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Group Homes

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Complaint Filing Process
The Arizona Department of Child Safety's Child Welfare Licensing Unit (referred to as "AZ DCS" below) is responsible for the licensing of group homes, Child Placement, and Adoption agencies across the State of Arizona. A citizen or Town official may file a complaint with the AZ DCS, which licenses the facility. The possible outcomes of such an investigation initiated in response to a complaint are outlined in the sections below. 

 

AZ DCS staff requests that any complaints about group homes be called into the Child Abuse Hotline (1-888-SOS-CHILD). From there the call will be routed appropriately for investigation. AZ DCS Staff recommends that the person who witnessed the issue call directly, so as to ensure nothing is lost in translation and to ensure AZ DCS gets the information they need to look into the concerns. As many specifics as possible should be shared with AZ DCS as possible, as this is critical to being able to run concerns to ground (for example, addresses, names, specific activities, time of day, etc.). 

 

Contact information for the Regulatory Compliance Manager with AZ DCS is listed below:

 

Regulatory Compliance Manager
Office of Licensing and Regulation
Department of Child Safety
3003 N. Central Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85012
Phone 602-255-2801

 

Maintenance of good standing with the State and Police Agencies as a Licensed Group Home
The following sections of Arizona State Revised Statute (ASRS) Title 6 Chapter 5 Article 74 (linked) address how a licensed group home may maintain good standing with the State of Arizona Licensing Agency, AZ DCS, as well as Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) and other policing agencies. These sections are summarized below. 

 

Staff Coverage; Staff to Child Ratios
    • Ages 12 and Above: At least 1 paid staff member for each 10 children.
    • Ages 6 - 11: At least 1 paid staff member for each 8 children.
    • Ages 3 - 5: At least 1 paid staff member for each 6 children.
    • Ages 3 and Under: At least 1 paid staff member for each 5 children.
Monitoring of Agencies and Facilities
    • AZ DCS may conduct unannounced inspections of group home agencies or facilities, interviews with staff or other individuals with information about the agency, and observations of program activities. 
    • The Licensed Facility in question must make the agency, facility, program activities, representatives, staff, children, and documentation requested available for inspection, observation, and/or interview.   
Complaints and Investigations
    • AZ DCS must investigate complaints made against a group home, and will refer all complaints involving allegations of child maltreatment to CPS. The licensee must cooperate with any such investigations or risk denial, suspension, and/or revocation of their license or operating certificate. 
    • Investigations by AZ DCS into a group home may result in the following: 1) A finding that the complaint is invalid, in which case the investigation is closed; 2) A finding that the investigation is valid, in which case disciplinary or corrective action can be taken; 3) A finding that sufficient evidence is not present to validate the complaint. 
    • If the investigation is found to be valid, for lesser offenses the group home in question may be required to create and implement a "corrective action plan." If the investigation turns up severe offenses as outlined below, the group home may have their license denied, suspended, or revoked. 
Denial, Suspension, and Revocation of a License or Operating Certificate

    AZ DCS has the authority to deny, suspend, or revoke a license or operating certificate when an applicant or licensee:

    • Violated or is not in compliance with licensing rules and standards, Arizona state or federal statutes, or city or county ordinances or codes.
    • Refuses to cooperate with AZ DCS.
    • Misrepresents or fails to disclose information to AZ DCS regarding qualifications, experience, or performance of duties.
    • Fails to cooperate in developing a corrective plan after having been directed to do so by AZ DCS.
    • Is unable or unwilling to meet the physical, emotional, educational, or psychological needs of children in care. 

    AZ DCS, in conjunction with MCSO or other policing agencies, has the authority to deny, suspend, or revoke a license or operating certificate when an applicant or licensee, any staff member, or any other adult who resides at the facility, has been convicted of or found by a court to have committed, or is awaiting trial on any criminal offense. The factors included in determining whether a person’s criminal history affects an applicant’s or licensee’s fitness to hold a license are listed below:

    • The extent of the person’s criminal record, if any.
    • The length of time which has elapsed since the offense was committed.
    • The nature of the offense and whether the offense was originally classified as a felony or a misdemeanor.
    • The circumstances surrounding the offense.
    • The degree to which the person participated in committing the offense.
    • The extent of the person’s rehabilitation.
    • The person’s role within the agency or facility.

Runaways and Missing Children

A licensee must have a written policy and procedures for handling runaways and missing children. The policy shall include at least the following procedures for: 

  • Making staff who provide services to a child with a history of or potential for running away, aware of that child’s history or potential.
  • Immediately notifying the designated administrator of the child’s facility or that person’s designee when a child is discovered to be missing.
  • Notifying the local law enforcement agency, the child’s placing agency or person, and others as necessary.
  • Preventing runaways.
  • Submitting a written report to the child’s placing agency or person within five days or the time specified in the placement agreement.