continued;
services and supports shall be changed; or
no available service or intervention will enable the parent, guardian and/or custodian to adequately address the safety threats within a time frame that meets the needs of the child, and a change in permanency goal should be considered.


Provide a copy of the revised case plan to all members of the family and service team within 5 days of the case plan staffing being completed.



Documentation

If applicable, document the proposed case plan in the Preliminary Protective/Initial Court Hearing Report.



Review and update the Medical/Dental Condition Detail, Medication Detail, Practitioner Detail, Psych/Behavioral Condition Detail, Participant Education Detail and Participant Education Condition  windows as needed.



Update the Family Relationship, Person Detail, Participant Detail and American Indian Detail windows when new/updated information when received.



Document in the Notification Directory window or in a Case Note within 10 days, the case plan invitation and list of service team members invited to the case plan staffing.



Create and document case plans in CHILDS in the Case Plan Directory. Follow the prompts to document all the necessary components of the case plan. See Case Plan Documentation Guide, DCS-1684.



Document the education placement, and supports and services currently provided and scheduled to be provided to support educational stability in case notes, Key Issues type.



For youth with a permanency goal of APPLA/Independent Living, document anticipated outcomes and tasks in the narrative box labeled Young Adult/Independent Living. Ensure the youth’s preparation for foster care discharge is reflected in the Independent Living plan.



For youth age 14 and 15, and for youth age 16 and older with a permanency goal other than APPLA/Independent Living, document anticipated outcomes and tasks related to the preparation for adulthood in the narrative box labeled Out-of-Home Care. Ensure the youth’s preparation for foster care discharge is reflected in the Out-of-Home Care plan.



Document the plan for Parenting Time (Visitation) in the Visitation Plan.



Document the supports and services to be provided to the out-of-home caregiver in the Out-of-Home Care Plan.



Document the Case Plan Effective Date, Date of Meeting Review Date, and Future Review Date in the case plan.



Document whether the participants agreed or disagreed with the case plan. If a participant is unsure, select "undetermined" and record the service team member(s) reason for disagreeing with the case plan, efforts to reach consensus and the outcome in case notes, Case Plan Staffing type.



File the hard copy of the case plan in the case record.



Document in case notes the detail of case plan staffings, including participation and input from parents, children, and other family members.



If changes in services need to occur between scheduled review dates, document these changes in a case note within 10 days.





Chapter 3: Section 3.1

Selecting the Permanency Goal

Policy

Unless the court finds that aggravating circumstances exist, consideration of permanency goals shall occur in the following order of preference:

Remain with Family;
Family Reunification;
Adoption;
Permanent Guardianship;
Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement (APPLA).


For children receiving in-home services, the permanency goal shall be Remain with Family.



For children receiving out-of-home care services, the initial permanency goal shall be Family Reunification, unless the Department is considering termination of parental rights due to the presence of aggravating circumstances. When aggravating circumstances exist, the Department may propose an initial permanency goal of “undetermined.”



The Department shall recommend to the court that the permanency goal be changed from Remain with Family or Family Reunification to another option when, following discussion in a case plan staffing, the Department determines that:

reunification services are contrary to the child’s best interests:
aggravating circumstances exist; or
no available services or interventions will enable the family to address the safety and risk factors that prevent the child from living safety at home within a time frame that meets the needs of the child.


Reunification services are not required to be provided if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that one or more of the following aggravating circumstances exist and relieves the Department of its duty to provide reunification services:

The child previously was removed, adjudicated dependent due to physical or sexual abuse and, after the adjudication, the child was returned to the parent or guardian and then removed within eighteen months due to additional neglect or abuse.
A party to the action provides a verified affidavit that states that a reasonably diligent search failed to identify and locate the parent within three months after the filing of the dependency petition or the parent has expressed no interest in reunification with the child for at least three months after the filing of the dependency petition.
The parent or guardian is suffering from a mental illness or mental deficiency of such magnitude that it renders the parent or guardian incapable of benefiting from the reunification services. This finding shall be based on competent evidence from a psychologist or physician that establishes that, even with the provision of reunification services, the parent or guardian is unlikely to be capable of adequately caring for the child within twelve months after the date of the child's removal from the home.
The parent or guardian:
Committed an act that constitutes a dangerous crime against children as defined in A.R.S. § 13-705; or
Caused a child to suffer serious physical injury or emotional injury
The parent or guardian knew or reasonably should have known that another person committed an act that constitutes a dangerous crime against children as defined in A.R.S. § 13-705;
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 discharge his/her parental responsibilities.
After a finding that the child is dependent:
the child has been removed from the parent on at least two previous occasions;
reunification services were offered or provided to the parent/guardian after removal; and
the parent/guardian is unable to discharge parental responsibilities;
The parent or guardian of a child has been convicted of:
a dangerous crime against children as defined in A.R.S. § 13-705; or
murder or manslaughter of a child; or
sexual abuse, sexual assault or molestation of a child; or
sexual conduct with a minor; or
commercial sexual exploitation of a minor; or
sexual exploitation of a minor; or
luring a minor for sexual exploitation; or
the parent or guardian of a child has been convicted of aiding or abetting or attempting, conspiring or soliciting to commit any of the crimes listed directly above.
A child who is currently under six months of age was exposed to a drug or substance and the exposure was not the result of a medical treatment administered to the mother or the newborn infant by a health professional and both of the following are true:
the parent of the child is unable to discharge parental responsibilities because of a history of chronic abuse of dangerous drugs or controlled substances.
reasonable grounds exist to believe that the parents condition will continue for a prolonged or indeterminate period based on a competent opinion from a licensed health care provider with experience in the area of substance abuse disorders.


Concurrent case planning shall occur for all children placed in out-of-home care with a permanency goal of Family Reunification when the prognosis of achieving family reunification is poor and unlikely to occur within 12 months of the child's initial removal. See Concurrent Planning.



The Department shall seek a permanency goal of Adoption for children who cannot be reunified with their families, unless a compelling reason to not pursue adoption exists.



The Department shall seek a permanency goal of Permanent Guardianship when the child cannot be reunified with his or her family; adoption has been considered; and the child (if age appropriate), family and Department are in agreement that guardianship is in the child’s best interest (for example, to maintain cultural, sibling and/or family connections, or when a child age 12 or older will not consent to adoption.)



The Department shall seek a permanency goal of Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement (APPLA) only for youth age 16 years and older when family reunification, adoption, and permanent guardianship have been actively pursued by the Department and are determined not attainable prior to the child reaching the age of majority or not in the child’s best interests. When APPLA is the permanency goal, the Department shall enter into a formal agreement with the youth to document the permanent living arrangement.



The Department shall not change the permanency goal previously approved by the court or discontinue reunification services unless ordered by the court. Pending court approval of a change in the permanency goal, the Department shall increase efforts to implement the concurrent plan. See Concurrent Planning.



Procedures

Selecting the Permanency Goal

Whenever possible, prior to the case plan staffing, discuss the importance of permanency with the parents, guardians and/or custodians, and inform them of all available alternatives to achieve permanency for the child, including family reunification through successful behavioral changes, consent to adoption, consent to guardianship, and adoption through termination of parental rights. Engage the parents, guardians and/or custodians in a discussion of the alternatives to achieve permanency and obtain their input into the selection of the permanency goal.



Consider permanency goals in the order listed in policy. Select a permanency goal that is consistent with the needs of the child. Consider whether aggravating circumstances exist, any specific directions from the court, and input from the parents, guardians and/or custodians, child (age 12 years or older), and other service team members.



When selecting the permanency goal for the child, seek to maintain and support the child's relationship to his or her parents, siblings, kin, and other individuals with whom the child has a significant relationship.



Aggravating Circumstances

If certain aggravating circumstances are present, the court may relieve the Department of its duty to provide reunification services. If the court finds reunification services are not required, the court will order a permanency goal and the Department shall provide services necessary to achieve the permanency goal ordered by the court.



Remain with Family as the Permanency Goal

Select a permanency goal of Remain with Family if the child is to stay with their family and the case is open for ongoing, in-home services.



See additional information regarding in home services and case planning:

Providing Ongoing Services for Families with Children Assessed as Safe;
Voluntary In-Home Services;
In Home Intervention;
In Home Dependency Filing; and
In-Home Dependency Services.


Family Reunification as the Permanency Goal

Select a permanency goal of Family Reunification as the initial goal for children receiving out-of-home care services, unless aggravating circumstances exist. See Family Reunification.



Adoption as the Permanency Goal

Select a permanency goal of Adoption when the permanency options of Remain with Family and/or Family Reunification have been ruled out, unless there is a compelling reason to not terminate parental rights.



Consider revising the goal from family reunification to adoption when in the child's best interests and any of the following circumstances exists:

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, controlled substances or alcohol and there are reasonable grounds to believe that the condition will continue for a prolonged indeterminate period.
The parent is deprived of civil liberties due to the conviction of a felony if the felony of which that parent was convicted is of such nature as to prove the unfitness of that parent to have future custody and control of the child.
The potential father failed to file a paternity action within thirty days of completion of service of notice or 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 child is being cared for in an out-of-home placement and the Department has made a diligent effort to provide appropriate reunification services and that one of the following circumstances exists:
The child has been in an out-of-home placement for a cumulative total period of nine months or longer pursuant to court order or voluntary placement and the parent has substantially neglected or willfully refused to remedy the circumstances that caused the child to be in an out-of-home placement.
The child who is under three years of age has been in an out-of-home placement for a cumulative total period of six months or longer pursuant to court order and the parent has  substantially neglected or willfully refused to remedy the circumstances that caused 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 of the most recent 22 months, the parent has been unable to remedy the circumstances that caused 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.
The identity of the parent is unknown and continues to be unknown following three months of diligent efforts to identify and locate the parent.
The parent has had parental rights to another child terminated within the preceding two years for the same cause and is currently unable to discharge parental responsibilities due to the same cause.


When applicable, describe in the case plan the compelling reason why terminating the parent’s rights (TPR) is not in the child's best interest and the permanency goal will not be changed to adoption, such as:

the child does not consent to adoption,
the permanency goal is permanent guardianship, which does not require TPR, or
the parent is terminally ill.


Termination of parental rights either by consent (relinquishment) or by court order is necessary for every child in the care, custody and control of the Department who has a permanency goal of Adoption. See Terminating Parental Rights.



Permanent Guardianship as the Permanency Goal

Select a permanency goal of Permanent Guardianship when family reunification and adoption are unlikely and/or there is a compelling reason not to terminate parental rights. See Permanent Guardianship.



APPLA as the Permanency Goal

For youth age 16 years old and older, select a permanency goal of APPLA when family reunification, adoption, and permanent guardianship have been actively pursued and are determined not achievable prior to the youth reaching the age of majority. A permanency goal of APPLA does not preclude the Department from providing services that will support family reunification, adoption, or permanent guardianship should a change in circumstances arise, such as the identification of a potential permanent guardian.



APPLA as a permanency goal shall not be recommended for children who have regular unsupervised visitation with their parent(s).



Documentation

Document the discussion during the case plan staffing for the selection or revision of the permanency goal using the Case Notes window, Staffing case note type, and in the next Progress Report to the Juvenile Court or Permanency Hearing Report to the Juvenile Court following the case plan staffing.



When APPLA is the permanency goal, document in case notes the intensive ongoing efforts that have occurred to return the youth home or secure a permanent placement with a fit and willing relative (including adult siblings), an adoptive parent, or a legal guardian, including efforts to utilize search technology (including social media) to find biological family members.



When APPLA is the permanency goal, select Independent Living as the CHILDS permanency goal type. The selection of Independent Living encompasses all permanent planned living arrangements. Document the actual or planned permanent living arrangement, i.e. with a kinship or licensed caregiver, in the Out-of-Home Care section of the case plan.



Document in case notes the services provided and outcomes, as well as any barriers to successful outcomes and the strategies employed to address barriers. Summarize this information in the court report for each six month periodic review hearing and/or permanency hearing.



Document the permanency goal for each child involved in the case within the case plan, in CHILDS Main Menu under Case Plan Directory.





Chapter 3: Section 3.2 Concurrent Planning

Policy

Concurrent permanency planning shall occur for all children in out-of-home care with a permanency goal of family reunification when the prognosis of achieving family reunification is unlikely to occur within 12 months of the child’s initial removal.



An assessment of the prognosis of family reunification shall be completed within 45 days of the child’s initial removal.

Maintain a goal that infants who are taken into custody by the Department by placed in a prospective permanent placement within one year after the filing of a dependency petition.


If there is a poor prognosis for reunification, a planned set of concurrent planning activities will be implemented to ensure that potential or identified alternate caregivers are prepared to care for the child on a permanent basis if needed. These concurrent planning activities will assist in selecting the final concurrent permanency goal.



Within six months of actively working with the family on both the reunification plan and concurrent planning activities, a final concurrent permanency goal must be established.



Procedures

Implementation

Based on the results of the Family Functioning Assessment, review the family’s strengths, caregiver protective capacities, resources, and prognosis indicators. This information will be used to complete an assessment of the likelihood of family reunification within 12 months of the child’s initial removal.



Complete the Reunification Prognosis Assessment Guide (DCS-1607) for both parents, guardians and/ or custodians no later than 45 days from the child's initial removal.



When the Reunification Prognosis Assessment Guide (DCS-1607) is completed and the prognosis of achieving family reunification is assessed as unlikely to occur within 12 months of the child’s initial removal, a planned set of concurrent planning activities will be implemented to:

identify and assess potential caregivers;
place the child with suitable caregivers; and
confirm that the caregivers are prepared to care for the child on a permanent basis if needed.


At critical decision points in the life of the case (initial and subsequent case plan staffings, progress review, case plan reassessment, etc.), discuss and stress the importance of permanency with the parents, and inform the parents, guardians and/or custodians:

of all available alternatives to achieve permanency for the child, including family reunification through successful change in behaviors or conditions that caused the child to be unsafe or at risk of future maltreatment; consent to adoption; consent to guardianship; and adoption through termination of parental rights; and
that if significant progress toward the behavioral changes listed in the case plan is not made by the time of the Permanency Hearing, the Department may recommend, or the court may order the permanency goal be changed from family reunification to another permanency goal, such as adoption, permanent guardianship, or another planned permanent living arrangement.


As appropriate considering the child's age and developmental capacity, and for all youth age 12 or older, at critical decision points in the life of the case (initial and subsequent case plan staffings, progress review, case plan reassessment, etc.) ensure the youth is:

informed of his/her role and rights in participating in the case plan and court proceedings;
informed about the Department's goal of achieving permanency for the youth in a safe home;
informed of all available alternatives to achieve permanency for the youth, including family reunification through the parent’s successful change in behaviors or conditions that caused the youth to be unsafe, consent to adoption, consent to guardianship, and adoption through termination of parental rights;
made aware that individualized services addressing the reasons for child protective involvement are made available to families;
informed about their parents', guardians’ and/or custodians’ activities and progress toward reunification, unless returning home is not a possibility;
helped to identify significant adults with whom relationships should be sought and maintained; and
encouraged to maintain optimal contact with the birth family and kin, or others with whom the youth has a close relationship. (The DCS Specialist and the youth will determine what optimal connection with their birth family will look like including frequency of visits, visitation on special occasions, letter writing and sharing of pictures, e-mailing, etc.).


Encourage the participation of parents, children, and, when appropriate, extended family members in the concurrent permanency planning process.



Once a need for a concurrent permanency plan has been identified, simultaneously and actively pursue the Family Reunification permanency goal and implement a planned set of concurrent planning activities including:

interviewing the child, parents, grandparents, other extended family members, and other persons who have a significant relationship with the child to identify potential permanent caregivers for the child;
assessing potential caregivers for the child by completing the assessment procedures in Kinship Care;
ensuring that all potential caregivers and all adult household members are fingerprinted for a criminal records check;
ensuring that a Central Registry check is completed on all potential caregivers and all adult household members;
ensuring that the identified caregivers are aware of the need for concurrent planning and the child’s need for a permanent placement in the event that reunification is not achieved;
transitioning the child into the home of the identified caregivers if the child is not already placed;
encouraging the caregivers to pursue foster home licensing; and
providing services to support the child’s placement with the caregivers.


If a potential caregiver(s) has not been identified, complete an exhaustive search for such a home, following the procedures outlined in Locating Missing Parents and Family for Notification. Also see the Relative Search Best Practice Guide for best practice options, and consider convening a family meeting such as a TDM or CFT.



