Child Welfare Services

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Child Welfare Services' primary goal is to prevent or remedy neglect, abuse, or exploitation of children while preserving, rehabilitating, or reuniting families. Another major responsibility is to assure adequate care of children who are in "Out-of-Home" placement, i.e. foster children. Child Welfare Services programs include:

  • Emergency Response
  • Family Maintenance
  • Family Reunification
  • Permanency Placement Living Arrangement
  • Independent Living Program
  • California Youth Connection

 


Emergency Response (ER)

Emergency Response provides 24-hour daily response to allegations of child abuse and neglect. Community members reporting abuse call our ER Hotline where a social worker assesses each report and makes a determination of the appropriate response.

If an investigation reveals a child is at risk of abuse or neglect, emergency response prevention services may be offered for a maximum of 30 days. Services include case management, counseling, emergency in-home caretaker, parenting training, teaching and demonstrating homemakers and transportation.


Family Maintenance (FM)

Family Maintenance is a program that serves "at risk" families in their own homes. The goal is to work alongside the family in identification of risk factors and development of a family/community plan to ensure child safety.

A range of service-funded activities include; case management, counseling, respite care, teaching and demonstrating homemakers, parenting training, and transportation.

Outside referrals for services include: adult education, behavioral health services, domestic violence, drug treatment, employment training, group therapy (e.g. Parents Anonymous), housing services, and mental and medical services.

Family Maintenance can be provided through a voluntary agreement between the parents and CWS or under order by the Juvenile Court.


Family Reunification (FR)

Family Reunification is a program that serves families in which children were removed due to neglect or abuse. The program goal is two-fold; case managers concurrently work alongside the family to address risk factors in order to return child (ren) to the family: and concurrently develop plans to include adoption, guardianship or long-term foster care if those reunification efforts are not successful.

Time limited family reunification services are designed to prevent or remedy neglect, abuse, or exploitation, while pursuing reunification of the family.

Child Welfare Services offered at the Department of Social Services include: Case management, Independent Living Program, Healthy Beginnings, Incredible Years Parenting Program, and Transitional Housing Plus.

Outside referrals for services include: adult education, behavioral health services, domestic violence, drug treatment, employment training, group therapy (e.g. Parents Anonymous), housing services, and mental and medical services.

All families receiving Family Reunification services will have a case plan that addresses specific goals, as well as a concurrent plan for permanency should the parents fail to reunify with their child (ren).


Permanency Placement Living Arrangement (PPLA)

Permanent Placement services are designed to provide an alternate permanent family structure for children who because of abuse or neglect cannot safely return home. These services are provided on behalf of children for whom there has been a judicial determination of a permanent plan for adoption, legal guardianship, or alternative living arrangement.

Permanent Placement services are meant to ensure that children from families where there has been neglect or abuse can grow up in a permanent, safe, and secure living arrangement. When children cannot live safely with their birth parents, federal policy prefers adoption as a first alternative option. If adoption is not possible, legal guardianship, preferably with a relative, is the second favored choice. If, for whatever reason, these options are not available, then children may continue in foster care with annual permanency reviews until their 18th birthday when they emancipate from the Child Welfare System, although the deadline can be extended for a year (up to their 19th birthday) to allow a youth to complete high school.

Child Welfare Services offered at the Department of Social Services include: Case management, Independent Living Program, Healthy Beginnings, Incredible Years Parenting Program, and Transitional Housing Plus.

Outside referrals for services include: adult education, behavioral health services, domestic violence, drug treatment, employment training, group therapy (e.g. Parents Anonymous), housing services, and mental and medical services.


Independent Living Program (ILP)

Madera County Department of Social Services offers the Independent Living Program (ILP) which provides services to current and former foster youth, focusing on helping youth gain basic life skills, confidence, and information they need to become successful self-sufficient adults. Youth ages 14 and over whom are in foster care, or were in foster care on or after their 16th birthday are eligible for services up to the age of 21.

  This program is designed to enable youth to achieve self-sufficiency prior to leaving the foster care system by providing independent living skills assessments, support training, services, and a written transitional independent living plan for each participant.

Services include:

  • Educational Planning
  • Career/Job Planning
  • Computer Training
  • Social Skills Training
  • Social Security Card, Birth Certificate, and California ID Card Applications
  • Budgeting and Money Management
  • Banking Information
  • College Applications
  • Financial Aid Applications
  • Apartment Hunting
  • Tax Forms
  • Resumes
  • Job Training
  • Housing Assistance Program
  • Transitional Housing Program for emancipated youth
  • Pregnant and Parenting Foster Youth assistance program


California Youth Connection (CYC)

In 2007, Madera County became a CYC chapter. The CYC is guided, focused and driven by current and former foster youth with the assistance of committed community members. CYC chapters and members educate the public and policy members about their personal experiences with the Child Welfare System, and make recommendations for improvement.

For more information, visit the CYC website.