DCS offers a series of steps to address and resolve complaints or disagreements. If you have a complaint with DCS, follow these steps:
Step 1: Attempt to resolve disputes with the DCS Child Safety Specialist
Address your issue directly with the Child Safety Specialist. We suggest you contact the assigned Specialist by phone and stay in control of your emotions while addressing the problem. There is no need to leave repeated messages. Please allow two working days for the Specialist to contact you. If you do not receive a response within two working days, submit a written communication by email or mail outlining your concerns. Keep a record of your calls and/or a copy of your written correspondence.
If step 1 fails, proceed to step 2
Step 2: Elevate your concern to the DCS Supervisor
If your attempt to resolve your concerns with the case specialist fails, contact the DCS Supervisor. Follow the same process in attempting to speak with the supervisor.
If step 2 fails, proceed to step 3
Step 3: Contact the DCS Ombudsman's Office
The DCS Office of the Ombudsman assists parents and guardians who are involved with DCS, their families and other interested parties when they are dissatisfied with services, actions or lack of actions, or their treatment by DCS staff. The DCS Office of the Ombudsman will review your complaint and determine the type of response needed. Responses may include:
- A referral to the appropriate DCS management staff;
This occurs when it is determined that the problem can be readily resolved by speaking with the correct management staff.
- A response by the DCS Office of the Ombudsman;
This occurs when it is determined that the problem requires a review of the case record and contact with field staff on your behalf by DCS Office of the Ombudsman staff to obtain a needed response or action. DCS Office of the Ombudsman staff can also assist by explaining the DCS process for investigations, dependency/court actions, providing information on policies, procedures and statutory requirements, mediating disagreements between you and specific Department personnel, and assisting with the elimination of barriers to services.
This occurs when other conflict resolution methods have been unsuccessful and a more formal process is needed. If this is determined to be the appropriate response, the DCS Office of the Ombudsman will provide you the Level I Client Grievance form and further explain the grievance process. A grievance ensures complaints are addressed at the lowest management level by those most familiar with the situation, provides for a face to face meeting with management staff, and requires specific response time frames with thorough documentation of the complaint and resolution process.
Click here to file a complaint online
Contact the DCS Office of the Ombudsman:
NOTICE OF AGENCY OMBUDSMAN
The Administrative Procedure Act requires the publication of Notices of Agency Ombudsman. Agencies shall publish annually in the Register the name or names of those employees who are designated by the agency to assist members of the public or regulated community in seeking information or assistance from the Agency. (A.R.S. § 41-1006)
What if I want an outside agency to review my concerns?
Arizona Ombudsman-Citizens’ Aide
The Arizona Ombudsman-Citizens’ Aide is an independent agency of the Arizona Legislature that was established to make government more responsive to Arizona citizens. It is the office that Arizona citizens can turn to when they feel they have been treated unfairly by a state administrator, agency, department, board, or commission. The services of the Ombudsman are free and confidential. The office is given its authority by Arizona Revised Statute sections 41-1371 through 41-1383 and operates under Arizona Administrative Code title 2 chapter 16.
If you wish for the Arizona Ombudsman-Citizens’ Aide to review your concerns, please contact them at www.azoca.gov or Phone: (602) 277-7292 or Toll Free: (800) 872-2879