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What Happens Next?

Updated: Mar 13, 2019

A stranger knocks on your door and tells you they are there to investigate a report of child abuse against you ...

The are many reasons why someone ends up involved with child welfare . From false allegations to serious abuse of a child, it all starts with a phone call to the protective services hotline. When a parent is presented with an allegation, how they respond is very important and can affect the way they are perceived. The investigator's first priority is the safety of the child. Being informed about the process that begins when a hotline call is made will help parents understand what to expect and how to respond in a way that is helpful for them and their family.

DCFS reports that 4,957 children were placed in care by the end of December 2018. Each of those children are attached to a parent who must now navigate the system to regain custody. Some parents will get their children back and some won't. The perspective a parent takes on the process can have a positive or negative impact on what happens next. The first thing a parent must decide is do they want their children back and are they willing to deal with the issues that brought the family into the system. For parents who want to "do family", the next step is to understand the process and build a support system to help along the way.

Being involved with child welfare is serious business and causes many emotions to rise in a parent's mind, so support is very important. Having someone to talk to about these feelings will help. The next thing a parent should do is keep a record of all contact with their case worker, public defender, and service providers, and making sure to ask questions and learn all they can about the process. To learn more about the DCFS Timeline click here. These are just some of the things a parent can do to stay on top of their case as they navigate the system. There is one thing that will help parents as they navigate the system, self care. Taking good care of oneself goes a long way when it comes to doing all the things DCFS may ask a parent to do. From going back and forth to court, child visits, and other required services, a parent can become weary and sometimes discouraged. Getting good sleep, exercise, and eating healthy will help relieve the stress that comes. Counseling is also a good idea for more support, even if it's not on the service plan. For every parent working to get their children back, be encouraged, stay the course, and be the best advocate for you and your family!

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