DCF Assessment

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45 Day Family Assessments:

If you have reached this level with the Department of Children and Families you are hear for one of three reasons. One you have signed up for voluntary services with the Department of Social Service. Two you have been “supported” after a 51b child abuse investigation or three you have been referred by the court.

Voluntary Services are when you approach the Department of Children and Families and ask to have services provided to you and or your children. The services offered are usually child care assistance, respect care, or assistance with housing when homeless with children.

A 45 days family assessment after a “supported” finding means the Department of Children and Families has determined that these is reasonable cause to believe that you as a care giver have abused or neglected the children in your care.

DCF has recently changed their presentation to be even more difficult to understand how they are actually enforce actions.

DCF has now changed the term “task” into “actions”. Making is sound like these “actions” are not mandated tasks that must be be completed.

During this assessment, you will be assigned to a different worker than the one who investigate the allegations of child abuse filed in the 51A. This new assessment worker will contact you and arrange to meet with you and your children. The 45 days are actual working days (i.e. Monday thru Friday) which will result in an actual 3 month investigation.

The assessment worker will review the case record. If material indicates that a previous case record exist, the assessment worker accesses and review the previous record(s)

During the assessment the worker will ask you al list of questions. Be careful not to answer questions which can be misinterpreted by others to believe issues are present in regards to drug or alcohol abuse or issues surrounding domestic violence.

These questions are also very invasive and may not be relative to the current issues which brought DCF into your life to being with. You have a right to refuse to answer any question asked of you.

The assessment worker identifies all family members who will be included in the assessment.

The assessment involves collateral contact with extended family, service providers, and other resources identified by the assessment worker or the family.

During the course of the assessment, a minimum of three face-to-face contact with parents and other individuals who reside in the home are required, the first of which occurs within five workings days of assignment of the case.

Two of the three face-to-face contacts take place in the home.

All children are to be visited a minimum of two times during an assessment. The first face-t-face contact with the children occurs within five workings days of assignment of the case.

Many times the worker will say “just cooperate than after the 45 days we will close the case” or ” we don’t know you at the department”. In reality Department of Children and Families has just “supported” you as a child abuser do you really think they have come to your home to close the case?

It will go like this, the assessment worker will ask what your goals are as parents for your children.

They will prompt you to answer like be happy, well rounded, complete their education, be safe from neglect and or abuse.

These goals are than turned into actions which will require you are assigned programs to attend and to complete.

If you fail to complete these actions and or take Department of Children and Families will use this as means to remove your children.

You are at the mercy of the assessment worker if you do not have someone present with you and your children when the assessment worker comes to your house for a meeting. Often many family fall into this trap and it is not until they are assigned service plans that they release they have made a terrible mistake under estimating the power that the Department of Department of Children and Families can wield.

If you feel you have been “supported” falsely and have filed for a Fair Hearing dispute the determination and to clear your name, you must still undergo the the 45 days assessment.

If your assessment was opened as the result of a 51B investigation the family may submit information during the assessment (CMR110 5:04 (6)) to be reviewed at the completion of the assessment.

The assessment worker will also check the Registry of Alleged Perpetrators for all household members. The worker may also request to run CORI checks on household members.

If your assessment was opened as the result of a 51B investigation and you fail to cooperate, despite reasonable effort by the assessment worker. The assessment worker and supervisor consult with the Area Director to determine risk to the child(ren) and, in consultation with the Department attorney, to determine if there are reason to purse legal action.

Information gathered during the assessment process is documented by the assessment worker. The assessment is filed utilizing an electronic method (DCF policy #85-011).

The assessment is based on an evaluation of information learned from the interviews with all family members and collateral contacts and the use of the Department of Social Service Risk Factor Matrix.

Following the completion of the assessment the assessment worker and Supervisor determine if the case will remain open or be closed.

For cases remaining open the assessment worker and Supervisor determine who in the family will be receiving services and be included in the service plan. The assessment worker verbally informs the family of the out come of the investigation and provides the family with written notification.

For cases that will be closed after the assessment, the assessment worker verbally informs the family of the outcome of the assessment and proceeds with the Department of Children and Families case closing policy (DCF Policy #86-007(R)).

Children First Advocacy and or their employees or sub contractors do not provide legal advice in any situation. Children First Advocacy provides services associated with procedural actions concerning allegations child abuse or neglect and educational issues facing children and families in Massachusetts.