Children and adolescents who were in foster care in Arizona may be eligible to receive behavioral health services. For those adopted children and adolescents who are eligible, Mercy Care will connect them, and the families who’ve opened their homes and hearts to them, with high-quality care.
Connecting with Mercy Care
To find a behavioral health provider for a child not already enrolled, you can call Mercy Care Member Services at 602-263-3000 or toll-free 1-800-624-3879 (TTY/TDD 711). You can talk to a representative Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Adoptive parents can choose a primary provider depending on the their preference and location.
In the event clinically necessary services added to the service plan are not provided within 21 calendar days after intake assessment, the adoptive parent should contact Mercy Care Member Services and the AHCCCS Customer Service line at 602‑364‑4558. The adoptive parent may then contact any AHCCCS‑registered providers directly, regardless of whether they are a part of the Mercy Care provider network, to schedule an appointment. Adoptive parents can also choose providers by searching our online Provider Directory.
You can learn more about the benefits and coverage available for adopted children on the AHCCCS website.
Guides and resources
Your Roadmap to Children's Behavioral Health Care English | Spanish A helpful infographic that outlines how you can identify mental health concerns in your child and how you can start the journey to getting them the care they need. Get an overview on how to access mental health and substance abuse services for children in foster, adoptive or kinship care. View the flyer for information
Foster, Adoptive and Kinship Training Series Training is offered each month. Spanish interpretation is provided. You can also contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Upcoming training sessions are also posted on our events page
Forums and community meetings
Foster, Adoptive and Kinship Navigation Forum Learn about the behavioral health services available to children and youth in foster and adoptive care. We’ll talk about finding the right care, breaking down barriers and getting support for you and your family.
Foster Adopt Kinship Member Advisory Council
To provide guidance and expertise on the needs and communication methods to foster/adoptive/kinship families and group homes on the provision of behavioral health services to children involved with Child Welfare being served by Mercy Care.
Child and Family Advisory Partnership (CFAP) Meeting
Get connected to what’s happening in the local behavioral health community. You can talk directly with providers. And, we’d like you to share your ideas on how to improve the children’s system of care. You can enjoy dinner and meet other families. Spanish interpretation and child watch provided. Call 602-288-0155 to pre-register email Mercy Care’s Office of Individual and Family Affairs at email@example.com.
Getting the care you need
If you have questions or concerns about your adopted child’s care or experience in the behavioral health system, you can contact us Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Just call 602-263-3000 or toll-free 1-800-624-3879 (TTY/TDD 711).
To find a behavioral health provider for a child not already enrolled, you can call Mercy Care Complete Care Member Services at 602-263-3000 or toll-free 1-800-624-3879 (TTY/TDD 711). You can talk to a representative Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Member Services will choose a primary provider, depending on the guardian’s preference and location.
In the event clinically necessary services added to the service plan are not provided within 21 calendar days after intake assessment, the adoptive parent should contact the Mercy Care Mercy Care Member Services. The adoptive parent may then contact any AHCCCS‑registered providers that accepts a service rate that is no higher than 130% of the AHCCCS Fee for Service Rate directly, regardless of whether they are a part of the Mercy Care provider network.
Adoptive parents can also choose providers by searching our online Provider Directory at the top of the page.
You can learn more about the benefits and coverage available through CMDP or find a provider by visiting Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) or calling 602‑351‑2245.
Initial intake appointment and assessment
At this appointment, the agency will gather information from you, the child, available family members and other people who know the child. Bring any information you may have about the child’s family, educational, behavioral/medical history, their medical or behavioral service provider and a list of current medications. This will help the team quickly meeting the child’s individual needs, coordinate care and develop an Individual Service Plan (ISP) for the child.
The child’s first appointment with their treatment provider should occur within 21 days of the intake appointment. At this appointment, you may help identify providers and others who will join you and the child on the Child and Family Team (CFT). The CFT is based on a clear vision and set of principles designed to let everyone have a voice and choice when deciding what services and supports best meet the needs of the child, family and caregiver.