If a potential permanent caregiver is located out-of-state, initiate the home study process via ICPC.



If an exhaustive search for potential permanent caregivers has been completed and no potential placement has been identified, or all identified potential caregivers have been assessed and ruled out, consider placement of the child with a licensed foster family who:

is willing to work toward reunification, and
if necessary, will provide a permanent home for the child if reunification is not achieved.


When the identity and whereabouts of the parents, guardians, and/or custodians is known, provide them with written notification of the concurrent planning activities. If the parents, guardians, and/or custodians are not available or missing, a copy of the case plan including concurrent planning activities should be provided to their attorney and to the parents, guardians and/or custodians at the earliest opportunity. If the child is subject to the Indian Child Welfare Act, provide a copy of the plan to the child’s and parent’s, guardian’s and/or custodian’s tribe, and the child’s Indian custodian.



The identification and assessment of alternate caregivers for a concurrent permanency goal of adoption shall only include individuals with whom the permanency goal of adoption can be finalized.



During contacts with the parents, guardians and/or custodians, continue to:

stress the importance of permanency for the child;
discuss all available alternatives to achieve permanency for the child, including family reunification through successful participation in services, consent to adoption, consent to guardianship, and adoption through termination of parental rights; and
review progress toward the behavioral changes listed in the case plan.


Complete a Family Functioning Assessment – Progress Update every 90 days, including a review of the services and supports to achieve reunification. Modify services and supports with the parents, guardians and/or custodians as necessary.



Within six months of actively working with the family on both the reunification plan and concurrent planning activities, a final concurrent permanency goal must be established.



Based on the circumstances of the case and consistent with the child’s best interests, consider and select the concurrent permanency goal in the following order (See Selecting the Permanency Goal):

adoption;
permanent guardianship;
APPLA.


At critical decision points in the life of the case (each case plan staffing, progress review, case plan reassessment, etc.), reassess the prognosis for successfully achieving family reunification using theReunification Prognosis Assessment Guide (DCS-1607).Review and revise as needed the concurrent permanency plan and the related services and supports.



Documentation

Using the Case Notes window, document discussions with each parent, guardian and/or custodian and  child regarding the importance of permanency, the available alternatives to achieve permanency, and the possibility the permanency goal may change if significant progress toward the behavioral changes is not made by the time of the Permanency Hearing.



When a concurrent goal is identified, document the concurrent permanency goal for each child using Concurrent Goal box of the Case Plan in CHILDS.



Document the concurrent planning activities (supports and services) to support the concurrent permanency plan using the Out-of-Home Care section of the Case Plan in CHILDS.



Document the reassessment and any modifications to the concurrent planning activities using case notes, Staffing type.



Document written notification to the parents of the concurrent permanency plan by obtaining their signature on the Case Plan Agreement page of the case plan and/or by filing a copy of the written correspondence to the parents in the hard copy case record.



Document the search for a potential permanent kinship foster family home as described in Finding Missing Parents, Relatives and Other Significant Persons.



Document the assessment of a potential permanent kinship foster family home as described in Kinship Care .



DCS Supervisor:

Document the review and approval of the initial and subsequent assessments of the prognosis for achieving family reunification using case notes, Key Issues type or in the Supervisory Case Progress Review, CT09402.



DCS Regional Program Administrator:

Document the review and approval of APPLA as the concurrent permanency plan using case notes, Key Issues type.







Chapter 3: Section 3.3

Planning For Services and Supports to Achieve Permanency

Policy

The Department shall provide services and supports necessary to achieve the case plan goals in the family centered case plan.



The Department shall arrange, provide, and coordinate services that protect children, and provide programs and services that achieve and maintain permanency on behalf of the child, and to strengthen the family.



The Department shall arrange, provide, and coordinate prevention, intervention, and treatment for abused and neglected children.



The Department shall provide services to:

all parents (whose parental rights have not been terminated), guardians, and/or custodians that are tailored to achieve the necessary behavioral changes;
the child(ren) that:
are individualized for his/her safety,
promote stability and well-being;
address the child’s current medical, dental, education, and behavioral health needs; and
the out-of-home caregiver, to assist the caregiver to meet each child's placement needs and to achieve the permanency goal.


The Department shall ensure that the services provided are:

least intrusive and least restrictive to the family;
consistent with the needs of the child recognizing that the health and safety of the child is the primary concern;
delivered in a culturally appropriate manner, and;
provided in the home or as close as possible to the home community of the child or family requiring assistance.


When the permanency goal is remain with family or family reunification, the case plan shall:

identify services and supports aimed at achieving the desired behaviors required to address the safety threats that caused the child to be removed from the home and/or prevent the child from living safely at home without the Department's involvement; and
specify the responsibilities of the Department, other professionals, the parent, the child, and/or other family members as applicable, to achieve the outcomes that will enable the family to safely care for the child without Department involvement.


When the permanency goal is adoption, guardianship, or APPLA, the case plan shall:

identify services and supports aimed at achieving the specified permanency goal and case plan outcomes, and
specify the responsibilities of the Department, other professionals, the parent, the child, and/or other family members as applicable, to reach the outcomes and achieve the permanency goals.


When the permanency goal is APPLA, the Department shall conduct and document the results of intensive, ongoing, efforts to return the child home or secure a placement for the child with a fit and willing relative (including adult siblings), a legal guardian, or an adoptive parent. These efforts shall include the use of social media and other search technology to find biological family members for the children.



Every child in out-of-home care shall have an individualized parenting time (visitation) plan as a component of his or her case plan. The plan shall describe a schedule of frequent and consistent visitation between the child and the child's parents, siblings, other relatives, friends, and any former foster parent, especially those with whom the child has developed a strong attachment.



Every youth in out-of-home care age 14 and older shall have a case plan that includes a written description of the programs and services that will help to prepare the youth for adulthood.



The Department shall regularly monitor and evaluate the parents' progress toward achieving the behavioral changes and case plan outcomes.



The Department shall inform the parents that:

a permanency hearing will be held within six months of the removal from the home for children three years and younger, and within 12 months of the removal for children over three years of age; and
substantially or willfully refusing to participate in reunification services may result in a court order to terminate parental rights.


Procedures

Services and Supports

Throughout the case, determine the services or supports that are most appropriate to achieve the necessary behavioral changes, case plan outcomes, and permanency goal in consultation with the family, child (12 years and older), and other service team members.



When APPLA is selected as the permanency goal for a youth age 16 or older, the Department must conduct intensive and ongoing efforts to return the youth home or secure a placement for the youth with a fit and willing relative (including adult siblings), a legal guardian, or an adoptive parent.



Efforts to return a child home shall include a thorough assessment of safety threats that prevented the parent(s) from caring for the child without the involvement of the Department. See Family Reunification.



Efforts to secure placement with a fit and willing relative, legal guardian, or an adoptive parent shall include child specific recruitment efforts such as:

the use of State, regional, and national adoption exchanges, including electronic exchange systems, to facilitate orderly and timely in-state and interstate placements, and
search technology (including social media) to find biological family members for the children.


Depending on the needs of the child and family, services or supports may be provided by:

the DCS Specialist or other Department staff,
contract providers,
extended family members or those with whom the family has a strong connection, or
community resources and/or volunteers.


Services and supports should be scheduled or otherwise arranged to complement the work and personal schedules of family members.



Services and Supports to Achieve Remain with Family or Family Reunification

In consultation with the family, child (12 years of age and older), and other service team members, the DCS Specialist shall determine services and supports that are most appropriate to achieve the desired behavioral changes.



After the caregiver protective capacities are understood and well-defined, identify services that will assist in facilitating necessary change, achieving the desired behavioral changes, enhancing specific diminished protective capacities, and helping the parents regain and sustain primary responsibility for  their child’s safety. Services such as parenting classes, substance abuse treatment, or intensive family services may be utilized when appropriate. Services may also include support and assistance from individuals in the family network, community, or other resources.



Using information gained during the Family Functioning Assessment – Ongoing, including the assessment of caregiver protective capacities and determining the child’s needs, the DCS Specialist will engage the parents/guardians/custodians to:

decide what interventions/services will assist the family in making necessary changes; and
explore culturally relevant, individualized intervention/service options to maximize the family’s self-determination and commitment to the process of change.


Services for Children and Youth

Prior to and during the case plan staffing, provide service team members comprehensive information on the needs of the child (including the child’s physical/dental health, emotional/behavioral health, educational status, and other support needs) and the services and support needs of the out-of-home care provider.



Elicit the comments and recommendations of the service team members and seek to reach consensus on:

the behaviors and services required to meet the child's needs, including the needs of children age 14 and older to build skills necessary to prepare for a successful adulthood (See Services and Supports to Prepare Youth for Adulthood );
for children who have been identified as victims of sex trafficking or commercial sexual exploitation, the specific services that have been implemented to address this issue;
the behaviors and services or supports required to maintain the out-of-home caregiver's ability to care for the child;
actions necessary to assure the child's safety in out-of-home care; and
If applicable, services to achieve a concurrent permanency goal or a goal other than family reunification, and steps to be taken to achieve the goal, such as efforts to:
identify an adoptive family or other permanent living arrangement for the child, including child-specific recruitment efforts;
place the child with an adoptive family, a relative, or a permanent guardian; or
finalize the adoption or permanent guardianship.


Court Ordered Services

If the court orders services supplemental to the services of the Department:

inform other team members of the name of the service provider(s);
request all documentation/reports from the service provider(s) at least monthly;
invite the service provider(s) to meetings regarding the child and family, including team decision making meetings and case plan staffings; and
share all documents and information with the provider(s) as permitted under law. See Safeguarding Case Records.


Facilitating the Change Process and Monitoring Services

The DCS Specialist’s role in facilitating change is critical to the effectiveness of the case plan and family success and should include:

continually encouraging the parent, guardian, and/or custodian’s self-awareness regarding issues affecting child safety;
seeking to facilitate readiness necessary to promote change (enhancing caregiver protective capacities), and;
respecting and reinforcing self-determination and personal choice.


During in-person contacts, the DCS Specialist assists the parent, guardian, and/or custodian to move through the stages of change. Discussions should focus on the following:

progress being made toward addressing what must change associated with enhancing diminished caregiver protective capacities;
internal and external barriers to change;
the parent, guardian, and/or custodian’s readiness to participate in case plan services and to make necessary changes;
clarification and/or adjustment to behavior change statements;
use of existing caregiver protective capacities to support change;
relationship between the parent, guardian, and/or custodian and DCS;
relationship between the parent, guardian, and/or custodian and case plan service providers;
treatment service effectiveness; and
needs of children (in-home and in-placement) and parent, guardian, and/or custodian involvement in addressing the needs of children.


The DCS Specialist should discuss with case plan service providers:

efforts being made with the parent, guardian, and/or custodian toward meeting the behavioral change statements;
service effectiveness in enhancing diminished caregiver protective capacities;
where the parent, guardian, and/or custodian is in the Stages of Change;
how the caregiver is progressing in making necessary changes, and;
how the service provider can assist the parent in making the behavior changes outlined in their case plan.


The DCS Specialist will have contact with the parent, guardian, and/or custodian; children; treatment service providers; and responsible adults identified in the safety plan at least monthly. Refer to Contacts with Children, Parents and Out-of-Home Caregivers for additional information.



The DCS Specialist will solicit input from family and other service team members regarding the effectiveness of the current services, including whether they are necessary and helpful.



The DCS Specialist will gather information to assess whether there has been any change in the attitudes, behaviors, or perceptions of the parent, guardian, and/or custodian regarding safety threats and diminished protective capacities.



The DCS Specialist will engage the family and other service team members to identify necessary changes to services and supports, and consult with the DCS Program Supervisor as needed to implement changes in services or supports necessary to achieve the desired behavioral changes.



The DCS Specialist will clearly communicate any change in services and provide necessary information to the recipient of the service, the service provider, and, as appropriate, other service team members.



The DCS Specialist will convene a case plan staffing and involve the family in discussions about changes to the plan if there is a significant change in case circumstances or a change in permanency goal is considered.



For all permanency goals, the DCS Specialist will monitor case progress every 30 days to:

review progress toward case plan outcomes;
follow-up with service provider(s);
follow-up with the person receiving services to assess progress; and
determine whether there is a need for adjustment(s) to services and supports.


If specified tasks have not been completed, the DCS Specialist will review the tasks to identify possible barriers such as:

whether the tasks were clearly communicated;
the expectations and obligations of the child and family (review whether the child and family have multiple systems involved in their lives, each with separate and possibly competing tasks);
cultural needs of the family and possible challenges with the provision of services; and
whether the supports and/or service providers are able to timely fulfill the responsibilities specified in the case plan.


The DCS Specialist will take actions necessary to facilitate continued case progress, including:

clarify tasks or expectations;
modify tasks; or
arrange for the use of different resources or service providers.


The DCS Specialist will immediately respond to and address any complaints or problems in the delivery of services.



If necessary, the DCS Specialist will convene a case plan staffing to discuss case progress and initiate changes in the case plan.



Parenting Time (Visitation) Plan

All case plans for children in out-of-home care must include a contact and visitation plan between the child and the child's parents, family members, other relatives, siblings, former foster parents, and individuals with significant relationships to the child to preserve and enhance relationships and attachments to the family of origin. Refer to Parent and Child Visitation for additional information.



Documentation

Document in Case Notes:

contacts with family members, Department personnel, out-of-home care providers, members of the service team, tribal social services representatives, and/or other interested parties regarding the case; and
observations of the family's interactions and environment, written in behavioral terms and using professional judgment or fact.


Documentation of contacts will include information on dates, places, individuals involved, and the nature of the contact.



Document the initial selection of services in the case plan.



For cases involving children three years of age and younger at the time of removal, document in Case Notes that you have informed the parents of the following:

A permanency hearing will be held within six months of the child's removal from the home.
Substantially neglecting or willfully refusing to participate in reunification services may result in a court order to terminate parental rights at the permanency hearing.


For cases involving children identified as victims of sex trafficking or commercial sexual exploitation, document the specific services implemented to address this issue.



File hard copy medical, educational, and mental health records in the hard copy case record.



Document the child's special needs and medical, educational, and mental health status and needs using the Special Needs detail, Medical/Dental Condition detail, Medication detail, Psych/Behavioral  Condition detail, Examination detail, Practitioner detail, Participant Education detail, Participant Education Condition detail and Hospitalization detail windows as appropriate.



Document the plan for frequent and consistent visitation between the child and the child's parents, siblings, family members, other relatives, friends, and any former placement in the Visitation Plan of the case plan.



Document progress made toward achieving outcomes specified in the case plan using the case notes window.







Chapter 3: Section 3.4

Out of Home Care Planning, Health Care Planning, Contact and Parenting Time (Visitation) Plan 

Policy

Every child in out-of-home care shall have an individualized Out-of-Home Care Plan that specifies the following and includes the most recent information available regarding:

the name and address of the child’s school;
the child's educational status including child’s grade level, academic performance, special education services if applicable, attendance and any other relevant education information;
indication of whether the child is attending school in their home school district; and if not the plans to help the child transition into the new school setting;
any special needs of the child;
the child's placement type (and for youth age 16 and older with a goal of APPLA, the actual or desired permanent living arrangement);
services provided to the child and or out-of-home caregiver to meet the child's needs;
ways that the child will maintain contact with his family and extended family while in placement;
actions to assure the child's safety in out-of-home care;
indication of whether the child is placed:
in close proximity to a parent's home, and if not why not,
in the least restrictive placement consistent with the child's special needs and best interests,
with siblings in out-of-home care, whenever possible, (if applicable)
with a caregiver who speaks the same language;
for any child placed substantially distant from the parent's home or out-of-state, the reason the placement serves the needs of the child in the most appropriate and effective way;
with a relative, or the efforts to identify a relative or an individual with whom the child has a significant relationship where the child might be placed; and
outcomes and tasks to achieve a concurrent permanency goal or a permanency goal other than family reunification, such as efforts to identify and place the child in a permanent placement.


Every child in out-of-home care shall have an individualized Health Care Plan as a component of the case plan. This plan shall contain the most recent information available regarding the child’s health status including:

name and address of the child’s healthcare providers;
the child’s immunizations;
the child’s known medical problems;
the child’s known medication;
any other relevant health information; and
actions to assure the child’s health needs are met.


