Upcoming Events

Dependency Judges Training

The Court Improvement Program provides annual training to Judges assuming a new assignment involving dependency cases pursuant to Administrative Order 99-08.

Upcoming dates:

Dependency 101 is scheduled for May 29, 30, and 31, 2024. Registration is now open.

Dependency Video Training

The following presentations will provide viewers an excellent opportunity to explore critical issues associated with the Arizona Dependency Process. Please note that the viewing of these video presentations does not replace the requirement for Judges assuming a new assignment involving dependency cases to attend the specialized dependency training program ("Dependency 101"), pursuant to Administrative Order 99-08.

The following trainings are available for Arizona Judges, Attorneys, CASA and FCRB volunteers hosted by Court Improvement. Anyone using the system for the first time will need to set up a user profile. The following are links to CREATE A NEW PROFILE INSTRUCTIONS and RETURNING STUDENT INSTRUCTIONS for registration.  Watch step-by-step videos on how to set up a new user accountreset a password/retrieve username or retrieve a certificate or transcript.

Dependency Court 

Walk Through the Maze: The Arizona Dependency Process Dawn Williams, CWLS (65 mins)

This session provides a step by step overview of the Dependency Process, including its timelines, purpose, and major provisions. Dawn will take the participants from the beginning when a report is made to petition filing to hearings to placement and all the steps in between.

Grounds: Termination of Parental Rights Dawn Williams, CWLS, Unit Chief Counsel for CFPD Appeals (63 mins)
This session explores the grounds for termination of parental rights and best interests, including standards of proof, 
elements of each ground, and case-law examples.

Appeals Process 101: Introduction Dawn Williams, CWLS (65 mins)

A parent may appeal a finding of dependency or severance. An appeal is a request by the moving party to the Court of Appeals to find that an error of law or procedure occurred during the case and therefore the trial court must reconsider its decision. Dawn Williams will discuss the process and steps needed for a successful appeal.

Appeals Process 201:Special Actions, Petitions for Review, and Oral Argument Dawn Williams, CWLS (63 mins)
This webinar will go beyond actions in the Court of Appeals to explore when, why, and how to file a special action from a juvenile court order (including getting an appellate stay of the order); when, why, and how to petition for review of an appellate decision to the Arizona Supreme Court; and some general tips and tricks for oral advocacy in both proceedings.

Best for Babies: The Substance Using/Abusing Mother Susan M. Stephens, MD (85 mins)
The attendees of this presentation include judicial officers, court personnel, CASA program coordinators and volunteers, GAL, private attorneys for children and parents, DCS staff, behavioral health providers, foster parents and licensing agencies.  The program addresses the needs and care of the youngest population in the child welfare system.  The presentation discusses best practices and topics such as concurrent planning, visitation, substance-exposed newborns and medically assisted treatment for opioid addiction.

Caseflow Management Rob Hofmann, Esq.  (45 mins)
Caseflow Management has been prepared for judges to assist them in developing and improving their caseflow systems. Caseflow management is the supervision or management of the time and events necessary to move a case from initiation to disposition or adjudication. You will learn: what caseflow management is; why caseflow management is important; what a caseflow management plan should cover; and how to implement a caseflow management plan.

Court Ordered Removals David Withey, Esq. (33 Mins)
This session will discuss process of Senate Bill 1395 and "how to do" the new Court Authorized Removals legislation.

Fostering Connections to Success Heidi Redlich Epstein, JD, MSW and Kristin Kelly, JD (145 mins)
The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act is intended to help thousands of children by promoting family connections, improving education and health care outcomes, offering assistance to tribes and extending federal support for foster youth to age 21. This session will give an overview of the federal law, explain how it changes current law and most importantly focus on what attorneys and courts can do to help implement the law. Specific attention to the education stability, kinship, and older youth provisions will be addressed. Participants will receive a number of tools and resources to assist with case level and system level reform. Strategies from across the country will be highlighted.

