DCFS provides an array of community services statewide to children and families.
Community-based services are customized plans that meet the individual child's
needs by relying on a wide range of individuals and agencies within his/her community.
When DCFS has custody of a child it assumes legal responsibility not only for
physical custody, but also the physical health, mental health and well being of
the child. Therefore the goal is to improve the permanency and well being of children.
And sometimes to improve the well being of the family so the child can return
home if a return home can be safely accomplished. If the child can not return
home to a rehabilitated family or if rehabilitation may take so long that the
child's permanency is compromised, then a different permanency goal must be chosen.
Improving the well being of a child is achieved through several mediums: Child
Welfare Services, Local Area Networks (LANs), Extended Family Support and Cash
Assistance and Housing Locator Service.
Child Welfare Services
welfare specialists are responsible for the continuity of all services to children
and families, from the first sign of family disharmony, through case plan implementation.
Services provided may include: therapeutic intervention and support, homemaker
services, psychological evaluations, attending to the child's personal needs of
clothing and special equipment if needed, programs transitioning teens to self-sufficiency,
alcohol and substance abuse diagnosis, pregnant and parenting teen services.
and its community partners provide assistance to adults who are already caring
for their relatives' children. The children may not be abused or neglected but
social services may still be needed to stabilize the relative caregivers' household
or prevent a later placement away from the relatives. An array of services - provided
through collaborative efforts between DCFS, probate court, the Department of Public
Aid, the State Central Register, and public schools - focus on short-term interventions
to help relatives continue to provide quality care.
Cash Assistance and Housing Locator Service
The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) assists families who have children who are in danger of coming into, or cannot be returned home from, DCFS care due to an issue related to poverty or a financial hardship, such as inadequate housing. These services (referred to as "Norman Services") provides housing advocacy, cash assistance and assistance applying for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF, often referred to as "public aid"). The assistance is provided when it is needed to prevent a child from being placed in, or to return a child home from, DCFS care.
Housing Advocacy Services - This service provides a housing advocate who helps the family locate appropriate housing.
Cash Assistance Program - This program provides cash assistance to help a family purchase an item that is needed to prevent a child from being placed in, or to return a child home from, DCFS custody. Assistance is provided when the family can demonstrate that their situation will remain stable in the future.
Norman TANF Application Program - Allows families to apply for TANF benefits up to 90 days before their children are returned home from DCFS custody. To be eligible, families must meet all other TANF eligibility criteria. While the program does not expedite the application process, it can allow the family to receive TANF benefits prior to the return home of their children.