Every child in out-of-home care shall have an individualized Parenting Time (Visitation) Plan as a component of his or her case plan.



Procedures

During face-to-face visits and other contacts with the child's parents and/or extended family, the out-of-home caregiver, and other service team members, request information to assess the child’s:

physical health and dental status and need;
educational status and needs;
emotional and behavioral health status and needs;
for youth age 14 and older, needs related to building the skills necessary to prepare for adulthood; and
the need for services and support to maintain the provider's ability to meet the child's needs.


At the time of initial placement into out-of-home care, and when significant examinations or treatments have occurred, request medical, educational, and mental health records on the child.



To develop comprehensive Out-of-Home Care and Health Care Plans, complete the following steps at the time of each case plan staffing:

Review information on the child's status and needs related to physical health, education, emotional and behavioral health, obtained through ongoing contacts with family and service team members and through hard copy records.
Using information provided by the out-of-home caregiver and other sources, document the child's health status, educational status, and the child's special needs by updating the following windows: Special Needs Detail, Medical/Dental Condition Detail, Medication Detail, Psych/Behavioral Condition Detail, Examination Detail, Practitioner Detail, Participant Education Detail, Participant Education Condition, and Hospitalization Detail.


Prior to and during the case plan staffing, provide service team members comprehensive information on the child’s status including the child’s physical/dental health, emotional/behavioral health, educational status and other support needs, and the services and support needs of the out-of-home caregiver. Elicit the comments and recommendations of the service team members, and reach consensus, whenever possible, on:

the outcomes, tasks and services required to meet the child's needs;
the outcomes, tasks and services or supports required to maintain the out-of-home caregiver's ability to care for the child;
the frequency of face-to-face visits and telephone contact by the DCS Specialist required to meet the child's and provider's needs;
actions necessary to assure the child's safety in out-of-home care;
outcomes and tasks to achieve a concurrent permanency goal, if applicable; and
steps to be taken to achieve the permanency goal if the permanency goal is not family reunification, such as efforts to:
find an adoptive family or other permanent living arrangement for the child, including child specific recruitment efforts;
place the child with an adoptive family, a relative, a legal guardian, or in another planned permanent living arrangement; and
finalize the adoption or legal guardianship.


Print the updated Medical Summary Report and attach it to the case plan prior to distributing the case plan to the family and service team members. Ensure that the Medical Summary Report includes the most recent information available regarding the child’s health and education. Ensure the out-of-home caregiver receives an updated Medical Summary Report on the child in his or her care at least once every six months. (Access the Medical Summary Report through the File menu of the Case Summary window, LCH 057).



In consultation with the supervisor, implement changes in tasks or services necessary to meet the child's needs or maintain the out-of-home caregiver’s ability to care for the child. It is not necessary to convene a case plan staffing unless there is a significant change in case circumstances that may impact upon goals, services and needs, or a change in permanency goal is considered.



Complete extensive and documented searches for extended family members, other relatives, and other significant persons as placement resources for children in out-of-home care.



Use the Arizona Parent Locator Service to assist in locating missing parents, relatives and other significant persons. Complete the DCS Family Locate Referral, CSO-1310A and process according to operating procedures. See Locating Parent and Families



Develop the Parenting Time (Visitation) Plan in accordance with guidelines in Parent & Child Visitation.



Documentation

Using the Case Plan, Out of Home Care box, describe whether:

the child is placed in close proximity to at least one parent;
the child is placed in the least restrictive environment consistent with his or her special needs and best interest;
the child is placed with siblings in out-of-home care, if applicable;
at least one of the child's caregivers speaks the same language as the child;
efforts have been made to identify a relative placement; and
whether the child is attending his or her home school district.


Document services and supports provided to all out-of-home caregivers to address the needs of children in their care in the Case Plan, Out of Home Care box.



Document supports and services related to special needs, educational, psychological and behavioral needs in the Case Plan, Childs Needs, Supports and Services box.



File hard copy medical, educational, and mental health records in the hard copy case record.



Document the child's special needs and medical, educational and mental health status and needs, using the Special Needs Detail, Medical/Dental Condition Detail, Medication Detail, Psych/Behavioral Condition Detail, Examination Detail, Practitioner Detail, Participant Education Detail, Participant Education Condition, and Hospitalization Detail windows.



Document the plan for frequent, consistent parenting time (visitation) between the child and the child’s parents, siblings, family members, other relative, friends and any former placement in the Case Plan, Visitation Plan box.



If the permanency goal is not family reunification, document steps taken to achieve the permanency goal using the Out of Home Plan, including child specific recruitment efforts to:

find an adoptive family or other permanent living arrangement for the child;
place the child with an adoptive family, a relative, a legal guardian or in another planned permanent living arrangement; and
finalize the adoption or legal guardianship.


Document efforts to identify extended family members or other significant persons as placement resources using the Case Notes window.\





Chapter 3: Section 3.5

Long Term Foster Care

Policy

The Department shall establish long term foster care as another planned permanent living arrangement (APPLA) only when the permanency options of adoption and guardianship are not in the best interests of a child, the child is expected to remain in out-of-home care at least until the age of majority and the foster home provider has made a commitment to continue as a permanent supportive adult in that child’s life.



The Department shall establish a formalized agreement between the agency, foster home provider and child to support the continuity and stability of the placement.



When a child’s planned permanent living arrangement is long term foster care, the Department shall maintain contact with the child’s parents or extended family, whenever possible, to:



Inform and involve the family in decisions about their child where feasible.
Stay informed of changes in the family situation that might indicate a need to re-evaluate the permanency goal of long-term foster care, unless such contact would compromise the safety of the child.


Procedures

Considering Foster Care

Consider the following questions in deciding upon a planned living arrangement of foster care:



Is the child expected to remain in out-of-home care until the age of majority?
Is there a compelling reason why the foster home provider cannot or will not pursue adoption or guardianship of the child, and is it in the child's best interest to remain with the provider?
Have you documented a compelling reason that adoption or guardianship is not in the child's best interest?
Have the benefits of adoption and guardianship been explored with the child?
Is the child over 12 years of age and unwilling to consent to an adoption?
Has the foster care provider verbalized their commitment to continue as a permanent supportive adult in that child’s life?
Has the foster care provider verbalized their commitment to ensure the child maintains connections with their immediate and extended family?


Pursuing Foster Care Plan

Obtain the Regional Program Administrator designee's approval prior to pursuing a plan of foster care as a planned living arrangement.



Formalize the plan through the Long Term Foster Care Agreement, 1026A.



Request the court to grant physical custody of the child to the out-of-home provider.



Continue to provide all case planning and case management services, as described in Developing and Reassessing the Family-Centered Case Plan.



Support continued contact between the child and his or her parents, siblings and extended family members, unless such contact would be detrimental to the child.



Whenever possible, maintain contact with the child’s parents or extended family, to:



Inform and involve the family in decisions about their child where feasible.
Stay informed of changes in the family situation that might indicate a need to re-evaluate the permanency goal of long-term foster care, unless such contact would compromise the safety of the child.


Documentation

Document the selection of long term foster care as the chosen living arrangement in the Permanency Goal window.



Document the formalization of long-term foster care, using the Long Term Foster Care As a Planned Living Arrangement Agreement.









Chapter 3: Section 4

Contact with Children, Parents and Out-of-Home Caregivers

Policy

The Department shall maintain continued contact with children, parents, and if applicable, an out-of-home caregiver for all open cases to ensure the safety, permanency, and well-being of the child and to promote the achievement of the Permanency Goal.



While a case is open for services, the Department shall have face-to-face contact with the child(ren) and his/her caregiver at least once every month. The majority of face-to-face contacts with the child and the caregiver must occur in the child’s placement. If the child is verbal or able to communicate through other means (such as through writing, an augmentative communication device, sign language, etc.), part of at least one contact per month shall be alone with the child.



If the Permanency Goal is Family Reunification or Remain with Family, the Department shall have face-to-face contact with all parents at least once per month, including any alleged parents, parents residing outside of the child's home, and incarcerated parents. Exceptions to monthly face-to-face contact with parents may be made on a case-by-case basis based on the unique circumstances of the family.



The Department shall consult with the out-of-home caregiver, the child, if verbal or able to communicate through other means (such as through writing, an augmentative communication device, sign language, etc.), and other service team members as appropriate to determine if the child and/or caregiver requires more frequent face-to-face contact.



If any participant involved with an ongoing case provides the Department with verifiable proof of enrollment in the Address Confidentially Program, (ACP) the Department must ensure that the participant's address remains confidential and is redacted from all information in the case record.



Procedures

Required Contact with Children and Caregivers (Parent/Out-of-Home Caregiver)

If a child is placed in out-of-home care by staff other than the assigned DCS Specialist the assigned DCS Specialist must have telephone contact with the out-of-home caregiver and the child (if the child is able to communicate by phone) within 24 hours of placement; and face-to-face contact with the child and out-of-home caregiver, in-placement within fifteen (15) calendar days of placement. Thereafter, the assigned DCS Specialist must have monthly face-to-face contact with the caregiver and child.



The assigned DCS Specialist, or other, designated DCS Specialist who is assigned ongoing responsibility for the monthly contact, discusses and assesses the following with the child(ren) and his/her caregivers:

the safety of the child;
the child's and the caregiver's relationship;
the ability of the caregiver to meet the child's needs;
the safety of the physical home environment such as any observable hazardous conditions (no electricity, no water, exposed wiring, dangerous objects, harmful substances, external locks on bedroom doors, etc.) that may immediately threaten the child’s safety;
the case plan including the Permanency Goal, identified behavioral changes and services, and progress toward the Permanency Goal;
the developmental progress of the child;
the child's educational, physical health, and emotional and behavioral health status and needs;
the ability of the child to participate in age and developmentally appropriate extracurricular, enrichment, cultural, and social activities;
the child's medical and dental examinations, including required examinations within the first 30 days of removal and ongoing EPSDT visits, including standard medical tests and immunization  updates as appropriate;
the appropriateness and adequacy of services and supports provided to and for the child; and
the appropriateness and adequacy of services and supports provided to and for the caregiver to maintain the caregiver's ability to care for the child.


See the Child and Caregiver Visitation Field Guide (DCS-1591) for information on interviewing the child and caregiver during monthly face-to-face contacts.



While a monthly in-placement contact is preferred, there are occasions when the face-to-face contact with the child may occur outside of the placement setting. Conduct at least half of the monthly contacts with the child and the caregiver in the child's placement. If the child is verbal or able to communicate through other means (such as through writing, an augmentative communication device, sign language, etc.), spend part of at least one visit per month alone with the child.



More frequent face-to-face contact and/or telephone contact from the DCS Specialist between required monthly contacts may be necessary based on the case circumstances.



If a child is placed out of the home, review the placement packet regularly for accuracy.



If a child is placed in a therapeutic congregate care setting (therapeutic group home, residential treatment facility, etc.), monthly contact is required in addition to a review of treatment goals, appropriateness of placement, the need for continuation of the placement, and discharge planning at least once every three (3) months. (See Arranging Residential Treatment for more information on activities required to review a child’s placement in a residential treatment setting.)



Required Contact with Children Remaining in the Home When a Sibling is Placed Out of the Home:

When the Permanency Goal for the child in out-of-home care is Family Reunification, conduct ongoing monthly contact with any children remaining in the home even when these children are assessed as safe. Include these child(ren) in the initial Family Functioning Assessment (FFA) as well as any subsequent FFA.



When the Permanency Goal for the child in out-of-home care is not Family Reunification, monthly contact with the child(ren) who remain in the home and are assessed as safe is not required. Once the Family Functioning Assessment – Investigation is complete, document the child to be safe in the CSRA, end-date the safe child's participant role, and add the safe child as a “sibling.”



If, during the course of providing services to a child in out-of-home care and his/her family, there is reason to believe that a child remaining in the home may be unsafe in the home, additional contact and actions may be needed to assess and manage safety. See Present Danger Assessment and Planning.



Required Contact for a Child Placed Out-of-Region

If the child is placed out of the region under a courtesy supervision agreement, the courtesy supervision DCS Specialist may make the monthly face-to-face contact with the child and caregiver instead of the assigned DCS Specialist.



Required Contact for a Child Placed Out-of-State

If the child is placed out-of-state through an Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC), the assigned ICPC Case Manager in the receiving state makes monthly face-to-face contact with the child and caregiver.



If the child is placed out-of-state for therapeutic purposes without supervision being provided through an ICPC agreement, the assigned Behavioral Health Specialist will provide monthly updates to the DCS Specialist. The assigned DCS specialist maintains monthly telephone contact with the child. This procedure pertains to out-of-state placements in a residential treatment center, inpatient psychiatric facility, rehabilitation program, or similar program.



Required Contact with Parents

If the Permanency Goal is Remain with the Family or Family Reunification, during the monthly face-to-face contact with the parent discuss and assess identified safety threats, risks, parent protective capacities, and the parent’s successes or barriers in making the behavioral changes identified in the case plan. Discuss any change in services or supports the parent may need to achieve the case plan goals.



Obtain prior supervisory approval for exceptions to monthly face-to-face contact with the parents when the Permanency Goal is reunification or remain with family, Ongoing exceptions to monthly face-to-face contact shall be reviewed with the parents, team members and the supervisor at the time the case plan is developed and reassessed. An exception may be considered when a parent is incarcerated, or when a parent is out-of-region or out-of-state. If an exception to monthly face-to-face contact with a parent is approved, maintain a minimum of quarterly telephone contact or written correspondence with all parents whose whereabouts are known and whose rights have not been terminated.



This telephone contact or written correspondence must provide the parent the following information:

name, address, and phone number of the DCS Specialist;
a description of services the parents must complete prior to return of their child;
dates, locations, and contact information for any upcoming staffings and hearings;
information on the well-being and status of the child, including type of placement, health status, and any significant events, progress, or concerns; and
the consequences of not participating in reunification services.


If the Permanency Goal is not Remain with Family or Family Reunification, conduct quarterly contact with the parent until the court has ordered a change in Permanency Goal. Contact may be face-to-face, written, or by telephone.



Address Confidentiality Program

If a participant notifies the Department of enrollment in the Address Confidentially Program (ACP), the DCS Specialist must notify the DCS Privacy and Security team at Privacy@AZDCS.Gov to confirm the participant is currently enrolled. See Address Confidentiality Program for more information.



Documentation

Follow the Child and Caregiver Visitation Note Outline to document all face-to-face visits with the child and caregiver, using the Case Notes window designated as Child Contact type.

Select the "In Person" contact type radio button
Highlight the names of all parties including the DCS Specialist in the “Contact With” list on the Case Notes window; and
Select the "In Placement Contact" check box if the child and out-of-home care caregiver were seen together or separately in the caregiver's home.


Document the review of the child's Placement Packet in the Case Notes window.



Update CHILDS to reflect information provided by the out-of-home caregiver on the child’s needs and status using the detail windows associated with:

CHILDS Medical Summary report
Special Needs Detail, Medical/Dental Condition Detail
Medication Detail
Immunization detail
Psych/Behavioral Condition Detail
Examination Detail, Practitioner Detail
Participant Education Condition
Participant Education Detail
Hospitalization Detail windows


File completed Child Placement Packet forms in the hard copy record.



If an ICPC Case Manager or Courtesy Case Manager is responsible for making the ongoing monthly face-to-face visits, add the case manager with ongoing responsibility for the monthly visits to the case, using the Case Creation window.







Chapter 3: Section 5.1

Voluntary In-Home Services



Policy

The Department of Child Safety (DCS) will offer voluntary services for those families in which:

a DCS report has been received;
steps have been taken to assure, to the greatest extent possible, that all children are currently safe and will remain safe in the home; and
a DCS Investigation and Family Strengths and Risks Assessment have indicated that one or more children in the home is at risk of abuse and neglect.


Whenever possible, it is best to provide services on a voluntary basis, where the family is willing to access services that can improve the outcomes for the family. While the availability of services may be limited due to resource constraints, it is important to try to gain family support for voluntary involvement with the agency.



Services may be provided directly by DCS staff, by contract or through referral to other organizations or community agencies.



When a decision has been made to provide voluntary services to a family it is important and required that Child Safety Specialists have face-to-face contact with parent(s) residing in the same household and children in the home at least once a month in order to determine:

whether the children continue to remain safe in the home; and
the services and supports are being effective in alleviating the risk of abuse and neglect.


