Referrals for Child and Family Services should be made to the Dept. of Social Services Access Unit at 920-929-3400.
In the Child and Family Services Unit our philosophy is that the natural family is the best place to raise children. Therefore, the focus of the social worker is to look at each individual family and with the family determine what services are necessary to keep the children safe.
Our unit has 4 important areas of responsibility, each with its own mission. Listed below are brief descriptions of each.
Prevention - services provide positive experiences for children and flexible services for families to promote children's school success, safety, and well being.
Protection - Children Services has a 24 hour emergency service with a worker on-call 7 days/week to respond to emergency needs outside regular agency hours. The protective case worker on-call is responsible for assessing situations to determine action necessary to alleviate imminent risk situations. To make a report of abuse and/or neglect please call 920-929-3400.
Placement - is available to provide a safe, temporary home for children when efforts to provide in home services to the family has failed to adequately safeguard the children.
Permanency - in safe, stable, loving homes is the agency's goal for children who cannot return to their birth families.
What services are available to assist families?
In the Child and Family Service Unit Social Workers are involved in working with families on an on-going basis (after the initial assessment determination) help the family identify and work toward certain goals. The purpose of setting goals is to minimize risk to the child and prevent neglect or abuse from occurring. Our hope is to help families function in a more positive and healthy manner. Social Workers continue assisting families until the goals are met. There are 2 ways in which our unit becomes involved.
- Informal Supervision - Although the Dept. of Social Services prefers to work with families on a voluntary basis, it's sometimes necessary to refer to court. The greater the harm or injury to the children in a family the more likely the situation will need to be reviewed at an intake inquiry at Juvenile Court Services. The intake worker assesses the need for court involvement. If the case is handled informally an Informal Agreement is signed outlining rules of supervision and appropriate services for the family. This signed contract means that the case does not go to court and is in effect for six months. The family may or may not continue to work with the Dept. of Social Services beyond the initial six months depending on whether or not the informal agreement was satisfactorily met.
- Court Ordered Supervision - In some cases the children are at a greater degree of harm or injury and a referral for court ordered supervision appears necessary, usually for a period of one year. This is to ensure that parental follow-through with services will occur to eliminate the home conditions which placed the children in situations of abuse and/or neglect. This referral results in a CHIPS (Child In need of Protection and Services) petition to juvenile court. The court hears the case and makes a determination as to the conditions by which the family must follow.