CTFosterAdopt Manual - Chapter 1
The Children needing care and their Immediate Families
Types of DCF Licensed Families:
Typical Chain of Command in a DCF Office
Regional Office Staff:
- Program Director
- Program Manager
- Social Work Supervisor
- The Child's Regional Office Social Worker (ROSW)
- Foster and Adoptive Services Unit (FASU)
- Recruiting Social Worker
- Licensing Social Worker
- Matching Social Worker
- Family Specialist Support Social Worker
Other DCF Units
- Adolescent Unit
- Intake / Family Assessment Response (FAR) Unit
- Permanency Units
- Voluntary Services Unit
The Children Needing Care and Their Immediate Families: The reason foster parents and DCF have joined together is to help the children and families who need us. We need to remember that we must include the child’s family in our work. Two facts that should guide practice are:
90% of children brought to DCF’s attention are not removed from their homes;
Increased visitation lessens the time to achieve permanency. The more licensed families assist with visits, the more likely the child will be returned home, be adopted or move toward another suitable permanent plan.
Relative Parents: Relative parents are adults who have been licensed by DCF and are willing to provide temporary care for a child(ren) who is a legal relative. When that child(ren) leaves their home, these parents are no longer licensed. Sometimes a relative may choose adoption or subsidized guardianship if the child cannot return to their parents.
Special Study Parents: Special study parents are adults who have been licensed by DCF and are willing to provide temporary care for a particular unrelated child(ren) with whom they have a relationship with (examples include a teacher, coach etc.). When that child(ren) leaves their home, these parents are no longer licensed.
Adoptive Parents "Legal Risk": Legal risk parents are adults who have been licensed by DCF and are willing to provide care for a child(ren) whose legal standing has not yet been determined by the court. These children are not legally free and if the court rules against the petition to terminate parental rights, the child may be returned home. If the court grants TPR, the child may be adopted by their legal risk parents.
Pre-Adoptive Parents: Pre-adoptive parents are adults who have been licensed by DCF and are willing to provide permanent care for a child(ren) who has been legally freed by a court to allow for adoption Once a court makes the adoption legal, these parents become adoptive parents.
Independent Parents: When children are in the custody of other states and then placed in Connecticut, the families they are placed with must be licensed by DCF. DCF refers to these families as “independents”. These families are subject to Connecticut regulations and DCF licensing policy. Most of these families are related to the child.
Program Director: The program director is the manager of who oversees several Program Managers. The program director's report directly to the Area Director.
Program Manager: The program manager is the manager of the program such as; intake, ongoing services or the regional FASU staff. Their staff typically include several units, each with a supervisor and a team of social workers.
Regional Office Social Worker (ROSW): Children are assigned a social worker when they are removed from their home. Siblings usually have the same social worker. This social worker will be the one to have primary contact with foster parents regarding the particular child in their care. Over time, it is likely that the child will have a change in social workers. Factors that may result in a change include: the social worker is promoted, re-assigned, or leaves state service or the goal for the child changes and one of the units below becomes involved. The child’s social worker will come from one of the following units:
Foster and Adoptive Services Unit (FASU): The Foster and Adoptive Services Unit (FASU) is a specialized unit in each area office that is responsible for recruitment, licensing, training, support and re-licensing of licensed families. Once licensed the main function of the FASU staff is to support YOU, the foster parent.
Recruiting Social Worker: Most regional FASU units have staff dedicated to the recruitment of new foster and adoptive families. Their duties include, among other things, the planning of recruitment events and the design of recruitment materials.
Licensing Social Worker: The licensing social worker is usually the first DCF staff that families get to know in the licensing process. This social worker is primarily responsible for leading pre-licensing training groups (PRIDE), conducting interviews of family members and writing home studies of the families.
Matching Social Worker: A matching social worker's primary role is to call foster families to ask them to consider caring for a particular child or sibling group. In most regions, licensed families needing respite are asked to call this person with their request.
Family Specialist / Support Social Worker: Each licensed family has an assigned DCF family specialist/support social worker. This individual has primary responsibility to support a number of foster parents regarding matters that are not child specific. In some cases, this person is responsible to re-license the families
Other DCF Units
Adolescent: Once a child becomes a teenager, it is typical that a new social worker is assigned. Adolescent specialists have special skills for motivating and planning for teens and are able to assist foster parents in how best to help the teen navigate the system.
Careline: DCF manages a 24 hour, 7 day a week Careline with social work staff. They receive all calls of abuse and neglect and investigate during the hours when the regional DCF offices are closed (5 p.m. – 8:00 a.m., weekends and holidays). These investigators sometimes place children into licensed homes. (To reach the Careline call 1-800-842-2288.)
Intake/FAR: The first social worker assigned to a child will usually be the one who does the initial assessment into the allegations of abuse and/or neglect. It is usually during an intake when a decision is made to remove the child from their home due to unsafe conditions. Removal is very serious and traumatic to the child. Most children are not removed from their homes. This assignment is typically a short one because if further DCF involvement is needed, the family’s case will be opened for treatment and another social worker will be assigned.
Ongoing Services: The second social worker assigned to a child usually will be the one who provides the case management while a case is opened for treatment. This social worker directs activities that will help to reach the permanent goal for the child; that is, to return home or to move toward adoption, or an alternate permanent plan.
Permanency: Children for whom the goal is adoption are usually assigned a social worker from a permanency unit. These social workers have expertise in helping children find and get settled into forever families.
Regional Resource Group: Each DCF office has a regional resource group made up of individuals with expertise in mental health services, substance abuse, education, and health care. The primary work of the ARG is to assist and support DCF social workers in their service planning and implementation for children, youth and their families.
Voluntary Services: Each DCF Region has at least one voluntary services unit. These units serve families that have asked DCF for help to address emotional/behavioral issues in their children. Even if DCF opens a case and assigns a social worker, the parents retain legal custody.