The Children and Family Services Section of Gaston HHS provides those services necessary for the protection and well being of children and their families.
Adoption services are provided to children in the custody of Gaston HHS. These services include: legal work, emotional preparation of children for adoption, placements in approved homes and the supervision of the placements. Relative and Independent adoption services are offered as a "fee" service. During the FY 2012-2013, 31 adoptions were completed, with 15 being adoptions of children in the custody of Gaston HHS, 10 were relative adoptions, and 6 were independent adoptions. Adoption information requests may be sent to Allyson Morsell at email@example.com, Kristen Windell at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Katie Sheets at Katie.Sheets@co.gaston.nc.us.
Children and Family Services Intake includes assessing abuse, neglect and dependency reports and making referrals for appropriate services within HHS and for services from other agencies.
Foster Care for Children is a service designed to meet the needs of children placed in the custody of the Department of Social Services when they have to be separated from their families by court because of abuse, neglect or dependency.
Foster Care Licensure is the recruitment, training, licensing and supervision of foster parents. The requirements to be a foster parent include but are not limited to: both parents must attend 30 hours of training, have a criminal record check with finger printing completed, have a home study completed, have at least one source of income sufficient to support their family, undergo a medical examination, and have a TB test. During FY 2012-2013 the agency averaged 49 foster families per month. For information about becoming a foster parent, requests can be sent to Tennille Martin at email@example.com, Joseph Shepherd at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Katie Sheets at Katie.Sheets@co.gaston.nc.us.
Home Investigations include the completion of home studies that have been court ordered and are "fee" paid. This service also includes requests from other counties and states. These studies will assist the other agencies in making decisions concerning custody and placement of children.
Intensive Family Preservation Services help families in crisis prevent out-of-home placement of their children.
Intensive Reunification Services is an intensive substance abuse recovery and reunification program to assist families whose children are in custody due to substance abuse. A family-centered and strengths-focused approach is used to help families make the changes necessary to provide a safe, nurturing, and permanent environment within a year of custody.
LINKS, formerly known as the Independent Living Program, is a program designed to help children ages 16-21 who are in the custody of HHS or have been in the custody of HHS to develop skills they need to live on their own. Most of these juveniles will not return home but move from HHS placement to their own home. Children participate in monthly programs and activities to help with skill building and decision making. Children 14 and 15 years old have the opportunity to participate in some of the programs as well. Information about the program can be requested form Helena LaCasse at email@example.com or, Randal Absher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In-Home Aide Services are services provided in conjunction with either a Case Planning/Case Management or Foster Care case. These services may include teaching and providing assistance with managing household budgets, planning nutritious meals, teaching child rearing practices, providing supportive help in the area of good health practices, providing limited transportation for medical or therapy appointments, provide support to the social work staff, and monitoring visitation.
Problem Pregnancy services are services to inform clients who are pregnant of available services such as adoption and maternity home placements.
Protective Services for Children include the investigation of complaints for child neglect, abuse or dependency and the provision of services to protect children at risk.
Psychological Services provides diagnostic evaluations of children and adults to assist social workers in rendering and/or accessing appropriate services for clients. Psychological services staff also provides consultation services for social workers with questions about service needs of clients.
Residential Contracts - Currently Children and Family Services has only one contract for residential services. That contract is designed to provide short term emergency shelter care for children in HHS custody. This service is provided on site at the Gaston County Receiving Home. Agreements are in place with agencies such as Loray Girls Home and Lutheran Family Services for group home care. Also, CFS staff work through the case management systems of local mental health agencies to obtain access to therapeutic foster homes and group home placements, as needed.