RI’s Family Court System. An outline of it’s roles and structure in matters of Child protective services. The Courthouses.
An outline of it’s roles and structure in matters of Child protective services
There are many different types of hearings and petitions to be addressed in court. To begin I will outline these petitions.
Other hearings may be held in family court before the General Magistrate to evaluate progress on service plans, modify visitation scheduling, and set dates for continuances on hearings. There are many individuals involved in family court hearings. The following is an outline of individuals involved and their role in court.
Seeks to represent and petition for the well being of troubled children and families
Interest of the defense is in regaining custody of children who have been removed from home and placed in temporary care
Primary responsibility of DCYF:
To re-unify children who have been removed from the home and are currently in placement.
DCYF Social Caseworkers are responsible for the efficacy of service plans which they have developed for families to make the changes necessary for re-unification.
By working together with external care providers to facilitate substance rehabilitation, behavioral counseling, mental health treatment etc.
First respondent to reports of child abuse/neglect
May remove the child from the location if they find evidence to indicate that the abuse or neglect is more probably than not.
May testify in court using evidence of abuse or neglect against parents facing a commitment petition
During my time shadowing a CASA attorney, I was able to witness a CPI testimonial in court against a mother indicated for neglect against a 6 month old baby girl
Began as a volunteer based program which now employs a full time staff of attorney guardians and social workers.
Responsibility of CASA:
To provide effective advocacy to RI’s most vulnerable children to ensure they don’t “fall through the cracks” of the system put in place to help them.
Reviewing records, interviewing those involved, maintaining contact the child and any individuals involved in planning for the child, appearing at scheduled court hearings, and submitting reports to the court which summarize relevant information and make specific recommendations for the child’s best interest.
This career description is of most interest to me because unlike DCYF’s responsibility to work towards reunification with the parents, CASA has the responsibility of advocating what is in the best interest of the child particularly when reunification with parents may not necessarily be.
I identify the objectives of this role as most closely resembling my personal and professional goals!