The Department of Child Safety (DCS) exists to ensure that children thrive in healthy environments, and that’s true for every family and child without exception.
The process of helping children and families originates when someone contacts DCS with a concern over a child’s welfare. DCS responds to reports, which are most often made through its Child Abuse Hotline at 888-SOS-CHILD. After an initial investigation from a caseworker is conducted, if the investigation confirms safety concerns, DCS goes to work to successfully engage children and families in a way that insures safety, strengthens families, and achieves permanency for children. In this process, DCS is required to follow state law and strict agency policies and procedures to determine if a child must be removed.
Occasionally, questions have come up about DCS’ removal policy. Of course, any suggestion that the procedures have been improperly handled should be raised with DCS as soon as possible. DCS has a Family Advocate (ombudsman office) that exists for the very purpose of communicating with people who have concerns with DCS. There is more information online regarding the Family Advocate and how to resolve a concern or complaint available online at https://dcs.az.gov/resources/resolve-complaint-or-disagreement or 602-364-0777.
One concern that has been addressed is how the needs of non-English speaking families are being met. DCS is committed to doing everything possible to serve those for whom English is not the primary language. Translation services are provided when necessary at no cost to the affected family. Additionally, because Arizona has a large population of Spanish speaking citizens, DCS has numerous field staff including caseworkers who are Spanish-speaking. The Department’s vital documents are translated to Spanish according to DCS Limited English Proficiency policy. Among these forms are the Temporary Custody Notice, Notice to Providers, and Notice of Duty to Inform are all translated to Spanish.) DCS also translates other documents for families, even when it is not considered vital.
Additionally, in a ground-breaking development, in June, 2015, Governor Doug Ducey signed the first-ever Memo of Understanding (MOU) with the Mexican government to ensure the free exchange of information regarding child safety issues involving minors believed to possibly be in Mexico. This reflects the fact that there is no policy preventing the placement of family with undocumented relatives.