Richland County Children Services provides Protective Services with our priority of helping families keep their children safe from abuse and neglect. Caseworkers provide casework management by coordinating and making referrals for a variety of services such as: mental and behavioral health services, drug abuse treatment, parenting training, domestic violence advocate, and coordination of family team meetings.
Richland County Children Services offers Kinship services by assisting families in obtaining benefits and services.
A key addition is implementation of legal support for Kinship providers seeking permanency for children. Ongoing agency caseworkers assist families with developing a case plan for needed services for families and children.
Services are offered to help solve issues that can lead to child abuse and/or neglect. Services may include counseling, day care, evaluation, treatment and referrals to other social service agencies.
Richland County Children Services has always been committed to children remaining with family members whenever possible when they cannot stay with their parents.
What is kinship care?
- Kinship care is the most desirable placement option for children who cannot live with their parents. Richland County Children Services strives to ensure that children are placed with kin whenever possible. Kinship placements are important to the agency and to children because they allow the children stability and can create a unique sense of belonging by preserving families when parents are not able to do so.
- Kin can be a blood relative or a non-relative who has a relationship with the family or the child. Kinship arrangements are established in a number of different ways. Sometimes kinship arrangements may happen informally. For example, you may be raising your grandchild, niece, nephew, or cousin. There may have been no paperwork involved, and the child's parent's may be okay with the arrangement. This is one example of informal kinship care.
- Kinship care can also happen as a formal arrangement with a legal custody arrangement, guardianship, or kinship adoption.
No matter how the arrangement was made, kin are making a courageous and life-changing commitment to the children in their care.
- In Ohio, there are 86,000 children who rely on their grandparents to meet their basic needs.
- The number of children in a kinship arrangement is steadily on the rise due to the difficulties faced by biological parents from drug abuse to poverty.
- Kinship placements tend to be more enduring over time due to blood ties than any other placement option.
Placement caseworkers work closely with families and foster children. Caseworkers develop case plans to identify needs and provide community referrals to work toward reunifying children with their families.
Foster care is provided to children who are not safe in their home until reunification is possible. Prior to seeking custody, every effort is made to place children in a relative home. The agency recruits, screens, trains, and monitors foster parents. Foster parents may actively participate in planning for the children in their care.
Family Support Specialists
Family Support Specialists provide assistance to RCCS caseworkers by conducting visits between parents, children, and siblings. The specialists also provide transportation to and from visitation, meetings, and other agency functions. They support positive parenting knowledge and skills.