Role of the Social Worker

Social Workers in the Division of Family Services (DFS) are responsible for overall case management and service planning with families with whom they work. Assessment and service planning are the ways by which DCYF, parents, youth, and a family’s natural supports identify:

  • Immediate safety threats within the family that may lead to removal of a child.
  • Risks that could lead to maltreatment in the future.
  • Family strengths and family support networks.
  • Services that could be beneficial to unite or reunite the family.

Service plans identify a goal for DCYF’s intervention with a family such as maintaining a child at home, reunification, or adoption. Service plans represent and document the contract between the Department and the family. These plans also identify and track behavioral changes necessary to keep children safe and achieve the goal. How those changes will be made, who will assist the family with making the changes and how change will be measured are all included. Extended family and kin can be involved in the development of the service plan to the extent that parents or youth desire. Plans are shared with service providers as well as legal counsel for parents and children, and the Family Court in court involved cases to ensure that everyone working with a family is aware of the planning that has occurred. Social workers in this division are responsible to make referrals for services identified in the service plan and to help parents and youth access these services as needed.

Additionally, DFS staff provide visits between children and their parents and siblings when children are not able to live at home and/or are not placed together. They work with families to identify members that could provide relative foster care for children if removal is necessary.

DFS staff have face to face contact with children at least monthly to assess safety and well- being, most the time in their place of residence. They also have contact with parents at least monthly to assess for safety and progress in the service plan.

DFS workers also attend court hearings and report to the court on family relationships, visitation, behavior changes made by the family or youth and report progress towards the family or youth’s goal.