Chapter 5 : Section 31

Services and Supports to Prepare Youth for Adulthood


The Department shall provide all youth in out-of-home care age 14 and older with opportunities to participate in programs and services to prepare them for adulthood.

The Department shall adhere to the principles of the Youth Thrive practice model to strengthen promotive and protective factors that enhance a young person’s sense of well-being and healthy development. The Department shall develop Transition Plans as part of the case plan that are youth-centered and youth-driven, and provide services and opportunities to support all youth to make sound life decisions and develop a sense of achievement, usefulness, belonging, and empowerment.

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

Before a youth who has been in out-of-home care for more than six months ages out of foster care, the Department shall provide the youth with official documentation necessary to prove the child was previously in foster care.

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 for a lawful purpose within 90 days after the foster parent’s or kinship caregiver’s request.

The Department shall arrange or provide appropriate services for parenting youth to support healthy parent-child bonds, which may include parenting skills training, peer support, or other services.

The Department shall ensure youth in care are aware of their rights, including the right to utilize established complaint/grievance processes to assist in conflict resolution and that all youth in out-of-home care, age 12 and older, are provided a copy of the Notice of Rights for Children in Out-of-Home Care, CSO-1141.

The Department shall coordinate services available through the Department with other federal and state programs for youth including abstinence education programs, local housing programs, programs for youth with disabilities, and school-to-work programs offered by high schools or local workforce agencies.


Youth in out-of-home care age 14 and older shall be assisted to develop age-appropriate goals and to participate in developmentally appropriate activities to learn the skills necessary for adulthood.

Annually, the DCS Specialist shall provide and review with the youth the Notice of Rights for Children and Youth in Foster Care, including completion of Part B (Contact Information), and any additional program material available to the youth.

The DCS Specialist shall follow procedures outlined in Vital Records and Social Security Administration Requests Administrative Policy for provision of a child’s social security card and birth certificate.

Customized Case Planning and Service Delivery to Prepare Youth for Adulthood

Discuss with the youth their plan to prepare for adulthood.

To assess a youth’s needs, complete the Youth Thrive Survey, DCS-2451 annually with youth age 14 and older.

Engage youth in the case planning process to develop the individualized Transition Plan described in Developing and Reassessing the Family-Centered Case Plan to confirm necessary supports and services are made available, including:

  • Educational services: See related policy in Education Services for Children in Out-of-Home Care.

  • Employment and career preparation and obtainment: Evaluate the young person’s interests and needs relating to employment and career planning. Educate young people on Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and other community resources for employment training. DCS Specialists may utilize for career planning assessment tools, educational program training, and more.

  • Developmental or behavioral health services: Assess if the young person has needs that may continue into adulthood, and confirm the youth's Transition Plan includes strategies for addressing these needs. For further assistance, see: Behavioral Health & Substance Abuse Services for Children and Young Adults.

  • Housing: During each monthly visit, confirm that the youth feels safe and supported in the housing environment. The case planning process should also include long-term housing goals, including goals for youth as they enter adulthood. Engage the youth and out-of-home caregiver to identify activities that may occur in the home setting (i.e. food preparation, cooking and storage, home sanitizing, laundry, etc.).

  • Financial Literacy: DCS Specialists shall ensure that young people in out-of-home care have access to financial literacy training in a way that supports youths’ individual needs and interests. Explain to youth age 14 and older that they will receive a copy of any annual credit report and assistance fixing any inaccuracies in the annual credit report. When a credit report exists, the DCS Specialist will receive the report, review with the youth, and assist the youth to resolve inaccuracies. (See related information on Credit Reports.)

  • Social Connections: Utilize the Youth Connections Scale to assess social connections for the youth. Identified social connections shall be invited to case plan staffings, as appropriate. If a youth is lacking social connections, include supports and services to strengthen connections in the Transition Plan.

  • Normalcy and tasks of adolescence: Discuss activities related to tasks of adolescence, to include, but not limited to obtaining a driver’s permit or license, dating, free time, and school activities. Ensure youth are provided with information, services, and opportunities that support their tasks of adolescence. See Reasonable and Prudent Parent Standard.

In addition, case planning for youth age 16 and older may address:

  • permanency options and permanent living arrangements;

  • specialized case management (where available);

  • Young Adult Program incentives;

  • information and assistance in life care and health care planning, including enrollment in a health plan;

  • family planning;

  • independent living skills training;

  • Education and Training Voucher (ETV) and other funding for post-secondary educational/vocational pursuits;

  • assistance to the youth to apply for post-secondary education and training funds through the ETV application or other financial resource application process (e.g., Free Application for Student Financial Aid-FASFA) as appropriate to the Transition Plan;

  • voluntary extended care for young adults 18 through 20 years of age;

  • other transitional support services including aftercare services available through the DCS Transitional Independent Living Program (TILP), including re-entering DCS case management and services;

  • Health insurance until age 26 for eligible youth through AHCCCS (Young Adult Transitional Insurance); and

  • creating an account with Health-e-Arizona Plus which can support consistent YATI enrollment.

