What is a Dependency?
Navigating the Dependency Arena.
A guide to parents & guardians in understanding the roles, responsibilities
& court process in a child dependency case.
A service of the
Gila County Superior Court,
Court Improvement & Court Appointed Special Advocate Programs
1400 E. Ash St.
Globe, AZ 85501
What is a Dependency?
Navigating the Dependency Arena.
Table of Contents:
What are they Talking About? 3
Just What is a Dependency? 4
Questions When Getting Started 5
How Long Do Dependencies Last? 6
An Overview of a Dependency Case 7
An Overview of the Juvenile Dependency Process 8
Problem Solving Approaches 9
More Problem Solving Approaches 10
Real Life vs. TV Life 11
The Goal for Each Dependent Child 12
And Speaking of Safety… 13
Parents as the Preferred Provider of the Safe, Nurturing, 14
What is a Case Plan? 15
What is a Case Plan? (cont’d) 16
Who’s Doing What to Achieve the Case Plan Goal? 17
Who’s Doing What? The Parent 18
Who’s Doing What? The Relative Placement 19
Who’s Doing What? The Foster Home Placement 20
Placement Homes Please Note 21
Who’s Doing What? The Investigative Case Manager 22
Who’s Doing What? The Ongoing Case Manager 23
Who’s Doing What? The Judge 24
Who’s Doing What? The Lawyer for the Child 25
Who’s Doing What? The Lawyer for the Parent 26
Who’s Doing What? The Lawyer for CPS 27
Who’s Doing What? The CASA 28
Who’s Doing What? FCRB 29
Who’s Doing What? The Guardian Ad Litem 30
Record Keeping is Very, Very Important 31
Avoiding Phone Call Pitfalls 32
The Child’s World 33
What Do We Ask of the Children? 34
How Parents Can Help Their Young Children 35
How Parents Can Help Their Older Children 36
How Parents Can Help Their Older Children (cont’d) 37
How Relative Placements Can Support the Children 38
Where To Go If You Have a Problem… with a service provider 39
or your attorney
Where To Go If You Have a Problem…with your case manager 40
The Parent Assistance Program Hotline 41
Frequently Used Acronyms 42-44
Useful Words & Terms 45-48
Getting started: What are they talking about?
o Names & meanings
of different hearings.
o Legal words
All workplaces have their own language with a system of shared meanings. For example, think of the
computer world with words like world wide web (www), links, org, blogs, text, etc. We are all comfortable
and familiar in some areas while feeling lost in others.
No one expects you to know all the terms and meanings as you begin your involvement with a dependency
case. The people who work in this field also had to learn the many terms and meanings used. They had to
read and ask questions in order to learn. Likewise, you will have to do so, too.
In the back of this guide you will find several pages of acronyms and word terms. You’ll have this
list to take with you and refer to whenever it would be helpful to do so. And remember, if a term or phrase
comes up that you don’t understand and can’t find at the back of this guide, ASK SOMEONE what it
• Ask your attorney if it is a legal term.
• Ask your CPS case manager if it is a service-related term.
It is important to ask if you don’t understand something. Use the resources provided in this
guide to find an answer or to look up the person who can help to answer your questions.
Just what is a Dependency?
Children have many needs: safety, emotional, nutritional, developmental, educational, medical, spiritual,
and so on. When the parents of a child are unable or unwilling to meet these needs, the child becomes
DEPENDENT upon someone else to fulfill these needs. When this happens through
court involvement, it is called a dependency case.
Parents are the best people to provide for their children when they are able and willing to do so. When
parents are unable or unwilling to be the source of safety, shelter and care for their child, either the state
government (CPS – Child Protective Services) or a private party (like a relative) asks the court to get
involved to assure the needs of the child are being met.
A dependency is found when a parent cannot adequately parent or protect a child. Court Orders are made
first on a temporary basis and are later affirmed if the parents agree there is a dependency or if the child is
found to be dependent by the court after a trial. The legal definition of a dependent child can be found in
the glossary at the back of this guide.
A parent can be considered to have neglected a child when they have not used reasonable care in choosing
others to look after them or for failing to protect the child from the actions of another. Illegal drug use or
abuse of prescription medication is considered to be a factor in a parent’s ability to be an effective parent.
Laws protect children from abuse and neglect and laws protect parents and children from being separated
unnecessarily. There are laws that govern how a dependency case will be handled by the court. The court
is involved to oversee the performance of the parents and other parties as they work towards a permanent
home for the dependent child that meets all the child’s basic needs.
A dependency is a very serious matter.
Questions When Getting Started
Is there always a finding that a dependency exists? No, not always. Sometimes CPS or the
private petitioner (like a relative) will drop the case or a judge will find that no dependency exists. This might
happen, for example, if grounds were less serious and a reasonable safety plan could be developed; if custody
could be changed with the inclusion of protective orders for the offending parent’s parenting time; or when the
facts alleged in the dependency petition don’t appear to be reliable. However, in most cases there is a finding of
How long do dependency cases last? The answer is “it depends.” It depends on how serious the
concerns in the home were, how quickly and effectively the parents do their case plan, whether the children
have special issues which need to be addressed, and other factors. A dependency can end when one of the
parents (or both if the parents remain together as a couple) are able to parent safely. Within one year (or within
six months if the child is age birth to three) the judge needs to make a finding about what permanent plan is best
for the child. This could be a return to the parent home or some other plan which does not include returning to
the parent home.
Who gets a lawyer and why? Parents have special rights under the law which are protected by our
constitution. Parents, guardians, and children in the case will get a lawyer appointed for them if they meet
guidelines which show they cannot afford a private attorney. CPS is represented by the Office of the Attorney
Why does paternity matter? Attorneys and the court will be asking about whether paternity has been
established and how it was established. Legal notice is required to go to any parent or guardian of the child.
This can also include fathers who may be the parent but have not yet been established as the legal parent.
Why do they ask if there is Native American heritage? The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)
provides for protection of a child’s relationship to their tribe and heritage. This applies to children who are
eligible for enrollment in an officially recognized U.S. tribe or nation. Special rules apply to such cases.
Can anyone talk to or provide information to the court? There are rules which govern who
may speak in court and who may provide information to the court. Ask one of the attorneys in the case about
the rules if you wish to present something to the court. Nothing goes to a judge without copies being distributed
to all of the parties first. Private contact with the judge is not allowed except in special circumstance by
agreement of all parties to the case.
Who needs to come to the hearings? Parents should come to every hearing unless they are told by
their attorney they do not need to attend. The court may go forward on a parent’s case even if the parent is not
there. Older children can attend at least parts of the hearing. Younger children may or may not be able to
attend, depending on the circumstances. Family members, foster care providers and others taking care of the
children are encouraged to attend.
What are necessary manners for the courtroom? Juvenile court is designed to be less formal.
However, please be on time to court. Dress like you are going to a religious service or job interview (shorts,
tank tops, flip flops, sunglasses [unless prescribed], hats, etc., should not be worn in the courtroom). Don’t
chew gum or bring in food or drink. Stand when the judge enters or leaves the courtroom. Speak only when
addressed by the judge (if you are not a party to the case, let one of the attorneys or the courtroom bailiff know
if you wish to be recognized to speak).
What if I need special accommodations? Let your attorney know if you or any other significant
person who will be attending has special needs such as the need for a translator, sound enhancement, protection
from another party, etc. Courtrooms are wheelchair accessible.
Do I have a right to a jury trial? No, there is no right to a jury trail in a dependency case. For a time,
there was a right for a jury to decide what should happen in a termination of parent rights case. The statute
which allowed for this ended on January 1, 2007. If your case came in after that date, there is no right to a jury
trial in any termination action in the case.
How Long Do Dependencies Last?
Preliminary Protective Conference &
The outcome… Preliminary Protective Hearing
Continued reunification or Pre-Trial Conference
FCRB Meetings Hearings
CFTs CPS Case Plan
How long your family will be involved with the Juvenile Court depends on many things and
the answer to “How long?” will be unique to each case.
Relative placements for the child are welcomed and encouraged; these relatives should
attend the court hearings & be heard on this issue. Other persons offering support &
encouragement to the parents & family may also attend the hearings & meetings. Keep in
mind, however, that people who are not legal parties in the case will be admonished about
the confidentiality of the dependency matter and may be asked to step out of the courtroom.
All the hearings have special meanings & it is important to know the differences between
one and another. Take a look at the next page. It gives the names of the main hearings &
explains a little about them. If you have more questions, be sure to ask your attorney or the
Friendly Note: No written report or letter goes to the judge without copies being
distributed to all the parties. Private (ex parte) contact with the judge is not allowed.
