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Frequently Asked Questions


Foster Care

Q: Where do children live if they are removed from their home?
A:
If possible, children are placed with relatives. Other temporary placements include foster homes, group homes, and residential treatment facilities.

Q: What is a foster home?
A:
Foster families care for children on a temporary basis. These homes are licensed by the state after a careful study is made of the home and family. The home is relicensed each year. Payment is made each month to the foster family for the child's food, clothing and other necessities.

Q: Can families visit children who are in temporary custody outside the home?
A: Yes. The social worker working with the family makes every effort to arrange satisfactory visiting times. If there is a problem, the social worker would be called and a better plan will be worked out whenever possible.

Q: If a child is removed from their home, how can the parents get their child back?
A:
Ohio law requires that DCFS file a case plan with Juvenile Court prior to the adjudicatory hearing (trial), but no later than 30 days after the complaint was filed or the child was placed in care. The case plan outlines requirements the parents must fulfill in order to regain custody of their child.

Q: When does DCFS recommend that children be removed from their home?
A: The agency tries to maintain children in their home while working with the family. However, the agency may remove a child with the permission of juvenile court when there is a reason to believe that the child's health or safety is in danger.



Role of DCFS


Q: What role do the police play in protecting children?
A:
Law enforcement officers (the police) and DCFS staff work cooperatively in investigating reports of abuse and neglect. If their findings indicate the child is in immediate danger, Ohio law gives the police officer the authority to remove a child from a  dangerous situation before getting court approval. Families who have questions or information about a police investigation should call their local police department.

Q: Can most families be helped?
A:
YES!  Parents tend to raise children as they were raised themselves. Sometimes they simply need to understand what to expect of a child, to learn better child-rearing skills, or to find help to reduce stress which angers or frustrates them.

Q: Will the agency give friends, relatives or employers any information about my family?
A:
No. Legally, all reports are confidential and information about a  family will not be given to friends, relatives or employers.

* We do provide information when placement is involved or it is in the best interest of the child.

Q: May I ask DCFS for help if I feel my child is in danger?
A:
Yes. Call (216) 696-KIDS. This number is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call this number if you feel that your child needs protection, because you feel a loss of control, and feel you might hurt the child.

Q: When does DCFS recommend that children be removed from their home?
A: The agency tries to maintain children in their home while working with the family. However, the agency may remove a child with the permission of juvenile court when there is a reason to believe that the child's health or safety is in danger.



Role of Social Worker


Q: If a social worker from DCFS visits my home, does that mean that I have abused or neglected my child(ren)?
A:
It means that the agency has received a report suggesting that there may be a problem which is harmful to the well-being of your children. The best way determine if the report is true is for the social worker to talk with family members.  We know you share our concern for your child(ren).

Q: What happens if the social worker finds that there is a problem in the home?
A:
Social workers carefully evaluate each case and identify any problems your family may be having. Social workers are trained professionals who will help you understand why the agency is concerned about your situation. Unless the worker, in consultation with their supervisor, believes your child is in immediate danger, every effort will be made to keep your family together while you work out problems. Social workers provide the services you need and/or find other community agencies to help.

Q: Will the social worker who evaluates the case continue to help the family while they receive services?
A: No. The social worker who evaluates the case is from the agency's Intake Department. This worker helps the family decide whether there is a problem which needs the agency's attention. If a problem exists, a social worker from the family services department will be assigned to help the family while they receive services under the agency's guidance.



Role of Juvenile Court


Q: When is Juvenile Court involved?
A:
Occasionally, it may be necessary to request that the court become involved if the children are in danger and/or the family is unwilling or unable to work toward a solution to problems.

Juvenile Court evaluates the need for removal of the child(ren) from the home and grants temporary custody of a child(ren) to DCFS when circumstances indicate it may be harmful for the child(ren) to remain at home.  If possible, children may remain at home under an order of protective supervision, or legal custody may be granted to a relative or other adult.

Q: What is Juvenile Court's role in protecting children?
A: Juvenile Court is a civil, not a criminal court. The role of the court is to protect the health, safety and welfare of children within its jurisdiction. Laws of the state presume that children should be with their families. If children have been temporarily removed from home for protection, every effort is made to get the families back together as soon as the children can safely be cared for by their parents.

Court hearings are conducted by the judge or magistrate who is appointed by the judge. The law requires DCFS to formulate a case plan for the family to try to correct the problems in the home. The progress of the plan is reviewed at Juvenile Court and monitored by DCFS on a regular basis.



Reporting Child Abuse/Endangerment


Q: What role do the police play in protecting children?
A:
Law enforcement officers (the police) and DCFS staff work cooperatively in investigating reports of abuse and neglect. If their findings indicate the child is in immediate danger, Ohio law gives the police officer the authority to remove a child from a  dangerous situation before getting court approval. Families who have questions or information about a police investigation should call their local police department.

Q: May I ask DCFS for help if I feel my child is in danger?
A: Yes. Call (216) 696-KIDS.  This number is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call this number if you feel that your child needs protection, because you feel a loss of control, and feel you might hurt the child.

Q: Who can report Abuse/Neglect?
A: Anyone can make a report. According to the Ohio Revised Code, Section 2151.421, the following professionals who work with children are mandated to report suspected cases:

  • Attorneys;
  • Physicians, including hospital interns or residents;
  • Dentists;
  • Podiatrists;
  • Practitioners of a limited branch of medicine or surgery as defined in Section 4731.15 of the Ohio Revised Code;
  • Registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, visiting nurses,  other health care professionals;
  • Licensed psychologists, licensed school psychologists;
  • Speech pathologists or audiologist;
  • Coroners;
  • Administrators or employees of a child day care center;
  • Administrators or employees of a certified child care agency or other public or private children services agency;
  • School teachers, school employees, school authorities;
  • Social Workers;
  • Licensed professional counselors;
  • Persons who render spiritual treatment through prayer in accordance with the tenets of a well-recognized religion.

Q: Can the person making a report of child abuse be sued?
A:
Ohio law protects any mandated reporter from civil or criminal liability and anyone else making a report in good faith from criminal and civil liability even if the report cannot be proven. By law we are required to protect the identity of the reporter.