Chapter 4 : Section 6

Placing Children in Out-of-Home Care


The Department shall place a child in the least restrictive type of out-of-home living arrangement available, consistent with the best interests of the child.

The Department shall consider a child's immunization records, according to the Arizona State Immunization Information System (ASIIS), when deciding on out-of-home care. The Department shall restrict placing children from birth to five years of age in homes where there are children residing who have not been immunized.

At the time of placing the child, the Department shall share with the out-of-home caregivers a summary of known information regarding the child, including but not limited to:

  • demographic information;

  • type of custody and previous living arrangements;

  • pertinent family information including but not limited to the names of family members who, by court order, may not visit the child;

  • known or available medical history including but not limited to:

    • allergies;

    • immunizations;

    • childhood diseases;

    • physical disabilities;

    • other behavioral health, special education or medical needs; and

    • the child's last doctor, if known.

  • if applicable, a summary of the child's history of adjudication on acts of delinquency, if it is a public record and available in the file of the clerk of the superior court.

The Department shall provide children in out-of-home care, age six years and older, contact information for the DCS Specialist, attorney, or advocate, and inform the children they may speak with these individuals in private if necessary.

The Department shall provide a child in the custody of the Department age 14 years and older with the child’s social security card within 120 days after receipt of a written request from the child.

If requested for a lawful purpose, the Department shall provide a foster parent or kinship caregiver with the social security number of a child in the foster parent’s or kinship caregiver’s care within 90 days of the foster parent’s or kinship caregiver’s request.

Within 30 days of the child entering out-of-home care, the Department shall request a birth certificate for a child who is in the custody of the Department and in out-of-home care, unless the child is returned to the custody of the child’s parent within that 30-day period.

The Department shall review the reasonable and prudent parent standard with a child’s out-of-home caregivers so that the caregivers understand their role in following the standards and providing the child with regular opportunities to engage in age or developmentally appropriate activities. See Reasonable and Prudent Parent Standard.

The Department shall maximize utilization of federal Title IV-E foster care funds by establishing eligibility for all qualifying children.


All living arrangement actions are made in collaboration with Statewide Placement Administrator. See Foster Home, Group Home and Shelter Placement Administrative Directive.

The Department shall make diligent efforts to place all youth in living arrangements that are affirming of cultural factors that are important to the youth including race, ethnicity, religion or spirituality, tribal affiliation, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

At the time of the initial placement:

  • provide the out-of-home caregiver with the Initial Placement Information, CSO-2599, which contains:

    • information about the child pursuant to A.R.S §8-514(D),

    • Notice to Providers,

    • Instructions to access the Guardian Provider Portal, and

    • Information to access AHCCCS behavioral health services and crisis services for children in care; and

  • complete the following activities regarding the child’s rights:

Provide the out-of-home caregiver with information on how to access the Guardian Provider Portal. Explain that the complete Placement Packet and the following documents can be obtained via the portal, if available:

  • Notice to Providers (Out-of-Home, Educational, and Medical)

  • Child Information;

  • Child's Health and Medical Record;

  • Allowance Purchase Ledger;

  • Child's Contact Record;

  • Basic Wardrobe and Property Inventory;

  • Child Information Guide (completed when child leaves placement);

  • Notice of Rights for a Child in Out-of-Home Care;

  • Out of Home Care Provider Acknowledgment;

  • Notice to Caregivers about Medical/Dental Services; and

  • Behavioral Health Services for Children in Out-of-Home Care Contact Information.

  • Mercy Care DCS Comprehensive Health Plan (DCS CHP) New Member Packet;

  • child's (temporary or permanent) Mercy Care DCS CHP Member I.D. card, when available;

  • copy of available immunization record for the child as well as a copy of the Arizona State Immunization Information System (ASIIS) notification record. See ASIIS to obtain a copy of this record;

  • copy of any minute entry setting a future dependency or delinquency hearing involving the child, if available;

  • Case Plan, if available; and

  • copy of the most recent Foster Care Review Board report, if the initial review has been held.

If the child has been in a prior out-of-home living arrangement, provide the current out-of-home caregiver with the Placement Packet.

The DCS Specialist shall follow procedures outlined in Vital Records and Social Security Administration (VRSSA) Requests Administrative Policy to provide:

  • a child in the custody of the Department, age 14 years and older, with the child’s social security card within 120 days of receiving a written request from the child;

  • a youth at least 16 years old in the custody of the Department shall have access to their vital documents within 60 days after coming into care;

  • a birth certificate for a child in the custody of the Department, in out-of-home care, within 30 days of the child’s removal (unless the child returns to the custody of the parent during the 30-day period); and/or

  • a foster or kinship caregiver with the child’s social security number within 90 days of the request if it is for a lawful purpose.

When requested for a lawful purpose (such as enrollment in educational or social activities, etc.), the DCS Specialist shall provide the out-of-home caregiver with the social security number of a child placed in their care by the Department within 90 days of receipt of a written or verbal request from the caregiver.

The child’s documents should remain in the hard copy file when not in use, and be provided to the child or parent/guardian at the time the case is closed.

