Child and Family Services
A hotline to help critical workers find child care during the COVID-19 pandemic has been launched by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. The state agency announced Tuesday that it has partnered with the North Carolina Child Care Resource and Referral network to establish a hotline to provide child care options for children of critical workers who do not have access to typical care because of COVID-19 closures. Families who have flexible working arrangements are encouraged to stay at home with their children, according to the NCDHHS. Workers who need care can call 1-888-600-1685 to receive information about local options for children from infants through age 12. The hotline is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“Child care is a critical service. People working on the front lines of the COVID-19 response need access to safe, quality child care so they can know their own children are being well cared for as they care for others,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen, NCDHHS secretary.
Some foster children will never go back to their birth family. We are committed to the value that every one of these children deserves a “forever family”. We have the firm belief that a safe, permanent, and nurturing home can be found for any child who needs one. We also firmly believe that we are responsible for enabling this. Adoption Services are designed to find permanent homes for children and to provide support to the families who adopt them.
We are in need of adoptive families to provide the love, care, and stability that provide the foundation in any child’s life. The majority of children awaiting adoption are school age, and many are brothers and sisters who need to stay together. You can become an adoptive parent if you are 21 or older and have stable income. You can be single, married, or divorced. You may be any ethnic origin and there is no minimum education requirement.
Community Child Protection Teams were established in 1991, as a response to the increased numbers of children reported as being abused, neglected or dependent in North Carolina. Teams were established to add a community dimension to child protection.
The duties and responsibilities of the team were adopted as North Carolina Administrative Code 41I .0400. The original purpose and composition of the team was further formalized and expanded by G.S. 7B 1406, (previously G.S. 143-576.1) effective July 1, 1993.
In 1997 North Carolina designated CCPTs as Citizen’s Review Panels which were required by the Federal Child Abuse Prevention Treatment Act (CAPTA). The panels, which must meet at least every three months, are intended to involve citizens in ensuring that states are meeting their goals of protecting children from abuse and neglect.
The intent of the CCPT is to enhance child protection in the community through collaboration and advocacy. The establishment of CCPT as a community partner in child protection changed the concept that the community had about the Departments of Social Services. That agency went from a stand-alone concept of protecting children to partnering with the community concept of protecting children. Families and communities have benefited from the community approach to child protection.
Purpose of CCPT
The Community Child Protection Team is an interdisciplinary group of community representatives who meet regularly to promote a community-wide approach to the problem of child abuse, neglect and dependency.
Who Are CCPT Members?
CCPT consists of representatives of agencies and organizations as well as citizens-at-large that have children and families as a focus. NC law mandates membership for certain agencies and organizations. These members includes:
The county director of social services and a member of the director’s staff, a local law enforcement officer, an attorney from the district attorney’s office, the executive director of the local community action agency, the superintendent of each local school administrative unit; a member of the county board of social services, a local mental health professional, the local guardian ad litem coordinator, or the coordinator’s designee; the director of the department of public health; and a local health care provider.
The board of county commissioners may appoint a maximum of five additional members to represent various county agencies and the community-at-large to serve on any local team.
Review active cases in which abuse, neglect, or dependency is found and that are:
- Selected from categories defined by the team.
- Brought for review at the specific request of a team member.
- Brought for review at the initiative of the director of the department of social services.
Report to the Board of County Commissioners and the community about the status of families in the community.
Advocacy and Collaboration
CCPT educates the community about issues that puts children at risk of harm and how this impacts families and the community. The knowledge of CCPT members is utilized to create services in response to identified gaps. The sharing of information among members about under-utilized resources in the community helps to address service gaps. CCPT informs the board of county commissioners about trends in child maltreatment that suggest a need for changes in services in the community, and advocate for necessary resources.
- physical, sexual or emotional abuse
- family stress caused by divorce, separation, substance abuse, or mental illness
- illness or death of a parent
- child’s behavior due to physical or emotional disability
- parental rights have been terminated and the child is waiting for an adoptive placement
LINKSLINKS is a program that works with youth between the ages of 14 and 21 who currently are or have been in foster care. Young adults learn budgeting, household maintenance, how to apply for and retain a job, and many other important life skills. We provide other benefits for participants such as SAT and ACT fees, graduation fees for senior students, assistance applying for college, etc.
Family PermanencyFoster care is temporary substitute care for children who cannot remain safely in their home as determined by the Court. Child placement services shall be provided to any child in the custody or placement responsibility of a County Department of Social Services. Placement of a child in foster care requires assessment of the child and family’s needs and careful planning. The placement process focuses on the whole family rather than only on the child in placement. The child, the family and the foster care providers shall be appropriately prepared for the placement prior to the physical move of the child, except in emergency removals. Child placement needs are evaluated, arranged, maintained and supervised in licensed or Court-sanctioned placement, with services to assist in reunification or another permanent plan for the child. The agency provides services in conjunction with the community that are community-based, culturally competent, child centered, and family focused.
