Douglas County Social Services is mandated by federal and state laws to provide child protective services to protect children whose health or welfare may be jeopardized through physical abuse, neglect, or sexual abuse. This is a major responsibility and is taken very seriously by this department.
While it is recognized that most parents want to keep their children safe, sometimes circumstances or conditions interfere with their ability to do so. When this occurs, families are best served by interventions that engage them in addressing the immediate safety concerns and by providing family support and family preservation services.
These services may include:
· In-home family counseling
· Crisis nursery
· Individual and/or family counseling
· Medication assessments
· Family Group Decision Making meetings
· Assistance with transportation, and
· Connecting with other community resources.
Douglas County Social Services believes that a child’s best interests and protection is usually maximized by maintaining the child at home whenever possible. However, it is sometimes necessary to seek temporary removal of a child to assure safety.
When children must be separated from their families, the agency moves to place each child in the least restrictive living arrangement – one familiar to the child and most closely resembling a family setting. This placement may be with appropriate relatives, friends, or in a foster home.
The agency must make efforts to reunify the child and family as soon as it is safe to do so. Children need to feel they belong to a permanent family. In some cases, it is not possible to assure safe return to the parental home.
When reunification is not possible, a child’s need for a permanent home demands that the agency move just as quickly to provide the child with a permanent family through adoption or transfer of permanent physical and legal custody to a relative or someone with whom the child has a significant attachment.