An Overview of a Dependency Case∗
1. A dependency petition is filed with the Juvenile Court. These are the legal papers that state the
specific reasons why the Petitioner thinks that the parents are unable to parent the child adequately. A
judge reviews the petition and if it meets legal standards, the judge enters temporary orders that
allow the petitioner to keep the child out of the parent home until a court hearing is held to review the
situation. Additionally, the petition will identify the attorneys appointed to the parents and children as well
as indicate the date of the Preliminary Protective Conference & Preliminary Protective Hearing. (NOTE:
If the child is still with the parent, the temporary orders will allow the Juvenile Court to remain involved in
2. The Preliminary Protective Conference and the Preliminary Protective Hearing:
During the Preliminary Protective Conference everyone has a chance to meet the other parties in
the case and determine if there are agreements on where the child will be staying (placement), on how the
parents will have time with the child (visitation), and on the services and tasks in the case plan.
Immediately or soon after the Preliminary Protective Conference (the same day) the parties go before the
judge for the Preliminary Protective Hearing. During this hearing, the Juvenile Court enters
temporary orders for placement, visitation, and for the case plan. In addition, during this hearing,
parents admit to or deny the reasons stated in the petition and the parents are given notice of their rights and
responsibilities in the dependency case. If parents believe there are not sufficient grounds to keep their
child out of their home, they can ask for a temporary custody hearing. During the temporary
custody hearing, people testify and then the judge decides if there are sufficient reasons to affirm the taking
of temporary custody of the children and whether or not they may return to their parental home or remain in
their current placement.
3. Mediation: When a trained facilitator, who is neutral in the dependency matter, meets with the
parties to assist in producing an agreement or reconciliation of the matters in dispute prior to a dependency
trial. The mediation meetings are confidential.
4. Pre-Trial Conference (PTC) and/or Dependency Trial:
During the PTC, the parties try to resolve the question of whether or
not a dependency exists. If the parties cannot arrive at an agreement,
then the case must go to trial. In a dependency trial, the burden of
may be held
proof regarding the allegations in the dependency petition lies with
together at one
the State (CPS & the AAG).
time or may be
held separately 5. Disposition Hearing: If the case remains court involved,
on different there will be a Disposition Hearing during which the court formalizes
days. the case plan. Once the court has approved the case plan, the parties
are expected to comply with it.
6. Dependency Review Hearings, Status Hearings and Other Special Hearings:
Dependency Review Hearings are held about every 3–6 months. During a Dependency Review the court
monitors the progress of the parents in complying with their case plan tasks and also monitors the
performance of the Department (CPS). Status Hearings are sometimes set so the Judge can check up on a
specific concern between Dependency Review Hearings. Other hearings can also be set to address such
things as changes in placement, stopping or starting services, changes in visitation, or changes in custody.
7. The Permanency Hearing: The Permanency Hearing is usually conducted if the child is still out
of home after 9-12 months (or in the case of children ages birth to three years, the Permanency Hearing is
held at 6 months). Usually, options for a permanent plan for a child are: ‘return to parent,’ ‘permanent
guardianship,’ ‘adoption,’ ‘long term foster care (this plan is rarely recommended or approved by the
court),’ or the ‘Arizona Young Adult Program (AYAP).’
∗ This information is not intended to cover every aspect of every case.
Your case may vary.
AN OVERVIEW OF THE JUVENILE DEPENDENCY PROCESS
A Private Petition is Filed (the Court orders CPS to A CPS Investigation Takes Place
do an investigation).
A DEPENDENCY PETITION IS FILED
Case closed without
PRELIMINARY PROTECTIVE CONFERENCE (PPC) &
PRELIMINARY PROTECTIVE HEARING (PPH)
take place on same day.
Pre-Trial Conference (PTC)
Mediation, Settlement Conference or Dependency Trial
Child “judged” to be dependent; court Child not “judged” to be dependent;
involvement continues. case is dismissed.
DISPOSITIONAL HEARING (may be held with the Settlement Conference
(final Case Plan is approved by the judge)
Child to remain with or Child to remain in placement with Child to remain in placement without
return to parent. reunification services. reunification services.
Permanency Planning Hearing
Goals achieved with parent. DEPENDENCY REVIEW HEARINGS (about every 3, 6 or 9 months);
Within 30 days must hold
Dependency is dismissed. sooner if the child’s age is age 3 or under.
Child remains with parent. Child remains in placement with Child remains in placement
reunification services. without reunification services.
Within 12 months from removal (6 months if child is under age 3), if child is still out of home;
PERMANENCY PLANNING HEARING
(to determine the future legal status of the child)
Return child to parent. Child to remain in placement without
Dependency case continues. Child to remain in reunification services.
services. NO Hearing on Permanent Guardianship or
Termination of Parental Rights Hearing.
Adoption or Permanent Guardianship
THE COURT CONTINUES TO MONITOR THE CASE UNTIL THE DEPENDENCY IS DISMISSED.
LTFC or AYAP. The Some other legal When Permanent When the Adoption is
Child achieves dependency remains open until custody agreement Guardianship is ordered, the finalized, the dependency
permanency & the child reaches age 18. dependency is dismissed. The
guardianship ends when the is dismissed.
child reaches age 18.
Problem Solving Approaches
Problem solving requires communication. Here are some of the non-courtroom ways that can be used to
resolve problem issues in dependency cases.
Negotiation takes place when two or more parties work together to try and settle an issue. Parents and
case managers may negotiate certain points. The various attorneys frequently negotiate directly with one
another to resolve issues outside of the courtroom setting. Admissions and settlements are often resolved
this way. It is important that parents keep in touch with their attorneys so the attorneys will know their
positions and be able to negotiate for them effectively.
Staffings are meetings intended to bring together many parties to do problem solving and/or planning
regarding case plan requirements. Parents, extended family, placement families, CASAs and therapists are
among those who might attend a staffing. These meetings are facilitated by a staff person from the
Department (CPS). Talk with your case manager or your attorney for more information on how to request
Mediation and Mediator Facilitated Conferences are an informal, confidential & voluntary
process through which parties are able to discuss problem areas and explore mutually agreeable solutions.
Mediation is “facilitated negotiation” and the facilitator is called a mediator. Mediators work on behalf of
all the parties at the table and also for the children who are not at the table. The mediator helps the parties
to clarify the nature of the conflict as experienced from the various perspectives and then assists the parties
in generating their own ideas and possibilities for resolution. Then full or partial agreements are distributed
to the other parties and the judge.
• Team Decision Making
• Family to Family
• Child & Family Teams
More Problem Solving Approaches
Child & Family Teams
Family Group Decision
Family to Family Initiative
Child & Family Team (CFT) meetings are a facilitated team-based service and support planning
process usually scheduled and facilitated by the child or family’s mental health service provider. The team
is composed of people in the life of the child and family who know them well and who care. The team
includes the child and his or her family, any foster parents, behavioral health, CPS, CASA, and any
individuals important in the child life who are invited to participate by the child and family, such as
teachers, extended family members, friends, family support partners, coaches, providers, faith-based
representatives, agents from other service systems.
• Creates and implements a plan that is family-driven;
• Includes within the plan a mix of formal and natural supports;
• Bases the plan on the unique strengths and culture of the family.
Family Group Decision Making (FGDM) invites family, extended family, friends, community (all
who care) to come together to create a plan for the care and protection of their children. These are the
people who have the most knowledge and understanding of what is happening in the family and what needs
to be done. The FGCM facilitator guides a three phase process that begins with information gathering,
moves on to private family time during which the family creates a plan, and concludes with the plan
presentation and decision-making. FGDM addresses the following goals:
• To provide for the care & protection of the child(ren).
• To allow shared decision making & shared responsibilities between the family & the case manager.
• To provide a process to assist families to develop action plans to protect children.
• To respect & value the culture of families.
Family to Family Initiative (F2F) mission is to promote the safety, well-being, and self-sufficiency
of children, adults, and families. The vision is that every child, adult, and family in the state of Arizona
will have and be safe and economically secure. The CPS goal is to help families by the strengthening the
ability of parents, guardians or custodians to provide good child care. Its primary objective is to keep
children safely within their own families. CPS works cooperatively with parents to make that happen.
Their commitment is to become a more family-centered, community based, and child focused agency.