Assist all youth who reach the age of majority while in out-of-home care to pre-enroll in an AHCCCS plan the month prior to the youth turning 18 years of age by completing and submitting Young Adult Transitional Insurance (YATI) Referral, FAA-1097.

Supporting Parenting Youth in DCS Custody or DCS Extended Care

If a youth is pregnant or parenting, confirm that the youth’s Transition Plan goals include activities to address needs related to being pregnant or parenting. During monthly in-person contact, confirm that the parenting youth’s child is safe and receiving appropriate care. In addition, complete the following to support the pregnant or parenting youth:

  • Have monthly in-person contact with the youth and the youth’s child(ren) to observe the parent child interaction and ensure the safety of the youth and youth’s child(ren).

  • Offer parent support services to assist the youth with any parenting needs, including safe sleep, community supports, and ensuring a supportive living arrangement.

  • Support the parenting youth in attending all medical appointments and follow procedures outlined in Pregnancy Care Services.

  • Request a birth certificate for the youth’s child through +VSSA Mailbox, if needed, outlined in DCS 02-43 Vital Records and Social Security Administration Requests.

  • Maintain monthly contact with the youth’s non-dependent child as outlined in Contact with Children, Parents and Out-of-Home Caregivers.

  • Attend all dependency court hearings for the youth’s dependent child as necessary, and communicate with the child’s assigned DCS Specialist on a regular basis as a support for the parenting youth.

Transition Planning to Prepare Youth for Adulthood

Begin transition planning with youth at age 14. Transition planning shall be included in the Transition Plan as well as discussions during monthly in-person contact.

During the 90 days prior to the youth’s 18th birthday, confirm with the youth that the transition plan is complete and relevant to the individual goals and needs identified by the youth including:

  • housing;

  • health insurance;

  • education;

  • local opportunities for mentors;

  • continuous support services;

  • work force supports;

  • employment services;

  • transportation, to include discussion of youth’s interest in a driver’s license;

  • the importance of designating another person to make health care treatment decisions on the youth’s behalf if unable, or they become unable,) to do so, and does not have or does not want a relative who would otherwise be authorized by state law to make such decisions; and

  • the option to execute a health care power of attorney, health care proxy, or other similar document. (For more information, see Advance Directives and Health Care Directives at Life Care Planning).

  • In the month prior to the youth’s 18th birthday confirm their Transition Plan, and for those youth who have been identified as having Safety Related Concerns review and follow guidance in Standard Work - Transition and Discharge Planning for Young Adults at 18 with Safety Related Concerns to Participation in the EFC Program.

Eligibility of minor youth placed out-of-state via ICPC ends upon their 18th birthday unless the youth re-establishes residency in Arizona. If the youth remains or plans to relocate out-of-state, the transition plan shall include supports and services in the state the youth plans to establish residency in on or after their 18th birthday.

Dually Adjudicated Youth Under Retained Jurisdiction

Youth who are dually adjudicated, subject to retained jurisdiction, and will remain in a secure care setting beyond their 18th birthday are eligible for continued foster care services.

The DCS Specialist shall conduct a case conference (in person or telephonically) within ten days of being informed (verbally or in writing) of the filing of a Notice of Intent to Retain Jurisdiction or receiving notice of a court order for continued jurisdiction, and discuss the following:

  • the best interest of the youth;

  • eligibility requirements for Extended Foster Care to age 21 with the youth, the youth’s attorney(s), Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections staff (Youth Parole Officer, Youth Program Officer and Youth Program Supervisor, and other staff as appropriate) and other parties (including parents, advocates identified by the youth, etc.); and

  • where the youth may reside upon release to a community setting, and necessary adjustments to the transition plan.

Providing Records/Documents to Youth

Provide all youth age 14 and older with a copy of their health records, including the Health Plan Guardian, during each case plan staffing and within 30 days of their 18th birthday. The youth's health record may include, but is not limited to, notes and records of medical and dental professionals including:

  • name and address of the child’s health and dental care providers;

  • immunization records;

  • hospitalization(s);

  • known medical problems including specific illness or diagnosis;

  • surgeries;

  • medications;

  • consultations with specialists; and

  • any other relevant health information.

