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Child Welfare Services. Family centered services to achieve well-being through ensuring self-sufficiency, support, safety, and permanence. Dual tracks- Family Assessment and Investigative Assessment Strength-based structured decision making tools from intake through adoption

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Child welfare services
Child Welfare Services

  • Family centered services to achieve well-being through ensuring self-sufficiency, support, safety, and permanence.

  • Dual tracks- Family Assessment and Investigative Assessment

  • Strength-based structured decision making tools from intake through adoption

  • Focus on family preservation whenever possible

Invoking juvenile court
Invoking Juvenile Court

The act of filing a petition requesting adjudication of abuse, neglect, or dependency is a serious decision and is done:

  • When the family is unwilling to accept critically needed services,

  • When safety related circumstances necessitate the need for immediate removal; or,

  • When despite agency efforts to provide services the family has made no progress towards providing adequate care for the child.

Out of home placement resources
Out of Home Placement Resources

A N.C. Department of Health and Human Services licensed:

  • foster family home or group home supervised by the County DSS agencies

  • child-caring institution

  • foster care facility under the auspices of a licensed or approved private child care or child placing agency

  • foster care facility that is licensed as a public or private group home

  • therapeutic home that is a residential facility primarily located in a private residence that provides professionally trained parent substitutes

  • residential treatment facility that provides a structured living environment for children and adolescents who are primarily mentally ill and who may also be multi-handicapped and for whom removal from the home is essential to procure appropriate treatment;

  • residential therapeutic camp A school or institution

    A foster care facility located in another state that is licensed and approved by that state

    An unlicensed home, including the home of a relative, that is approved by the court and designated in the court order.

Permanent plans for children in care
Permanent Plans for Children in Care

  • Reunification with Family

  • Legal Guardianship with Relatives or other Kin

  • Assignment of Legal Custody

  • Adoption

  • APPLA-Independent living with permanent family connections

  • Reinstatement of Parental Rights


Reunification means that the biological/adoptive parent(s) or caretaker from whom the child was taken regains custody of the child.

If reunification fails
If Reunification Fails

  • The county will assess relative or kinship placements as a permanency option.

  • If the family is willing to provide a permanent home for the child but is not willing to adopt, then guardianship and custody would be offered to the family as alternatives.

Legal guardianship
Legal Guardianship

  • Juvenile Court Guardianship assigns legal authority for the guardian to act on behalf of the child without further DSS involvement, but with continued supervision of the court until the child is 18 or emancipated by the court.

  • Legal guardianship can be given to a relative or any other person deemed suitable by the Court even if they are not related by blood.

Guardianship cont
Guardianship cont.

The legal authority of the guardian includes:

  • the care, custody and control of the juvenile,

  • the authority to arrange placement for the juvenile,

  • the right to represent the juvenile in legal actions before the court,

  • the right to consent to actions on the part of the juvenile including marriage, enlisting in the armed forces, and enrollment in school.

  • The right to consent to remedial, psychological, medical or surgical treatment for the juvenile.

Legal custody
Legal Custody

  • Does not have the same level of security as adoption or guardianship and may be terminated on the basis of a change in circumstances, regardless of the fitness of the guardian.

  • The judge can order legal custody of a child to a relative, foster parent, or other adult person deemed suitable by the court.

  • Legal custody has most of the same advantages and disadvantages as legal guardianship, however; the specific rights and responsibilities of a legal custodian are defined by the court order rather than being fully defined in law.

  • The custodian must show the court order to prove their right to act in a parental role.

  • Legal custody is not well defined in statute, but implies responsibility for the oversight of the child’s care, protection, training, and personal relationships.


Adoption is the permanent plan offering the most stability to the child who cannot return to his/her parents.

Another planned permanent living arrangement
Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement


  • is only an appropriate primary permanency goal for youth who are between the ages of 16 to 18, or as a concurrent permanency goal for youth ages 14 to 18 who reside in a family setting:

    • in which the youth and caregiver have made a mutual commitment of emotional support and the youth has been integrated into the family; and

    • the youth and caregiver are requesting that the placement be made permanent; and

    • other permanency options, including adoption, guardianship, and custody have been determined to be inappropriate for the situation due to the youth’s long-term needs.

    • must be initially approved by the court and periodically reviewed by the court.

  • The agency retains legal custody of the youth for the period of the APPLA.

Reinstatement of parental rights
Reinstatement of Parental Rights

  • G.S. 7B-1114, establishing for the first time a juvenile court proceeding in which the parental rights of a parent whose rights have been terminated may be reinstated.

  • Previously, the only means of regaining parental rights was for the parent to adopt the child.

  • Circumstances in which the procedure is available, beginning October 1, 2011, are narrow.