Also referred to as "permanency services," case management encompasses the efforts made by Family Services to ensure the safety and well-being of children in their homes.
In a setting most commonly known as foster care, the department provides services to children and families in which Family Court has placed the children in the custody or wardship of the department and where children have been placed in out-of-home care. At the onset of a family's involvement with the department, the case manager establishes a primary and alternative permanency goal for each child in out-of-home care and works toward achieving a permanent living arrangement for each child.
Permanency work includes assessing and responding to the medical, mental health, developmental, and educational needs of each child in out-of-home care. Additionally, case managers conduct accurate and on-going assessments of family functioning that focus on the issues closely related to the safety threats and risk factors that lead to the child's removal. These assessments are used to determine if, and under what circumstances, the children may be safely returned to their family home.
Under certain circumstances, the department provides services to families in which reasonable cause to believe that a child has been abused or neglected has been established during child protection investigations; however, the child has been assessed as safe and any identified safety threats can be controlled by a safety plan. In these instances, the children are left in the physical care of their parents/caregivers, and the families exhibit a level of cooperation that suggests that they can be engaged in services voluntarily or the Family Court has ordered that the families accept services.
In-Home case managers conduct thorough and continuous assessment of child safety and family functioning and identify services that are directly responsive to issues related to the child maltreatment; and monitor any risk of recurrence of maltreatment during service provision.