Provide or make arrangements for youth age 16 and older to receive a certified copy of their birth certificate, Social Security card, and state identification card (unless ineligible to receive) as outlined in Vital Records and Social Security Administration Records.

Provide all youth, within 30 days of their 18th birthday, with a copy of their educational records. Youth's educational records may include, but are not limited to:

  • the names and addresses of the child’s educational providers;

  • state and federal assessment score transcripts (e.g., AIMS, Stanford 9, etc.);

  • transcripts (report cards) including elementary, secondary or GED;

  • relevant discipline or health records;

  • referrals and program information for related purposes, i.e. Vocational Rehabilitation, and Youth Transition Program, etc.;

  • special education evaluations (including psycho-educational assessments and evaluations) and related Individualized Education Program (IEP) and Section 504 plans;

  • original diplomas, certificates or degrees earned; and

  • any other relevant education information.

Identifying and Addressing Discrimination of Minority Youth

To determine if a youth has been or may be the subject of harm, discrimination, or any adverse act because of their race, religion, age, disability, national origin, or any other characteristic protected by law, consider whether:

  • the youth actually is, or is perceived to be, a member of a minority group;

  • the youth expressed concern for their safety or well-being; and

  • the caregiver or other person reported concerns for the youth’s safety and well-being.

Whenever it is determined that a youth has been or may be subject to harm, discrimination, or any adverse act because of their race, color, religion, age, disability, national origin, or any other characteristic protected by law, meet with the youth and caregiver (if appropriate) to discuss the concern, and:

  • identify services, supports (including community-based advocates or organizations) or strategies to help ensure their safety or decrease the risk of harm;

  • contact local law enforcement and file a report in any instance where a suspected crime may have occurred;

  • provide an immediate change in the living arrangement if there is a threat to the youth's physical, mental and/or emotional safety and well-being.

Special Circumstances for Transition Age Youth

Obtaining a Driver's License and Insurance for a Youth

For youth who are at least fifteen years of age and are interested in obtaining a driver’s permit and/or a driver’s license, the DCS Specialist, in conjunction with other adults involved with the youth, will provide information to the youth about the responsibility of driving, importance of obeying traffic laws and the need to develop safe driving skills in order to obtain a driver’s license. The DCS Specialist shall provide information to youth about programs that offer driver’s education, as well as information about the Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) requirements for obtaining a driver’s license.

After the youth obtains a license, the youth must be covered under an automobile insurance policy if the youth drives a vehicle. The DCS Specialist will inform the youth of the following:

  • The youth must not drive a vehicle at any time without proper insurance.

  • Youth who have completed a driver’s education program may contact an insurance company and independently enter into an agreement for motor vehicle liability insurance.

  • Foster parent or kinship caregiver may choose to add the youth to their insurance policy.

Joining the Military

For youth age 17 who desire to join the military, the DCS Specialist shall review and complete the Record of Military Processing Form (DD-1966), which includes a Parental/Guardian Consent for Enlistment section, and request Court approval for Guardian consent.

For youth under 18 who are approved to join the military and for youth age 18 and older, the DCS Specialist shall include the following:

• Keep the case open until such time the youth has completed Basic Training (which lasts from 7 to 12 weeks) and any subsequent Advanced Individual Training (AIT). Should the youth not complete the basic and advanced training, support and encourage the youth to explore other career and living arrangement options.

• Keep the case open for youth age 18 and older who have signed a Voluntary Extended Foster Care Agreement and are able to meet monthly for face to face visits. See Voluntary Extended Foster Care for more information.

• Cases of youth who have enlisted in the National Guard or military reserves may remain open unless they are called for full time active duty.

If a young adult is no longer considered full time active duty, the young adult may enroll in services under the supervision of DCS via the Transitional Independent Living Program. The DCS Specialist shall ensure that the young adult is aware of after-care services.

Undocumented Youth

Assist youth who are not documented citizens to establish legal residency by initiating and completing requirements of the local office of immigration and naturalization. DCS Specialists shall follow procedures outlined in Policy, see Special Immigrant Juvenile Status


Document the Youth Thrive Assessment in Guardian in Notes.

Document strengths and needs identified on the Youth Thrive assessment for each protective and promotive factor in the youth’s Transition Plan, including the related services and supports.

Document life skills activities in the Transition Plan.

Complete the Transition Plan goals with the following information:

  • program start date;

  • assessment date;

  • community advisor/mentor; and

  • other applicable fields.

Ensure credit reports are run semi-annually through Guardian.

Effective Date: May 13, 2022
Revision History: November 30, 2012, July 1st, 2013, February 12, 2016, August 9th, 2017, October 13th, 2017, August 3rd, 2018, October 15th, 2018, August 26, 2019, February 1, 2021