How Would Franz Kafka View Dependency Proceedings in Arizona? Honorable Bruce R. Cohen and Gabe Goltz (90 mins)

Confusing. Oppressive. Nightmarish. These are the very words that make up the definition of "Kafkaesque." And though the worlds Kafka created in his stories can seem surreal, perhaps they have something important to say to those of us living and working in the real world. Using a film-version of Franz Kafka's famous short story The Trial, the faculty will help participants gain a greater sympathy for and understanding of the perspective of the families who are in Arizona's dependency process. Like the protagonist in The Trial, it's common for families in Arizona's dependency process to feel lost and despondent. Faculty will help participants remain mindful of these common reactions and help create an environment where the perspectives of families are given greater priority in our everyday work.

Civility in Court Room: Raising the Bar of Professionalism Hon. Rick Williams, Hon. Megan McCoy (59 mins)

Civil behavior is a core element of attorney, judicial or any professionalism. As the guardians of the Rule of Law that defines the American social and political fabric, all parties in the courtroom should embody civility in all they do. Judges and Lawyers serve as officers of the legal system and public citizens having special responsibility for the quality of justice. To fulfill these overarching and overlapping roles, lawyers must make civility their professional standard and ideal. 



Building Bridges Across Cultural Divides Barbara Atwood, J.D. (95 mins)
Participants will learn of the value of listening to children in their ever-shifting role as a child and family advocate. American Indian children have a unique status and, therefore, the handling of their cases merits increased awareness. Children’s perspectives are multi-layered. In the world of child advocacy, there is much gray area – and a broad understanding of interests seems essential. Sometimes we get so “focused” that we lose the ability to perceive context. It is important to take thorough stock and compare the different facets of a child’s life, including their ethnic make-up, to be able to most effectively account for their needs. The attached publication, Asking the Right Questions II: Judicial Checklists to Meet the Educational Needs of Children and Youth in Foster Care, was published by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and Casey Family Programs, Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

Through the Lens of Implicit Bias Shawn C. Marsh, Ph.D. (145 mins) 

Social cognition - the process by which we acquire and act on information about others - has a substantial role in our decision-making at all points in the justice system. By definition, social cognition involves an interaction between personal experiences, implicit and explicit beliefs, role identify, institutional culture, and social/physical environments. The goal of this session is to help participants better understand social cognition - particularly implicit bias - with a justice context and to provide potential strategies to improve decision-making processes.

Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)

Click here to view several ICWA related videos.  

ICWA 101 – Understanding and Implementation Hon. Kathleen Quigley (90 mins)
Join esteemed Hon. Kathleen Quigley as she discusses the history of the ICWA, key jurisdictional, procedural, and substantive provisions, and important case law from SCOTUS and Arizona Courts of Appeal. She will conclude with a discussion of common fact patterns in which the application of the ICWA is at issue.

ICWA 201 New Regulations Dawn Wlliams (56 Mins)
Join esteemed Dawn Williams as she discusses the key jurisdictional, procedural, and substantive provisions and will examine the newly passed Final Rule for Indian Child Welfare Act Proceedings that goes into effect on 12/5/16 and will conclude with a discussion of common fact patterns in which the application of the ICWA is at issue.

Culturally Appropriate Treatment Program for Native American Families Miguel Flores Jr., Courtney Otto, Rudy Villalpando
Panel of experts will discuss the understanding substance abuse issues our Native American families face, and knowing more information about how culturally appropriate treatment fits the needs of Native America families.

Tribal Sovereignty and How it Relates to Families and Cultural, Sheldon Spotted Elk (77 Mins.)
Attendees will learn about how family kinship is the core of the modern legal concept of Tribal sovereignty and the colonial attempts that have aimed at disrupting this cultural identity. Also learn about the ICWA Courts movement and how legal systems are coordinating to reach the highest aspirations of fulfilling the Indian Child Welfare Act, known as the "gold standard of child welfare."

The Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies Act David Simmons, MSW, Director of Government Affairs and Advocacy, National Indian Child Welfare Association (72 mins)

The Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies Act would establish a Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the United States to formally investigate and document Indian boarding school policies and the impacts and ongoing effects of historical and intergenerational trauma in Native communities resulting from them.

Trauma Informed Engagement/Historical Trauma of Removal Sheri Freemont, Casey Family Programs (81 mins)
Recognize the historical trauma experienced by Indian/Native American people and the associated distrust and implications for helping relationships, particularly engagement with Indian/Native American families. Identify trauma-informed interventions when working with Indian/Native American children, youth, families and communities. 

