The Preventive Services Unit, a division of the Monroe County Department of Human Services, is committed to contracting for the most effective, efficient, and accessible services for families whose children are at risk of placement out of the home. These services are intended to prevent foster care placements, hasten the return home of children already in placement, divert youth from entering the Family Court system, prevent and reduce incidents of child maltreatment and strengthen family life.
MCDHS – Preventive Services
The Monroe County Department of Human Services has contracts with various community agencies to provide specialized services to families in order to prevent the need for foster care placement, and to decrease incidences of indicated Child Protective cases. In 2014, the Department provided preventive services to 1,548 families.
Families whose children are at risk of foster care placement are eligible for preventive services. Services must be aimed at preserving family functioning so that foster care can be avoided. Preventive Services can be Court Ordered or can be initiated when at least ONE of the following conditions exists:
Health and Safety: A child has been physically or emotionally harmed by a parent or caretaker, other than by accidental means, or the potential for such harm exists.
Child Service Need: A child has special needs for intensive services that cannot be met by a parent or caretaker. These special needs must result from a diagnosed condition that impairs ability or from behavior that results in severe management problems, or is a danger to the child or others.
Parent Service Need: The parent or caretaker’s emotional, mental, physical, or financial condition seriously impairs his/her ability to care for the child.
Pregnancy or Birth: An unborn or newborn child is at risk of placement due to mother’s inability to perform parental functions.
Parent Unavailability: A parent is hospitalized, imprisoned, deceased, or whereabouts are unknown.
Parent Unwillingness/Refusal: A parent is unwilling to maintain the child in the home or has expressed intention of surrendering the child.
Preventive Services also can be given to children at risk of replacement in foster care and to children who will return home sooner from foster care if the service is provided.
All services are offered without regard to race, creed, national origin, sex, disability, financial or marital status. However, some projects offer specialized services designed for targeted client populations.
Most referrals for service are made by DHS workers who assess whether a family needs additional help to maintain their children at home. Referrals may also come from community sources – medical providers, schools, private individuals, etc. Community based referrals are made through the Monroe County Department of Human Services Preventive Unit at 691 St. Paul Street, 753-5821. The team screens referrals for eligibility and helps to select an appropriate program for each family.