Procedures

Decision Making

Determine whether Voluntary Services are appropriate

Are there community or extended family resources available that can help the parent address these concerns without DCS involvement? Is the parent willing to use them?
In conversations with the caregiver, do they acknowledge that there a need for support for their family?
Based on your conversation with the caregiver, does he/she appear both willing and able to make changes in behavior and/or home environment to reduce the potential for harm to the children?
Has the parent received services from the Department in the past? If so, what was the result?
Is the parent willing to accept voluntary services from DCS?
What steps can be taken to ensure that the children will remain safe while voluntary services are provided?


Implementation

Once a case is identified to receive voluntary services, a case plan must be developed within 60 from that date. Convene a case plan staffing to develop the case plan. 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.



The service team, particularly the family, should be actively involved in all aspects of case planning to include:

assessment and identification of family strengths, protective capacities, and risks;
identification of behavioral changes required to address the identified risks;
identification of services and supports necessary to achieve the identified behavioral changes; and
assessing the family’s progress.


Provide or refer the family for services and supports identified in the case plan to address risk factors that must be resolved in order for the family to care for the child safely. These services may be provided:

as outlined in your region’s operating procedures,
through referral to other organizations or community agencies, and
through other sources such as faith-based and family support networks.


For each child with a case plan goal of “remain with family,” determine if the child meets the requirements for foster care candidacy as outlined in Determining if a Child Meets the Federal Requirements for Foster Care Candidacy If the child meets the requirements of foster care candidacy ensure that the following question on the case plan permanency goal window is answered as follows:

Potential Candidate for Foster Care? Yes [X]



Request Non-Title XIX Behavioral Health Services using the Request for Services, PS-067 in the Court Document Directory.



Request Title XIX Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse Services for eligible children and adults through the Regional Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA).



At least every six months, reassess the family’s ability to safely care for their child in the home. Determine whether the parent(s) is engaged in services and supports, and whether those services and supports identified in the case plan are promoting the desired behavioral changes. This reassessment is completed through the Modification of Services and Supports in the case plan .



It is critical that workers are particularly thorough in documentation of all services provided to the family. If removal of a child later becomes necessary, this documentation is the basis for the federally-required judicial determination that reasonable efforts were made to prevent the child's removal from home. (P.L. 96-272)



Documentation

Document the initial selection of services and supports by completing Child Safety and Risk Assessment and Case Planning .



For each revised case plan, document the selection of services and supports by completing the Case Plan.



Document the case plan reassessment by completing the Case Planning Windows .



Document all contacts with parents and family members using the Case Notes window, designated as the appropriate type. Document face-to-face contacts by selecting the In Person Contact type radio button and highlighting, in the Contact With list, the names of all parties present.



Ensure the Service Authorization Request window and Service Authorization Provider Match windows are completed.



File a copy of the PS-067 in the hard file.



Document the decision to provide voluntary services by completing the Determination of Case Status Window





Chapter 3: Section 5.2

Voluntary Placement

Policy

Voluntary placement with the Department is time-limited placement for a child and may be provided as an alternative for the family to keep their child safe. A case plan shall be developed with the family to resolve safety threats in order for the child to live safely at home.



Voluntary placement shall be with a licensed out-of-home care provider or a relative (the child’s grandparent, great grandparent, brother or sister of whole or half blood, aunt, uncle or first cousin) or person with significant relationship. The Department shall give preference to placement with an adult relative or person with significant relationship before a licensed out-of-home care provider, provided the adult relative or person with significant relationship meets all of the Department’s requirements.



A parent’s, guardian's or custodian's decision to place a child in voluntary placement with the Department does not constitute grounds for abandonment, abuse or dependency nor may it be used in a judicial proceeding as an admission of criminal wrong-doing. [ARS §8-806(G)]



Voluntary Placement Agreements shall not:

exceed 90 days, [ARS §8-806C];
be consecutive (“back-to-back”) placement agreements;
be utilized more than twice within 24 consecutive months, [ARS §8-806(C)];
be accepted for a child without the written, informed consent of the parent, legal guardian, or legal custodian [ARS §8-806(E)]; and
be accepted for a child who is age 12 or older and not developmentally disabled without the written informed consent of the child, unless the Department determines that voluntary placement is clearly necessary to prevent abuse. [ARS §8-806(F)


For an American Indian child, the "Indian custodian" (e.g., the parent or guardian) consent must be:

executed in writing and recorded before a judge; and
accompanied by the judge's certification that the terms and consequences of the consent were fully explained in detail and fully understood by the “Indian custodian” and that the explanation was either understood in English or interpreted into a language that the custodian understood. (25 U.S.C. § 1901, et seq.)


Procedures

The Voluntary Placement Agreement, CSO-1043 may be used when:

the parent, guardian, or custodian initiates contact with the Department to request voluntary placement of the child with the Department;
it has been determined that the child is in present danger or impending danger and that there is no in-home or other less intrusive present danger or safety plan option that will be sufficient to control the danger and allow the child to remain safely at home;
the child can be sufficiently protected while in voluntary placement;
based on the Family Functioning Assessment, the identified safety threats that prevent the child from living at home safely can be remedied within 90 days or less;
the permanency goal is family reunification;
the parent, guardian, or custodian is willing to voluntarily place the child in the custody of the Department, giving the Department the authority to place the child in the home of a licensed out-of-home care provider, an adult relative, or a person with a significant relationship with the child;
the parent, guardian, or custodian is willing and able to cooperate with a case plan and abide by the terms of the voluntary placement agreement; and
if the child is age 12 years or over and not developmentally disabled, the child and is willing to consent to voluntary placement, unless placement is clearly necessary to prevent abuse.


Consult with the DCS supervisor to ensure that the case circumstances meet the Department's criteria for voluntary placement.



If a Voluntary Placement Agreement will be implemented, inform the parents, guardians, or custodians:

about the safety threats that require an out-of-home safety plan and removal from the home;
that they will have the right to an attorney and a hearing before a juvenile court judge if they do not to agree to a voluntary placement, and the Department chooses to remove the child(ren) from the home and file a dependency petition;
that by signing the Voluntary Placement Agreement the parent, guardian, or custodian is placing the child in the Department’s custody who will then have the authority to place the child with a licensed out-of-home care provider, an adult relative, or a person with a significant relationship with the child;
that without the Department's approval, the parent, guardian, or custodian may not remove the child from the out-of-home placement while the Voluntary Placement Agreement is in place;
that a parent, guardian, or custodian may revoke a Voluntary Placement Agreement by providing written notice to the DCS Specialist; and that upon receipt of the notice, the DCS Specialist will, within 72 hours, excluding weekends and holidays:
return the child to the custody of parent, guardian or custodian; or
file a dependency petition if there is reason to believe that the child would be unsafe if he or she returns home;
that the parent, guardian, or custodian retains parental rights and responsibilities under the voluntary placement agreement with the Department, including the:
legal custody of the child,
right to reasonable visitation,
right to consent to medical treatment, and
right to participate in educational decisions and act as the special education parent (See Education for Children in Out-of-Home Care);
that his/her decision to place a child in voluntary placement does not constitute grounds for abandonment, abuse, or dependency nor may it be used in a judicial proceeding as an admission of criminal wrong-doing;
that after a child has been in out-of-home placement for 60 days, the time in out-of-home care will be included in the amount of time the Court considers when determining whether to terminate a parent's rights if:
a dependency petition is filed,
the child is made a ward of the court, and
the dependency action results in the termination of parental rights based on length of time the child has been in out-of-home placement.


When the determination is made that voluntary placement with the Department is appropriate:

explain the terms of Voluntary Placement Agreement to the parent, guardian, or custodian and to any child who is over age 12 years and not developmentally disabled, and;
determine, in cooperation with the parent, guardian, or custodian, the length of placement up to 90 days and specify this on the form.


Complete the Voluntary Placement Agreement, CSO-1043. Have the parent, guardian, or custodian and child, if appropriate, sign the form.



If the child who is age 12 years or older and not developmentally disabled refuses to sign the Voluntary Placement Agreement, and it has been determined that voluntary placement is clearly necessary to prevent abuse, document the reasons for proceeding with the placement in the case record using the Case Notes window.



Distribute the Voluntary Placement Agreement as follows:

Give one copy to the parent, guardian, or custodian.
Give one copy to the child, if age 12 years or older and not developmentally disabled.
Keep the original in the child's hard copy record.


Kinship Placement

Follow the Implementation procedures in Kinship Care to determine whether the person meets the requirements for placement. The following are not required for a voluntary placement agreement with a relative:

References;
Formal home study; and
Kinship Placement Notification letter.


Complete the following activities prior to placement with kinship caregiver:

Complete a search of the Central Registry, CHILDS Case Management Information System, and other states or jurisdictions (if applicable) for current or prior involvement with Department of Child Safety on all individuals in the home over 18 year of age.
Complete a criminal history records check with the Department of Public Safety (DPS) using the Justice Web Interface (JWI) for all adults residing in the home.
When a person does not have a social security number, the DPS Criminal Records Check shall still be completed using information currently in CHILDS (including assigned pseudo social security numbers). In this situation, additional searches are necessary, including a public records search or information available through local law enforcement.
Complete a Safety Plan and Signature Sheet and (Provide each caregiver and safety monitor (when applicable) a copy of these completed forms.
Visit the home to ensure that the home environment has no observable safety hazards using the Home Safety Checklist for Kinship Foster Caregiver Household (CSO-1014).
Determine if there is any information that would preclude the relative from providing a safe, nurturing environment for the child.
Complete the Kinship Placement Agreement and Notification of Resources. Relative(s) must read and sign the form.
Ensure the relative(s) and all individuals in the home over 18 years of age complete the Self-Disclosure Statement for Kinship Foster Caregiver Household, CSO-1130A and complete a fingerprint based background check.
Within 15 working days of the completed DPS check, require all adult household members to complete a fingerprint based background check. Provide Fieldprint instructions to all adults upon placement consideration or emergency placement. If needed, provide assistance in submitting the fingerprints. Additional Department resources can be provided to assist adults that are unable to submit fingerprints to Fieldprint.
If any adult household member fails to complete the fingerprint based background check, the child cannot be placed in the home.
A person who is denied a Level One Fingerprint Clearance Card may still be considered as a kinship placement, if the offense preventing approval of the Level One Fingerprint Clearance Card is appealable to the Board of Fingerprinting.
The DCS Specialist should gather all relevant information and consult with his/her supervisor for approval to continue placement of the child(ren) in the home.


Place the child in a licensed out-of-home care placement or with a kinship caregiver that meets the child’s individualized assessed needs. See Selecting an Out-of-Home Care Provider.



Follow the procedures outlined in Voluntary Placement of an Indian Child when the child is or may be American Indian.



Team Decision Making (TDM) and Voluntary Placement Agreements

A Present Danger TDM meeting will be held within 48 business hours if the Voluntary Placement Agreement has been implemented as a protective action in a present danger plan.



A Safety Planning TDM meeting will be held when the Family Functioning Assessment has been completed and a determination has been made that the child is unsafe due to an impending danger threat, and a parent has signed a Voluntary Placement Agreement.



In addition to any TDM meeting that was held at the initiation of a Voluntary Placement Agreement, a Safety Planning TDM meeting must be held within no less than 30 days from the expiration of the Voluntary Placement Agreement, and/or the parent’s request to rescind the Voluntary Agreement.



A Safety Planning TDM meeting is not required when a child has been determined to be safe.



Case Management of Voluntary Placement Agreements

Develop an individualized case plan within 10 working days of placing a child in voluntary placement with the Department. The case plan must address the:

safety threats that prevent the child from living safely at home;
provisions for contact and visitation between the child and family; and
the services necessary to promote the safety of the child on the planned return date to the parent, guardian, custodian, or alternative placement.


For policy and procedures of developing a case plan see Developing and Reassessing the Family-Centered Case Plan.



Meet with the family within 30 days of taking a child into voluntary placement (and monthly thereafter) to review the case status, progress toward the permanency goal, and continued appropriateness of voluntary placement. If, at any time in the 90 days, either of the following are true, then the child must be returned to his/her home:

Family circumstances have changed such that the Conditions for Return have been met, and the results of the in-home safety analysis indicate an in-home safety plan would be sufficient to control the danger.
Family circumstances have changed such that the results of the Family Functioning Assessment indicate there is no longer present or impending danger, and the child is assessed as safe.


Monitor the child’s out-of-home placement through monthly face-to-face contact with the child and caregiver, in the caregiver’s home, to ensure that the child is safe.



Follow procedures found in Locating Children on Runaway Status if the child runs away from the voluntary placement. In addition to these procedures:

Convene a case conference, within seven days, to include the parent, guardian or custodian and the out-of-home care provider to discuss continuance or termination of the Voluntary Placement Agreement.
Do not end date the Removal Status or terminate CMDP coverage unless the Voluntary Placement Agreement is terminated.


Expiration of the Voluntary Placement Agreement

Within 10 working days prior to expiration of the Voluntary Placement Agreement:

Reassess the child’s safety using the Family Functioning Assessment-Progress Update.
Convene a case plan staffing to determine whether:
the child may be safely returned home; or
the parent, guardian, or custodian has arranged an alternate safe placement with a relative, non-custodial parent, or other custodian; or
filing an In-Home Intervention, or In-Home Dependency Petition or Out of Home Dependency Petition is necessary to ensure the child's safety.


Before the child returns home or is placed in an alternate safe placement:

ensure that the child is provided an opportunity to talk about his/her feelings about going home or going to an alternate placement;
determine the follow-up services needed by the parent, guardian, custodian, or alternate caregiver to meet the child’s needs;
inform the parent, guardian, custodian, or alternate caregiver about available financial and non-financial services and eligibility requirements;
assist the parent, guardian, custodian, or alternate caregiver to complete the necessary applications for services; and
access needed services through Department or community resources.


Documentation

Document reasons the voluntary placement is appropriate, and the explanation of the terms and conditions of the Voluntary Placement Agreement using the Case Notes window.



Ensure that the child is enrolled in CMDP by completing the Removal Status window with the date of placement with the licensed out-of-home care provider or relative as the Removal Start Date.



Document the case plan staffing using the Case Notes window designated as Staffing type.



When needed, document the reasons for proceeding with placement when a child who is age 12 or over and not developmentally disabled refuses to sign the Voluntary Placement Agreement using the Case Notes window.



Document the meeting with the parent, guardian, or custodian held 30 days after placement and every 30 days thereafter to review the case status using the Case Notes window designated as Parent/ Caretaker Contact type.



Using the Child and Caregiver Visitation Note Outline document all face-to-face visits with the child and caregiver, using the Case Notes window designated as the appropriate type.



Select the "In Person" contact type radio button.
Highlight the names of all parties including the DCS Specialist in the “Contact With” list on the Case Notes window.
Select the "In Placement Contact" check box if the child and out-of-home care caregiver were seen together or separately in the caregiver's home.


If the child runs away from Voluntary Placement, document all information related to the runaway of a child including the DR number, notification of all parties and specific attempts to locate the child using the Case Notes window.



Following the child’s return to the parent, guardian, or custodian or alternate caregiver, end date the removal on the Removal Status window and update the Legal Status window.





Chapter 3: Section 5.3

Terminating Voluntary Services



Policy

Voluntary services shall be terminated when:

the family is able to care for its children safely without involvement of Department of Child Safety; or
the family no longer wishes to participate in voluntary services and risk factors are not severe enough to warrant a dependency action; or
a dependency action must be filed to ensure the safety of the child.


Procedures

A Voluntary case may be closed when:

The parent recognizes the factors that caused the child to be at risk of harm.
The parent has taken steps to change the behavior or situation that places the child at risk.
These steps are sufficient to lead you to believe that the child will be safe at home in the foreseeable future.
The parent is involved with extended family members, community support networks or service providers who will be able to help the family maintain these changes over time.
The parent knows how and where to access help if problems arise in the future.
The child been placed, as arranged by the parent, guardian or custodian, in an alternate, safe, permanent, legal placement with a relative, on-custodian parent, or other custodian.
The follow-up services needed by the relative, non-custodial parent or alternate caregiver to continue to meet the child's needs have been established.