Brakeen v. Haaland Update, Kathryn Fort, Michigan State College of Law (77 mins)

Brackeen was brought by Texas (and previously Indiana and Louisiana) and several individual plaintiffs, who allege the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is unconstitutional. This case has worked its way through the lower courts (federal district court, Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit en banc) and will now be reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Kathryn Fort will give us an update on the case.

Family Transfer Process / Petition Revision Project - St. Louis ICWA Court Nishah Dupuis, Indian Child Welfare Supervisor , St Louis County (66 mins)
Family Transfer Meetings are a collaborative and culturally responsive effort to gather parents, family members, Tribal Workers, Guardian ad Litems, ARMHS workers, Case Managers, Peer Recovery Specialists, and other people who are involved and supportive of the family. The purpose of the meeting is to share information from the initial interactions the family has with the child protection agency and build a bridge with the ongoing child protection worker by being clear about ICWA Inquiry, what happened, what the worries are, family strengths, efforts to maintain the family unit (active efforts), safety goal and next steps. This also provides the team with information the agency has learned and the opportunity to hear information from the family and other support people. The hope is that the sooner this conversation happens, the more clarity there is and the better the plan for the family to remedy the identified concerns. Throughout our agency’s implementation we have had numerous experiences where families have been actively involved in the process which has resulted in reunification much sooner than traditional timelines and has also resulted in more relative placements and when warranted, permanency.

Customary Adoptions/Cultural Aspects of Adoption and Tribal Permanency Hon. Kami Hart, Children's Court Judge,Gila River Indian Community

In Indian Country, customary adoption is an alternative to standard adoption practice. Since customary adoption is more closely aligned with tribal customs, it is a more appropriate permanency placement for native children. Customary adoptions allow children to be adopted without requiring termination of parental rights, an exercise in tribal sovereignty that retains some parental responsibilities and maintains family connections.

Tribal Family Culture, Customs, & Traditions Celeste Smith, BSW, Navajo Senior Social Worker, Reba Holiday, BSW, Navajoj Social Worker, Hon. Antoinette R. Enos, M. Ed, Gila River Tribe and Christina R. Lopez, LMSW, Gila River Tribal Social Services. 90 mins.

Tribal members from the Gila River Indian Community and Navajo Nation sharing their unique family culture, practices and traditions. Learning from these perspectives will give the participants a glimpse into the heart of tribal child and their connection to their family culture.

ICWA Series: Parent Peer Support and Tribal Mentors Peer program providers and parent mentors from ICWA Law Center and Family Involvement Center, Sheldon Spotted Elk of Casey Family Programs (75 Mins)

ICWA gold standard lawyering and social work includes early and meaningful parent engagement. Hear how peer parents, who have successfully navigated the system, can foster engagement and improve outcomes by mentoring and partnering with mothers and fathers going through dependency cases, and ways for parent attorneys to pursue this gold standard of engagement and impact on likelihood of reunification. Following the presentation, join in collaboration and brainstorming on strategies for parent engagement, including building a tribal parent peer support/parent allies program for positive impact in ICWA cases.

ICWA Webinar Series: Peace-Making Courts Judge Cheryl Fairbanks and Judge Tim Connors, (90 mins)
Judge Cheryl Fairbanks and Judge Tim Connors are innovative judges who developed a Peace-Making court in Michigan to support Native Families. They will share with us their collaborative strategies, development process, and the successes of their Peacemaking Court and explain why Peacemaking makes sense in state court.

ICWA Webinar Series: Constitutional Implications & Issues Post- Brackeen, Presented by Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of UC Berkeley School of Law and moderated by Barbara A. Atwood, Mary Anne Richey Professor of law, The University of Arizona (62 mins)

The Supreme Court in Haaland v. Brackeen upheld ICWA against constitutional attack while leaving the equal protection question open. Erwin Chemerinsky, preeminent constitutional law scholar and Dean of UC Berkeley School of Law, will address issues and implications moving forward for ICWA and the underpinnings of tribal rights. Dean Chemerinsky’s expertise is matched only by his ability to explain and explore legal issues in a way that engages a wide community.

