Chapter 5 : Section 34

Discharge from Voluntary Extended Foster Care


The Department shall provide all qualified young adults who reach the age of 18 in the custody of the Department, prior to discharge:

  • information on the benefits, options, and expectations of voluntary extended foster care;

  • the opportunity to remain enrolled in voluntary extended foster care after reaching age 18 and until age 21; and

  • encouragement and assistance to remain in extended foster care unless the young adult demonstrates that extended foster care services are not needed to achieve successful transition to adulthood.

Participation in extended foster care may only be concluded when the young adult makes a voluntary decision to decline participation in the program, withdraws from the program, enlists in the military and successfully achieves active duty status, the Extended Foster Care Quality Review determines the young adult is not eligible, or reaches the age of 21.

A TDM shall be held when concluding a young adult’s participation in the extended foster care program is under consideration. The appropriateness of ending the Department’s care and supervision of the young adult will be discussed and include a review of the existing discharge plan.

The Department shall not terminate voluntary extended foster care services until all required processes are complete, including the TDM or case plan staffing, grievance/complaint process, and development and implementation of a comprehensive transition plan.

The Department shall ensure an appropriate comprehensive discharge plan is developed with all young adults served, including:

  • the plan to meet the identified needs as gathered from the comments, recommendations, and requests of the young adult, caregiver, and other service team members; and

  • specific plans for obtaining any identified services.

The Department shall explore suitable resources and confirm the young adult and caregivers are provided sufficient information to enable them to contact the service provider and initiate services identified in the discharge plan. When appropriate and with the permission of the young adult, the Department may make contact with the service providers.

Before a young adult is discharged from extended foster care, the Department shall provide a young adult who was in out-of-home care for more than six months and turned age eighteen in out-of-home care with their:

  • certified birth certificate,

  • social security card,

  • health insurance information,

  • medical records,

  • Annual Credit Report,

  • educational transcripts,

  • official documentation necessary to prove the young adult was previously in out-of-home care, and

  • State issued identification card.


Review the young adult’s transition plan during each case plan staffing and within 60 days prior to case closure to determine what aftercare services are needed.

If the young adult’s whereabouts are unknown, make reasonable efforts to locate and engage the young adult including:

  • providing written notice;

  • mailing certified letters;

  • making visits to last known addresses;

  • making telephone calls to last known phone numbers;

  • asking relatives and/or others who have contact information;

  • following up on new information;

  • making contact with the young adult’s tribe;

  • reviewing the Family Assistance Administration (FAA) AZTECS database in Guardian to determine if a current address is available;

  • contacting the County Jail and the Department of Corrections if case information indicates current or recent incarceration;

  • reviewing public records and other open sites; and

  • if approved, conducting a search of social media.

Prior to discharge, hold a staffing with the DCS Specialist, Program Supervisor and the young adult. The staffing may include the following participants:

  • the young adult’s permanent personal connections;

  • other service team members currently providing services; and

  • the aftercare service provider, TILP (unless young adult is discharging due to turning 21 and no longer eligible for aftercare services).

During the staffing:

  • review the discharge plan with the young adult and refer the young adult to available aftercare services;

  • provide the young adult with any vital documents that are in the possession of the Department including original birth certificate, state identification card, annual credit report and social security card; and

  • send a closure letter to the young adult confirming the date of closure, right to appeal, and statement of aftercare services available through the Transitional Independent Living Program (including the opportunity to re-enter DCS supervised services) and AHCCCS insurance programs as well as other resources available in their community.

If a Team Decision Making meeting is held to discuss discharge of the young adult, a separate staffing does not need to be held. See Team Decision Making for additional information.

If the young adult in extended foster care is at risk of being homeless upon discharge from the program, the Department shall engage with the young adult to explore housing options, including out-of-home care living arrangements if the young adult is under age 21.

Notify all young adults leaving foster care of the requirement to complete an annual review through the Department of Economic Security, Family Assistance Administration (FAA) to continue health services and to contact FAA to update their current residential address.

Notice of Closure and Grievance Procedure

The Program Manager will review the recommendation of the DCS Specialist and Extended Foster Care Quality Review, if applicable, and approve or deny the case closure.

If the Program Manager approves the recommendation for case closure, the young adult will be notified by phone and in writing via the Notice of Services Denial or Termination, CSO-1304A.

If the young adult agrees with termination of foster care services, the DCS Specialist will proceed with case closure.

At least 20 days prior to the termination of services, the Program Manager or designee shall advise the young adult, the young adult’s caregiver, and community adviser or advocate of the young adult’s right to file an appeal/ grievance of the termination of services and provide the Independent Living Program/Transitional Independent Living Program - Youth/Young Adult Grievance, CSO-1304B. All services, including out-of-home care, will remain intact until such time that the complaint/ grievance process is complete.

The DCS Specialist will assist the young adult in filing of the grievance, if requested by the young adult.


Document the young adult’s voluntary termination of services (including the reason for termination) in Notes tab.

Document assistance provided to young adult to complete and submit the Independent Living Program/Transitional Independent Living Program - Youth/Young Adult Grievance in Notes.

End date all authorized and pending services in Guardian, if applicable.

Enter the service end date under Agreement Status in the Transition to Adulthood tab.

Program Manger

Document approval in Notes.

Effective Date: February 1, 2021
Revision History: August 26, 2019, October 9, 2020