Prior to case closure:

Ensure that the parent, guardian, custodian or the caregiver is aware of available financial and non-financial services and eligibility requirements.
Assist the parent, guardian, custodian or caregiver to complete the necessary applications for services.
Access needed services through Department or community resources.
Ensure that the parent has extended family members or community support networks that can assist him or her if difficulties arise.
Ensure that the parent knows how and under what circumstances to seek help in the future.


Terminate voluntary services and file a dependency petition when:

The child would be unsafe at home or in a placement made by the parent and that no additional supports or interventions can assure the child's safety.
The parent is unwilling or unable to take concrete actions to change the behavior or situation that led to DCS involvement with the family.
There is a family member, community support network or service provider who can assist the family in keeping the child safe only through court intervention.


Conduct a case plan staffing to assess the progress made in addressing the risk factors that led to DCS  involvement with the family. If the assessment indicates that:

identified safety and risk factors have been adequately addressed, outcomes have been achieved and the child appears to be safe at home, close the case.
the family refuses to participate in voluntary services and grounds for a dependency action do not exist, close the case.
the child appears to be unsafe in his or her current situation, follow the procedures for filing an In-Home Intervention, or In-Home Dependency Petition or Out of Home Dependency Petition to ensure the child's safety.


Documentation

Document the decision to terminate voluntary Department of Child Safety and close the case.



Document the case plan staffing using the Case Notes window designated as Staffing type















Chapter 3: Section 6.1

In-Home Intervention  

Policy

The Department may recommend the filing of a petition requesting In-Home Intervention when:

The Family Functioning Assessment (FFA) indicates that the child is safe or an in-home safety plan is in place.
The child is at a moderate or higher level of risk of harm and short-term services (up to one year) are required to resolve the identified risk factors.
There is reason to believe that the parent, guardian or custodian will only follow through with services with court oversight.
Child has not been taken into temporary custody.


Decision making



Implementation

Review the results of the FFA. Assess the type and level of intervention and supervision needed to ensure the child’s continued safety and to remedy the identified risk factors.



Review and discuss the case circumstances with your supervisor, including the likelihood of resolving the risk factors through In-Home Intervention.



Develop and implement the case plan in accordance with Case Planning.



Legal Issues

Consult with the Office of the Attorney General to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to file a petition for in-home intervention and maintain the child safely in the home. Also, discuss the duration of the petition (up to one year or less).



If so advised by the Attorney General’s Office that there is sufficient evidence, prepare the Dependency Petition Worksheet, CT00900, found in the Court Document Detail, and submit it to the Attorney General’s Office, following regions operating procedures . Indicate “In-Home Intervention Requested” on the Dependency Petition Worksheet.



Serve the Notice Requesting In-Home Intervention, CSO-1029, to the parents (including the non-custodial parent), guardian or custodian.



If necessary, conduct an extensive and documented search for missing parents. If you are unable to identify or locate a parent after conducting a diligent search, complete an Affidavit of Unknown Residence, CT00600, found in the Court Document Detail, and submit it to the Attorney General’s Office prior to the Initial Dependency Hearing.



Prepare the report to Juvenile Court for the Initial Dependency Hearing (also known as a 21-Day Hearing) using the Report to Juvenile Court for In-Home Intervention, CT05500, found in the Court Document Detail. Provide all verbal and written responses to the allegation and any documentation obtained from the subject of a DCS investigation. Submit the report to the Court and the Attorney General’s Office at least five working days prior to the hearing with the following attachments:

Proposed Case Plan as documented in the Permanency Goals window, Case Plan Tasks window, and the Case Plan Agreement window.
Foster Care Plan and Progress Report, FC-064, and FC-064-A, Attachment A, found in Court Document Detail.
Ensure that the child's school name and address are recorded on the FC-064-A.
Include on the FC-064-A the name and address of any juvenile probation officer of a child and any RBHA case manager of a parent or a child.
Reports from service team members if applicable and available.


Send the report to the attorneys and/or guardians ad litem representing the parents, guardians and child in the Dependency Petition, with all of the above attachments except Foster Care Plan and Progress Report, FC-064, and FC-064-A, Attachment A.



Send the report to other individuals given "interested party" status by the Court, to the parents, guardians and child, if age 12 or older and not represented by an attorney; to any juvenile probation officer; to any parent’s or child's RBHA case manager. Include the Proposed Case Plan as the only attachment.



Successful In-Home Intervention Case Plan

If the parent, guardian or custodian successfully completes the in-home intervention case plan, contact the Attorney General’s Office to file a motion to dismiss the Petition. Complete an Addendum Report following the format found in the Court Document Detail, CT00200, and submit the report to the Attorney General’s Office. A hearing on the motion to dismiss is not required; although, the Court may set a hearing. Distribute the Addendum Report as described above.



Consult with the Attorney General’s Office if there is a reason to extend the In-Home Intervention order . The Attorney General’s Office will file a motion to extend the order prior to the In-Home Intervention Review Hearing.



If the petition is not dismissed prior to the In-Home Intervention Review Hearing, complete an Addendum Report, CT00200. Ensure that the report contains the following information:

the services offered and provided;
parent’s participation and progress in services;
description of how each identified risk factor has been resolved; and
need (and reason) for an extension of In-Home Intervention Services.


Submit the report to the Court and the Attorney General’s Office at least ten working days prior to the hearing with the following attachments:

Foster Care Plan and Progress Report, FC-064, and FC-064-A, Attachment A, found in Court Document Detail.
Ensure that the child's school name and address are recorded on the FC-064-A.
Include on the FC-064-A the name and address of any juvenile probation officer of a child and any RBHA case manager of a parent or a child.
Reports from service team members if applicable and available.


Send the report to the attorneys and/or guardians ad litem representing the parents, guardians and child in the Dependency Petition with all of the above attachments except Foster Care Plan and Progress Report, FC-064, and FC-064-A, Attachment A.



Send the report to other individuals given "interested party" status by the court, to the parents, guardians and child, if age 12 or older and not represented by an attorney; to any juvenile probation officer; to any parent’s or child's RBHA case manager.



Unsuccessful In-Home Intervention Case Plan

If after the Court orders In-Home Intervention, the parent, guardian or custodian does not comply with the case plan including participation in services, reassess the child’s safety using the FFA to determine if the child is safe in the home.



If the child is unsafe and an In-Home Safety Plan can ensure the child’s safety:

Complete a Safety Plan.
Determine whether the level of risk has increased by completing a reassessment of the family’s strengths and risks using the FFA .
Contact the assigned Assistant Attorney General to file a motion to rescind the In-Home Intervention order and proceed to adjudication.
Complete an Addendum Report following the format found in the Court Document Detail, CT00200, and submit the report to the Attorney General’s Office.
Distribute the Addendum Report as described above.


If the child is unsafe and the child’s safety can not be maintained in the home:

Complete an Out-of-Home Safety Plan.
Take temporary custody of the child.
Serve a Notice of Removal, CSO-1039 to the parent, guardian or custodian.
Contact the Attorney General’s Office to file a motion to rescind the In-Home Intervention order and a motion to Change Physical Custody.
Notify the child’s attorney and/or guardian ad litem.
Complete an Addendum Report following the format found in the Court Document Detail, CT00200, and submit the report to the Attorney General’s Office. Distribute the Addendum Report as described above.


Documentation

Document consultation with the supervisor using the Case Notes window, designated as Supervisory Contact type.



Document consultation with the Attorney General’s Office using the Case Notes window, designated as AG Contact type.



File a copy of the Dependency Petition along with any court order for In-Home Intervention in the case record.



Document the child’s legal status as In-Home Intervention in the Legal Status window.









Chapter 3: Section 6.2

In-Home Dependency: Filing  

Policy

The Department shall consider providing services through an in-home dependency petition when:

A child is assessed as safe at the time, but is at high risk of abuse or neglect; and
There is indication that the child’s parent or guardian or custodian will not comply with voluntary protective services needed to establish and maintain the child’s safety and well-being; OR
There is rapid escalation in severity of safety or risk factors that indicates the child may be at immediate or serious risk of harm; and
Safeguards can be established to maintain the child’s continued safety and well-being in the home.


The Department shall ensure that intervention is provided to remedy the risk factors that prevent the parent from safely caring for his/her child without of court supervision and Department intervention.



An in-home dependency petition shall not be considered when the child’s safety and well-being can not be maintained in the home or protective services are unlikely to remedy the risk factors that place the child at high risk of abuse or neglect.



Procedures

Decision Making

If the decision is made to open a case and a petition is to be filed, there are three options: petitioning for in-home intervention, filing an in-home dependency petition or filing an out of home dependency petition.



Consider filing an in-home dependency petition when the answer to all of the following questions is YES:

Does the child safety assessment indicate that the child is safe?
Is the child at high risk of abuse or neglect?
Does the parent fail to acknowledge the potential for abuse or neglect of the child and/or the need for protective services?
Have voluntary protective services been offered or provided and the parent refused or failed to follow through with services or a plan to ensure the child’s safety?
Does the risk assessment indicate recurrence or increase in the level and/or types of risk to the child?
Will Department and court supervision assist or ensure that the parent can protect the child and maintain a safe, nurturing environment?


In addition to the above questions, the following questions should be considered:

Does the parent understand the consequences of non-compliance with in-home protective services?
Is the parent or another person in the home subject to supervision by another entity (such as a state or tribal court, probation, mental health) and additional monitoring is necessary to ensure the child’s safety and well-being


Do not consider an in-home dependency petition when the child’s health and safety can not be maintained in the home or protective services are unlikely to remedy the risk factors that place the child at high risk of abuse or neglect.



Consider filing an in-home dependency petition when the child’s safety can be maintained in the home and one or more of the following risk factors have been identified:

Substance abuse;
Domestic violence;
Current or prior history of severe or serious injuries to a child in the home;
Chronic, more severe or additional types of risk to the child, or
The parent’s failure or inability to obtain treatment for a life-threatening medical condition.


Implementation

Review and discuss the case circumstances with your supervisor.



Consult with the Office of the Attorney General to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to support an in-home dependency petition. If so advised by the Attorney General’s Office, file the dependency petition in accordance with Filing an Out-of-Home Dependency Petition.



Provide notice of the filing of the in-home dependency petition to the parent (including the non-custodial parent), guardian or custodian by serving the parent, guardian or custodian the In-Home Dependency Notice, CSO-1031A. Prepare the report to Juvenile Court for the Preliminary Protective Hearing in accordance with Filing an Out-of-Home Dependency Petition



Assess the type and level of protective services needed to ensure the child’s safety and to remedy the identified risk factors. More intensive services such as Arizona Family Preservation Services, Arizona Families FIRST, Parent Aide and DCS Child Care services should be considered.



In consultation with the service team, determine the level of supervision needed to ensure the child’s continued safety in the home. If possible, identify extended family member or community resources to assist in monitoring the child’s safety and to support the family’s participation in services. At a minimum, visit the child and the family in the family’s home at least once a month.



Develop and implement the case plan in accordance with Developing and Reassessing the Family-Centered Case Plan.



Documentation

Document consultation with the supervisor using the Case Notes window, designated as Supervisory Contact type.



Document consultation with the Attorney General’s Office using the Case Notes window, designated as AG Contact type.



File a copy of the In-Home Dependency Notice and the Dependency Petition along with any court orders or minute entries resulting from the dependency hearing in the case record.



Document the child’s legal status as In-Home Dependency in the Legal Status window.



Ensure child has proper removal status to indicate that child is in the home.







Chapter 3: Section 6.3

In-Home Dependency: Services  

Policy

When the court has granted a dependency petition, the Department shall provide services that minimize intrusion into family life to the greatest extent possible while ensuring the health and safety of the child.



With the court's approval, the Department may provide in-home services under a dependency if such services can adequately ensure the child's health and safety while the family addresses safety threats that necessitate Department of Child Safety (DCS) involvement.



Case planning and case management requirements described in Developing and Reassessing the Family-Centered Case Plan shall apply to families receiving in-home services under a dependency petition.



DCS Specialists shall have face-to-face contact with the child and parent(s) in the home at least once a month :

to monitor the safety plan and ensure child safety; and
to work with the family on addressing safety threats that prevent them from caring for the child safely without DCS involvement.


Procedures

Implementation

To provide in-home services to families under a dependency:

Review court orders carefully to make sure that all requirements of the court are met.
Develop a proposed case plan jointly with the family. Meet all requirements related to periodic reassessment and revision of case plans.
Review and update the Family Functioning Assessment (FFA)if necessary, whenever the case plan is revised.
Complete the Family Relationships window.
Visit the child and family in the family home at least monthly .
Review all service provider reports
Provide services and/or refer the family to services that will address risk factors that prevent the family from ensuring the child's health and safety without DCS involvement.
Monitor the family's progress in achieving the outcomes specified in the case plan.


When providing in-home services under a dependency, do not:

Present the case for review by the Foster Care Review Board;
Develop an Out-of-Home Care Plan or Visitation Agreement;
Complete any other tasks associated solely with out-of-home placement.


Documentation

Document all contacts and visitation with the child(ren) and family members using the Case Notes window, designating the appropriate type. Document face-to-face contacts using the Case Notes window and by selecting the In Person Contact Type radio button.



Highlight the names of all parties present using the Contact With list on the Case Notes window. Select the "In Placement Contact" when the child and parent are seen together or separately in the parent's home.



Document the decision to provide in-home services under a dependency petition using the Determination of Case Status window.



Document the Proposed Case Plan by completing the following windows associated with the Case Plan Directory: Permanency Goals, Case Plan Tasks and Case Plan Agreement. Confirm the information on the Notification window.



Document the periodic reassessment of the case and the revised case plan by completing the following windows associated with the Case Plan Directory.



If new safety or risk factors have been identified since the last assessment, use the FFA.







Chapter 3: Section 7.1

Parent & Child Visitation



Policy

The Department shall facilitate visitation and ongoing contact between a child in out-of-home care and the child’s parents, family members, their relatives and individuals with significant relationships to the child to preserve and enhance relationships with and attachments to the family of origin. Contact may be by telephone, mail and/or in-person visitation.



The Department must determine whether there is a court order from a Superior Court criminal case that prohibits contact between the child and his/her parent or guardian before facilitating contact.



If the placement of siblings together is not possible for all or any of the siblings, the Department shall make efforts to maintain frequent visitation or other ongoing contact between all siblings unless documented evidence that visitation or ongoing contact would be contrary to the child’s or a sibling’s safety or well-being.



The Department shall facilitate contact by telephone, mail and visitation between a child in out-of-home care and the child’s friends and any former foster parent unless such contact is documented as contrary to the child’s or a sibling’s safety or well-being.



The Department may recommend that visitation or contact between a child in out-of-home care and the child’s parents, family members, other relatives, friends, and any former foster parents be restricted only when visitation or contact is contrary to the child’s safety or well-being.



All case plans for children in out-of-home care shall include a contact and visitation plan which is developed with involvement of family members and the child, if age appropriate, or documentation of why contact and visitation is contrary to the child’s safety and well-being.



Frequency, duration, location and structure of contact and visits shall be determined based primarily upon the child's need for safety and for family contact with safety being the paramount concern. Visitation and other contact by telephone and mail shall not be used as a reward or as a punishment for the child or any family member.



Visitation shall take place in the most natural, family-like setting possible and with as little supervision as possible while still ensuring the safety and well-being of the child.



The Department shall make every reasonable effort to not remove a child, who is in out-of home care, from school during regular school hours for appointments, visitation or activities not related to school.



Procedures

Decision Making

In determining a contact and visitation plan, consider these factors:

Superior Court criminal case orders:
Any order from a Superior Court criminal case that prohibits contact between the child and his/her parent or guardian before facilitating contact.


Initial and continuous Family Functioning Assessment (FFA):
the safety threats currently present in the family;
when, where, and with whom the safety threats are present;
whether the child(ren) would be vulnerable to the safety threats during unsupervised visitation;
whether there are safety actions that can control the safety threats during supervised or unsupervised visitation.


Child-specific factors:
importance of contact with family and extended family members;
best interests of the child;
placement locations of siblings;
chronological and developmental age;
requests for and reaction to visits;
therapeutic needs; and
school and activity schedules.


Family (parents, family members, and other relatives) factors:
family's behavior and abilities that are specifically detrimental to the child;
family's request for and reaction to visits ;
family's work, school or activity schedule;
family relationships and interactions; and
parent's progress toward case plan task that directly relate to the safety and well-being of the child;


Caregiver factors:
level of involvement in visiting;
willingness to assist with visitation;
work, school or activity schedule;
impact of visitation on other children in the placement.


