Child and Family Services
The increase in the number of Child Protective reports directly impacts this unit. This unit provides the ongoing services to the families that are referred to Court as a result of the Child Protective investigations. Preventive Services are for families whose children are at risk of foster care.
- Most cases for preventive services are ordered by Family Court as a result of an abuse, neglect, or custody proceeding.
- Services are offered without regard to income.
- Services include assessment, counseling and case management.
Foster Care is for children who for health and safety reasons need to be removed from their families temporarily.
- Children may be placed in care as a result of an abuse or neglect petition or a PINS petition.
- Care is normally provided by a foster family or a therapeutic foster family.
- Group homes and residential treatment centers are utilized for children and youth who need a higher level of care.
- The primary goal is to reunite the child with his/her family and the Department is required to provide diligent efforts toward achieving this end.
- At set time frames, all foster care placements are reviewed by Family Court.
- If, despite intensive efforts by the caseworker and barring unusual circumstances, the family cannot be reunited, the Department is required to file a petition with the Family Court for the termination of parental rights or seek a voluntary surrender of parental rights.
- The caseworker assists with the preparation of the petition for the termination of parental rights and testifies in court.
- If parental rights are terminated by court action or through a surrender, the caseworker works to find an adoptive family for the child and finalize the adoption.
- Any youth 14-21 years old who is in foster care, whether or not his/her goal is return to parent, must be prepared for independent living.