They have a need for the Gila County community to partner in keeping their kids in their homes, and if that
is not possible, then in their communities
Real Life vs. TV Life
Much of what we think we know about the court system comes from television, like Law
and Order or Boston Legal or Judge Judy or movies like I Am Sam. Real life is not like
what you see on TV.
In TV, the lawyers are at center stage and it looks like they’re the ones doing all the work.
In the reality of a dependency case, however, the parents have the most work to do – it’s
the parents’ case plan and the parents’ job to remedy the safety concerns and
care of the children.
Parents, and the lawyers that represent them, each have different roles and responsibilities.
The point to remember is that the attorney cannot work the case plan for their client (the
parent). And a parent’s attorney cannot represent the parent well if the parent doesn’t stay
The CPS case manager is on the front line too. The case manager’s attorney doesn’t
prepare the case plan or make referrals for services. The case manager’s attorney has a
different role and different responsibilities.
Another big difference is the concept of guilt or innocence. “Guilty beyond a reasonable
doubt” is a criminal concept. Dependency cases are not criminal cases. It’s not about guilt
or innocence – it’s about whether or not there is enough evidence presented before the court
to show that State (CPS) and court involvement are necessary for the safety of the child.
Goal for Each Dependent Child:
A safe, permanent home where the child’s needs can be met in a
predictable & consistent way.
A CHILD HAS MANY NEEDS
& ALL OF THEM HAVE TO BE MET:
• Physically: the basics of food, clothing, and adequate shelter.
• Physically: meeting the health & developmental needs of the child.
• Emotionally: nurturing and respecting the personhood of the child.
• Intellectually: creating an environment that stimulates the child’s brain to
grow and to develop its capacity for learning.
• Educationally: having the child attend school regularly and having any
special educational needs attended to.
• Socially: making sure the child has adequate opportunities to interact with
other children in appropriate ways.
• Spiritually: honoring this aspect in whatever manner is meaningful to your
Remember, the court is not looking for a mansion & a million dollars or the newest in X-
box games or Nike shoes for your child. But the court will have to be assured that the
absolute fundamentals are in place to meet the child’s ongoing routine needs & any special
needs. And the court will have to be assured the child is SAFE. This is the goal the
parents, other family members & CPS are working towards & it starts with the parent as the
preferred provider of this ultimate goal.
And Speaking of Safety…
Child Safety is a Primary Concern for
CPS and for the Court
Both physical & emotional safety need to be addressed. After the court is involved, rules
for care of children are strict & include:
• Only approved (by CPS and/or the court) caretakers are allowed to care for children
(this includes overnights with family or friends).
• Children should not have access to medications, drugs, chemicals, weapons,
dangerous knives, tools, or broken glass.
• Children’s environments must be sanitary. They should not be around spoiled food,
garbage, dirty diapers, or pet waste.
• Children must be supervised in an age-appropriate way. Even short-term caretakers
must be old enough to handle an emergency effectively. Pools or bodies of water
require constant adult supervision of the children.
• Caretakers (including parents) cannot use physical discipline while children are under
• Children should not be subject to statements which make them fearful or which
• Promises should not be made to a child for things the adult cannot guarantee.
• The court may limit how and when a child may visit parents or other people.
Parents as the Preferred Provider of the
Safe & Nurturing Family Environment
Each parent will have a case
plan. It consists of tasks &
goals that must be met to show
the Court the children can once
again depend on their parents
to provide for their needs
within the parent home.
By law, a dependency case must start with the goal of “return to parent,” or “family
reunification.” (There are a few exceptions to this, but they are rare.) This means that
the case plan should say what the parent needs to do so the children can return home
with them. Even parents who have not been involved in a child’s life are still subject to
the dependency, and therefore, to the case plan. This can be a source of irritation to
some, but it is the law. A Parent Locator Service will attempt to find any missing or
When a parent is found, he or she will be expected to become involved in the case and to
complete a case plan if he or she is looking to be the parent to provide the safe,
nurturing, family environment for the child. Both parents are named in the dependency
case and both parents will have tasks in the case plan if they want to be considered as the
permanent care provider for the child.
Parents have a voice in the case plan and they are invited and encouraged to speak up
and let their case manager know what services they think would help in order to get
things in place for the child. That is, in order to be in a situation where the
child can once again be able to depend on them to have their safety
and all of their other needs met.
What is a Case Plan?
L It is a Document.
L It is a Written Plan.
L It is the Road Map to
It Is A Document
• The Case Plan is a document that lists goals & tasks for individuals, including the
parents, to accomplish.
• The Case Plan gets discussed by all parties at the Preliminary Protective Conference
& is then presented to the judge at the Preliminary Protective Hearing.
• At the Disposition Hearing, the Case Plan will be mandated (ordered) by the court.
A person with a Case Plan task needs to work with the case manager to find out how to
accomplish the tasks to achieve the goal. For example, the case manager will give the
parent a list of parent classes or direct the parent to a specific service provider. The
parent, then, must make contact & schedule the parenting classes with a specific service
provider and then attend, participate & learn from the classes or services. For some
services, the case manager will make the actual first appointment…then the parent must
schedule the following appointments.
It Is A Written Plan
• The Case Plan sets out the specific tasks intended to remedy or correct the concerns
which lead to the dependency.
• The Case Plan sets out services & achievable expectations that are intended to
prepare the parent to be the person the child can once again be dependent upon for
their safety, physical, emotional, developmental, spiritual & social needs.
• It is not expected that all Case Plan tasks be completed by the parent at once. Talk
with your case manager about how to decide what to work on first.
• The Case Plan also has tasks for the placement family, the case manager, & other
people involved with the case (for example, parent aides or case aides, the foster or
relative caregivers, & other people physically involved in the child’s life).
What is a Case Plan?
A Case Plan is FIXED because it becomes a court order once it has been approved by the
PARENTS PLEASE NOTE: A case plan can be approved at a case plan staffing even if
the parent does not attend the staffing. It is very important to attend these staffings to get your
voice into the discussion. The best staffings have the most people gathered together providing
the most input to create the best plan.
A Case Plan is FLEXIBLE because –
• It can be evaluated & changed to meet the needs of the family.
• At least every six month, CPS holds a Case Plan staffing & your Case Plan is reviewed
and edited if necessary. Uncompleted tasks remain – they are not removed.
• Changes can happen earlier than the six months. For example, an incident of domestic
violence may result in requiring domestic violence & healthy relationships classes added
to your Case Plan.
• It is both FIXED &
• It is the road map to the
FOLLOW THE RECOMMENDATIONS ON THE CASE PLAN…This is so
important! A substance abuse assessment, a psychological or psychiatric evaluation, or a
therapist’s recommendations for services are considered as part of the Case Plan & completion of
them is essential, indeed, VITAL to achieve the Case Plan goal of reunification (the child
returning to the parent). Leaving out a part of the recommendations in the Case Plan could result
in prolonging the child’s stay in foster care, or worse, in the parent losing their right to be the
primary custodial caregiver of the child.
Who’s Doing What to Achieve the Case Plan Goal?
• The Parent(s)
• The Case Manager
• The Placement Families
• The Lawyer for the Child
• The Lawyer for the Parent
• The AAG (Assistant Attorney General)
• The GAL (Guardian ad Litem)
• The CASA (Court Appointed Special
• The PO (Probation Officer) Case Manager Therapist
• FCRB (Foster Care Review Board) AAG
˜ The Judge ˜ The Therapist CASA
˜ The Parent Aide ˜ The Case Aide Judge
˜ The Mediator
If you’re feeling like you have a lot of people looking in
on your life now…you’re right – you do.
There are a large number of people involved and all participants have their own roles and
responsibilities on this road to attaining a safe, permanent outcome for the child.
Things may, at times, become adversarial and conflicted because people have different
points of view on things, on the different roles, and on the different responsibilities. But the
big picture for everyone is the same – the very best outcome for the child
The case manager is the hub of the process, bringing in information from many sources.
The case manager will make recommendations to the court. Even though the case manager
may be given decision-making authority in some areas (see DISCRETION in your
glossary), CPS is not the final decision-maker on the outcome of the dependency case.
~THE JUDGE IS THE FINAL DECISION-MAKER~
Who’s Doing What?
BEING TRUTHFUL BEING AWARE BEING ON TIME
• Having a calendar of all your appointments
and keeping them!
• Maintaining contact & keeping good records.
• Getting advice from your attorney.
• Working diligently on your case plan.
• Attending all court hearings, staffings,
• Focusing on the needs of your child(ren).
• Using your visit time to love your child(ren)
To Do List:
U Become aware of the dependency process. Ask questions!
U Be honest in your communications with all involved.