Significant persons (friends and former foster parent) factors:
length and quality of relationship with the child;
person's contribution to the child's positive growth and development;
person's wishes for visitation and contact with the child;
person's motivation for visitation and contact with the child;
person's behavior during visitation and contact with the child;
person’s awareness of the needs of the child; and
consequences for the child if visitation and contact is not maintained.


Based on these factors, determine the type, frequency, duration, and location of contact and visits. Determine if visits or other contact should be highly structured, moderately structured, or relaxed. For more information, see Visitation Supervision Continuum



Implementation

Before facilitating contact between the child and his/her parent or guardian,

Ask the parent or guardian is there is any court order from a Superior Court criminal court that prohibits contact between the child and his/her parent or guardian.
Search the Arizona Supreme Court Public Access to Court Information for any cases involving the parent or guardian. Enter the first and last name of the parent or guardian, his/her month and year of birth, and select "All Searchable Courts". If your county does not post Superior Court criminal case information on the website, contact your county's Superior Court directly to determine whether there is a criminal case court order that prohibits contact between the parent of guardian and the child.
If any case is identified, determine whether the case is a Superior Court Criminal Court. You may also be able to view minute entries for the case.


Do not facilitate contact between the child and his/her parent or guardian if an order from a Superior Court criminal case prohibits such contact.



Involve family members, the child, if age appropriate, and caregivers in developing the contact and visitation plan. In particular, assist the child and the parents to identify extended family and significant persons as potential placement options or non-placement support persons.



Give parents a copy of Visitation Guidelines for Parents, CSO-1138A and discuss it with them.



Strive for weekly contact and visitation with parents and between siblings not placed together. Adapt the frequency as necessary to meet the child's safety and well-being needs. Make every reasonable effort to schedule and arrange transportation to visitation between the child and his/her family including parents and siblings during non-school hours. Whenever possible, use service providers who are able to transport and facilitate/ supervise visitation during non-school hours.



Comply with any court orders regarding contact and visitation.



Ensure that all persons included in the contact and visitation plan are entered as case participants using the most appropriate case role.



Consider information provided by service providers and caregivers concerning the progress of parents towards addressing safety and risk factors as well as the specific needs of the child.



Medical Marijuana

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act Arizona Medical Marijuana Act) enables a person (a qualifying patient), who is registered with the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), to legally obtain, under Arizona law, an allowable amount of marijuana and possess and use the marijuana for its therapeutic effects in treating and alleviating symptoms associated with a debilitating medical condition. However, the possession, sale or transportation of marijuana is still a crime under Federal law.



The DCS Specialist and his/her supervisor may not restrict or deny contact or visitation between the child and a parent who is a qualifying patient because the parent uses and/or cultivates marijuana for his/her medical use.



In order to recommend against contact or visitation with a child by a parent, who is a qualifying patient, the DCS Specialist and his/her supervisor must assess the parent’s behavior and determine whether that behavior creates an unreasonable danger to the child's safety or well-being.



If contact and visitation are determined to be contrary to the child's safety or well-being and the child cannot be protected through a supervised or structured visit, contact the Attorney General's Office to request that a motion be filed to restrict or prohibit contact. Restriction or denial of contact or visitation between the child and the child’s siblings, parents, relatives, friends, former foster parents may occur only by court order.



Increase the frequency and duration of contact and visits as progress toward case plan tasks that directly relate to safety and well-being of the child are achieved. Provide maximum opportunity for parent-child contact responsibility during reunification phase visits.



If a child objects to contact and visitation, consult your supervisor.



If conflicts arise around contact and visitation:

Consider the child's safety and well-being as the paramount concern in conflict resolution.
Assure the family members and siblings' rights to contact and visitation over the needs or preferences of out-of-home care providers.
Give weight to the contact and visitation plan that best supports the case plan, even if the plan is less convenient or requires additional agency resources.
If conflicts are unresolved, explore other avenues for seeking resolution, such as mediation or the court system


Documentation

Document the contact and visitation plan in the Visitation window.



If the siblings are unable to be placed together, document frequent contact or visitation between siblings in the Visitation section in the Case Plan.



When a decision is made that contact and visitation is contrary to the child's safety and well-being, document the reasons in a Case Note in CHILDS.



Document the need for contact and visitation restrictions in the Visitation section of the Case Plan.



Document contact between the child and the child’s siblings, family members, other relatives, friends, and any former foster parents using the Case Notes windows.



Document the supervision of contact and visitation using the Summary of Supervised Visitation, CSO-1091A. File the form in the hard copy record









Chapter 3: Section 7.2

Parent Aide Services

Policy

To the extent that resources allow, the Department shall utilize the services of parent aides to provide a range of supportive services aimed at preserving, stabilizing and reuniting families.



Parent aide services shall be provided at the discretion of the Department in conjunction with needs identified in the family's case plan.



Parent aide services may be provided by Department of Child Safety (DCS) staff or by a contract provider.



Parent aides shall not manage family finances or administer medication.



Parent aides shall not serve Temporary Custody Notices to parents or other caretakers.



A family shall not receive parent aide services for more than 180 days unless there is a review of the continued need for service.



Procedures

Considering Parent Aide Services

Consider using parent aide services when a family assessment indicates that a family needs assistance in the areas of:

parenting skills;
home management, including budgeting, nutrition, time management and personal care skills related to the case plan ;
transportation; or
supporting the visitation process.




Implementation

Meet with the assigned parent aide to discuss the case. Be specific about the permanency goals and services identified in the case plan. Provide the parent aide a copy of the case plan.



Introduce the parent aide to the family and be sure that the family understands what services will be provided.



Review the parent aide's monthly report to assess case progress and determine if a case plan revision may be necessary. Consult with the parent aide, as necessary. Include the parent aide as a member of the service team.



In an emergency, make a verbal request for a parent aide from the parent aide supervisor. Complete the Service Authorization and Provider Match Process within two working days.



Consult with your supervisor if it appears that services may need to be extended beyond 180 days.



Notify the parent aide of termination of parent aide services or case closure.



Notify the family verbally or in writing of the discontinuation of parent aide services. Meet with the family and parent aide at least five working days prior to discontinuation of services to review progress and identify areas in which further assistance is needed.



DOCUMENTATION

Complete PS-067, Request for Services and route according to region procedures. Make certain to outline clearly with whom parent aide is to work and the tasks to be accomplished.



Ensure authorization for the service is completing according to region operating procedures.



Keep a copy of the PS-067 in hard copy record.



Maintain the parent aide's monthly reports in the hard copy record.



Document approval for an additional service authorization from your supervisor using the Case Notes window, Supervisory type.







Chapter 3: Section 7.3

Housing Services

Policy

The Department of Child Safety (DCS) may provide housing assistance to a child’s family if the lack of adequate housing is a significant barrier preventing the child from reunifying or remaining with the child’s parent, or remaining with a relative or kinship caregiver who will provide permanency for the child.



Housing assistance may only be provided if other resources are unavailable.



Housing assistance may only be used to assist a relative or significant other in cases in which return to the parent has been ruled out and the case plan reflects that the relative or significant other is seeking permanent placement of the child through adoption or legal guardianship.



Housing assistance may only be used for the following:

rent;
rent arrears;
rental or utility deposits;
utility installation and payments; and
utility arrears.


The Housing Assistance program shall not be used to make mortgage payments.



The Department shall pay approved housing assistance to the vendor; no payments shall be made to a family member.



The amount of housing assistance provided by the Department to a household shall not exceed $1800 during a six month period, and shall not exceed $1800 during a case open incident without prior approval of the Deputy Director of Field Operations.



The housing assistance payment may only be made on behalf of U.S. citizens or those otherwise lawfully present in the U.S.



Housing assistance is based on family need and determined by the Child Safety Specialist by reviewing the household expenses and income as provided on the Housing Assistance Referral form (CSO-1098).



A family receiving benefits from this program must receive case planning and case management services including monitoring the family's financial situation throughout the duration of the benefits. Housing assistance shall not be continued after the DCS case is closed.



Procedures

Assess the identified family’s housing need by completing the family Functioning Assessment (FFA).



If lack of adequate housing is identified as a need for the child, consider referring the parent or caregiver to the Short Term Crisis Services program (STCS) administered by the Community Services Administration of the Department of Economic Security.



If a household appears to meet the eligibility criteria for the STCS program, have the parent or caregiver schedule an appointment with the local community action agency through the website.



If the household is not eligible for the STCS program, assist the family in identifying, contacting, and applying for housing assistance from other available resources by:

identifying resources that have the potential to meet some or all of the household’s housing needs;
providing thorough referral information about the identified resources to the parent or caregiver; and
if needed, assist the parent or caregiver to contact the resources and complete any application processes.


If all efforts to locate housing assistance within the family and community have been exhausted and assistance remains unavailable, determine the household’s eligibility for the Housing Assistance Program. To determine if a household is eligible for this program, confirm all the following are true:

at least one child in the household is a participant in an open DCS case;
the assistance will prevent removal of the child from a parent, guardian, or custodian or will expedite permanency for the child;
lack of adequate housing is a significant barrier preventing the child from reunifying or remaining with the child’s parent, or remaining with a relative or kinship caregiver who will provide permanency for the child;
all other sources of assistance have been fully explored and utilized, and it has been determined that other resources are not available;
the parent or caregiver receiving the assistance (lessee or person whose name appears on the utility account) has indicated that he/she is a U.S. citizen or otherwise lawfully present in the U.S. and is able to submit to DCS one of the following forms of documentation demonstrating lawful presence:
an Arizona driver license issued after 1996 or an Arizona non-operating identification license;
a birth certificate or delayed birth certificate issued in any state, territory or possession of the United States;
a United States certificate of birth abroad;
a United States passport;
a foreign passport with a United States visa;
an I-94 form with a photograph;
a United States citizenship and immigration services employment authorization document or refugee travel document;
a United States certificate of naturalization;
a United States certificate of citizenship;
a tribal certificate of Indian blood; or
a tribal or bureau of Indian affairs affidavit of birth.
household income, including entitlements, is insufficient to cover housing expenses; and
the parent or caregiver receiving the assistance is willing to develop and participate in a time oriented plan that will enable housing obtained through this program to be maintained after the benefit period ends.


The amount of housing assistance provided by the department to a household shall not exceed $1,800 during a six month period, and shall not exceed $1,800 during a case open incident without prior approval of the Deputy Director of Field Operations. A case open incident begins on the date of a DCS report that opens or reopens a case, and ends on the date of case closure.



Housing assistance may be provided to more than one household during one case open incident if all eligibility criteria are met for each household. For instance housing assistance may be provided to:

a biological parent upon reunification, and subsequently provided to a kinship caregiver if the child reenters care and the permanency plan becomes adoption or guardianship by the kinship caregiver; and
two separate households during one case open incident if children in the family reside or are placed in different households.


Complete the Housing Assistance Referral form with the individual(s) applying for assistance, obtaining the necessary information and approvals.



Obtain from the vendor:

the first billing with a statement of outstanding expenses that specifies:
name,
address;
federal employer identification or social security number;
type of service, and
amount, and;
date payment is due,
Identification (housing assistance payments will not be made without receipt of the W-9).


Obtain from the vendor the original completed and signed Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification, W-9. Housing Assistance payments will not be made without receipt of the W-9.



Include the vendor information in the Housing Assistance Referral form (CSO-1098A).



Submit the completed Housing Assistance Referral, W-9 and statement of outstanding expenses to the DCS Unit Superior for approval.



When housing assistance is approved for utilities, have the parent or caregiver receiving the assistance provide a bill from the provider each month. Rental payments will be processed based on the approved amount of units per lease agreement or equivalent, and referral form.



Supervisors, Program Managers, and Program Administrators or designee

The DCS Unit Supervisor and the Program Manager review the application and case record information to determine if all requirements have been met, prior to approval of housing assistance.



Once approved, the Program Manager forwards the Housing Assistance Referral, W-9, and statement of outstanding expenses to the regional contact. The regional contact reviews the packet for completeness and completes the service authorization. The payment request is then sent to centralized invoicing.



The DCS Unit Supervisor ensures that the DCS Specialist is providing case planning and case management services, including monitoring the family’s financial situation throughout the duration of the benefits.



Subsequent referrals are submitted to the Regional Program Administrator who will review and submit to the Deputy Director of Operations for approval.



Documentation

Document that lack of adequate housing has been identified as a need in the Child Safety and Risk Assessment (CSRA) or the Continuous Child Safety and Risk Assessment (C-CSRA) and the Investigation Detail Window.



Document statements to confirm each of the following in a case note, Key Issues type:

at least one child in the household is a participant in an open DCS case;
the assistance will prevent removal of the child from a parent, guardian, or custodian or will expedite permanency for the child;
lack of adequate housing is a significant barrier preventing the child from reunifying or remaining with the child’s parent, or remaining with a relative or kinship caregiver who will provide permanency for the child;
all other sources of assistance have been fully explored and utilized, and it has been determined that other resources are not available;
the parent or caregiver receiving the assistance (lessee or person whose name appears on the utility account) has indicated that he/she is a U.S. citizen or otherwise lawfully present in the U.S. and is able to submit to DCS one of the following form of documentation demonstrating lawful presence:
an Arizona driver license issued after 1996 or an Arizona non-operating identification license;
a birth certificate or delayed birth certificate issued in any state, territory or possession of the United States;
a United States certificate of birth abroad;
a United States passport;
a foreign passport with a United States visa;
an I-94 form with a photograph;
a United States citizenship and immigration services employment authorization document or refugee travel document;
a United States certificate of naturalization;
a United States certificate of citizenship;
a tribal certificate of Indian blood; or
a tribal or bureau of Indian affairs affidavit of birth.
household income, including entitlements, is insufficient to cover housing expenses; and
the parent or caregiver receiving the assistance is willing to develop and participate in a time oriented plan that will enable housing obtained through this program to be maintained after the benefit period ends.


Complete the Housing Assistance Referral Form with the individual(s) applying for assistance.



Complete the CHILDS case plan, identifying behaviors and services to support the parent or caregiver in obtaining and maintaining adequate housing.









Chapter 3: Section 7.4

Transportation Services

Policy

The Department will transport children safely.



The Department will share responsibility for routine transportation of children in out-of-home care with providers as specified in the child's case plan or Child’s Placement Summary Agreement.



The Department will take adequate steps to assure the safety of children who require non-routine travel



To the extent that resources allow, the Department may provide bus passes to assist in meeting the transportation needs of older youth, parents, guardians and custodians to complete services and supports identified in the family’s case plan, and in the youth's Independent Living Plan.



Bus passes for transportation shall be provided at the discretion of the Department.



If bus passes are unavailable to complete the services and supports identified in the case plan or in the youth's Independent Living Plan, the Department shall work with the youth, parent, guardian, or custodian and other community providers to obtain alternative transportation to complete the services and support identified in the case plan or Independent Living Plan.



Procedures

When a Child Needs Routine Transportation

Use a child passenger restraint system for any child under five years of age or who is under eight years of age and who is not more than four feet nine inches tall, or the vehicle restraint system, which  includes both the lap and shoulder belt if the vehicle is equipped with shoulder belts, for any child over four and under 16 years of age.



Clarify expectations related to transportation with foster care providers.



Arrange for the foster care providers to provide transportation for routine health care and activities.



Contact CMDP to arrange non-emergency transportation for medical services when foster care providers cannot transport the child.



Contact the Regional Behavioral Health Authority for transportation if it is medically necessary for non-emergency mental health or substance abuse treatment services.



When a child requires non-routine travel

Determine if the child will travel alone, with the DCS Specialist , or with a non-agency escort, based upon the age, development and special needs of the child.



Confer with the receiving agency and/or caregiver.



Obtain approval of the Program Manager or designee according to region procedures.



Obtain a court order, if the child will:

travel out of state for more than 30 days, or
travel out of the country.


When the child is traveling alone

Make arrangements with the state-contracted travel agency or commercial transportation company.



Prepare a Payment Voucher, using the Find Invoice window, according to regional procedures.