Families for Kids goals:
- Community-Based Family Support
- One Coordinated Assessment
- Single Stable Placement
- One Year To A Permanent Home
Family Permanency & Child Placement Services Include:
- Services to protect children in their own homes, strengthen families, and prevent out-of-home placement
- Careful planning and decision making with the family about placement, when necessary
- Assessing children’s needs to ensure appropriate placement and services
- Arranging and monitoring a placement appropriate to the child’s needs
- Involving the kinship network to provide planning, placement and other support for the child and family
Family Permanency & Child Placement Services Continued
- Developing and arranging community-based services to support the child and family
- Collaborating with other community service providers working with the family to ensure continuity of services and to prevent duplication of services
- Referring the child and family to needed services, including clinical treatment
- Providing treatment services, as appropriate
- Preparing the child, the child’s family, and the foster family for separation and placement, including negotiating and preparing visitation agreements
- Assessing family strengths and needs to determine the appropriate plan for service
- Providing ongoing risk assessment to determine risk to the child and to guide the case planning process
- Working with the family to develop and implement the Family Services Case Plan
- Monitoring and updating the Family Services Case Plan with the family
- Providing case management
- Concurrent permanency planning with the family to develop alternative options to provide a permanent home for a child should reunification fai
- Helping the family meet Family Services Case Plan objectives by providing information, instruction, guidance and mentoring on parenting skills
- Providing counseling to the child and family to help the child and family cope with the grief resulting from the separation and placement
- Arranging medical examinations and other services for the child
- Supervising foster care facility to ensure that the child receives proper care during placement
Family Permanency & Child Placement Services Continued
- Maintaining contact with the family and others significant to the case
- Preparing for and participating in court proceedings
- Maintaining a close working relationship with the agency attorney for guidance in the legal process
- Providing transportation for children in foster care when needed and not otherwise available, including visits with parents, siblings, and relatives
- Providing independent living services to assist older youth in learning life skills necessary to make a successful transition from foster care to living on his or her own
- Ensuring that foster care placements across state lines are in compliance with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children
- Recruiting, developing and supervising foster care families and child care facilities
- Recruiting and assessing relatives and other kin as potential caregivers
- Assessing and periodically reassessing foster care homes and facilities to determine if the home or facility meets the needs of the children it serves
- Providing consultation, technical assistance, and training to assist foster families and foster care facilities to expand and improve the quality of care provided
- Involving foster parents in the planning and decision making for children in foster care
- Facilitating foster/adopt options for children and preparing foster/adoptive parents
- Preparing children for adoptive placements and maintaining life books
- Maintaining the foster care case record and thorough documentation of case activities.
- Periodically reviewing the Family Services Case Plan
- Preparing for and facilitating Permanency Planning Action Team meetings
Swain County Department of Social Services primary goal is to locate permanent, loving homes for children in need of adoption. Foster Home Licensure handles recruitment, training and supervision of foster homes to assure safe and secure temporary care for children. Adults over 21 years old with a stable home and income may be a foster parent. You may be married or single and rent or own your home. In addition to 30 hours of training and assessment provided by DSS, the only requirement is a desire to provide a loving, supportive home for a child.
Who can be a Foster Parent?
Foster parents must:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Have a stable home and income
- Be willing to be fingerprinted and have a criminal records check
- Maintain a drug free environment
- Complete all required training and be licensed by the state of North Carolina
Do Foster Parents have to be Licensed?
Yes, North Carolina state law requires that all foster parents be licensed to care for children in their care. These licenses are issued by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. County Departments of Social Services and several private child caring agencies are authorized to work with potential foster parents to assist them with the licensing process and to provide supervision and support for the foster parents.
Potential foster parents receive 30 hours of training. The training covers topics such as child abuse and neglect, working with birth parents, and helping foster children deal with the issues they face. It also helps the potential foster parents think about how parenting another child may affect their family.
Requirements for foster families to be licensed include:
- Potential foster parents must participate in and complete 30 hours of pre-service training provided by the agency. County Departments of Social Services use a curriculum called MAPP-GPS, or Model Approach to Partnership in Parenting – Group Preparation and Selection. The frequency and times for this training varies from agency to agency.
- Potential foster parents must complete an application form and family profile.
- The family’s home must receive and pass a fire and safety inspection arranged for by the agency.
- All foster families must receive and pass an environmental safety check that is arranged for by the agency. If the family’s home is not on a public water system, the family’s home must receive and pass a water inspection arranged for by the agency.
- Family members must have a physical examination and a TB skin test.
- All family members 18 years old and older must be fingerprinted in order for criminal record checks to be conducted locally, through the SBI, and through the FBI.
- If the potential foster parents are a married couple, they must have been married for at least one year. Single applicants can be licensed as foster parents.
- To be licensed, foster parents have to be within the ages of 21 and 65.
- Foster families need to have adequate income to financially support their own family without relying on the foster child’s board payment, as the board payment is designed to cover the essentials of room and board for the foster child. Foster parents may work as long as they are able to meet the basic needs of the foster child.
- The foster home must have a working telephone.
- The foster family must have access to transportation and be willing and able to provide necessary transportation to meet the needs of the foster child.
- The foster home must provide each child with their own personal bedroom space.
Social services staff accomplish all these services through:
- Assessing suspected cases of abuse and neglect
- Assisting the family in diagnosing the problem
- Providing in-home counseling and supportive services to help children stay at home with their families
- Coordinating community and agency services for the family
- Petitioning the court for removal of the child, if necessary
- Providing public information about child abuse, neglect, and dependency
- Each child’s need for safety, love, care, and the stability of a permanent family
- the strengths and diversity of families and kinship networks
- The responsibility of parents, families, and kinship networks to make decisions about their children and to care for their children
- The responsibility of families and service providers to work together to meet children’s needs
- The responsibility of service providers to be proactive and discerning in ensuring positive outcomes for each child served
- The enrichment of communities that occurs from a diversity of knowledge and experience
- Collaboration among professionals, paraprofessionals, community members, the family and its support systems to ensure that decisions are in the best interests of the child, family and community