The Children and Family Services Division of the agency 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 DSS. 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 2004-2005, 71 adoptions were completed, with 29 being adoptions of children in the custody of DSS, 40 were relative adoptions and 2 were independent adoptions. Adoption information requests may be sent to Rita Ferguson at firstname.lastname@example.org or Sherry McKinney at email@example.com.
Children and Family Services Intake includes assessing abuse, neglect and dependency reports and making referrals for appropriate services within the Department and for services from other agencies. During the 2004-2005 FY 6541 mail and telephone intake interviews were conducted on behalf of 10,062 children.
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. During the FY 2004-2005, 367 children were placed in the custody of the Department with an average of 227 children in custody each month. An average of 22 children per month were in the Department's custody due to undisciplined or delinquent behavior.
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 2004-2005 the agency averaged 62 foster families per month. For information about becoming a foster parent, requests can be sent to Sherry McKinney at firstname.lastname@example.org, Anna Martin at email@example.com, or Regina Freeman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. During FY 2004-2005, 28 home studies were completed.
Intensive Family Preservation Services help families in crisis prevent out-of-home placement of their children. During FY 2004-2005, 43 parents and 61 children in 32 families received services in their homes. At service completion, strengths of the families were increased and risks to the children were reduced so that 59 of these children could safely remain with their families. Two children were placed in a safe environment with relatives.
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. During FY 2004-2005 10 parents of 17 children in 10 families received intensive services to aid in the parent's substance abuse recovery.
LINKS formally known as the Independent Living program is a program designed to help children ages 16-21 who are in the custody of DSS or have been in the custody of DSS to develop skills they need to live on their own. Most of these juveniles will not return home but move from DSS 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. In FY 2004-2005, the In Home Aides in Children's Services provided services to an average of 74 families and 137 children.
Problem Pregnancy services are services to inform clients who are pregnant of available services such as adoption and maternity home placements. During FY 2004-2005, 13 clients were served. Information about this service can be obtained by contacting our Intake office at 704-862-7530.
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. During the fiscal year 244 abuse, 2,406 neglect, 95 abuse and neglect, 10 dependency, and four neglect/dependency complaints were investigated involving 5406 children. Of the children that were the subject of an investigation 26.8% were substantiated for abuse, neglect or dependency. During the fiscal year, a monthly average of 155 families and 316 children received Case Planning/Case Management services.
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 DSS 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.