Introduction to Dependency Representation

The Arizona Dependency Process and Legal Framework for Child Welfare Law Dawn Williams, Esq. (120 mins)
This training provides an overview of several important federal child welfare laws that attorneys should know when representing children, parents or agencies in Juvenile Court dependency proceedings.  Attendees will learn key provisions of several of these laws, including the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 1974 (CAPTA), the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA), the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA), No Child Left Behind, McKinney-Vento, Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA), Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, and more. Dawn will also cover the statutory grounds for termination of parental rights proceedings, the individuals who may file such proceedings, the procedure for filing petitions/motions for termination, elements which must be proved for each ground and for "best interest", and the additional elements which must be proved to prevail in Indian Child Welfare cases.

Medical & Psychological Aspects of Child Abuse & Neglect Sara Park, MD (90 mins)
This presentation will provide an introduction to the association between intimate partner violence and child abuse and how adverse events of childhood impact adult health. In addition, it will provide an overview of the most common presentations of child abuse and neglect including: medical neglect, failure-to-thrive, the substance-exposed newborn, suspicious injuries, bruises, burns, broken bones and abusive head trauma. Lastly, this presentation will touch on accessing health services and the keys to successful placement and permanency.

Role and Duties of the Child Representative Jillian Aja, Esq. (60 mins)
This session is an in-depth look at the roles and responsibilities of attorneys and guardians ad litem that represent children in child welfare proceedings.  It includes discussion of the child's legal right to participate in court proceedings and the benefits therein. It also explores the ethical issues facing attorneys that work in the child welfare arena. This session may qualify for up to 1 hour of ethics credit.

Role and Duties of the Parent Representative Brian J. Molitor, Esq. and  Lauri J. Owen, M.A., Esq. (60 mins)
This session is an in-depth look at the roles and responsibilities of attorneys and guardians ad litem that represent parents in child welfare proceedings.  It includes discussion of the parent's legal right to participate in court proceedings and the benefits therein.

Medical and Psychological Aspects of Child Abuse & Neglect

Accessing Behavioral Health Services Dr. Sara Salek, M.D., RBHA/Provider Panel Jason Jonker, Theresa Lindberg, MS, LPC, Lorenzo Azzi, Ph.D., Mary Jo Whitfield (81 min)Serving the Healthcare Needs of Children in DCS: Medicaid’s Role and Provider Panel. Services will be tailored to the child and family and provided in the most appropriate setting, in a timely fashion, and in accordance with best practices, while respecting the child’s and family’s cultural heritage.

Compassion Fatigue and Vicarious Trauma Teresa Lopez (60 mins)
In examining compassion fatigue, participants will learn to understand the ways in which we are affected by our day to day work with individuals who have experienced high levels of trauma.  Participants will also learn the importance of recognizing our need for adequate self-care to effectively serve the highest level of care to our clientele.

Domestic Sex Trafficking  Dominique Roe-Sepowitz, MSW, Ph.D. (93 minutes) 

Picture a teenager, estranged from her family, convinced to sell her body to belong... or survive. You might ask if sex trafficking really touches the children and families involved in Arizona’s child welfare system – sadly, the answer is yes. Dr. Roe-Sepowitz, Director of ASU’s Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research, will discuss what trafficking looks like in Arizona and across the country. She will show how law enforcement and child welfare professionals can work together identifying, locating, and rescuing these vulnerable children. Dr. Roe- Sepowitz will discuss how those involved in the child welfare system, including CASA and FCRB volunteers, can effectively advocate for key services that better ensure safety and permanency for Arizona youth who are the victim of sex trafficking.

The Impact of Chemical Dependency on Families Part 1 Michael Nerney (75 mins)

The Impact of Chemical Dependency on Families Part 2 Michael Nerney (93 mins)
In this presentation, participants will learn about the environmental risk factors present for both children and teens of chemically dependent families. Environmental factors include physical, sexual abuse and neglect, manufacture and sale of drugs on premises, exposure to drugs, negative role modeling, and involvement in procurement or illicit drug trafficking. In addition, members of families in which one or more people are chemically dependent often suffer from a variety of psychological and emotional disorders. Participants will also explore the particular dynamics of chemically dependent family systems as it relates to the specific stage of development of the family, the identity of the parent (Mom or Dad) who is addicted, the age and gender of the children, and the specific drug of abuse or addiction. Differential risk factors are present dependent upon which drugs are being abused: a brief overview of the impact of specific drugs such as alcohol, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and marijuana will be part of the presentation.