The child should NOT be placed on a waiting list for services. If you are told by a provider that there is a waiting list for services, ask them to refer you to another provider or call Mercy Care Member Services at 602-263-3000 or toll-free 1-800-624-3879 (TTY/TDD 711). Tell them that you are the parent of an adopted child enrolled in a Mercy Care health plan. The adoptive parent may also contact any AHCCCS‑registered providers directly, regardless of whether they are a part of the Mercy Care provider network, to schedule an appointment as long as the provider accepts a service rate that is not higher than 130% or the AHCCCS Fee for Service Rate.
There are many services available to adopted children, depending on their individual clinical needs. They 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 the Member Handbook. If you’re unsure whether a service is covered, check with your provider or call Member Services at 602-263-3000 or toll-free 1-800-624-3879 (TTY/TDD 711).
Support for you – and the children in your care
Many adopted children with a history in foster care have experienced some form of abuse or neglect. Research tells us that children who experienced foster care often have emotional, behavioral or developmental problems. Physical health problems are also common.
These problems and behaviors can appear suddenly or occur over time. If you notice a child in your care showing any of these behaviors, he or she may need professional behavioral health support. It’s important to share any of these behaviors to your health provider.
Caring for children who have experienced disruption in their lives is rewarding, but can be challenging at times. Community‑based services, including respite care, counseling, case management and family support, are available to caregivers. Behavioral health providers are often aware of services and supports in the community for the caregiver and child. You can also reach out to the community resources organizations listed below. Adoptive parents should also take care of themselves. Some ways they can do this is by scheduling personal time, talking to trusted friends, exercising, getting involved in relaxing or fun activities.
Some common issues experienced by children affected by foster care
Children suffering from traumatic stress symptoms generally have difficulty regulating their behaviors and emotions. They may be clingy and fearful of new situations, easily frightened, difficult to console, or aggressive and impulsive. They may have difficulty sleeping or show regression in functioning and behavior. Children who have experienced trauma feel that the world is uncertain and unpredictable. They may have trouble forming healthy attachments. They can experience problems with boundaries, distrust and suspiciousness in their relationships. As a result, children who have experienced trauma can become socially isolated and have difficulty relating to and empathizing with others. Adoptive parents can help by recognizing and understanding how to respond to these common emotional, behavioral and physical problems of children in foster care:
- Poor verbal skills
- Poor appetite, low weight and/or digestive problems
- Stomachaches and headaches
- Poor sleep habits
- Nightmares or sleep difficulties
- Wetting the bed or self after being toilet trained or exhibiting other regressive behaviors
- Memory problems
- Difficulty focusing or learning in school
- Learning disabilities
- Displaying excessive temper
- Demanding attention through positive and negative behaviors
- Behavior indicative of a younger age
- Imitating the abusive/traumatic event
- Verbally abusive
- Screaming or crying excessively
- Unable to trust others or make friends
- Fearing adults who remind them of the traumatic event
- Fear of being separated from parent/caregiver
- Anxious, fearful and avoidant
- Acting withdrawn
- Lacking self‑confidence
- Believing they are to blame for the traumatic experience
For older children and adolescents:
- Engaging in 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
It’s important to note that with the right support and care, most children show extraordinary resiliency and determination. They can and do get better with treatment and go on to live fulfilling lives.
The Arizona Vision and 12 Principles
The values and goals in the Arizona Vision and 12 Principles are at the foundation of Mercy Care’s children’s system of care.
The Arizona Vision states:
“In collaboration with the child and family and others, Arizona will provide accessible behavioral health services designed to aid children to achieve success in school, live with their families, avoid delinquency, and become stable and productive adults. 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 family‘s cultural heritage.”
The 12 Principles
- Collaboration with the child and family: Respect for and collaboration with the child and family is essential to positive behavioral health outcomes. Parents and children are treated as partners and their preferences are taken seriously.
- Functional outcomes: Behavioral health services are designed and implemented to help children be successful in school, live with their families, avoid delinquency and become stable and productive adults.
- Collaboration with others: Children with multi-agency, multi-system involvement will have a jointly established behavioral health services plan that is collaboratively implemented.
- Accessible services: Children will have access to a wide range of behavioral health services to ensure that they receive the treatment they need. Services will be adapted or created when they are needed but not available.
