Children & Family Services
The Child and Family Services Unit (CFS) receives child abuse and neglect cases from the CPS Unit if it is determined that ongoing services are needed. Referrals for child and family problems also come to the CFS unit through ACCESS. Those served have experienced a wide spectrum of societal and family stresses: intra-familial sexual abuse, teen pregnancy, child neglect, parents with severe mental illness, developmental disabilities, alcohol and other drug abuse problems and physical abuse. Whereas child abuse and neglect referrals generally involve younger children, the majority of the child and family calls concern children who are 12 to 17 years old.
The goal of the Child and Family Services Unit is to help families overcome the problems that brought them to the attention of the Division. Through face-to-face visits, phone contacts and case management services provided by community-based agencies, CFS workers strive to strengthen and empower families.
The Ongoing Services Unit is composed of ten (10) social workers and one (1) supervisor. This Unit works with cases identified by the juvenile Court as children in need of protection services (abused, neglect, etc.) and juveniles in need of protection and services (truant, or children as identified as uncontrollable). The primary responsibility is the implementation of a treatment plan as developed by the Division of Children & Family Services and implemented by the juvenile Court. This plan may involve counseling, psychological / psychiatric services, in-home services, educational services, etc. If the child has been placed outside of their home, the Juvenile Court also orders a set of ‘Conditions of Return’, which need to be achieved before a child can be safely returned home. These conditions of return may include but are not limited to therapeutic services, parenting classes, alcohol and drug abuse services, etc.
The Ongoing Services Unit provides child centered and family focused services. The primary goal is to help families remain in tact, while assisting them in remedying the situation which brought them into contact with the juvenile Court system. If the child has been removed, the primary goal then becomes reunification efforts, to safely insure that the child can be returned home to a family setting where risks have been reduced. Unfortunately, not all children can be safely returned to their family and for these cases, the ‘Adoption Safe Families Act’ has identified children, who have been placed outside of their home 15 months of the last 22 months, as likely candidates for possible termination of parental rights. Members of the Ongoing Services Unit work diligently with these families to overcome the areas which resulted in the child's removal from their care, while working to ensure that the child has a permanent home. This permanent home may include an adoptive home, a legal guardian being appointed for the child, a relative placement, reunification with their family, or long term care. The average case load for a social worker / case worker in the Ongoing Services Unit is 20 to 24 families, accounting for an average of 90-120 children on court orders.