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Arizona Superior Court in Pima County
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How does the case end

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How does the case end?

If, after some time, the parent has followed the case plan and recommendations, the Judge may decide to return the child to a parent, either immediately, through a slow transition process, or at the discretion of DCS. Each case is different, so the time it takes to make reunification happen depends on the situation.

Dependency status:

Once the judge is satisfied that the parents have completed the case plan tasks and the children have been placed with the parent, the dependency case is closed.

If the biological parents have failed to make the changes required in order to have the child returned to their care, the grandparents, relatives or foster parents may be offered the option to become permanent guardians. A permanent guardianship is considered a “Title 8” guardianship. Title 8 guardianships can only be granted when the child is under DCS custody and has an open dependency case.

Parent’s rights:

A permanent guardianship does not terminate the biological parent’s rights. However, it cannot be undone by the biological parents. Reversing a permanent guardianship requires a judge’s order.

Length of guardianship:

The guardianship is intended to last until the child turns 18 years old.

Dependency status:

The child’s dependency case ends when the permanent guardianship is put into place.  The judge will schedule a Guardianship Review within a year to ensure that the guardianship is going well.

When the biological parents have failed to make the changes required to have the child returned to their care, their rights are terminated by the Court. The child can then be adopted.

In order for the child to be adopted, the adoptive family must become certified before they are able to adopt. 

Dependency Status:

Once the adoption is finalized, the dependency case ends and there is no further involvement with the court.

This arrangement occurs when the youth are teenagers and appears that they will be unable to be reunified with their parents before they turn 18.  Additionally, it appears that adoption or guardianship will be unable to be reached before they turn 18.  This plan is also called Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement (APPLA). 

Dependency Status:

The dependency case is closed once the child turns 18 and is an adult.

Arizona Young Adult Program (AYAP)

When the youth are between 16 and 17 years old, they may enroll in the AYAP program. This program helps the youth develop life skills and permanent connections. It can include financial support and help in finding housing, continuing education or becoming employed, and also provides assistance for their physical and mental health.

Youth have the option of staying with DCS until they are 22.  They receive support, a caseworker, and are able to stay on CMDP (comprehensive medical and dental plan), DCS’s insurance.