Incarcerated Parents Manual

A guide to your legal rights and responsibilities in Arizona

If you are a parent and are in prison or in jail, navigating the different possibilities of what may happen to your child/children while you are incarcerated may be extremely difficult. After passing the Adoption and Safe Families Act, the federal government incentivized states, including Arizona, to place children who are in foster care up for adoption as quickly as possible. The intention of the policy is to provide children with a permanent and stable home as quickly as possible. However, this type of policy highly affects the parental rights of incarcerated parents, especially those who are single-parents, and who are unable to find proper care for their children during their incarceration. If you are incarcerated in Arizona, your inability to provide a stable home may lead to the termination of your parental rights.

This manual has been created to help guide you as to what may happen to your parental rights while you are incarcerated. The hope is that if you wish to keep your parental rights, you take active steps in doing so. Likewise, the manual is aimed at helping you understand the legal processes’ that can potentially take place if the State becomes involved with the care and custody of your child/children. While there is no way to guarantee that your parental rights not be terminated, there are steps you can attempt to take to help prevent this.

This manual is not meant to be legal advice and you should still consider consulting with an attorney regarding these matters. The manual is based on Arizona law as of July 2020. All of the code sections refer to Arizona law. It is important to note that laws in other states may be different, although many of them may be similar. Even though the information in this manual is current as of July 2020, it is your responsibility to check relevant legal codes, court rules, and forms when using this manual.