​​​​DAP is designed as an alternative legal process to be used before the child is removed from their home. Using Mediators and Attorneys, family members are able to work toward safe outcomes like Guardianship or in Loco Parentis or modifications in legal decision-making agreements. Since its inception, several County Courts have implemented DAP.  Please see the DAP page for more details, including contact information for each Court’s DAP Coordinator and other helpful materials.





The Pima County Public Defender's Office introduced the FPLC in 2021. FPLC is a legal and social work clinic that reduces dependency filings by quickly and safely resolving safety issues without the need for Court oversight. It provides legal and social work assistance like orders of protection, warrant resolution, contested divorce or custody orders, paternity actions, housing resource referrrals, or employment resources.


The Maricopa County Superior Court introduced the Dependency Prevention Staffing (DPS) in 2019. DPS was designed to guide discussions and identify services and supports that can prevent unnecessary dependency filings. There are several features that make DPS a valuable tool.

  • Alliance Building – Voluntary conversations bring families and service providers together. By fostering collaboration, DPS aims to create a supportive network.
  • Family Action Plan – All participants contribute to developing a Family Action Plan, an outline of the next steps needed to address challenges and promote family well-being.
  • Partnerships – DPS builds partnerships among families, service providers, and the court system. This collaborative approach enhances the effectiveness of support services.
  • Youth Engagement – Youth have the opportunity to actively participate in the conversation and share their perspectives.
  • Strengths-Based Approach – DPS focuses on family and community strengths, emphasizing positive aspects rather than deficits.
  • Resource Highlighting – Families are informed about available resources to address their specific needs.

If you are in Maricopa County and want to learn more about DPS, contact [email protected].


The Maricopa County Office of the Public Advocate began to pilot TBPR in 2019. TBPR uses an attorney, a social worker, and a peer parent to better engage parents in a dependency matter. TBPR parents are more likely to understand why their child was removed from their home and what they need to do to secure their child's return. TBPR is an effective bridge between the parent and DCS, helping the parent to better navigate a complex system.


The Maricopa County Office of the Public Defense Services launched the Family Advocacy and Support Team (FAST) in December 2023. FAST provides multidisciplinary legal support to pregnant mothers who are at risk of DCS involvement or family separation. Each FAST team assigned to a parent has three key members:

  1. Experienced Attorney – Provides valuable support in navigating the legal system.
  2. Social Worker – Supports the parent with an understanding of the child welfare system and awareness of community resources.
  3. Parent with Lived Experience – Supports the parent by using their personal system experience to guide them and help them feel that they are not alone.

By combining legal advocacy, social work, and lived experience, FAST strives to prevent crises and promote the well-being of vulnerable families in Maricopa County.

If you are in Maricopa County and want to learn more about FAST, contact Kristen Foster at [email protected].