U Attend all court hearings, staffings, CFTs, FCRB meetings, etc.
U Be on time for all appointments or call ahead if you’ll be late.
U Work your case plan…work your case plan…work your
U Remember – your actions speak louder than your words.
U Focus on the needs of your child(ren) as the TOP PRIORITY.
U Maintain healthy, positive communication with your child(ren) during
the visits – don’t use your visit time to work out case issues with your
U Go beyond just attending your service appointments – really put in
enough effort to benefit from them. What helps you helps your
U Maintain contact with your attorney and your case manager. Don’t
expect them to search for you. Stay in touch!
Who’s Doing What?
The RELATIVE PLACEMENT
The placement family is expected to provide a stable, nurturing & safe environment for the
child. When relationships are not too broken, the hope is that the relative placement family
will be able to support and encourage the parents on their road to reunification.
Placement families find a lot of responsibilities added to their already full lives. They are
asked to interact with the various team members, attend court hearing, go to FCRB
meetings, case staffings, take the child to school, therapy and all other appointments, and so
Placement families are asked to document all information relevant to the child’s care. If
you are a relative placement, talk to the case manager to be sure you are very clear on what
it is he or she is expecting you to monitor and document.
Placement families are expected to maintain ongoing contact with the case manager. A
general rule of thumb is to call in every week even if you just leave a voice mail message.
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, notify the case manager immediately – ask for the supervisor
if the case manager is unavailable. It is important to remember that even though you may
be the placement, CPS (or the legal guardian in a “private” dependency) remains the
custodial decision-maker. If in doubt – it’s best to ask questions.
Placement families face major changes to their lives as they juggle new tasks and demands
upon them. It is suggested that you discuss the impact of this placement role with your
Documentation (record keeping)
Keeping all appointments
Attending court hearings
Attending all meetings
Juggling it all
Who’s Doing What?
The FOSTER HOME PLACEMENT
• Shared Parenting
• Following Foster Parent Guidelines
• Going to meetings, appointments
• Nurturing, supporting, caring &
Shared Parenting is developing a relationship between the parent and the child’s
placement. When parenting is shared, the children benefit from all of the adults in their
life and are not forced to divide their loyalty between parents and foster placements.
When the child sees the parent and placement interact positively, the child’s time in
foster care is easier to endure.
Examples of shared parenting can be written letters, phone calls, face-to-face
conversations, and even attending events together.
• Shared parenting helps the child feel safe and secure by allowing a parenting
approach of all the adults in the child life including: parents, foster parents, case
managers, CASAs, therapists, attorneys and other significant persons to the
• Shared parenting can only occur when it is safe for all parties involved.
How do people become foster parents?
There are several things people must do to become foster parents and receive a foster
care license. These are some of the requirements in order to be a foster parents:
• Must be at least 21 years of age.
• Must have sufficient income to meet the family’s needs without help from foster care
• Must pass a criminal (state & nationwide) and CPS background check.
• Must attend 30 hours of training before becoming licensed.
• Must pass a home health inspection.
• Must have an appropriate bed and place to store the personal belongings for each
• Must have a licensing home study completed.
In addition, foster parents must have 12 hours of annual training as well as meet with their
licensing worker monthly to make sure they are following the foster care rules
when there is a foster child in their home.
Placement homes ~ Please NOTE!
• Follow the rules
• Be clear & open about “problems”
• Don’t sabotage reunification efforts
Multiple placements do not serve children well. The hope is that children will
remain in one placement until they are successfully reunited with their parents.
Sometimes, however, children are removed from family placements. It is very, very
important for family placements to do the following:
• Follow all the rules that allow placement of the children with you. Read the
materials your case manager gives you & follow any guidelines provided to you.
• You must check with the case manager before you take the child out of Gila
• Fully disclose any “problematic” background on yourself or anyone living in
your home that might bring about the abrupt removal of the children from your
care. It’s better to handle any concerns right from the start. CPS & the court are
most concerned and cautious about keeping the child safe & sound at all times,
including while living away from the parent. It is essential that you tell the case
manager about any of the following:
o ANY criminal history in the adult system for people 18 years of age or
older living in your home, even if the history is from a long, long time
o ANY delinquency involvement for anyone in the home younger than
18 years of age.
o IF IN DOUBT, CHECK IT OUT! Your case manager can
provide information on what criminal offenses will cause an automatic
denial for placement and what ones may allow CPS to consider other
factors and circumstances.
According to federal and state law, CPS must provide reasonable
efforts towards the reunification of children with their parents
once they are removed from the home.
There are very few exceptions to this. When placement homes block reunification
efforts, the placement home runs the risk of CPS removing the children from their
care and placing the children in a setting that will cooperate with reunification
Who’s Doing What?
The INVESTIGATING CASE MANAGER
• Protector • Investigator
• Advocate • Reporter
• Motivator • Planner
An investigating case manager has many roles and responsibilities.
Among them, the investigating worker…
• Is the first CPS responder to the allegations of abuse and/or neglect.
• Has the obligation to determine if abuse and/or neglect has occurred.
• Is responsible for ensuring the safety of all the children in the home.
• Assesses the needs of the family to determine the child’s safety needs.
• Provides services to support families in remedying the situation and tries to
keep the family together if at all possible.
• Works with the Assistant Attorney General (AAG) to file a dependency
petition if the Department (CPS) needs to obtain custody of the child for
• Prepares the initial court report and first draft of the case plan.
• Transfers the CPS case to the Ongoing Case Manager within 21 days of the
date the allegations were received.
Who’s Doing What?
The ONGOING CASE MANAGER
Like a COACH:
An Ongoing Case Manager has many roles and responsibilities too. Among
them, the ongoing case manager…
• Prepares revised case plans with input from the Child & Family Team
• Monitors the case plan for progress (or lack of progress).
• Monitors the child’s placement and wellbeing.
• Visits the child at least one time per month.
• Enrolls the child in medical & dental services.
• Transfers or enrolls children in school (as necessary).
• Attempts to have at least monthly contact with the parents.
• Maintains case notes and prepares reports for the court.
• Acts as a team leader, coordinating services and gathering information.
• Makes recommendations based on the information and facts gathered.
• Works with a team (CPS Supervisor, therapists, other treatment providers,
family members, placements, CASAs, the AAG, parent aides, and others as
appropriate) and advocates for the services needed.
• Provides reunification services to the parent or parents involved. (Please
note that for some services, the case manager makes referrals but for other
services the case manager provides a list of resources and the parent is
expected to make their own arrangements with the actual service provider.)
• Provides current information about the case to the Foster Care Review Board
• Complies with the policies & procedures of the Department (CPS).
• Consults with their AAG on legal issues.
• Is the child safety expert & advises & educates on child safety issues.
Who’s Doing What?
Is the Finder of Fact
Is the Decision Maker
Conducts the Hearings
Ensures the Administration
of Justice to all Parties
Determines, Applies, & Enforces
the Law in the Dependency Case
The judges at the Juvenile Court are Superior Court Judges. It is their job to
determine, apply & enforce the laws of the State of Arizona.
The Gila County Juvenile Court has the philosophy of “One Family/One Judge.” This
means that every time you or your children come to court for a hearing, you should
see the same judge, who will remember you and your family. Once in a while (like
when the judge is out or has a conflict) you will have a new judge. The new judge
will receive all of the reports and information about the hearings you’ve already had,
and get caught up very quickly.
Your judge is the “finder of fact” and the decision maker. When there are
disagreements among the parties, your judge will make the decision about what will or
will not happen.
The judge maintains order in the courtroom. The judge determines who can be in the
courtroom and when and if someone can speak.
Usually the judge will hear from the attorneys. Sometimes, though, the judge will
speak directly to parents, children, relatives, foster parents, CASAs and CPS. You
should be respectful when you speak to the judge. If you’re not sure what to say, you
can talk quietly to your attorney first.
Who’s Doing What?
The LAWYER for the CHILD
• Advocates the child’s point of view.
• Maintains regular contact with the child.
• Gathers information for the case.
• Advises & counsels.
• Monitors the case plan.
• Keeps the child informed.
• Considers the impact of events & services.
• Becomes familiar with the child’s wants & needs.
The child’s attorney will maintain meaningful contact with the child and will meet
with the child before each hearing during which important decisions may be made.
He or she will become familiar with the child’s wants and needs in areas such as
placement alternatives, visitation and services.