Invisible Injuries Paul Beljan, PsyD (96 mins)
While the outward signs of injury can lead to quick detection and diagnosis, the cognitive and emotional trauma may be more difficult to diagnose. Participants are introduced to models that assist in determining the existence and extent of psychological and neuropsychological impairment in victims of abuse.

Juvenile Domestic Violence Betty McEntire and Judge Mark W. Armstrong (Ret.) (77 mins)
In this presentation, we will explore the dynamics of dating violence and how it applies to youth in their dating relationships. 1:5 teenage girls ages 14-18 indentified that they have been physically or sexually abused by their boyfriends. By understanding coercive tactics used to maintain power and control we will have a better understanding of the complexities and challenges to assist minors dealing with dating violence by providing them adequate assistance, support and resources. In addition, discussion of the addition of the dating relationship criteria to ARS 13-3601 statute, also known as Kaity's Law to provide guidance to court personnel when addressing teen dating violence and the ways that the Arizona Rules of Protective Order Procedure relate to the crime of domestic violence between teens. 

The Neurobiology of Addiction James Stoehr, PhD., Midwestern University (73 mins)
The reinforcing and rewarding properties of all drugs of use are due to enhancements in the neurochemical systems within the brain. The subsequent behavioral loss of control associated with dependence and addiction involves dysregulation in these chemical systems as well as higher brain centers located in the frontal cortex. Recovery is a timely process that involves several key steps, each of which are amenable to behavioral counseling as well as pharmacotherapy.

Risky Business: Why Adolescents Love Risk-Taking, and How We Can Help Manage It , Michael Nerney (95 mins)
110 mph on the highway, music blaring, open containers, four teens in the car…why do adolescents find drinking alcohol and engaging in high-risk behaviors so attractive? Recent research on the adolescent brain clearly demonstrates that adolescents perceive and process risk assessment in ways that are remarkably unlike those of adults. Changes in receptor site numbers and sensitivity, neurotransmitter action, and social-emotional responses all combine to influence how teens evaluate risk. In this program, Mr. Nerney will offer new ways to think about and talk about adolescent risk reduction, including access to structured risk taking, and the use of “gist” language. These concepts can be applied across the spectrum of adolescent risky behaviors, including drug and alcohol use, sexual activity, and others.

Substance Abuse - Methamphetamine Use and the Brain James D. Stoehr, Ph.D. (84 mins)

This session focuses on facts and assumptions surrounding substance abuse treatment. Research regarding denial, motivation and treatment are presented along with techniques to reduce harm and change the behavior of the addict.

Substance Use Disorder and Medication Assisted Treatment: Making the Right the Decisions Susan Stephens, M.D. (60 mins)
How can we help families in recovery? How do we hinder families in recovery? Over the past decade, the treatment of substance use disorder has entered a new phase in which medications can play a vital role in recovery. This webinar will discuss how advancements in pharmacotherapy can support and augment traditional evidence-based treatment practices for opioid dependence. The presenter will discuss current myths, opinions, biases and the environment of addiction treatment. In addition, she will outline the psychopharmacology of opioid dependence and provide an overview of each medication, its indication, to whom it is administered, and how it works.

Substance Use Disorder Treatment and the Child Welfare System Adrienne Lindsey, MA, DBH (60 Mins)
Substance use disorders impact a large proportion of individuals involved in the child welfare system. While court systems have continually grappled with substance abuse issues, much of how we understand and treat substance use disorders has changed in recent decades, with the advancement of brain imaging and the changing understanding of substance use disorders as a chronic brain disease. Recognized evidence-based treatment practices will be discussed, as well as ways medication-assisted treatment can supplement psychosocial treatment. Workshop attendees will be exposed to resources for identifying local provider agencies, as well as research-based guidelines for assessing the quality of substance abuse treatment programs.

