Arizona Department of Child Safety: Policy and Procedure Manual

Chapter 3: Section 7.2

Parent & Child Visitation

 

Policy

The Department shall facilitate visitation and ongoing contact between a child in out-of-home care and the child’s parents, family members, their relatives and individuals with significant relationships to the child to preserve and enhance relationships with and attachments to the family of origin. Contact may be by telephone, mail and/or in-person visitation.

 

The Department must determine whether there is a court order from a Superior Court criminal case that prohibits contact between the child and his/her parent or guardian before facilitating contact.

 

If the placement of siblings together is not possible for all or any of the siblings, the Department shall make efforts to maintain frequent visitation or other ongoing contact between all siblings unless documented evidence that visitation or ongoing contact would be contrary to the child’s or a sibling’s safety or well-being.

 

The Department shall facilitate contact by telephone, mail and visitation between a child in out-of-home care and the child’s friends and any former foster parent unless such contact is documented as contrary to the child’s or a sibling’s safety or well-being.

 

The Department may recommend that visitation or contact between a child in out-of-home care and the child’s parents, family members, other relatives, friends, and any former foster parents be restricted only when visitation or contact is contrary to the child’s safety or well-being.

 

All case plans for children in out-of-home care shall include a contact and visitation plan which is developed with involvement of family members and the child, if age appropriate, or documentation of why contact and visitation is contrary to the child’s safety and well-being.

 

Frequency, duration, location and structure of contact and visits shall be determined based primarily upon the child's need for safety and for family contact with safety being the paramount concern. Visitation and other contact by telephone and mail shall not be used as a reward or as a punishment for the child or any family member.

 

Visitation shall take place in the most natural, family-like setting possible and with as little supervision as possible while still ensuring the safety and well-being of the child.

 

The Department shall make every reasonable effort to not remove a child, who is in out-of home care, from school during regular school hours for appointments, visitation or activities not related to school.

 

Procedures

Decision Making

In determining a contact and visitation plan, consider these factors:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Based on these factors, determine the type, frequency, duration, and location of contact and visits. Determine if visits or other contact should be highly structured, moderately structured, or relaxed. For more information, see Visitation Supervision Continuum

 

Implementation

Before facilitating contact between the child and his/her parent or guardian,

 

Do not facilitate contact between the child and his/her parent or guardian if an order from a Superior Court criminal case prohibits such contact.

 

Involve family members, the child, if age appropriate, and caregivers in developing the contact and visitation plan. In particular, assist the child and the parents to identify extended family and significant persons as potential placement options or non-placement support persons.

 

Give parents a copy of Visitation Guidelines for Parents, CSO-1138A and discuss it with them.

 

Strive for weekly contact and visitation with parents and between siblings not placed together. Adapt the frequency as necessary to meet the child's safety and well-being needs. Make every reasonable effort to schedule and arrange transportation to visitation between the child and his/her family including parents and siblings during non-school hours. Whenever possible, use service providers who are able to transport and facilitate/ supervise visitation during non-school hours.

 

Comply with any court orders regarding contact and visitation.

 

Ensure that all persons included in the contact and visitation plan are entered as case participants using the most appropriate case role.

 

Consider information provided by service providers and caregivers concerning the progress of parents towards addressing safety and risk factors as well as the specific needs of the child.

 

Medical Marijuana

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act Arizona Medical Marijuana Act) enables a person (a qualifying patient), who is registered with the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), to legally obtain, under Arizona law, an allowable amount of marijuana and possess and use the marijuana for its therapeutic effects in treating and alleviating symptoms associated with a debilitating medical condition. However, the possession, sale or transportation of marijuana is still a crime under Federal law.

 

The DCS Specialist and his/her supervisor may not restrict or deny contact or visitation between the child and a parent who is a qualifying patient because the parent uses and/or cultivates marijuana for his/her medical use.

 

In order to recommend against contact or visitation with a child by a parent, who is a qualifying patient, the DCS Specialist and his/her supervisor must assess the parent’s behavior and determine whether that behavior creates an unreasonable danger to the child's safety or well-being.

 

If contact and visitation are determined to be contrary to the child's safety or well-being and the child cannot be protected through a supervised or structured visit, contact the Attorney General's Office to request that a motion be filed to restrict or prohibit contact. Restriction or denial of contact or visitation between the child and the child’s siblings, parents, relatives, friends, former foster parents may occur only by court order.

 

Increase the frequency and duration of contact and visits as progress toward case plan tasks that directly relate to safety and well-being of the child are achieved. Provide maximum opportunity for parent-child contact responsibility during reunification phase visits.

 

If a child objects to contact and visitation, consult your supervisor.

 

If conflicts arise around contact and visitation:

 

Documentation

Document the contact and visitation plan in the Visitation window.

 

If the siblings are unable to be placed together, document frequent contact or visitation between siblings in the Visitation section in the Case Plan.

 

When a decision is made that contact and visitation is contrary to the child's safety and well-being, document the reasons in a Case Note in CHILDS.

 

Document the need for contact and visitation restrictions in the Visitation section of the Case Plan.

 

Document contact between the child and the child’s siblings, family members, other relatives, friends, and any former foster parents using the Case Notes windows.

 

Document the supervision of contact and visitation using the Summary of Supervised Visitation, CSO-1091A. File the form in the hard copy record

 

Forms

 

Related Information

 

Legal

A.R.S. § 8-513 Participation in activities; contact with relatives; placement with siblings

 

A.R.S. § 8-527 Children in out-of-home care; noninterference with regular school activities

 

A.R.S. § 8-813 Preplacement investigation; medical examination; disposition.

 

A.R.S. § 8-824 Preliminary protective hearing; probable cause; appointment of counsel

 

 

 

Effective Date: November 30, 2012

Revision History: