There are three components to the Dependency Services program: Family Reunification, Dependent Supervision and Permanency Services.
Family Reunification is the process of reconnecting children in out-of-home care with their families by providing intensive services to address the issues that brought the children into CPS. Family reunification services are provided after children have been declared dependents of the Juvenile Court due to abuse and/or neglect, and placed out of the home of the parent(s). Typically, children are placed with a safe, appropriate relative or foster family.
In accordance with the Welfare and Institutions Code, services may be provided for a period that ranges from 6 - 18 months, depending on the age of the child and case circumstances.
Services include, but are not limited to, the following:
- treatment for drug and alcohol abuse
- anger management classes
- parenting classes
- family and/or individual counseling
- referrals for housing
- employment resources
- emergency medical services for children
- emergency food and shelter services
- treatment/counseling for domestic violence
- various other community resource referrals
California law requires that social workers provide concurrent planning services. Concurrent planning means working towards reunification while also finding a safe, permanent home for children should reunification efforts fail. This involves identifying alternate forms of permanency, such as a member of the family or a non-related extended family member who will commit to adoption or guardianship if a child cannot be returned home safely, or who will be a permanent adult in the child’s life.
In some cases, the child may live at home under dependent supervision. Dependent supervision services are provided to families in which the children have been declared dependents of the Juvenile Court and are placed in the home of the parent(s) under a court-ordered plan of services and supervision developed to ensure the safety of the child.
In instances when a child is not able to return safely home and a permanent plan is not immediately possible; the child remains a dependent and receives supportive services on a continuing basis from the Dependency Services Program. Continuing services include placement support in the most permanent and least restrictive environment possible. Efforts to secure a family willing and able to commit to guardianship or adoption continue. For older youth, transition services, including referral to the Independent Living Program are also provided. For youth who are 18-21 years of age, extended foster care is available to assist youth in transitioning to adulthood.