Foster Care Functions
When children continue to be at risk of abuse or neglect and services cannot reduce that risk, the children are removed from their homes through a court order. The Agency first tries to place the child(ren) with relatives who have been determined to be able to provide care. If there are no relative placements that ensure the safety of the child(ren), then the child(ren) are placed in foster homes. Caseworkers continue to work with the family to link them to services. Reunification is a priority for these children if a parent can successfully complete a case plan. If the case plan is successfully achieved, the caseworker can do trial placements back in the home. If it remains stable then our legal representative can request the Juvenile Court to terminate the Agency custody.
Court Ordered Protective Services
Some of the cases this unit works with are called "protective service" cases. When we do place children back in the home but we feel that further monitoring is necessary to ensure the continued safety of the children, then the Agency can request that the Juvenile Court issue court-ordered protective service (COPS). This allows the caseworker continued access to the home and family. Sometimes the Agency may be issued COPS in advance of a child(ren)'s removal to work with the family to try to prevent foster care. The family is legally required to cooperate with the Agency.
Voluntary Protective Services
Sometimes parents may realize they need help and are willing to have a caseworker in the home without it being court-ordered. These cases are called voluntary protective services (VPS) cases. Protective services are provided to families where children can safely remain in their home with the provision of supportive services. The family is linked with community resources and monitored by the Children Services caseworker to assure that the family is participating and cooperating with the service providers.