Trauma and Stressor Related Disorders, Sandy Stein, MD (72 mins)

This session will focus on youth trauma including prevalence, impact on normal development, parental risk factors, youth response to trauma, diagnosis and treatment of trauma related disorders. This will include discussion of both psychosocial and psychopharmacologic interventions. There will be a focus on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD) and Reactive Attachment Disorder(RAD). 

That's Not Cool: The Use of Technology in Adolescent Abuse  Brian O'Connor, Futures Without Violence (45 mins)

The focus of the presentation will be on the digital environment in which many of Arizona’s foster children interact, with each other and with the adults in their life.

Understanding the Opioid Epidemic, Addiction and Treatment

Part 1 The Opioid/Opiate Landscape in Arizona Matthew Fallico (35 Mins)

Part 2 Understanding the Opioid Epidemic Micheal C. White, MCJ (67 Mins)

From 2010-2013 Maricopa County (Arizona) Drug Court attempted a detox to residential program that yielded 12% outcomes in "compliance" for individuals with opioid use disorder. Since implementing Medication Assisted Treatment in 2015 our average of "compliance" is around 75%. We also have 90% follow up rates in our reentry rates from jail to treatment attendance. National data has reflected these outcomes for over a decade, but ideological preferences and biases often lead professionals advocating for treatment options that are less effective. Discussed in this presentation will be state initiatives, state impacts, how Medicaid is closely tied to Opioid Use Disorder, explanation of Medication Assisted Treatment, and utilizing Collective Impact Model to support system partners in Arizona.

Understanding Psychological Evaluations, Daniel J. Christiano, Ph.D. (54 mins)

Psychological evaluation is defined as a way of assessing an individual's behavior, personality, cognitive abilities, and several other domains. In this session participants will learn how Psychological Evaluations in a Court setting are used to help make judicial decisions. By providing vital or important information about a person(s) that would otherwise be unavailable to the attorney or judge. 

Using Attachment Theory to Guide Placement Decisions:  Theory and law Elizabeth Jacobs, Ph.D.  (60 mins)
For young children under the age of 5 years, every disruption of continuity also affects those achievements which are rooted and develop in the intimate interchange with a stable parent figure. After separation from the familiar mother, young children are known to have breakdowns in toilet training and their ability to communicate verbally. Thus, continuity is a guideline [for determining the placement and the process of placement of a child] because emotional attachments are tenuous and vulnerable in early life...This session will discuss guidelines for the laws on adoption, custody, and foster care that each child placement be final and unconditional, except where specifically designed for brief temporary care.

Zero to Three: Infants in the Child Welfare System Part 1 Brenda Jones Harden, Ph.D. (73 mins)

Zero to Three: Infants in the Child Welfare System Part 2 Brenda Jones Harden, PhD (75 mins)
Infants constitute one of the fastest growing populations in foster care. Without intervention, they are at great risk of poor developmental outcomes. Juvenile and Family Courts have a unique opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of the babies in their care. Dr. Brenda Jones-Harden, a national expert in the Zero to Three effort, explores critical issues that impact the development of very young children in the child welfare system. Discussion focuses on strategies the Court can employ to successfully address the needs of these most vulnerable children.

Assessment and Treatment of Juvenile Who Engage in Sexually Abusive Behaviors (Park 1) Jessica Leclerc, Psy.D., and Dr. Bryce Bennett (92 Mins)

In this presentation, we will review factors that contribute to juveniles engaging in these behaviors, the assessment process for the juveniles once their behavior has been discovered, and treatment services available to these juveniles. As many of these juveniles are involved with DCS either during or after they have engaged in these behaviors, we will also discuss visitation with family and areas that need to be addressed prior to family reunification.

Assessment and Treatment of Adults Who Engage in Sexually Abusive Behaviors (Part 2) Jessica Leclerc, Psy.D., CCSOTS, CJSOTS, CCTP, CFTP, CATPLic ensed Psychologist 
In this presentation, we will discuss prevalence rates and factors that contribute to adults engaging in sexually abusive behaviors towards children. We will then discuss subsequent legal involvement, including criminal, family, and/or dependency courts, as well as psychosexual evaluations and assessment of these adults and treatment services available for the adult and family in general. Finally, levels of visitation and safety plans will be reviewed.