The child’s attorney is responsible for gathering information concerning the child. It
is the child’s attorney’s responsibility to advise and counsel the child and to keep the
child informed. He or she also monitors the case plan goals and the child’s situation
Events and services have an impact upon the child. The child’s attorney considers the
impact and proceeds accordingly. It is also the child’s attorney’s role to advocate for
the child’s point of view at staffings and at hearings.
Don’t be angry with the child’s attorney if you disagree with what he or she is saying.
They are following through on their ethical responsibility to represent their client’s
wishes to the court. When a child is very young and unable to verbally express their
wishes, the child’s attorney advocates for what would be in the child’s best interests.
And remember, attorney-client privilege applies to the relationship between the child
client and their attorney – just like it does with adults.
Who’s Doing What?
The LAWYER for the PARENT
• Advocates for the parent
• Advises the parent
• Counsels the parent
• Maintains attorney-client
• Communicates with others
involved in the case
Attorneys serving parents have multiple roles and responsibilities.
They file appropriate motions with the court. They explain court orders and court processes
to the parent, and they advocate the parent’s position before the court. The attorney also
keeps the parent’s secrets confidential. This is attorney-client privilege.
They advise the parent on the strengths and weaknesses of the case and offer legal advice.
They also serve as a counselor to the parent. They provide the parent with an honest
assessment of his or her progress in the case and then recommend a course of action. They
determine a legal strategy.
Parents’ attorneys can also assist the parent in using third party methods to resolve issues
whenever possible. Ask your attorney about these kinds of methods.
• The parent’s attorney cannot get the child back to the parent
unless the parent gives them the ‘evidence’ to demonstrate to the
court that it would be safe to do so.
• Without the parent’s active participation and involvement, the
parent’s attorney is at a disadvantage. If you are a parent, use a
calendar and/or a notebook for record keeping and maintain
ongoing contact with your attorney.
• Don’t expect your attorney to search for you. Keep in touch!
Who’s Doing What?
The LAWYER for CPS (the AAG)
• Prepares for Hearings
• Prepares Motions &
• Reviews court orders with
their client (CPS)
• Speaks for CPS in court
Lawyers from the State Attorney’s General Office represent the State’s various agencies.
Because CPS is a State agency &case managers are agents of the State, the Assistant
Attorney General is appointed to represent them. They are often referred to as an AG or
In the beginning of the case, an AG consults with the investigating worker on whether or
not to file a dependency petition with the court. If the child is found to be dependent, the
AG then works with the ongoing case manager towards a resolution of the case. The AG
advises the case manager regarding case related matters and represents the Department’s
(CPS) position in court.
The AG oversees the ongoing case manager’s efforts to bring about a speedy resolution to
the case. They also review court orders with the case manager and advise the case manager
on questions that might come up in connection to any court orders.
AGs, like the other attorneys involved, communicate with other professionals and other
attorneys involved in the case and participate in efforts to bring about non-adversarial
resolutions of cases in issue.
Who’s Doing What?
The CASA (COURT APPOINTED SPECIAL ADVOCATE)
• Is a specially-trained advocate.
• Is appointed by the judge to be the
“eyes & ears” of the court.
• Forms a relationship with the child,
but also gets to know the parents,
placement, family, teachers, & many
others who know the child.
• Investigates & reports to the court.
• Makes recommendations to the
court about the best interests of the
• Attends meetings, staffings, court
hearings & FCRB.
In some cases a CASA is appointed by a court order. CASAS are community volunteers.
Each CASA is interviewed, fingerprinted, trained and certified by the Arizona Supreme
Court before they are appointed to a case by the Presiding Judge. A CASA is yet another
voice for the child, another person making recommendations to the judge about what they
think is in the child’s best interests. The judge does not have to do what the CASA
recommends, but the judge will take the CASA recommendations very seriously.
A CASA has two main roles. The first is to attend all meetings relating to the case. This
includes attending FCRB (Foster Care Review Board) and CPS case plan staffings. The
CASA also attends court hearings. The CASA is able and encouraged to have contact with
all other parties involved in the case. After the CASA has gathered information about the
case, the CASA prepares a report for the court that states the facts of the case, the progress
or lack thereof towards reaching the case plan goal, and the recommendations of what are in
the best interests of the child. The second role of the CASA is to develop a relationship
with the child that is built on consistent contact and trust. This relationship is intended to
support the children while the family is involved with the dependency court.
If you have any questions regarding the CASA Program or the CASA assigned to the case,
please contact the CASA Coordinator.
In Globe: Cecelia M. Gonzales – 928-425-7971, ext. 27
In Payson: Katrisha Stuler – 928-474-7145
Who’s Doing What?
The FOSTER CARE REVIEW BOARD (FCRB)
FCRB Meetings are an opportunity for you to make your progress, needs and concerns
known. Anyone with current knowledge about the child in the out-of-home placement is
welcome to attend an FCRB review. Parents, relative placements, foster parents, and other
interested parties have a chance to talk with the Board Members. If you can’t make an
FCRB meeting in person, you are welcome to send in your written view about what is
happening with the case and the child or you can participate by telephone.
Accommodations can be arranged for Spanish-speaking family members. Call in advance
to make arrangements.
The FCRB Board members are citizen volunteers who meet and review the cases of
children in out-of-home placements. The FCRB is authorized by Arizona Law and is
overseen by the Administrative Office of the Supreme Court of the State of Arizona.
After listening to everyone, the FCRB writes a report and sends it to the court and to the
interested parties. The report includes updates and recommendations. The goal of the
FCRB report is to assist the judge in making decisions about what would be best for the
The FCRB also tells those present what will be included in the report and what the
recommendations will be. If you disagree with the FCRB’s summary and
recommendations, be sure to attend the court hearings and make your opinion known. If
you are a parent, you could also talk to your attorney and your case manager. If you are a
relative placement, you could also talk to the case manager or the child’s attorney.
A judge does not have to follow recommendations by the FCRB but will state the reason for
any decisions made which do not follow these recommendations.
If you have any other questions about the Foster Care Review Board, you are welcome to
• They meet with you.
• They listen to you.
• They review the case.
• They report.
• They recommend.
Who’s Doing What?
The GUARDIAN AD LITEM (GAL)
• For a parent or a child.
• Can talk to everyone.
• Reports to the court.
• Doesn’t keep a client’s
• An independent voice to
• Focuses on bests interests
not necessarily what client
A guardian is much different than a guardian ad litem (GAL). A guardian has custody of a
child and a guardian ad litem does not. A GAL is only responsible for advising the court on
what is in the person’s best interests. (NOTE: ‘ad litem’ means ‘for this case.’)
GALs make independent investigations and recommendations and they are usually a
licensed attorney. They have the right to talk to people such as family members and friends,
counselors, teachers, court staff, CPS staff, and others. They do not have to keep
information they obtain confidential. With the investigation completed, the GAL may
prepare a report for the Court. The judge does not have to do what the GAL recommends,
but the judge will take the recommendations very seriously. Because the GAL’s
recommendations are their own, they may not be exactly what the parent or child wants.
Although in most cases a GAL is not assigned, a GAL could be appointed for a parent or a
child in your case. A GAL is appointed for a child when it appears that one or more of the
child’s desires are not in the child’s best interests. A GAL is appointed for a parent when
there is a disability which prevents the parent from effectively assisting their attorney in
their representation. Disabilities include such things as active use of drugs and/or alcohol,
mental illness, mental retardation, or certain medical conditions.
If a GAL is appointed, it is important for you
to cooperate with that person.
Record Keeping is Very, Very Important!
MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY
10 a.m. Group therapy 8:30 a.m. Called in – no 8:30 a.m. Call in – drug
at HHS drug test today test today by 4 p.m.
3 p.m. Visit kids at CPS
2:30 p.m. Meet with CPS 10 a.m. Parenting class
3 p.m. Visit kids at CPS 4 p.m. Meet with
3 p.m. Visit kids at CPS 1 p.m. Individual 7 p.m. NA Meeting
therapy at HHS
3 p.m. Visit kids at CPS 1:30 p.m. Court
Documentation is very, very important in the court system. Having good
records and documentation gives strength to the spoken word.
If you are a parent, having a calendar or a notebook with information gathered from the
very first hearing is intended to help you keep track of where you go, who you talk to
and what services you are completing. This is very helpful information to have on hand
when you check in with your case manager, when you attend a staffing or an FCRB
meeting, or if you meet with your attorney or a therapist.
While there is some opportunity to speak in court, more so for parents than for
placement families, it is not usually as much time as family members would like it to be.
Make that limited time count by having your records accurate and up-to-date.
