The primary goal of Child Protection Services is to help ensure the safety and well-being of children. Social workers investigate allegations of maltreatment (physical, sexual, emotional) and provide necessary interventions, supports and services to families.
When there is concern of child abuse by a parent, social workers assess the risk to the child. The assessment of risk involves some of the most critical decisions that are made in the protective intervention program. The social worker, together with the family, develops a plan to reduce the identified risk. All decisions to intervene with the family are made in the best interest of the child.
Voluntary care agreements are intended to be used in situations when a parent is unable to care for their child and need time to seek help or resolve any issues in the family home that could place the child’s safety, health or well-being at risk.
If services cannot be provided to enable a parent to care for a child in his/her own home, a parent may be approved to enter into a Voluntary Care Agreement. A Voluntary Care Agreement does not transfer custody of the child to a Director of Child, Youth and Family Services and is made with the intention is that the child will be returned to the parent within a short period of time.
Supportive and financial services are available to relatives or significant others who are willing and capable of providing care to a child who is in need of protective intervention and, if relatives or significant others were not available, the child would have to be placed in care.
A determination of the custodial parent's ability to provide financial support and an assessment of the identified placement option is required.
The goal of this program is to assist at-risk young people, age 16 and 17, make a successful transition to adulthood. Social work intervention and services may be provided to youth and their families. Youth Services can be either residential or non-residential.
Support services are available to young people living in their family home to address issues which could affect their safety and development, including maltreatment and neglect, as well as mental health and addiction issues. These services are offered in an effort to keep the family together and avoid out of home placements.
If a youth is at risk of maltreatment in his/her family or has no parent willing or able to provide care to the youth, he/she can be offered residential and support services under a voluntary agreement.
Parents may voluntarily transfer the care of a child to a Director of Child, Youth and Family Services (CYFS) or the Court may make a legal finding that a child is in need of protective intervention and place a child in a director’s temporary or continuous custody.
The placement of a child is determined using the best interests of the child as the paramount consideration. Relatives, non-custodial parents and individuals significant to the child are considered first when exploring placement options. If a family member or significant other is unavailable, the child is placed with an approved non-relative caregiver (foster) family or another approved residential setting that best meets that child’s needs. There is recognition of the importance of placing siblings together and keeping children connected to their family and other individuals who are significant in their lives.
Foster parents play a significant role in the life of a child in their care. They are entrusted with the responsibility of nurturing and protecting a child, addressing and meeting the child’s developmental needs, helping a child stay connected to their birth family and working as part of a professional planning team to support the child.
Foster parents are recruited, assessed, approved and supported by local CYFS offices. All applicants must complete the PRIDE (Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education) program. PRIDE is a standardized, competency based model for preparing and assessing caregiver applicants. The PRIDE assessment process includes eight information sessions and a comprehensive home assessment.