Concurrent Case Planning Margaret A. Burt, Esq. (54 mins)

Participants will explore the benefits of concurrent case planning and the court's role in its use in a particular dependency case. A review and discussion regarding federal and state statutes relating to permanency and the concurrent case planning policy recently implemented by Arizona CPS should leave participants with a greater understanding of the goals of concurrent case planning: increased participation of parents and family earlier in the dependency process and an overall reduction in unnecessary delays in the permanency process.

Education and Children in Foster Care Honorable Jane Butler, Commissioner Nandi Muhammad (54 mins)
Some estimates have less than one half of Arizona foster children graduating from high school. These children far more likely to drop out of school, and far less likely to even enter college. Disruptions to their school placement and inappropriately matched services are just two of the many factors with which this population has to contend. By becoming familiar with the judicial checklist, judicial officers can better equip themselves to ask the right questions and ensure the appropriate emphasis is placed on a foster child’s educational needs.

Engaging Parents Early and Often Facilitator Hon. Corey Sanders Panel – Hon. Anna Young, Hon. Richard Weiss, Anna Jure MIKID, (116 Mins)
Panel will discuss what each county is doing to support parents and engage parents early and often. Participants will gain insights to various programs available for parents.

SAFE AZ Renovation Katherine Guffey (75 mins)
This presentation will provide an overview of the SAFE AZ Renovation model, designed to build consistency and capacity to provide high quality services to children and families. The goal of the SAFE AZ Renovation - to make the right safety decision for every child using a clearly-defined decision-making process - will be discussed; key components of the model will be shared with participants. The shared decision-making framework will be reviewed; this framework includes a comprehensive and collaborative training and coaching model to include DCS employees, service providers, attorneys, and judges. The presentation will also serve to identity the systemic changes incorporated into daily practice as well as the methods utilized to ensure sustainability of the process.


Meaningful Ties for Transnational Families

Part 1: Meaningful Ties Part 1

Part 2: Meaningful Ties Part 2

Laurie Melrood, Southern Arizona Transnational Task Force, Tucson, AZ, recognized that research was needed and more sectors involved to be able to formulate reliable practices to assist transnational children and families.  Members of the Task Force, the Bench, parent/child attorneys, the child welfare system, and the immigration detention facilities in Arizona have spent many long hours  researching, writing, and revising as a group, a set of guidelines. The guidelines are directed to the professionals serving immigrant parents with children in state care. The results of our work are contained in a promising practices manual entitled: "Meaning Ties for Transnational Familes - A Toolkit for Child Welfare Cases – Judges, Attorneys and Child Welfare Personnel".  
This training will review policies and procedures for judges, attorneys, and case specialists to enable communication and/or achieve reunification.  

Immigration and Foster Care Maurice H. Goldman, Esq. (83 Mins)

An overview of the basics in immigration laws. How these law and policies apply to undocumented juveniles and parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents either applying for affirmative benefits or facing removal from the U.S. Presentation touches upon a variety of aspects of the current immigration policies and how they impact immigrant youth and their families. Session will also cover the intersection of the child welfare system with our federal immigration laws.

Reasonable Efforts in Dependency Cases Judge Leonard Edwards (ret.) (91 mins)
Judge Edwards will address several questions regarding the concepts of "reasonable" and "active" efforts. Why is the court system called upon to evaluate and enter findings as to the agency's efforts? What do reasonable efforts look like today and is it realistic to expect similar efforts from an agency hampered with increased caseload and fewer resources than in the past? How are "active efforts" made in the cases of American Indian children in the state child welfare system? How can Judges lead efforts to improve the way the "system" handles the cases of Arizona's most vulnerable children? These questions and more will be addressed in this engaging session.

Offering HOPE to Families in Dependency Court  Rob Wyman (72 Mins) Offering HOPE to Families PowerPoint
This discussion provides a safety framework for judges, attorneys, and case managers in a dependency case.    The presentation discusses safety measures and structure to answer the question - What needs to happen for this child to go home today?  You will also hear from two parents, that have navigated the dependency process, explain what parents need from the parties in their case to be successful.