Avoiding Phone Call Pitfalls
Attorneys, parents, case managers, and placement families – pretty much everyone get
frustrated when they get caught up in the pitfalls of phone messages. The following
guidelines are provided to help you avoid the frustrations that often build up around
1. Don’t expect your attorney or your case manager to return your call
immediately. They spend much of their time in the field or in court. Allow at
least 24 hours before you consider your call “unreturned.”
2. Leave a working phone number for your
attorney or case manager. Say the numbers clearly
and slowly. Leave your phone number every single time
you call because they may not be in their offices when
they retrieve their messages.
3. When you leave a message, don’t just say that you called.
Explain what you need from your attorney or case manager
so they can better meet your needs when they return your call.
4. If you do not have a phone number, provide the name and number of a responsible
message taker – someone who will get the message to you.
5. Remember, if you have no voice mail or answering machine, there is no way that you
can tell if your case manager or attorney has returned your call. Document the phone
calls you make and receive in your calendar or notebook.
6. If you are upset about something, count to ten before you make the call or before you
leave your message.
7. If you have access to email, ask your attorney and case manager for their email
address. Communicating by email allows each person to respond at a time
convenient to them. It also provides documentation of your communication. You
can set up a free email account at a library if you don’t have a computer at home.
8. Writing a letter to your attorney or case manager is also a good way to express your
needs and concerns. You can send the letter to them by fax, mail, dropping it off at
their office, or at their box at the juvenile court by giving it to front desk.
REMINDER: Any letters to the judge or case manager are disclosed
to all parties. Letters to your attorney remain confidential.
The Child’s World…
A child’s world changes tremendously
when the child is removed from their parent home.
Look for a moment
at the multitude of changes that the child experiences.
New locations, new schools, new people –
and oftentimes, the loss of familiar people, places, things.
Children have to adjust to new people,
a new home, new rules, new relationships.
This is not an easy experience for children.
They need their parents and
all the other adults in their lives to understand this.
What Do We Ask of the Children?
What do we ask of the children? A LOT!
The children you love need your support in many ways because they are asked…
To adjust to the tremendous changes in their everyday life.
• Different food.
• A Different bed.
• A different schedule.
• A different school.
• A different family.
• A different community.
To realize that this experience is not their fault.
To trust the adults to make good decisions for them.
To follow the rules in the house in which they are now living.
To tell the truth.
To listen to what is being asked of them.
To be respectful to all the new people in their lives.
How Parents Can Help Their Young Children
Make your visits & be on time!
Make the visits child friendly!
Be the Parent!
ATTEND YOUR VISITS! Cancel 24 hours in advance if you cannot make the
visit so the child doesn’t wait expectantly for you and then suffer the disappointment
if you don’t show up. Call ahead if you’re running late. Children do best if they can
count on the parent to be consistent.
How to Make a Visit Child-Friendly:
• DO keep your emotions under control.
• DO follow the child’s lead for what he or she wants to do during your time
together. For example, if the child want to play, then play! If the child wants to
cuddle, then cuddle.
• DO bring age-appropriate activities for your child.
• DON’T interrogate the child. If the child is offering you lots of information,
listen, but don’t follow up with a stream of questions. If your child’s questions
give you concerns, follow-up with case manager or your attorney after the visit
• DON’T use your visit time to discuss case issues with your case manager or the
parent aide. Make an appointment with your case manager or your attorney to
handle those topics.
• DON’T make any promises to the child.
How to Make the Visit Your Time to Be the Parent and to
Demonstrate Your Parenting Skills:
• DO bring along healthy snacks that your child would enjoy instead of gifts.
• DO bring along a diaper bag with a bottle, extra diapers, etc. DON’T look for
someone else to provide supplies.
• DO interact with the child – DON’T use the time to talk to other adults.
• DO be the person responsible for keeping the child safe; for example, redirect a
child that is climbing on a chair or heading out the door.
How Parents Can Help Their Older Children
Same thing here for the older children! Attend your visits on
• Cancel 24 hours in advance if you cannot make the visit. Older kids wait
expectantly and then are hurt and angry if the parent doesn’t show up. Call ahead if
you’re running late so the child will know you’re on your way.
• DO keep your emotions under control. You child is not there to comfort you.
• If your visit is in a CPS room, come prepared with age-appropriate activities such as
board games, cards, etc.
• DON’T interrogate the child. If the child is offering you lots of information, listen,
but don’t follow up with a stream of questions to the child. If your child’s questions
give you concerns, follow up with the case manager or your attorney to handle those
• DON’T use this time to discuss case issues with your case manager or the parent
aide. Make an appointment with your case manager or your attorney to handle
With older kids you still have the opportunity to make the visit your
time to be the parent and to demonstrate your parenting skills.
• DO follow the visitation rules – you can model responsible behavior.
• DON’T bring gifts along all the time to avoid becoming the “gift parent” because it
won’t be like that when the child goes home.
• DO bring along a healthy snack – something you know your child enjoys.
How Parents Can Help Their Older Children
What to do if the child asks questions? This can be challenging.
If you have questions, talk to your case manager or your therapist or the child’s
therapist. They are available to help you in this area. Support the child by using
the following suggestions:
“When can I come home?” Give clear, simple, non-blaming answers
such as: “I’m working hard and I hoping the judge will see this, but I don’t
know the answer to your question.”
“Why can’t I see you more often (or alone)?” Again, give a clear,
simple & non-blaming answer such as: “I need to follow the rules as they’ve
been given to me so let’s use this time to be the best it can be.”
“I hate where I’m staying. How long do I have to stay there?”
Once again, give a clear, simple, non-blaming answer such as: “I know you
would like for us to be living together again, but I still have some work to do
before the judge is likely to say that can happen. You know, you can talk to
your attorney or your case manager about the problems you’re having with you
How Relative Placements Can Support the Children
~ Keep the child out of the middle of things
~ Keep your negative comments about the other parent, CPS,
the attorneys and the process to yourself.
~ Find a child-friendly way to handle your feelings about the
What can a relative placement do to support the children in their current situation?
Keep your negative feelings about the parent, the case manager, and the situation under
control when you are in the vicinity of the child. The child is not there to process your
feelings and opinions with you. Take good care of yourself and find support for yourself
in this difficult time.
Have the child ready for their visits or bring them to the site visit on time if you’re doing
the transporting. Children seeing the relative placement interact warmly with the parent
sets the child at ease and removes pressure to the child’s loyalties. Allow children to
take samples of school work along or other items that they say they’d like to show to
mom or dad. Don’t interrogate the child after the visit. If the child offers you lots of
information after the visit, listen attentively, but don’t follow up with a stream of
questions. You can say lots of “Hhhmmms” to let the child know that you’re listening.
If the child’s comments give you cause for worry, follow-up with the case manager, the
child’s therapist, or the child’s attorney. Don’t make the child feel that he or she needs
to pick a side.
What should I do if the child asks me questions about the case?
Give the child simple, clear, non-blaming answers such as: “Your mom/dad has some
problems and he/she is trying to fix them. Right now, I don’t know the answer to your
question, but I’m here to take care of you.” You can refer the child directly to their
attorney, case manager or therapist, too.
Where To Go If You Have a Problem…
• With a service provider
• With your attorney
Don’t let problems slow down the progress of your case!
Be an active problem solver!!
Here is some information on where to get some help.
If the problem is with a behavioral health or mental health service
Cenpatico Behavior Health of Arizona (Cenpatico) holds the contract to manage
behavioral heath care services in Gila, Pinal, Yuma & La Paz Counties. The
Substance Abuse Prevention & Treatment Block Grant mandates treatment to include
the following special group: Family centered programs for women with young
children, including funding specifically prioritized for parents of children with CPS
Cenpatico Customer Service toll free line is 866-495-6738.
If you are experiencing problems with your attorney:
If you hired your own attorney, dismiss him or her and hire a new attorney.
If you have a court-appointed attorney, follow these steps as written:
1. Set an appointment with the attorney to discuss the problem and try to fix it.
2. If there is no resolution after the meeting, then send a written letter to the attorney
listing the specifics on the problem. Use your calendar & notebook to help you
with dates and times. Keep a copy of the letter for your files.
3. If the problem is still unresolved, ask your attorney to withdraw from your case.
You may want to do this in writing as well as verbally.
