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Voluntary Services Program

The description of the Voluntary Services program below was taken directly from the DCF website:

The Voluntary Services program is a DCF operated program for children and youth with serious emotional disturbances, mental illnesses and/or substance dependency. This program is only for families who are not abusive or neglectful. The Voluntary Services Program emphasizes a community-based approach and attempts to coordinate service delivery across multiple agencies. Parents and families are critical participants in this program and are required to participate in the planning and delivery of services for their child or youth. The Voluntary Services Program promotes positive development and reduces reliance on restrictive forms of treatment and out-of-home placement.

DCF may provide, on a voluntary basis (at the request of the family), casework, community referrals and treatment services for children who are not committed to the Department. These are youth who do not require protective services intervention, but may require any of the services offered, administered by, under contract with or otherwise available to the Department of Children and Families due to emotional or behavioral difficulties.

The Voluntary Services Program is designed for children and youth who have behavioral health needs and who are in need of services that they do not otherwise have access to. Parents do not have to relinquish custody or guardianship under this program. The DCF policy outlines eligibility requirements for this program.

The participation of parents in both treatment planning and treatment is both welcome and expected. Also, if a child is placed outside the home to address the child’s behavioral health needs, the treatment plan will outline a comprehensive plan for the return home.

What DCF fails to mention here is that voluntary services can result in DCF filing formal court action against a family for various reasons. One of the most common reasons is the parents disagreeing with DCF’s recommendations for service. The DCF will attempt to substitute its judgment in place of a parent’s, and then call the parents’ unwillingness to cooperate neglect.

Before you engage the DCF in voluntary services, ensure that you have all the facts – contact The Law Offices of John J. Ghidini today »