All children deserve safe, permanent, and nurturing homes. Foster Care Services are temporary, substitute homes provided to children who must be separated from their parents because their parents are unable or unwilling to provide adequate protection or care. A child in foster care is ordered into the care and legal custody of the Chatham County Department of Social Services by the court.
The court system awards DSS custody to ensure the child's safety and well being. The Department of Social Services will work with the parents to identify appropriate family members to place the child with so that he/she can remain in familiar surroundings while being protected.
When a child is placed in the custody of Chatham County Department of Social Services, social workers work with the family to address the issues that caused the child to be placed in DSS custody so that the family can be reunified. The social workers assist the families in reaching their goals by working directly with the families and by referring them to other appropriate agencies.
Children placed in the care and custody of the Chatham County Department of Social Services are required to have regular judicial reviews by the court. The court determines if or when children can safely return to the home of their parents. If it is determined that a child cannot safely return home, an alternate plan is established by the court.
The new permanent plan could be custody or guardianship with a relative or court approved caretaker, or could become a permanent plan of adoption. If the court determines that a child cannot be safely returned to his/her parents, then the permanent plan is changed and all social work service is focused on achieving the new permanent plan where the child can best experience nurturance, safety, and permanence.
To find out about the LINKS Program, click here.