4. If all of the above steps fail to resolve the situation, talk to the judge in court.
Where to go if you have a problem…
You and the CPS Case manager (their official title is “Case Specialist”) each have
certain roles and responsibilities. Sometimes these will create tension or conflict
between you. Sometimes people rub one another the wrong way. It’s important to
take care of these conflicts as soon as you can so they don’t get in the way or side-
line the way of your making progress towards the case plan goal on the case. Here
are some suggestions to help you to resolve your conflicts with the Case Manager:
1. Try to discuss your concerns directly with your Case Manager and do some
2. If that doesn’t work, contact the Case Manager’s Unit Supervisor and talk with
them. You don’t have to know the direct number, just call the Case Manager’s
office, dial “0” and ask the operator for the name of your Case Manager’s
Supervisor, and their extension.
3. If the problem is still not fixed, ask the Unit Supervisor to schedule a meeting or
staffing so that everyone can get together to solve the problem.
4. If a staffing doesn’t work, call the Assistant Program Manager who is in charge
of the Case Manager and Unit Supervisor. Again, call the operator at your Case
Manager’s office and ask for the name & contact number.
5. If that fails, you can call the CPS Family Advocacy Office at 1-877-525-0765.
Important: You have to have tried steps 1-4 before you call this office!
6. If steps 1-5 have not worked, the State of Arizona has an Ombudsman – Citizens’
Aide is available to assist you. Contact: 800-372-2879 or 602-277-7292 or
fax 602-277-7312 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember, if you have an attorney, he or she is available to advise
and counsel you as you work to solve problems and conflicts.
The Parent Assistance Program Hotline
Walls are built when
families are confused –
not knowing what to do
when they become
involved with CPS.
The Parent (and family) Assistance Program Hotline is a service of the
Arizona Supreme Court, Administrative Office of the Courts.
What they can provide:
• Assistance in understanding the CPS system and the Juvenile Court system.
• Information, options, and resources that deal with the family issues or worries.
Their staff is available to support and discuss caller concerns when:
• CPS begins an investigation of child abuse/neglect.
• CPS and/or the Court places a child in a foster home, a shelter, or with relatives.
• Family problems arise.
• Help is needed to identify and locate resources.
THE HOTLINE CANNOT OFFER THE FOLLOWING:
• Legal advice – which can only be provided by an attorney.
• Assistance with completing legal documents.
• Information about a specific CPS or court case. The Hotline is independent of
these agencies and case information is not available to Hotline staff.
Toll Free Phone Number: 1-800-732-8193.
Hours: Weekdays from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Translation services are available if needed.
Frequently Used Acronyms
ACYF Administration for Children, Youth & Families is a division of the
Department of Economic Security (DES). CPS belongs to this division.
ADOC Arizona Department of Corrections – the Arizona prison system.
AG or AAG Attorney General or Assistant Attorney General - Lawyers from the State
Attorney’s General Office who represent the State’s various agencies.
Because CPS is a State agency and case managers are agents of the State, the
Assistant Attorney General is appointed to represent them in the dependency
AHCCCS Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System – This is the State of
Arizona’s indigent health insurance program.
ALTCS Arizona Long term Care System – This is the part of AHCCCS that provides
long-term care for eligible people unable to care for themselves.
APO Adult Probation Officer.
APS Adult Protective Services – This is a division within the Arizona Department
of Economic Security (DES) which investigates and gives services to
vulnerable adults who have been abused or neglected.
ARS Arizona Revised Statutes – This is the collection of Arizona’s laws. The
state legislature crafts the statutes and the courts interpret them.
AZCA Arizona’s Children Association – A mental health agency in Globe &
Payson. This agency also licenses foster homes.
AZEIP Arizona Early Intervention Program – This program provides services to
young children identified with developmental challenges.
AYAP Arizona Young Adult Program – This is a CPS program for youth, 15 years
old and older, to participate in to learn independent living skills in
preparation for living independently when they reach adulthood.
CASA Court Appointed Special Advocate – CASAs are community volunteers who
are appointed by a court order to a child dependency case. CASAs are
trained and certified by the Arizona Supreme Court. A CASA is yet another
voice for the child, another person making recommendations to the judge
about what they think is in the child’s best interests.
CFT Child & Family Team – This is a group of formal supports (professionals,
such as therapists, probation officers, case managers) and natural supports
(such as family members, friends, teachers, ministers) who are working with
the family that has mental health issues as one of their challenges. The goal
is to develop plans with the family that will assist in the present & also for
the long term. Specially trained staff from the behavioral health field
CMDP Comprehensive Medical & Dental Plan – This the medical & dental
insurance coverage provided for children in the foster care system.
CPS Child Protective Services – This is the division in the Department of
Economic Security which is responsible for the safety of children.
DES Department of Economic Security – This is a State of Arizona agency with
many branches intended to see to the wellbeing of the residents of Arizona.
CPS is one of its many branches. DES is often referred to as ‘the
DRCT Disciplinary Review & Consultation Team – This is a meeting of
professionals who are working with the child & family to attempt to put
services in place that will be of the most help. This team can also be used to
assist case managers with case planning for difficult cases or for clients that
have repeatedly come into Child Protective Services’ attention. Parents are
interviewed for this process, too, and when everyone has been interviewed,
the team provides the case manager with their recommendations.
DSM-IV Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – A diagnostic tool
used within the mental health system. It establishes a classification system
that allows people to use shared meanings when discussing mental health
illnesses and disorders.
DV Domestic Violence – This is the term used for any incident of threatening
behavior, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or
emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family
members, regardless of their gender. This term is often used in court when
the attorneys and CPS are discussing the parent’s history and previous police
or court contact with the family.
ESPDT Early Screening Prognostic Diagnosis Test – All children who come into
CPS custody have this exam within 72 hours of being placed in foster care.
This exam is used by CPS to look for medical conditions that may require
additional attention or further testing.
FCRB Foster Care Review Board - The FCRB Board members are citizen
volunteers who meet and review the cases of children in out-of-home
placements. The FCRB is authorized by Arizona Law and is overseen by the
Administrative Office of the Supreme Court of the State of Arizona.
GAL Guardian Ad Litem – A court appointed attorney who job is to represent the
best interests of the person they are appointed to. A GAL differs from an
attorney because they represent what is in their client’s best interests while
an attorney represents the client’s wishes to the court.
HHS Horizon Human Services – This is a mental health agency in Globe.
ICWA Indian Child Welfare Act – This is a federal law which gives special federal
and state rules for persons registered with a tribe or who are eligible for
ICPC Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children – In order for a child in
CPS custody to be placed in another state, the receiving state has to give
permission for the child to be paced there and for that state’s child welfare
services department to oversee the case. A request from CPS would go to
the Arizona ICPC Office in Phoenix, Arizona. The Arizona ICPC office
would then contact the ICPC Office of the receiving state. That office then
sends the request on to the county where the child is being asked to be
placed. Only if the receiving state approves the placement and is willing to
accept oversight of the child can a child be placed in another state.
IEP Individual Education Plan – This is a specific plan for a specific child
intended to meet his or her special education needs. School personnel,
parents, and other interested parties work together to develop the IEP.
JPO Juvenile Probation Officer
LTFC Long Term Foster Care – When a parent’s parental rights are terminated and
child is not adoptable and there is no one to obtain guardianship for the
child, the child’s plan is for long term foster care, which will end when the
child reaches age 18.
NA Narcotic Anonymous – Is a 12-step program like Alcoholic Anonymous
PPC Preliminary Protective Conference – When a dependency petition has been
filed on a child, the PPC is a formal meeting where everyone (the parents,
their family, attorneys, CPS, CASA) have a chance to meet the other parties
in the case and determine if there are agreements on where the child will be
staying (placement), on how the parents will have time with the child
(visitation), and on the services and tasks in the case plan.
PPH Preliminary Protective Hearing – This is the first court hearing in a
dependency action. The court reaffirms the temporary legal custody orders,
approves the draft case plan, and enters any needed orders regarding
placement, visitation, or services for the parents and child.
RBHA Pronounced “Reba” the Regional Behavioral Health Authority – It receives
the State’s behavioral health dollars for our “region” in the state (our region
is Gila & Pinal County) and then contracts with various agencies to provide
behavioral health services to community members.
SMI Seriously Mentally Ill – This is a designation given to people who have
severe mental illness and therefore qualify for specific services from the
mental health system.
TANF Temporary Aid for Needy Families – This is a cash assistance program to
eligible families. It was formerly know as AFDC or welfare.
TCN Temporary Custody Notice – This is a form given to the parent or caregiver
when a child is removed from them by CPS. This form contains information
about how to contact the CPS case manager in charge of the case, gives you
the case manager’s phone number and may contain other important
Useful Words & Terms
Abuse: Physical, sexual or emotional injury including situations where the parent or
person having custody or control of the child knew, or should have known,
about risks to the child and failed to act to protect the child from another
Abandonment: Failing to maintain contact with a child or to provide reasonable support.