Remind the out-of-home caregiver of the Department’s requirements for transportation by the caregiver and the need to transport the children safely. See Transportation Services.

Share all information to care for the child at the time of placing the child with the caregiver, or as soon as possible after, including:

  • planned appointments and other agency involvement;

  • cultural practices, traditions, values, and religious involvement;

  • sexual orientation and gender identity (if youth agrees to sharing of this information);

  • daily routine;

  • emotional and behavioral health needs;

  • if applicable, information on previous court involvement or arrests as a result of alleged delinquent acts, name of juvenile probation officer, and dates of upcoming court hearings;

  • contact information and schedules for clubs, teams, groups or other extracurricular activities;

  • special dietary needs;

  • food and activity preferences; and

  • history of abuse or neglect that may affect the child's behavior or needs.

Provide the out-of-home caregiver with the following information:

  • Department contact during and after business hours;

  • contact and visitation arrangements between the child, child's parents, siblings, relatives, friends, and any former foster parents within the last six months;

  • all health services available through Mercy Care DCS CHP;

  • the ability of the caregiver to access routine behavioral health services through Mercy DCS CHP;

  • the Department's policy on Discipline in Out-of-Home Care, if applicable provide a copy of the Discipline Guidelines;

  • the daily personal allowance provided for the child, as applicable; and

  • availability of emergency clothing allowances and special payments.

Discuss with the out-of-home caregiver if the caregiver would like their information to be private . Inform the out-of-home caregiver they will need to speak with the child’s Guardian Ad Litem if they wish for their information to be private. The DCS Specialist will need to inform the AAG and the courts of the caregiver’s decision.

Discuss shared parenting with the parent and out-of-home caregiver. Explain the levels of shared parenting and facilitate initial contact between parents and out-of-home caregivers using Bridging the Gap, CSO-1543.

Inform the out-of-home caregiver they must arrange for medical examinations and treatment, as well as immunizations, as specified in Medical Services for Children in Out-of-Home Care. Remind the caregiver they are able to give consent for evaluation and treatment for emergency conditions, routine medical and dental treatment, testing for HIV; however, cannot consent to general anesthesia, surgery, blood transfusion or abortions.

Share with the out-of-home caregiver the Department's policy to:

  • support educational stability for children in out-of-home care by maintaining the same school for the child, whenever possible; and

  • work collaboratively to determine the special education parent for the child if the child has special education needs. Work with the out-of-home caregiver to schedule and participate in an educational Best Interest Determination (BID) meeting and enroll the child in school within five days of placement. For more information see Education for Children in Out-of-Home Care.

Inform the out-of-home caregiver that prior approval is required from the parent prior to significantly altering the child's appearance. This includes cutting the child's hair. The DCS Specialist will inform the out-of-home caregiver when the parent has approved a haircut that significantly alters the child’s appearance.

For children living with a licensed caregiver, discuss the rate to be paid as outlined in Foster Care Assessment and Payment.

For children living with an unlicensed kinship caregiver, inform the caregiver that foster care maintenance payments are not available. Encourage and assist the unlicensed caregiver to apply for foster care licensing as outlined in Kinship Care.

When placing a child in a group care setting, additionally undertake the following:

  • arrange a pre-placement interview for the child at the facility, if applicable;

  • complete and maintain a copy of the group care agency's registration packet and provide the caregiver updates to the Placement Packet; and

  • share the Family Contact Plan with the caregiver regarding ongoing contact between the child, the child's parents and siblings, family members, other relatives, friends and former foster parents.

When placing a child in a behavioral health inpatient facility, follow the policy and procedures in Arranging Placement in a Behavioral Health Inpatient Facility.

For children who will have an out-of-state caregiver, follow the policies and procedures in ICPC Placements.

To apply for Social Security benefits or request a change in payee, follow procedures outlined in DCS Administrative Policy Federal Funding to Support Case Management.

DCS Specialists shall provide the DCS Eligibility Unit with information necessary to make a determination regarding a child’s IV-E eligibility. The DCS Eligibility Unit determines a child’s initial IV-E eligibility upon receipt of this information and shall re-determine eligibility annually thereafter. See Administrative Policy Federal Funding to Support Case Management.


File a copy of the Health Plan signed by the caregiver and any other forms signed by the caregiver in the hard copy case record.

Document the sharing of all information in Notes.

Document in Notes that the out-of-home caregiver has been given the Out-of-Home Care Provider Acknowledgment. Document the steps taken to ensure that the out-of-home caregiver is following the "reasonable and prudent parent" standard and whether the child has regular opportunities to engage in age or developmentally appropriate activities.

Document that the Notice of Rights for a Child in Out-of-Home Care, CSO-1141A, was reviewed and discussed with the child by obtaining the child’s signature (if age and developmentally appropriate) and file a copy of the signed form in the case record.

Place a copy of the child’s vital records and documents, including the youth’s birth certificate, social security card, and state issued identification card, in the hard copy file prior to case closure.

Effective Date: December 2, 2021
Revision History: November 30, 2012, September 30, 2013, April 9, 2016, August 03, 2018, December 21, 2018, February 1, 2021, April 1, 2021, October 1, 2021