Youth In Court

Asking the Right Questions Misty Stenslie, MSW (71 mins)
This session features a personal account of how abuse, foster care and rulings from the Bench affected the life of one person. Following this account, a panel of former foster youth speak and answer questions regarding their time in foster care and the effects of the decisions made on their behalf.

Asking the Right Questions - Did You Hear What I Said? Foster Care Alumni Panel, Moderator - Jimmy Wayne (39 mins)
A Youth Panel that have aged out will give you their unique perspective on their experience in the Foster Care System. 

Crossover Youth Judge Pat Escher (45 mins)
The presentation explores the significant issues of children and families known to multiple systems – child welfare, juvenile justice, behavioral health and education.  The training will be an important step in bringing together systems that have traditionally attempted to address the needs of one child/family with separate and often unrelated efforts. 

The Impact of Volunteers on the Court, Lori Dennison, FCRB, Deidre Calcoate, CASA, Ben Norris, Esq., Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation (40 min)
Participants will learn the role of the Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA); an advocacy and relationship-based approach to serving dependent children. The role of Foster Care Review Board (FCRB) Volunteers who review cases of dependent children in out of home care. The Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation services provided to child in foster care.

Independent Living Program, Barbara Guillen, MSW (55 minutes)

In this presentation we will address the various options available for Foster youth who will transition to adulthood.  Barbara will provide guidelines for the program and new updates.

LGBTQ Youth in Foster Care  M. Currey Cook, Esq. (90 min)

While LGBTQ youth in care share vulnerabilities and needs similar to those of other children in child welfare and other out-of-home care settings, they are over-represented in care due, in large part, to rejection and abuse from families of origin. Once in care, LGBTQ youth have higher rates of victimization, psychiatric hospitalization, placement in congregate care and juvenile justice involvement. These challenges can often be compounded by stigma and prejudice in school settings and the community. In this session, participants will gain a deeper understanding of the needs of LGBTQ youth, review legal obligations and professional standards guiding their care, and discuss ways to ensure the system, including judges and court staff, can help strengthen services and improve safety, permanency and well-being outcomes for this population. 

Meet Me Halfway - A Walk Out of Homelessness and Despair  Jimmy Wayne, Entertainer & Former Foster Child (50 mins)

Jimmy Wayne grew up in Kings Mountain, NC. By the time he was 14 he had been in and out of the foster care system and attended 12 different schools in two years. His mother was in prison, and he had only his older sister, Patricia.  It was not an easy life for a bright and gifted child. When he was 15 years old, he found himself in juvenile detention for running away from a group home. At 16, he was still surviving by his wits, and living on the streets, until one fateful day when he met Bea and Russell Costner. The older couple (they were in their 70’s when they met Jimmy) gave him a home, the ability to complete his education, encouragement and most of all, stability and love. “If the Costners hadn’t stepped up and given me a home, I would not have survived,” Wayne says. “Every good thing that has happened for me, I owe to them taking a chance on a pissed off, long haired, tattooed kid. The day I rode my bike by their place, and stopped and asked if they had any work I could do was a turning point in my life.” 

Youth Panel 2018 (36 Mins) Youth Panel 2011 (60 mins)

A Youth Panel that have aged out will give you their unique perspective on their experience in the Foster Care System. They want to work with you to help other foster kids to overcome obstacles and make this frightening process more manageable. The Foster Care Alumni of America Youth Panel discuss the difficulties and barriers they experienced while in the foster care system.

The Arizona Dependency Process

The dependency process can be complicated to navigate. There are many types of hearings, held for a specific purpose, with unique timelines. The chart below shows the order in which these hearings occur, and timelines to achieve each type of hearing. On the next page a chart gives a brief description of the most common dependency hearing types.

The Arizona Court Improvement Program (CIP) is responsible for providing technical assistance and training to county courts as they revise local dependency practices, providing oversight of mandated introductory training for judicial officers new to the dependency bench, as well as ongoing dependencyrelated training to all juvenile judicial officers to enhance their knowledge of the child welfare system and process. CIP also assists in developing and modifying the juvenile rules to reflect any changes to federal and/or state statutes regarding dependencies and implements the Operational Review process which evaluates the dependency process in each county and their compliance with governing statutes.