Adjudication: An adjudication occurs when the judge formally determines (finds) that the
children are dependent children and are unable to remain in their parents’
legal and/or physical custody. A dependent child is found to be dependent
upon the State (and the court) for the oversight of their safety and well
Admission: An admission takes place when a parent agrees in court that the statements
made in the dependency petition are true. Deciding to do an admission is a
legal decision that parents make after working with their attorneys.
Admonish: To be given a legal warning and earnest advise by the Superior Court Judge
regarding confidentiality requirements in a dependency matter.
Assessment: This is a term used when anyone involved in the case has an initial
appointment with a service provider. Assessments are generally done so the
provider and the case manager will have an idea of what services to offer the
child or family. Clients may be asked to participate in several assessments.
Child & Family This is a group of formal supports (professionals, such as therapists,
Team: probation officers, case managers) and natural supports (such as family
members, friends, teachers, ministers) who are working with the family that
has mental health issues as one of their challenges. The goal is to develop
plans with the family that will assist in the present & also for the long term.
Specially trained staff from the behavioral health field facilitate CFTs.
Concurrent Case This is a term used by CPS when they are preparing a case plan for children
Plan: who have been removed from their parents and are now in foster care.
Concurrent planning allows case managers to look for people who will be
able to keep the children permanently should the parents be unable to
complete their case plans and have their children returned to them.
Concurrent planning does not mean the case manager will no longer help the
parents or provide services and attempt to reunify the family. Concurrent
planning allows for both outcomes to be worked on at the same time.
Contempt: This is the intentional disobedience of a court order. Contempt is
punishable by incarceration, fine, or community service if the person fails to
follow the court’s orders
Custody: Having control over the care of a minor child (physical & legal). Physical
custody includes the right to have physical placement of the child and the
duty to provide for the child’s normal daily needs. Legal custody is the
right to make the major decisions for a child (medical, educational, etc.)
Discretion: This is the same as “permission.” When the judge gives the Department or
CPS the discretion to make decisions on issues like visitation and
placement, the judge is giving the Department the permission to make the
decision and implement it without further approval of the court.
Department: This refers to the Department of Economic Security (DES). Child
Protective Services (CPS) is a part of DES and you will hear judges and
attorneys refer to CPS as “the Department.”
Dependency: A child is “dependent” under the law when a court finds that one of these
• The child needs proper & effective parental care & control & doesn’t
have a parent or guardian willing or able to provide this care.
• The child is not provided with the necessities of life such as food,
clothing, adequate shelter, or medical care.
• The child is subject to abuse, neglect, cruelty, or depravity by a person
caring for them.
• Certain children who have committed criminal acts who can’t be tried
for these acts in a delinquency proceeding also fall within the definition
Dependency The legal document asking the court to become involved in the child’s life.
Petition: It contains statements of facts intended to support the allegations that the
child has no parent able to or wiling to adequately provide for his/her needs.
Enter a Denial: Formally saying you disagree with the statements or allegations as set forth
in the dependency petition.
Failure to Not protecting a child from harm. A parent or guardian who knew there
Protect: was a risk, or should have known that there was a risk, and yet did not
intervene to ensure the child’s safety.
Findings: These are statements that indicate the judge has reviewed certain aspects of
the case (placement, services, the case plan, the efforts of CPS, the efforts of
the parents) and has made decisions on how things are going or ought to go.
The court record and the minute entry reflect what the judge makes as his or
Guardian ad A court appointed attorney who job is to represent the best interests of the
Litem or GAL: person they are appointed to. A GAL differs from an attorney because they
represent what is in their client’s best interests while an attorney represents
the client’s wishes to the court.
Joint Staffing: This is an interagency meeting between CPS & the Juvenile Probation
Department held to evaluate and coordinate appropriate services for children
who are dependent and delinquent.
Kids Care: Is a part of the AHCCCS system. This program provides health insurance
to low-income families who earn too much to qualify for AHCCCS.
Mediator: A process of working together with various parties in a case to make
decisions and plans that all can support as being in the best interests of the
children. Topics for mediation can be visitation, placement, services, or
other topics as identified by the parties. A trained mediator is present to
assist the parties in their negotiations.
Minute Entry: This is a summary of what happens at each court hearing. Minute entries
also list all the decisions, ORDERS and FINDINGS that the judge made at
that hearing. They include the next court date and time as well.
Motion: This is a legal term used to indicate a formal request to the court asking the
court to take some specific action, for example, to enter an ORDER or to set
Neglect: Failing to provide proper or effective parenting for a child; failing to provide
a child with necessities such as food, clothing, adequate shelter, or health
care; failing to provide a safe environment.
No Contest Plea: This is when a person agrees that the petitioner could prove the allegations
being made in the petition without actually saying that he or she admits that
they are true. The judge will treat the case as if the allegations are true.
Orders: A formal written direction given by a judge. If the court orders a person to
do something or to NOT do something and the person fails to comply with
the order, the judge can have the person arrested and/or fined. Case plans
are approved by the judge, therefore, the parents or other people involved in
the case are ORDERED to complete the items set out in the case plan.
Order of This is an order given by a judge intended to help keep people safe. These
Protection or are often used in cases where there is a history of violence or when there is a
Restraining serious custody issue. Juvenile Court judges do not routinely issue Orders
Order: of Protection although they may enter No Contact Orders regarding parties
in the case.
Parent: The natural or adoptive mother or father of the child.
Parties: People involved in the case that are recognized by the court as
legal participants in the case such as the mother, father, child &
CPS. Being a family member or a placement for a child does not
automatically make a person a party to the case.
Paternity: The legal establishment of a man as the father of a child. Children born to
married couples are considered the legal children of the husband. Children
born to unmarried parents must have paternity established by birth
certificate, by signing a legal affidavit, via a legal child support order, or by
Permanency: The overall goal for the child which involves a stable, unchanging
placement which provides for the child’s safety and fundamental needs –
physical, emotional, developmental, educational, medical, social, spiritual,
and so forth.
Petition: Same as Dependency Petition: The legal document asking the court to
become involved in the child’s life. It contains statements of facts intended
to support the allegations that the child has no parent able to or wiling to
adequately provide for his/her needs.
Placement: The primary caregiver of the dependent child is called the placement.
Placement can be with a parent, with a relative, with a foster family, in a
group home or in a child care agency, or any appropriate person who has
been approved by the court.
Psychological This assessment is performed by a psychologist and is generally in two
Evaluation or separate parts. The first part is a very long “fill in the blank” or “fill in the
“Psych Eval”: bubble” set of questions. There are no right or wrong answers to these
questions. The psychologist uses the answers to determine what areas the
client may need help in. The second half of this assessment is meeting with
the psychologist. This may take place once, or several times, depending on
the psychologist seeing you. Afterward, the psychologist prepares a written
report with recommendations for what services would be helpful to the
client and his or her family.
Psychiatric These assessments are performed by a psychiatrist and may be
Assessment: recommended if the psychologist feels there is a reason to suspect issues
such as severe depression, anxiety disorders, or other psychiatric concerns
which may benefit from medication. One major difference between a
psychologist and a psychiatrist is that the psychiatrist is a medical doctor
who can prescribe medications. The psychologist is not a medial doctor and
cannot prescribe medications.
Reasonable This is the term used by the judge and the attorneys when they are
Efforts: discussing whether or not CPS has made adequate efforts to help the family
overcome the reasons the children were removed.
Reunification: Having children return to the care of the parent(s) or legal guardian from
whom they were removed or to their other legal parent if the parents are not
together as a couple.
Severance: A legal proceeding that may result in a parent’s rights and responsibilities to
a child as being ended. The termination of a parent’s rights can happen as
the outcome of a trial or come about because a parent voluntarily
relinquishes his or her parental rights. A parent’s responsibilities toward
financially supporting the child does not end unless ordered by the court or
until the child is legally adopted.
Sexual Abuse: Sexual offenses toward children under the age of 18.
Surrogate These are volunteers from the community that are called upon when a child
Parent: needs any kind of special education services in a school setting. Case
managers are not able to sign any special education paperwork.
Trial Rights: Trial rights include the right to have an attorney, the right to make the State
prove the allegations, the right to have witnesses testify for you and the right
for your attorney to cross-examine the other side’s witnesses. There are
other rights not included here.
Ward: A child is considered a ward of the court once the judge has granted CPS or
another party legal custody over the child.