Provide the transportation company with an affidavit specifying:

the child's identification;
the names and phone numbers of the DCS Specialist and supervisor;
the legal status of the child and court order;
the travel arrangements and destination;
the name of the person to meet the child;
the responsibility for the child's medical care; and
the emergency contact name and phone number.


When the child is traveling with the DCS Specialist

Create a transportation plan, specifying transportation arrangements, a placement plan and a description of the DCS Specialist 's role and responsibility. If applicable, prepare a justification to accompany the child out of state.



Following regional procedures, submit the transportation plan to the DCS Program Administrator for approval at least ten working days prior to departure.





When the child is traveling with a non-agency escort

Use an adult who has a positive relationship with the child and has references to verify his or her reliability.



Create a travel plan for supervisor approval, including the following affidavit information:

the child's identification;
the names and phone numbers of the DCS Specialist and supervisor;
the legal status of the child and court order;
the travel arrangements and destination;
the escort’s name and contact information;
the responsibility for the child's medical care; and
the emergency contact name and phone number.


Prepare relevant information regarding the child's special needs (general health, medical needs, prescription drugs, and special diet) for the escort, and maintain this information in a separate, sealed envelope.



Send the travel plan to the destination prior to departure.



Arrange for payment of transportation costs of child and escort as well as per diem expenses, according to regional procedures.



Bus Pass Retention and Distribution

The following procedures are to be used for the retention and distribution of bus passes for older youth, parent, guardian or custodian related travel :

The Regional Contract Manager will retain the Bus Pass Log – RO (CSO-1095) used to record bus passes distributed to the Program Manager (PM).
The PM obtains bus passes from the Regional Contract Manager. The PM signs the Bus Pass Log – RO (CSO-1095) specifying the number of bus passes received the sequence of the unique identifiers for the bus passes, and the date of receipt.
The PM will retain bus passes that have not been distributed to the DCS Unit Supervisors (DCSUS) in a locked secure location (such as a locked desk or filing cabinet) and retain the keys.
The PM will determine the number of bus passes distributed to the DCSUS.
The DCSUS will sign the Bus Pass Log – PM (CSO-1093) specifying the number of bus passes received unique identifiers for the bus passes, and the date of receipt.
The PM will retain the logs used to record the number of bus passes distributed to each DCSUS and the date of the distribution.


The DCSUS is responsible for distributing the bus passes to the Child Safety Specialists. The DCS Specialist should adhere to the following procedures for documenting bus pass distribution:

The DCS Specialist obtains bus passes from the DCSUS or designee. In the absence of the immediate supervisor, the DCS Specialist may obtain bus passes from an alternate supervisor, the PM or their designees.
The DCS Specialist completes the Bus Pass Log – DCSUS (CSO-1093) retained by the DCSUS. The log is to include the unique identifier for the bus passes, CHILDS case number, number of bus passes distributed, the DCS Specialist 's signature, and the date of distribution. The log and the bus passes are retained in a locked secure location (such as a locked desk or filing cabinet) and the DCSUS retains the key.
The DCS Specialist will distribute the bus passes to the client.
The client will sign and date the Bus Pass Affidavit (CSO-1092) which specifies the CHILDS case number and the unique identifier for each bus pass received.
The DCS Specialist will give the signed Bus Pass Affidavit (CSO-1092) to the DCSUS or designee from whom the passes were received.
The Affidavits will be kept with the corresponding DCSUS (CSO-1094) log until the quarterly review has been completed.
After the quarterly review, the affidavits should be filed in the client hard copy record.


DOCUMENTATION

File the Bus Pass Affidavit (CSO-1092) in the hard copy record after the

Quarterly review is complete.



DCS Performance Improvement and Accountability

Quarterly reviews will be conducted by the DCS Performance Improvement and Accountability unit. The review will consist of the following:

Security – seeing where the bus passes and logs are stored
Reconciliation – reviewing the logs, affidavits and passes to ensure that all passes are accounted for
Policy and procedures – reviewing affidavits and logs to ensure that they are completed accurately and thoroughly


Additional Transportation Services

To the extent financial resources allow, additional transportation services may be available through regional operating procedures in order to complete the goals of the case plan, or Independent Living Plan for a youth, parent, guardian, or custodian. Consult your local regional operating procedures for more information.



Additionally, if a parent, guardian, or custodian is enrolled with other Department of Economic Security programs, the local Regional Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA), or the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), transportation services may be available through those programs. Discuss options with the parent,

guardian, and custodian.



Transportation services may also be available through community resources as well. For more information see www.cir.org under Transportation.









Chapter 3: Section 8.1

Medical Services for Children in OOH Care

Policy

The Department shall ensure that children in out-of-home care receive necessary medical, dental, and behavioral health services.



Meeting the health care needs of children in out-of-home care is a responsibility shared among parents, the Department, out-of-home care providers, medical providers under the Comprehensive Medical and Dental Care Program (CMDP), and behavioral health providers under the Regional Behavioral Health Authorities (RBHA).



The Department shall not place children from birth to age five in homes where the foster parents have not immunized other children living in the home.



When a parent’s rights have not been severed, the Department shall, to the greatest extent possible, consult with the child’s biological parents when making health care decisions for a child in the Department’s custody



If the Department has temporary custody of a child, or has legal custody pursuant to a court order, the Department may consent to the following:

evaluation and treatment for emergency conditions that are not life threatening;
routine medical and dental treatment and procedures including early periodic screening diagnosis and treatment services, and services by health care providers to relieve pain and treat symptoms of common childhood illness or conditions;
surgery;
blood transfusions;
general anesthesia; and
testing for the presence of the human immunodeficiency virus.


For surgery, general anesthesia, or blood transfusion, the Department shall, if possible obtain consent from the parent or guardian. For children placed under a Voluntary Placement Agreement, unless there is an emergency, the Department shall obtain the consent of the parent or guardian for surgery, general anesthesia, or blood transfusion. If there is an emergency and the child needs immediate hospitalization, medical attention or surgery, the DCS Specialist or out-of-home care provider may consent.



The Department may not consent to abortions; see Pregnancy Care Services and Abortion.



The Department shall confirm that prior to a child participating in a clinical trial, all required consents are obtained and an independent advocate is appointed for the child.



Procedures

Health Insurance

A child is eligible for CMDP health services if he or she is:

placed in out-of-home care through a Voluntary Placement Agreement;
in the custody of the Department in an out-of-home placement:
in the home of a court approved relative or person with a significant relationship with the child (the parent may reside in the home of the relative, but the child may not be placed with that parent);
in an adoptive home prior to the finalization of the adoption;
in an independent living program; or
In runaway status and the Department retains custody.


If the child has other health insurance coverage, CMDP will be the secondary payor and will pay for all co-pays and deductibles.



Obtain information about any health insurance coverage for a child by requesting:

information about the parents’ health insurance coverage for the child from the parents; and
court assistance if the parents are uncooperative and unwilling to provide health insurance coverage information for their child(ren).


When a child is no longer eligible for CMDP coverage, send the child's medical identification card to CMDP at Site Code C010-18.



Initial and Ongoing Health Care Assessment and Services

Gather available information, including but not limited to clinical and medical reports on the child from previous medical, dental, and behavioral health care providers.



Complete the following at the time of placement:

Provide the out-of-home care provider a completed Notice to Provider (Out-of-Home, Educational, and Medical), and a current Medical Summary Report. Confirm that the out-of-home care provider has access to the CMDP Member Handbook.
Arrange for the child to have a complete medical examination that meets Early Periodic Screening Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) requirements prior to the initial placement, if possible (utilizing the parent's resources), or within 30 days after initial placement in out-of-home care. (An examination for injuries conducted at a shelter care facility does not substitute for a complete medical examination.) The EPSDT examination will include immunizations as necessary.
Inform the out-of-home care provider of the need to schedule a dental assessment to be completed within 30 days of placement for children ages one year and older.
Inform the out-of-home care provider of the need to pursue any recommended follow-up care and referrals from a health care provider (medical, dental, or behavioral). Refer toBehavioral Health and Substance Abuse Services for Children and Young Adults .


Immunizations

Obtain the child's immunizations history by accessing the Arizona State Immunization Information System (ASIIS) and document immunizations the child has received. The Primary Care Provider (PCP) or CMDP can assist in obtaining the child’s immunization history through ASIIS. Provide known immunization history to the out-of-home provider prior to the child’s initial medical appointment. Inform the out-of-home provider of the need to follow up with any immunization recommendations made by the health care provider.



If possible, request parental consent prior to immunization. All children in out-of-home care must be immunized except when:

a parent objects based solely on religious grounds, or
the immunization is medically contraindicated.


If a parent objects to the immunization of his/her child, determine the basis of the objection:

If the parent objects on any grounds other than religious grounds, the child may be immunized unless medically contraindicated.
If the parent objects to immunization based upon religious grounds:
consult the CMDP Medical Director to determine if this child’s specific need for immunization is greater than that of the average child;
consult the assigned Assistant Attorney General (AAG) before proceeding with the immunization; and
if it is determined that the child will not be immunized, direct the out-of-home care provider to not have the child immunized.


Consent for Treatment

When making health care decisions, consult with the parent, if possible. Obtain a parent’s consent, if possible, for surgery, general anesthesia, blood transfusion, or unusual medical procedure. If it is not possible to obtain written consent from a parent, document verbal consent in CHILDS. If it is not possible to obtain written or verbal parental consent, provide a copy of the Temporary Custody Notice or other court order granting custody to the Department to the medical providers.



A minor may request and consent to an emergency medical examination and treatment if the hospital, upon examination, determines that emergency treatment is necessary. If it is determined that emergency treatment is not necessary, then Department/parental consent is required, if possible.



A minor may consent to medical care or treatment for venereal disease.



Parental consent (written and notarized) or court order is required for a child in out-of-home care to receive an abortion. For more information, refer to Sexual Development Education and Family Planning Services and Pregnancy Care Services and Abortion.



Inform the out-of-home provider that he/she is authorized to consent to:

evaluation and treatment for emergency conditions that are not life-threatening;
routine medical treatment and procedures;
immunizations, unless the parents object based on religious beliefs;
routine dental treatment and procedures;
Early Periodic Screening Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) services (e.g., developmental and behavioral health intakes, screenings, treatment and procedures);
services by health care providers to relieve pain or treat symptoms of common childhood illness or conditions; and
testing for the presence of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)


Prohibited Consents by Out-of-Home Care Providers

Inform the out-of-home care provider that they are prohibited from consenting to:

general anesthesia;
surgery;
clinical trials, including clinical trials for HIV/AIDS treatment;
blood transfusions;
abortions.


Emergency Consent by an Out-of-home Care Provider

Inform the out-of-home care provider that he/she may provide emergency consent if required by the hospital and the emergency room physician or medical provider advises that immediate treatment is necessary and delay of treatment (in order to notify the Department) is potentially harmful to the child.



Inform the out-of-home care providers that they must:

maintain a current record of the foster child’s medical care on the Child’s Health and Medical Record, in the child’s Placement Packet; and
contact the DCS Specialist regarding:
any injury that exceeds three days or recurs regularly;
any illness that exceeds three days or recurs regularly;
any service for which the medical service provider requires written consent from the legal guardian or legal custodian;
any service for which the medical service provider requires prior authorization;
any recommended service or treatment, if there is a question about coverage under CMDP;
any service that requires prior authorization, according to Fostering a Medical Home: CMDP Handbook for Foster Care Providers;
any service that would ordinarily require prior authorization but was provided in an emergency;
all visits to health care providers for non-routine services; and
inability to transport the child to medical appointments or to arrange other alternative appropriate transportation.


When parental rights have not been severed, and it is safe to involve the parent in decisions about the child’s medical and behavioral health care:

consult with the parent(s) prior to seeking medical treatment or services unless an emergency situation exists; and
encourage the foster parent to include the parent(s) in the child’s medical and behavioral health appointments.


Note: Contact CMDP at CMDP Nurse for prior authorization if a child needs to go out-of-state for medical treatment.



Medical Marijuana

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act enables a person (a qualifying patient), who is registered with the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), to legally obtain, under Arizona law, an allowable amount of marijuana and possess and use the marijuana for its therapeutic effects in treating and alleviating symptoms associated with a debilitating medical condition.



Marijuana is not covered by CMDP. Children who come into care with medical marijuana cards must be immediately evaluated by a primary care provider and behavioral health provider with expertise in chronic pain disorders, substance abuse, and/or mental health. As there is no physiologic withdrawal from marijuana, other appropriate therapeutic recommendations shall be followed.



Contact a CMDP Nurse for further instructions and assistance in locating providers with expertise in this area.



Clinical Trials

When in receipt of a request for a child to participate in a clinical trial:

Contact the assigned AAG and the CMDP nurse upon receiving a request for a child in out-of-home care to participate in a clinical trial. Federal law protects the rights of children in foster care when they are subjects of clinical research. Federal law mandates that the rights of these children be protected through the appointment of an independent advocate and by gaining consent from a guardian.
Inform all applicable parties that CMDP (Medicaid) does not pay for clinical trials.


HIV Testing of Children While in Out-of-Home Care

Refer to HIV/AIDS: Testing, Diagnosis, and Services for detailed information on HIV testing, testing criteria, age criteria, and consents.



Child Death While in Department Custody

In the event of a child's death while in an out-of-home placement, work with the parents/legal guardian to locate appropriate funeral arrangements for the child. With the approval of the Deputy Director of Field Operations, the Department may fund funeral expenses when there are no other resources available. Respect the parent’s/legal guardian’s wishes in their decision on how to care for the remains of the child's. Do not release the child’s remains until the manner of death is established and an autopsy has been completed, if needed. If the parents/legal guardians request that a recommended autopsy not be performed, consult with the Assistant Attorney General assigned to the case.



If the parents/guardians are unavailable to assist in making a decision for the child's remains, the county fiduciary office will provide burial services for the child.



If a request for organ donation is received, defer to the parent’s/legal guardian’s to make a decision, unless:

the parents or guardians are deceased;
there is an investigation related to the child’s death;
the parents' rights have been terminated by voluntary relinquishment or by order of the court; or
the court has rescinded the appointment of the legal guardian of the child.


DCS staff may not consent to the donation of a child’s organ(s) on behalf of a parent/legal guardian. If the parent/legal guardian wishes to donate the child’s organ(s), obtain the written consent of the parent or legal guardian authorizing the donation of a child’s organ(s) and document in CHILDS.



When a request for organ donation is received and the rights of the parents/legal guardian have been terminated by death, voluntary relinquishment, or court order, consult with the Assistant Attorney General to obtain a court order authorizing the donation of the child’s organ(s). Consider the following when making a decision to submit a request for a motion authorizing an organ donation:

possible need for an autopsy of the child;
concerns of any involved extended family; and
statement on the child's driver license (if applicable) or any other declaration made by the child regarding organ donation.


Documentation

Child’s Health Care Insurance

Enter the parent's healthcare insurance coverage information for the child in the Health Coverage Detail window.



Medical & Dental Condition Window (LCH 066)

This window includes information entered by CMDP and lists all the child's diagnoses provided by the child’s healthcare provider when a bill is submitted to CMDP.



Medical Exam Detail Window (LCH 070)

This window lists:

all of the child's medical appointments (such as EPSDT well-visits, office visits, hospitalizations, and emergency room visits);
the date of service;
the healthcare provider;
all immunizations based on the date they were administered;
Information on EPSDT visits will list referrals (e.g., BH services, pediatric cardiology, AzEIP, etc.).


Information will also include whether or not a developmental or behavioral health screen was done during the EPSDT well-visit.



Review all medical or dental information in CHILDS and update as needed. CMDP will also enter medical and dental information to CHILDS.



Use Case Notes to document immunization review and information from ASIIS or from the CMDP Nurse.



Medical Summary Report

The medical summary report pulls information from the following medical windows: Medical/Dental Condition Detail, Medication Detail, Psych/Behavioral Condition Detail, Practitioner Detail, Examination Detail, Special Needs Detail and Hospitalization Detail. Confirm information is complete when obtaining the medical summary report. File all reports and evaluations received from medical providers in the hard copy case file, including EPSDT examination reports and recommendations and completed Child's Health and Medical Record.







Chapter 3: Section 8.2

Behavioral Health & Substance Abuse Services for Children and Young Adults 

Policy

The Department shall seek to ensure that all children and young adults served by the Department receive medically necessary, trauma informed behavioral health and substance abuse services.



