from the Superior Court in Maricopa County, No. JD527942, The
Honorable Arthur T. Anderson, Judge. APPEAL DISMISSED
Arizona Attorney Generals Office, Tucson By Autumn Spritzer
Counsel for Appellee Department of Child Safety
Natasha S., Tempe Appellant
Judge Samuel A. Thumma delivered the opinion of the Court, in
which Presiding Judge David D. Weinzweig and Judge Kent E.
Natasha S. appeals the superior courts order denying her
motion for foster care payments. Because Natasha S. failed to
exhaust her administrative remedies, the superior court
lacked jurisdiction to consider her motion. Accordingly, the
appeal is dismissed.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
For a time, Natasha S. was a licensed foster care provider
for R.Y. in this dependency proceeding. While R.Y. was in her
care, the Department of Child Safety (DCS) Office of
Licensing and Regulation denied Natasha S.s application to
renew her foster care license. See Ariz. Rev. Stat.
(A.R.S.) § 8-506 (2019). Natasha S. challenged that
denial administratively and continued to serve as foster
placement for R.Y. When DCS affirmed the denial of her foster
care license, Natasha S. did not challenge that final agency
action in superior court. See A.R.S. § 41-1092.08;
12-901 to -914.
In December 2017, R.Y.s guardian ad litem moved for an order
requiring DCS to pay Natasha S. for foster care provided to
R.Y. through November 2017. The superior court granted that
motion and DCS paid the amount ordered; that order and
payment are not part of this appeal. Later, Natasha S. moved
for an order requiring DCS to pay her for foster care
provided to R.Y. in December 2017. The superior court denied
the motion, and Natasha S. timely filed this appeal
challenging that denial.
Natasha S. asserts appellate jurisdiction pursuant to A.R.S.
§ § 8-235(A) and 12-120.21(A)(1). DCS counters that Natasha
S. is not an "aggrieved party" as required by
A.R.S. § 8-235(A) and, alternatively, that the superior court
lacked jurisdiction to consider her motion. Assuming (without
deciding) that Natasha S. was an aggrieved party, the
superior court lacked jurisdiction to consider her motion.
"[A]ppellate jurisdiction is derivative," meaning
that "when jurisdiction is lacking in the trial court,
it is lacking on appeal." Webb v. Charles, 125
Ariz. 558, 565, 611 P.2d 562 (App. 1980). This court
"cannot consider an appeal from the superior court on
the merits unless the superior court has jurisdiction."
Riendeau v. ...