Resources for Foster/Kinship/Adoptive Families

AHCCCS is committed to providing comprehensive, quality health care for children in foster/kinship/adoptive care. Foster children are eligible for medical and dental care, inpatient, outpatient, behavioral health, and other services through The Mercy Care Department of Child Safety Comprehensive Health Plan (Mercy Care DCS CHP). Adoptive children are typically AHCCCS eligible and enroll in a health plan/RBHA or CRS similar to any Medicaid eligible child.

How to Access Services

Mercy Care DCS CHP is the health plan for Arizona's children and youth placed in out-of-home care. More information can be found here:

Foster and Kinship Caregiver Resource Packet

Adoptive children follow the same enrollment process as other Medicaid eligible children. For physical health, adoptive parents choose from a range of health plans that cover all medical and dental services.

For more information about what benefits AHCCCS offers, see:
AHCCCS Programs and Covered Services

For a list of available health plans, see:
Available Health Plans

For behavioral health, children are assigned to a RBHA based on where they live; the RBHA manages the behavioral health benefits. (Go to the Behavioral Health Services section above for more information on how to access your behavioral health benefits.)

Adoptive children with special health care needs may be enrolled in Children’s Rehabilitative Services (CRS). (See Children’s Rehabilitative Services section above for more information.)

Foster/Kinship/Adoptive Family Rights and Information

Children and youth who enter the child welfare system bring with them a unique set of behaviors, problems and issues that can arise from abuse, neglect and/or removal from their home. According to a national study by the Urban Institute, foster children had higher levels of emotional and behavior problems, more often had physical, learning, or mental health conditions that limited their psychosocial functioning, and were less engaged in school and more likely to have been expelled than children living with in parent care. This guide is intended for use by Arizona Department of Child Safety Specialists, licensed resource parents and The Department of Economic Security, Division of Children, Youth and Families (DES/DCYF) group home staff to provide information and tools to help improve their awareness of the use of psychotropic medication.

Psychotropic Medication: A Guide for CPS Specialists and Licensed Caregivers

When children in foster/kinship/adoptive care are enrolled in Arizona’s behavioral health system, a Child and Family Team is developed. Each child is unique and has different needs. However, an overwhelming amount of information is discussed at the evaluation and medication monitoring appointments. It is important to be prepared and remember to ask questions during your appointment. Below is more information for caregivers and providers about preparing for a CFT appointment.

CFT Parent/Caregiver Preparation Guide

Arizona House Bill 2442 was passed into law in 2016, and helped to correct many issues facing foster, kinship, and adopted children who receive behavioral health services. This training covers an overview of the law, a review and use of the DCS Placement Packet, legal rights and protections, and covered services.

The Office of Individual and Family Affairs web page includes resources and lists available training dates.

Policy Updates

The Division of Behavioral Health Services (DBHS) and AHCCCS have been partners in an effort to improve care for Arizona’s foster/kinship/adoptive families receiving behavioral health services. Governor Ducey recommended formalizing the partnership by bringing DBHS and AHCCCS together. This administrative simplification does not change services foster children can receive, nor does it change how foster children receive services. It also will not disrupt the important services DBHS provides to foster/kinship/adoptive families. Instead, the merger is an opportunity to increase focus on whole-person health, reduce stigma, and enhance service delivery for all members. Toster/Kinship/Adoptive Fhe merger will become effective July 1, 2016.

For more information, please see the presentation below regarding Governor Ducey’s administrative simplification initiative as presented in the Joint Health and Human Services Committee:

Administrative Simplification Presentation

On March 24th, 2016 Governor Ducey signed Jacob’s Law, a crucial step forward in addressing the needs of foster/kinship/adoptive families in our system. AHCCCS is committed to simplify accessing needed behavioral health care services for children in foster care. Below are the first of many steps we are taking to help in this effort.

  • Requiring all of the RBHAs and CRS to have a designated point of contact for all families involved in the DCS system
  • Clarifying families can contact RBHAs, CRS or AHCCCS directly anytime for help scheduling an appointment or navigating the healthcare system
  • Issuing a statement signed by AHCCCS Director Betlach and DCS Director McKay to clarify that foster parents can consent to behavioral health services for foster children in their care
  • Requiring the RBHAs and CRS to form committees within their own organizations designed to create a pathway for regular communication and feedback from foster, adoptive and kinship families
  • Enforcing greater access to care and encouraging families to report providers who indicate they are unable to provide timely access to covered behavioral health services
  • Holding ongoing meetings to ensure we hear from stakeholders about how to improve the foster care system

Governor Ducey Signs Crucial Legislation for Arizona Foster Children

Statement from AHCCCS Director on Signing of Jacob’s Law

Letter from the Arizona Association of Health Plans

As part of the requirements for obtaining inpatient assessment and/or treatment for a child in out-of-home care, DCS staff must receive specific written reports from the inpatient psychiatrist, psychologist, or physician. We respectfully request that you share a reminder with your providers of their requirements to complete the attached documents and the timelines in which policy and statute outlines.

These forms are designed to ensure the provider and DCS meet the statutory burden for the court to approve continued inpatient treatment for DCS youth (ARS 8-272 and 8-273).

The following forms need to be completed and returned to the assigned DCS Specialist at key points in the process:

Foster Care Specific Reports & Data

AHCCCS hired Mercer Government Human Services Consulting (Mercer) to perform an analysis on Home Care Training to Home Care Client (HCTC) also known as Therapeutic Foster Care.

Therapeutic Foster Care/Home Care Training to Home Care Client - Analysis and Recommendations

AHCCCS hired Mercer Government Human Services Consulting (Mercer) to perform an analysis of implementing an integrated health plan for children in foster care. The analysis was designed to identify the operational and ongoing infrastructure requirements of an integrated health plan administered through the Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS)/Comprehensive Medical and Dental Program (CMDP).

AHCCCS Analysis of an Integrated Health Plan - Revised with ACO Model

Children involved with the foster care system have unique health care needs often characterized by significant risk of experiencing behavioral health conditions and concomitant chronic medical issues.

This report summarizes the recommendations of the state agency collaborative including data analyzed to arrive at these conclusions.

SB 1375 Report

This section offers historical data regarding behavioral health service delivery for individuals in Department of Child Safety (DCS) custody.

Reports for Individuals in Foster Care

Contact Us

If you have any questions or comments regarding services for foster/kinship/adoptive families you can contact AHCCCS via email at or by phone at 602-364-4558.