Skip to main content

Adoptive care

We connect children in foster, adoptive and kinship care in Arizona with high-quality care. Children and youth in foster care can get behavioral health services. 

Connecting to care

Connecting to care

Would you or your family benefit from behavioral health services? If you’re not sure, we can help. We can also help you find a behavioral health provider. Just call us at ${MS_phone_1} or ${MS_phone_2} (TTY 711). We’re here for you ${MS_hours}. You’ll get options for a primary provider based on your needs. You can also find a provider online.

Providers need to provide clinically necessary services from the service plan within 21 calendar days after the intake assessment. If this doesn’t happen, call:

Then, you can contact any AHCCCS‑registered providers to make an appointment. These providers don’t need to be part of our network. 

Learn more about benefits and coverage. Visit the:

Questions or concerns about a child's care in the behavioral health system? Just email us or call 480-751-8471. 

Your Roadmap to Children's Behavioral Health CareEnglish  (PDF)| Español (PDF)

This helpful resource outlines how to:

  • Spot mental health concerns in children and youth
  • Start the journey to getting the care they need
  • Get mental health and substance abuse services  

To find upcoming training, visit our events page. Or email us to ask for training.

Caregiver training 

We provide training in trauma-informed care to support DCS-involved children and families. This includes foster and kinship caregivers. Trauma-informed care means changing the focus of care. Instead of asking “What’s wrong with you?” we ask, “What happened to you?” This focus offers a more complete picture. It allows providers to serve members better.

Navigating the behavioral health system for caregivers of children in foster care 

This is a 1-hour training on our behavioral health system under AHCCCS. It’s for caregivers of children entering foster care. We'll help you make your way through the system for children in DCS custody. In this training, you’ll:

  • Learn how to make decisions that best serve children and youth
  • Get resources, support and contact info for more help getting services

Foster Adoptive Kinship Navigation Forum

This training can help you find your way through foster, adoptive and kinship care. 

Child and Family Advisory Partnership (CFAP)

Learn about the behavioral health services for children and youth in foster and adoptive care. We’ll talk about:

  • Finding the right care
  • Breaking down barriers 
  • Getting support for you and your family

You can find upcoming meetings on our events page. Or check events at the Family Involvement Center.

Foster Adopt Kinship Member Advisory Council

The council provides guidance and help to families and group homes about behavioral health services that we cover.  Would you like to join or learn more? Just email us

At this appointment, the behavioral health home gathers info from:

  • You
  • The child or youth
  • Their DCS specialist
  • Family members 
  • Other people who know the child

You’ll want to bring any info you may have about the:

  • Child’s family
  • Educational, behavioral and medical history
  • Medical or behavioral service provider
  • List of current medicines 

This info helps the team quickly:

  • Meet the child’s needs
  • Coordinate care 
  • Make an Individual Service Plan (ISP)

The child’s first appointment with their treatment provider happens within 21 days of the intake appointment. At this first appointment, you may help find providers and others who can join you and the child on the Child and Family Team (CFT). The CFT focuses on a clear vision and set of principles. These let everyone have a voice and choice in what services and supports best meet the needs of the:

  • Child
  • Family
  • Caregivers

Providers need to complete clinically necessary services from the service plan within 21 calendar days after the intake assessment. If this doesn’t happen, call:

Then, you can contact any AHCCCS‑registered providers to make an appointment. These providers don’t need to be part of our network. 

Providers should NOT place a child on a waiting list for services. Did a provider tell you there’s a waiting list? If yes:

  • Ask them to refer you to another provider 
  • Call us at ${MS_phone_1} or ${MS_phone_2} (TTY 711) ${MS_hours}
  • Email us

Children have many service options, depending on their clinical needs. These include: 

  • Case management
  • Direct support services (including rehabilitation services)
  • Psychiatric services
  • Individual and family therapy
  • Specialty treatment
  • Respite care

You can also find a list of services in your member handbook. Not sure if we cover a service? You can:

  • Check with your provider
  • Call us at ${MS_phone_1} or ${MS_phone_2} (TTY 711) ${MS_hours}
  • Email us 

Leaving their home and entering foster care can be traumatic for children and youth. Many are in foster care because they’ve had some form of serious abuse or neglect. Research says that children in foster care may often have a range of problems:

  • Emotional

  • Behavioral

  • Developmental

  • Physical 

These problems and behaviors can appear suddenly or happen over time. Is a child in your care showing these problems? If yes, they may need behavioral health support. You’ll want to report any problems to your behavioral health provider. 

Although rewarding, caring for these children can be a challenge. Take care of yourself. Do things just for you, like:

  • Taking personal time

  • Talking with trusted friends

  • Exercising

  • Doing relaxing or fun activities 

You can also get support from us, like:

  • Community-based services, including respite care (short-term relief or break for caregivers)

  • Case management 

  • Family support

Behavioral health providers are often aware of services and supports for you and the child. You can also check the community resource guide

Children with symptoms of traumatic stress may have problems managing their behaviors and emotions. They may feel that the world is uncertain and unstable. They may also be:

  • Clingy and fearful of new situations

  • Easily frightened

  • Hard to console

  • Aggressive 

  • Impulsive

  • Socially isolated

Some children may have:

  • Trouble sleeping

  • A lapse in their progress with function and behavior 

  • Trouble forming healthy attachments

  • Problems with boundaries

  • Distrust in their relationships

  • Problems relating to and empathizing with others 

You can help when you know how to recognize and understand how to respond to these common problems:

  • Poor verbal skills

  • Poor appetite, low weight or digestive problems

  • Stomachaches and headaches

  • Poor sleep habits

  • Nightmares or sleep difficulties

  • Regressive behaviors, like wetting the bed or self after successful toilet training 

  • Behavior common for a younger age

  • Memory problems

  • Focusing problems or school learning 

  • Learning disabilities

  • Bad temper

  • Attention-demanding behavior (positive and negative)

  • Imitation of abusive or traumatic event

  • Verbally abusive behavior

  • A lot of screaming or crying 

  • Inability to trust others or make friends

  • Fear of adults who remind them of the trauma

  • Fear of separation from parent/caregiver

  • Anxious, fearful and avoidant behavior

  • Withdrawn behavior

  • Lack of self-confidence

  • Belief that they are to blame for the trauma

Some behaviors for older children and youth include:

  • Risky behaviors

  • Sense of isolation and not belonging

  • Negative self-esteem related to feelings they don’t understand

  • Intrusive thoughts of self-harm

  • Substance use

With the right support and care, most children show resilience and determination. They can and do get better with treatment.

The values and goals in the Arizona Vision and 12 Principles are at the core of our children’s system of care. 


Mercy Care events

Check our events in Arizona. See what’s coming up or check resources from past events.

Community resources

Here are some helpful resources for families with children and youth in foster and adoptive care.


Call Member Services at ${MS_phone_1} or ${MS_phone_2} (TTY 711). We’re here for you ${member_services_hours}.