In-Home Services are legally mandated and provided to families who have had a substantiation of abuse, neglect or dependency or a finding of in need of services due to safety issues. The goals of these services are to maintain the safety of children; to strengthen the family's capacity to protect and nurture its children; and to maintain children in their own families.
What Does "In-Home Services" Mean?
N. C. law requires that counties provide services to ensure a child's safety and that his/her basic needs are being met by his/her parent, guardian, or caretaker. If at the conclusion of a child protective services assessment your case is substantiated or you are found to be in need of services, another social worker will contact you to assist with providing appropriate In-Home services to you and your family. This is an effort to preserve your family as well as to strengthen your family as a unit.
What Can I Expect?
Within 7 days of the decision to substantiate or find in need of services, the assessment worker and an In-Home Services social worker will contact you to discuss the case decision and introduce the new worker.
This social worker will have face-to face contact with you and your family at least twice a month, as well as contact with others involved, i.e., therapists, doctors, other family members, on a bi-weekly basis to assure progress toward the treatment goals is continuing. The focus of an In-Home Services worker's efforts is to always ensure protection of the involved children and the preservation of the family.
The In-Home Services social worker will discuss developing a Family Services Agreement with your family and any support people you want to involve through the Child and Family team process. This agreement will be jointly developed between your family and the family In-Home Services worker. This agreement will specifically address the behaviors identified as posing risk to your children and how you and the In-Home Services social worker agree to address them. A time for review will be reflected in the process. It will also spell out specifics which may occur should you fail to comply, protect and provide for your children. You will be provided with a copy of this agreement. Any changes or updates can occur at anytime deemed appropriate, but every three months at a minimum. Remember, if you have previously signed a safety plan with the Children's Protective Services Assessment social worker, it remains in effect until further notice.
What Are The Possible Outcomes?
If you actively participate and change the behaviors which posed risk to your child(ren), the family In-Home Services worker will close your case. However, if the risk factors are not reduced or you refuse to cooperate, a Child and Family Team will be called to discuss options that may include filing a petition with juvenile court to ask a judge to order that certain things be completed to assure child safety. This does not always mean that children are removed from the home. In a very small number of cases, the child(ren) may be placed out of the home, either voluntarily or by the Department's petitioning of the Court. We want children to remain with their families and that will be the focus of our work together.
You and your family have the right to be treated with respect and courtesy, including having your questions answered and your telephone messages returned in a timely manner. If you have an emergency, you may contact the In-Home Services social worker between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. at the In-Home Services worker's number. If you feel the situation will not wait until the social worker returns your call, you may contact the clerical support person for assistance.
What Can I Do To Help The Process?
- Allow the In Home Services social worker to come to your home.
- Keep all scheduled appointments.
- Discuss any concerns you may have reasonably and calmly.
- Work with the In-Home Services worker to develop the plan for your family.
- Understand that the In-Home Services social worker will be working with you to preserve your family and strengthen it as a unit.