- Best practices: Behavioral health services are provided by competent people who are adequately trained and supervised. They are delivered according to evidence-based “best practices.” They are continually evaluated and changed, if necessary, to achieve desired outcomes.
- Most appropriate setting: Children are provided services in their home and community to the extent possible. Behavioral health services are provided in the most integrated setting appropriate to the child’s needs.
- Timeliness: Children identified as needing behavioral health services are assessed and served promptly.
- Services tailored to the child and family: The unique strengths and needs of children and their families determine the type, mix and intensity of services. Parents and children are encouraged to voice their strengths and needs, their goals and what services they believe are required to meet those goals.
- Stability: Behavioral health services strive to minimize multiple placements. Service plans identify whether a child is at risk of a placement disruption, and identify steps to minimize or eliminate that risk. Service plans anticipate crises and include specific strategies and services to be used in a crisis. Service plans anticipate and plan for transitions in children’s lives.
- Respect for the child and family's unique cultural heritage: Behavioral health services are provided in a manner that respects the cultural tradition of the child and family. Services are provided in Spanish to children and parents whose primary language is Spanish.
- Independence: Behavioral health services include support and training for parents to meet their child’s behavioral health needs. Services include support and training for children to manage their behaviors.
- Connection to natural supports: Natural supports will be used from the family's community network. This includes friends, neighbors and community organizations.
Here are some helpful resources and organizations for families with children and adolescents in foster and adoptive care.
Arizona Association for Foster and Adoptive Parents
2320 N. 20th St., Phoenix, AZ 85006‑2059
The Arizona Association for Foster and Adoptive Parents is a non‑profit, statewide organization serving families who adopt children and provide foster and kinship care. The association supports, educates and provides a unified voice for Arizona’s foster and adoptive families.
Family Involvement Center
5333 N, 7th St., Ste. A100, Phoenix, AZ 85014
602‑288‑0155 or 1‑877‑568‑8468
Family Involvement Center (FIC) is a non‑profit, family‑run organization that supports parents and caregivers raising children with emotional, physical and/or behavioral health needs. FIC provides direct support services to parents and youth (for those enrolled in public behavioral health services), resources and assistance with health services and children’s systems, support groups, education and training.
Raising Special Kids
5025 E. Washington St., Ste., 204, Phoenix, AZ 85034
602‑242‑4366 or 1‑800‑237‑3007
Raising Special Kids provides support and information for parents of children, from birth to age 26, with a full range of disabilities and special health care needs. Programs are offered at no cost to families, and are available in English and Spanish.
2642 E. Thomas Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85016
MIKID is a non-profit, licensed outpatient clinic and family‑run organization that contracts with all the Regional Behavioral Health Authorities (RBHAs) in the state to provide behavioral health services. MIKID offers in‑home and community supports across the state.
Reach Family Services Inc./Alcanza Servicios de Familia
3535 W. Southern Ave., Ste. 128, Phoenix, AZ 85041
Reach assists families who are raising children with behavioral health and emotional challenges.
Child Welfare League of America (CWLA)
CWLA is a coalition of hundreds of private and public provider agencies partnering to advance policies, best practices and collaborative strategies that result in better outcomes for vulnerable children youth and families.
Established by Congress in 2000, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) is focused on childhood trauma. NCTSN’s collaboration of frontline providers, researchers, and families is committed to raising the standard of care and increasing access to services.
First Things First supports programs across Arizona as no cost for youth children from birth to 5 (before Kindergarten) and their families.
211 Arizona (Community Information and Referral Services)
Arizona 211 links individuals and families to vital community services throughout Arizona. Resource listings include food pantries, clothing closets, utility assistance, housing, medical care, dental care, disability related services, employment, and more.
Birth to Five Helpline
The Birth to Five Helpline is a free service open to all Arizona families with young children looking for the latest child development information from experts in the field. Professionals may also take advantage of this service. Call the Helpline to speak with one of our bilingual (English/Spanish) early childhood specialists, on duty Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. You can also leave a voicemail, complete our online contact form (below), or text the Helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week.