The Department shall utilize the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), Regional Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA) or Tribal Regional Health Authority (TRBHA) systems to obtain Title XIX covered services to address behavioral health and substance abuse service needs for eligible children and young adults.



For children who have a Children’s Rehabilitative Services (CRS) qualifying medical diagnosis and receive coverage for treatment of that medical diagnosis through CRS, the Department shall utilize CRS covered TXIX eligible medically necessary behavioral health services.



The Department shall make all requests for behavioral health services for Title XIX eligible children and young adults in out-of-home care to the assigned RBHA, TRBHA or CRS, when applicable.



The Department may utilize CMDP funded behavioral health services for CMDP eligible children and young adults in extended foster care who are not TXIX eligible.



The Department shall utilize the AHCCCS Covered Behavioral Health Services Guide to identify medically necessary services through CMDP for children and young adults who are not TXIX eligible.





Procedures

Comprehensive Medical and Dental Plan (CMDP) Behavioral Health Unit (BHU)

The CMDP BHU provides consultation and technical assistance to Department staff, Child and Family Team (CFT) members (including parents, guardians and/or custodians, out-of-home caregivers, behavioral health providers and other system partners), facilitates collaboration between the Department and behavioral health providers, and contributes to the Department’s reasonable efforts to provide necessary behavioral health services to children and families.



To receive assistance from the CMDP BHU, contact the CMDP BHU at: DCSBHunit@azdcs.gov or CMDP at (602)351-2245 and request to be connected to the Behavioral Health Unit. Contact the CMDP BHU to request technical assistance in securing behavioral health services and addressing concerns about the timeliness, sufficiency, or quality of behavioral health services.



Before securing behavioral health services for children through a DCS contract consult with the CMDP BHU.



Title XIX Eligibility Determination

The Regional Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA), Tribal Regional Health Authority (TRBHA), and Children’s Rehabilitation Services (CRS) are federally funded to provide behavioral health services to children and young adults who are Title XIX (Medicaid) eligible. DCS is not funded to provide behavioral health services for Title XIX eligible children and young adults. Title XIX eligible  children and young adults must receive necessary behavioral health services through the assigned RBHA, TRBHA, or CRS, as applicable.



Ensure that eligibility information in CHILDS is accurate and current, including the Legal Status, Removal Status and Placement Location Directory windows. The DCS/CMDP Title XIX Eligibility Unit uses this information to determine Title XIX eligibility, on a case-by-case basis, for children in out-of-home care.



Most children in out-of-home placement are Title XIX eligible; however, Title XIX requires a case-by-case eligibility determination.

All children and young adults determined eligible under Title IV-E or SSI (Supplemental Security Income) are automatically eligible for Title XIX. In addition, children in out-of-home care who are U.S. citizens or qualified non-citizens are eligible for Title XIX if the child does not have substantial income.



To determine if a child in out-of-home placement is Title XIX eligible, refer to the Eligibility Directory window in CHILDS or contact the DCS/CMDP TXIX Eligibility Unit at 602-351-2245.



If a child is a ward of the court on an in-home petition, determine if the child’s parent, guardian and/or custodian has private health insurance. If the family does not have private health insurance, refer the family to the Department of Economic Security (DES) to apply for insurance through AHCCCS. Determine if the young adult has health insurance through AHCCCS-Young Adult Transitional Insurance (YATI) and assist the young adult to enroll if needed. (See Services and Supports to Prepare Youth for Adulthood.)



Title XIX Behavioral Health Services

Determine which RBHA or TRBHA to contact as follows:

If the child is a court ward in out-of-home placement, contact the RBHA or TRBHA serving the location of the child’s court jurisdiction. For a young adult, assist the person to contact the RBHA serving their current residence.
If the child is not a court ward, contact the RBHA or TRBHA serving the current residence of the child’s parent or legal guardian.
In a crisis situation involving a child or young adult, contact the crisis line for the RBHA or TRBHA serving the area where the child or young adult is at the time of the crisis for emergency services.


Within 24 hours of removal submit a Rapid Response Referral and a copy of the Temporary Custody Notice or court orders for each child in out-of-home placement to the local RBHA. The RBHA provider will complete an assessment within 72 hours of receiving the Rapid Response Assessment Referral. Coordinate with the out-of-home caregiver as the caregiver may have already made a referral to the RBHA.



For children in out-of-home care, it is recommended that the DCS Specialist accompany the child and the parent, guardian, and/or custodian or out-of-home care provider to the intake and assessment appointments if possible, to provide information and pertinent records, and sign the consent to treatment document. If the DCS Specialist is unavailable to attend the appointment, the parent, guardian, and/or custodian or out-of-home care provider may sign the consent.



Monitor and ensure that the Title XIX enrolled eligible child or young adult is obtaining services in a timely manner. The RBHA is required to provide timely access to services. See Standard Timeliness of Behavioral Health Services (DCS-1285).



Include the RBHA or TRBHA provider on the FC-064-A, Attachment A, for reports to the Juvenile Court. Provide copies of reports to the court and the DCS case plan to RBHA or TRBHA provider.



Notify the RBHA provider of all case plan staffings.



Child and Family Teams, Adult Recovery Teams and Individualized Service Plans

Participate in the Child and Family Team (CFT) or for young adults, the Adult and Recovery Team (ART) process to assist with initial and ongoing assessment and service planning activities to meet the unique needs of children and young adults. Every child and young adult receiving behavioral health services will have an Individualized Service Plan (ISP) developed by the CFT (or an ART for a young adult), which is facilitated by the RBHA or CRS provider for behavioral health services. Participate in the development of the ISP. See Twelve Principles to Develop the Individualized Behavioral Health Plan.



The ISP identifies:

measurable goals and objectives;
dates by when achievement of those goals and objectives is expected;
specific services and activities intended to assist the client in achieving those goals; and
names of providers involved in the delivery of services.


While participating in the service planning activities make reasonable efforts to confirm that services are:

trauma informed;
based on the family strengths and culture; and
directly relate to the family plan and the behavioral health safety/crisis plan.


See Title XIX Covered Services (DCS-1287A).



Questions that will assist in developing good ISP are:

What are the specific services being provided to meet the child and family’s individual behavioral health needs?
Why will these services meet the child and family’s behavioral health needs?
When will the services begin?
What is the behavioral health safety/crisis plan if the child’s behavior becomes worse, disrupts or becomes a danger to self or others?


For children and young adults, the following documents and assessment information will be considered in the development of the ISP:

behavioral health assessments and any screening instruments or assessments used such as Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT), American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs);
the parent and/or guardian history and assessment;
recent crisis assessment, recent or historical psychiatric evaluation, and medication list;
Individual Education Plan (IEP), 504 Plan and/or school records;
Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP);
DCS case plan;
juvenile probation or parole plan;
medical plan from the primary care physician;
DES/Division of Developmental Disabilities’ individual service plan;
historical assessments, evaluations, services, outcome of services; and
any other plans of care designed to meet the needs of the child or young adult.


Accessing Services Out-of-Region

When a child enrolled for Title XIX services moves out-of-region and the child’s case and court venue are not transferred between regions, the current RHBA will continue to provide services. The CFT should begin planning for the transition of services to a behavioral health provider in close proximity to the new placement location. Upon the Department’s request, the Behavioral Health Provider will notify the RBHA of the planned transition to new providers. The RBHA is responsible for securing the appropriate array of services for the youth. The DCS Specialist will notify the RBHA, through the CFT, that the child is moving to a different region, as soon as it is known.



When a child enrolled for Title XIX services moves out-of-region and the child’s case and court venue are transferred between regions, facilitate transfer of Title XIX services by:

providing notification to the RBHA and request an inter-RBHA transfer within two work days of confirming the child’s case and court venue will be transferring between regions;
providing a copy of the court order indicating the change of court venue to the current RBHA;
continuing to coordinate with the referring RBHA for case management and provision of service until the child or young adult is enrolled in the receiving RBHA;
participating in the RBHA discussion regarding transfer of services, if requested; and
notifying the CMDP Eligibility Unit to change the court of jurisdiction when the child or young adult moves to the new region.


Coordinate with the current RHBA for any continuation of services, and with the new RHBA for any new or additional services. The referring RBHA will be responsible for the delivery of any needed behavioral health services for 30 days after they initiate the inter-RBHA transfer. Contact the sending RBHA customer service desk and ask to speak with the Inter-RBHA transition specialist for any questions regarding the inter-RBHA transfer process.



At no time in the inter-RBHA transfer process should services be disrupted due to administrative issues. If this occurs, elevate the issue to either the CMDP BHU or to the AHCCCS Customer Service Line: 1-800-867-5808 or 602-364-4558.



Out-of-Home Caregiver Rights and XIX Behavioral Health Services

The out-of-home caregiver (foster home, kinship home, kinship foster care, a shelter provider, a receiving home or a group foster home) of a child who is eligible under Title XIX or XXI of the Social Security Act, who identifies behavioral health services are not in place or that a child in their care has urgent need for behavioral health services, may directly contact a RHBA for a screening and evaluation of the child.



The out-of-home placement may consent to evaluation and treatment for routine behavioral health services. This does not include inpatient psychiatric acute services, residential treatment services, therapeutic group homes, and Home Care Training to Home Care Client.



The out-of-home caregiver cannot refuse to consent for treatment for medically recommended services.



The out-of-home caregiver cannot terminate behavioral health services.



The out-of-home caregiver can call the crisis line for the county in which they reside for any behavioral health emergency regardless of eligibility.



For children in out-of-home care, upon completion of the initial evaluation by the RBHA, if services based on the evaluation are not received within twenty-one (21) days, the out-of-home caregiver may access services directly from any AHCCCS registered provider regardless of whether the provider is contracted with the RBHA.



For children in out-of-home care, the out-of-home caregiver may contact the child’s RBHA designated point of contact to coordinate crisis services for the child if the RBHA is not being responsive to the situation.



The out-of-home caregiver may request the RBHA to place a child in residential treatment because the child is displaying threatening behavior, and the RBHA or CRS shall respond to the request within seventy-two hours.



For a child who moves with their out-of-home caregiver to another RBHA region, the out-of-home caregiver may choose to have the child continue any current treatment and/or seek any new or additional treatment in the new RBHA region of residence.



The out-of-home caregiver shall immediately notify the Department of any changes in behavioral health services.



Court Ordered Behavioral Health Services

When behavioral health services have been court ordered and have not been provided by the RBHA or CRS, contact the CMDP BHU and schedule a Clinical Case Review (CCR) to determine next steps. Prior to the CCR, request the child’s pertinent behavioral health information to support the CCR process and provide this information to the BHU.



Behavioral Health Services that are Changed, Denied and/or Terminated by the RBHA/Provider

If there is a concern about a behavioral health service being denied, changed or terminated, discuss the concerns with the DCS Program Supervisor. If it is determined that services may have been inappropriately changed, denied or terminated, contact the CMDP BHU at DCSBHUnit@azdcs.gov or 602.351.2245. The CMDP BHU will review the circumstances and determine the actions necessary to secure services for the child.



Appeal Process

If a RBHA or CRS provider has reduced, terminated, suspended or denied behavioral health services, the Behavioral Health Unit can appeal the decision. To continue RBHA or CRS funding of services, the appeal must be filed within ten days of the termination notice. For reimbursement, the appeal must be filed within 60 days.



For questions about the Appeals Process contact the Behavioral Health Unit or the Statewide Behavioral Health & Appeals Coordinator. Email: DCSBHunit@azdcs.gov and begin the subject line with “APPEAL”



Out-of-Home Behavioral Health Treatment Services

Out-of-Home Behavioral Health Treatment Services are covered by Title XIX. Assist in securing these services when they are determined to be medically necessary, based on prior authorization or continued authorization stay criteria. These services include inpatient psychiatric hospitalization, Behavioral Health Inpatient Facility (BHIF), Behavioral Health Residential Facility (BHRF) and Home Care Training to Home Care Client (HCTC).



A child should always be treated in the least restrictive, most home-like setting possible to meet their behavioral health needs. Out-of-Home Behavioral Health Treatment Services are only medically necessary if community-based interventions are not sufficient to meet the child’s needs.



If a child meets medical necessity criteria for a therapeutic out-of-home treatment service that is denied by the RBHA or CRS provider, follow the procedure outlined below:

If the RBHA or CRS provider denies the request for service, obtain a written denial/ Notice of Action (NOA).
Contact the CMDP Behavioral Health Unit, which will assist in determining the next steps.


Placement in a behavioral health treatment facility is a short-term service that requires support of the child prior to discharge from the facility. The CFT Facilitator through the RBHA is required to share the discharge plan with the RBHA. A safe and appropriate discharge plan includes both behavioral health services and a placement that will meet the child’s needs when he or she leaves the behavioral health treatment facility. The CFT Facilitator should begin discharge planning prior to admission and continually assess the child’s current clinical presentation to ensure services and placement are arranged proactively.



The Behavioral Health Unit will support the DCS Specialist to take the following actions:

Coordinate with the DCS Specialist or Program Supervisor and the behavioral health provider to discuss the NOA and the recommended services.
Determine if the recommended services meet the child’s needs or if additional information is needed regarding the child’s clinical presentation and behaviors.
Attempt to reach consensus on the ISP through the CFT process. If these actions result in agreement, continue addressing the child’s needs through the CFT process.
If agreement about the services cannot be reached, file an appeal.


If a child needs out-of-state treatment at a Behavioral Health Inpatient Facility (BHIF, also known as Residential Treatment Center), complete an ICPC referral. See Referral to ICPC. See Medical Services for ICPC Children for information on coordinating coverage for the child’s medical and behavioral health care needs.



Inpatient Psychiatric Acute Services

When a child needs services through Inpatient Psychiatric Hospitalization, please refer to Arranging Psychiatric Assessment and Inpatient Acute (Hospitalization) Services.



Behavioral Health Inpatient Facility (BHIF) Services, also known as Residential Treatment Centers (RTC)

When a child needs services through a BHIF, also known as RTC, refer to Arranging Behavioral Health Inpatient Facility (BHIF) "Residential Treatment Center (RTC)”



Behavioral Health Services for Children who are Not Eligible for Title XIX

To access behavioral health services through CMDP for Non-Title XIX eligible children:

initiate the 72 hour urgent response process;
contact the Behavioral Health Clinical Coordinator or DCSBHUnit@azdcs.gov for a list of behavioral health providers available through CMDP;
set up an intake appointment with the behavioral health provider of your choice.
expect the full array of behavioral health services to occur; and
participate in the CFT process, including assessment of needs and development of the ISP.


Make DCS case records available to CMDP and the service provider, as necessary.



If there are any difficulties related to eligibility or payment of behavioral health services, contact the CMDP BHU at DCSBHUnit@azdcs.gov.



Prior Authorization

Consult with the DCS BHU for assistance in obtaining CMDP Prior Authorization for behavioral health services. Services that require prior authorization by CMDP include:

inpatient admission to a hospital;
Behavioral Health Inpatient Facility (BHIF, also known as residential treatment center [RTC]);
Behavioral Health Residential Facility (BHRF, also known as therapeutic group homes [TGH]);
Home Care Training (HCTC, also known as therapeutic foster care); and
specialized evaluations, such as neuro-psychological; neuro-psychiatric evaluations.


Behavioral Health Services for Young Adults in Extended Foster Care

CMDP will continue coverage for behavioral health services for young adults 18-20 years old in DCS extended foster care who are not Title XIX eligible. Contact the Behavioral Health Unit for assistance in enrolling the youth with a behavioral health provider.



Timely and Appropriate Behavioral Health Services

If there are concerns regarding the provision or timeliness of behavioral health services provided to the child or family, or receipt of service reports, elevate the concerns to the local RBHA. If the issues remain unresolved, contact the CMDP Behavioral Health Unit.



Documentation

Update the Legal Status, Removal Status, and Placement Location Directory windows in CHILDS.



File a copy of the assessment, CFT or ART notes, Individual Service Plans, treatment summaries, evaluation documentation, Termination Notices, Notice of Action, and other pertinent information about services and progress received from the RBHA in the hard copy case record.



Document Child and Family Team or Adult Recovery Team meetings in a Case Note in CHILDS.



Document activities to facilitate continued access to services when a child moves to a new RBHA area in a Case Note in CHILDS.



Document results of a Clinical Case Review in a Case Note in CHILDS


















Our Last Visits With Our Daughter