Civil Discourse Now

Where the far left and far right overlap for fun and enlightenment

Part I: DCS. I'll be a guest Tuesday on "Mouthwash"

PART I: DCS PROBLEMS. Tues., 11/16, 9 p.m. on FB, I’ll be a guest on “Mouthwash,” John Schmitz’s podcast. Topic: Department of Child Services a/k/a DCS. Affluent ppl rarely encounter DCS. DCS is pivotal in TPR, Termination of Parental Rights, proceedings. 1/8

TPR usually starts with a call to a DCS hotline that a child is abused or neglected. The identity of the caller is kept confidential. Confidentiality can be good but also serves to keep much of the process secret. A DCS FCM (“Family Case Manager”) will go to the residence. 2/8

A parent’s statements CAN & WILL be used against her/him by DCS in a “310" DCS’s intake report. A parent might be offered an IA (“informal adjustment”) to resolve the problem. STOP! With an IA, even successfully completed, a parent has entered the system. 3/8

If the IA is not successful, or DCS gets another report of neglect, the child is removed from the home & a ChINS (“Child in Need of Services”) petition is filed in juvenile court. ChINS actions are confidential & parents have rights, 4/8

DCS’s burden of proof is low: preponderance of evidence, & all DCS wants is services for the parent. So a parent admits the petition & is ordered to begin services under an FCM (sometimes the 2nd or 3rd on the case), under a dispositional order, always w/the same initial goal. 5/8

The goal, of the same agency as took the child, is reunification of the child w/the parent. Parent is ordered to engage in services that can include assessments, evaluations, any recommended treatment, & classes on parenting and housekeeping. 6/8

DCS can enter a parent’s home at any time for unscheduled visits by the FCM (by now the 4th or 5th on the case) to see if the home is clean and proper for a child who is not there. A parent has to get/keep a job or other legal means of income. A parent can visit w/her/his child. 7/8

Visits (in DCS offices, maybe McD’s) start supervised, i.e., a private contractor or an FCM watches & takes notes. Parents, exhausted from trips to multiple service providers, working full-time + stress of kid being taken, sometimes nod off during visits; a fact always noted. 8/8

TOMORROW: More problems & some suggestions for solution.

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