When voluntary services to parents have not been successful, or during emergency situations too serious for a child to remain safely at home, a social worker may seek the maximum protection of the Juvenile Court by filing a Petition on behalf of the children. The Petition must describe the abuse or neglect situation which places the children at risk in the parents' or guardians' care. The Petition initiates a formal set of Court hearings, at which the Court makes rulings about the following:
Initially, the Court decides if children will remain out of the parent/guardian's home until the next Court hearing. The Court's protection of the children must focus on family preservation whenever possible.
After evidence is reviewed, the Court decides whether or not the petition is true.
The Court makes orders regarding the children's care and what case plan services the parents must complete to either maintain the children safely in the parent's home (Family Maintenance Services), or to make the home safe for the children's return (Family Reunification Services).
The CASE PLAN put into effect is very important as it lists exactly what is expected of the family during the next six months.
3 Full Time Placement Specialists:
During initial court proceedings, a Placement Specialist works with the family's Court Officer to arrange visitation between parents and children, gather relative information for Family Decision Meetings and placement of children, and to provide emergency and ongoing social services to parents and children. Parents are given referrals to community services such as substance abuse treatment, housing assistance, counseling, etc. A long term permanent plan is developed for each child should reunification fail. This concurrent plan is preferable an adoptive commitment from the child's caretaker.
A CWS based Public Health Nurse obtains a complete health history on each child entering the foster care system. Medical, psychological, developmental and/or educational assessments are made by Mental Health staff or community partners.
The Placement Specialist have a support team of clerical staff and driver clerks.
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