Programs that work with families involved with the child welfare system using a process that brings together the strengths of families outside the courtroom setting to find solutions for children who have come into foster care or are at risk for placement outside the home due to abuse or neglect. If successful, children can safely remain with or return to a family member or, possibly, their parents, rather than be placed for adoption or have some other permanent goal established for them. Typically a case worker meets with immediate family members to identify the larger family unit to participate in the process, and a neutral coordinator works with the family as they discuss issues and options. Then the family works privately to develop a plan of action. People involved in the process may include parents, grandparents, other kin, children, tribal elders (where relevant) and individuals whom the family considers to be supportive (e.g., neighbours, clergy). In most instances, families participate in family group conferencing on a voluntary basis, though in a few locations, meetings are court-ordered.
Programs that investigate reports of child abuse, neglect or abandonment; document substantiated cases; provide for the temporary placement of children who, for their own protection, have been removed from the custody of the adults who are responsible for their care; work with families who are experiencing a problem with child abuse with the objective of facilitating continued family unification or reunification; and provide ongoing supportive services for children in permanent placement.
Organizations that support the passage and enforcement of laws that protect children from arbitrary treatment, abuse, neglect, exploitation and other forms of maltreatment; and which promote social measures that are designed to enhance the well-being of children.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.