March 18, 2020 – Phoenix, AZ
The Arizona Department of Child Safety is immediately altering operational procedures as follows:
- Telework - Any DCS Staff with job duties that permit telework are permitted and encouraged to do so
- Home Visits - Home visits with caregivers and parenting time between foster children and their parent are still occurring face to face. This decision is being evaluated daily to determine if a change is required.
- Video Conferencing - Video conferencing platforms such as FaceTime, Skype, Google Hangouts or What’s App are approved for conducting meetings at this time.
- Home visits are still acceptable - DCS employees and contractors should conduct visits outdoors where possible and maintain a suggested safe distance of 6 feet. Do not shake hands, share a smile.
- Vehicles - All vehicles are being sanitized between transports.
- Visiting Rooms - All visiting rooms and common surfaces are being sanitized throughout the day.
- Illness Protocol - All family members and employees need to stay home if they are ill and must remain home until they are symptom-free for 72 hours without medication.
- Foster Parent College can now be completed online -This is an opportunity for families to use this down time to help the community by becoming a licensed foster parent. To get started with orientation, visit dcs.az.gov/foster-and-adoption/foster-care/steps-becoming-foster-parent. The department historically experiences large spikes in call volume soon AFTER a prolonged school closure or break. We must prepare for this as a community. One of the best ways to do so is to increase the number of licensed foster parents throughout the state.
- Investigations - Investigations of child abuse and neglect are still occurring, though call volume has decreased significantly with schools being closed and mandated reporters (teachers) not observing children. We know from experience that children are suffering out there. DCS cannot investigate if we are not informed. With active school closures, we implore the community to report suspected child abuse or neglect. It’s just a phone call to you, but your call could help rescue a struggling family or even save a child’s life.
- Resources - We ask the public to please lean on community resources such as food banks and the faith community for vital resources such as diapers, wipes, formula and food. Our caseworkers will be directing requests for DCS-involved families internally for assistance.
- Child Abuse Hotline - If you suspect child abuse or neglect, please call the AZ Child Abuse Hotline at 1-888-SOS-CHILD – 1-888-767-2445