When the court determines children need to be placed outside of the home to ensure their safety, the court places those children in the custody, care and responsibility of the Department of Social Services.
The Department's Division of Child Protection Services must place them in a temporary or permanent home where they will be well cared for and safe. We provide supervision and support to placements until the children are returned home or placed in another permanent home.
Below are resources available to the state for the placement of children who come into our care:
- Kinship Placement:
When looking at placement resources, the Department considers relatives first. We search for relatives at the time of initial placement and at times throughout the child’s placement. The best interest of the child is the most important factor and once that is determined, placement can be made with an approved relative. The relative provides 24-hour care and supervision while efforts are made to alleviate issues that required the children to be placed with relatives.
- Foster Care:
Family homes consisting of relatives or non-relatives who are trained and licensed; providing children with 24-hour temporary care and supervision while efforts are being made to alleviate the issues that required the children to be placed in foster care.
- Group Care:
Some children have trouble functioning in a family setting because of emotional or behavioral needs. Group homes are licensed facilities that have trained staff; providing 24-hour care and ongoing counseling for children in a structured program, using community-based resources to supplement treatment.
- Residential Treatment:
Licensed facilities providing 24-hour services for children who cannot function in a family setting and have behavioral or emotional problems requiring intensive professional assistance and therapy in a highly structured, self-contained environment.
Difficult situations may occur where children are unable to return home and plans are developed for a family or individual to become the child’s guardian. Guardians are relatives, foster care providers, or other adults who have a connection to a child and want to have legal responsibility for them.
- Special Needs Adoption:
After efforts have been made to alleviate the problems causing children to be removed from their home; the court terminates the parents’ rights and gives adoptive custody to the Department. These children are considered special needs for purposes of adoption because the child may be:
- Physically, Mentally or Emotionally Handicapped
- Victims of abuse and neglect
- Children usually over age eight
- A sibling or a minority group
- Residential Care Directory