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Family Preservation and Reunification Services

Extended Family Support Services
The Extended Family Support Program (EFSP) provides services to stabilize the home of a relative caregiver who has been caring for their relative’s children for more than 14 days. The services are to avoid involvement of the relative and child in the child welfare system. Services provided by EFSP include:

  • Help obtaining guardianship in the local probate court;
  • Help obtaining a child only grant, subsidized day care and other entitlements;
  • Help enrolling children in the school district where the relative caregiver lives; and
  • Cash assistance for items needed to stabilize the household.

For more information, read the Extended Family Support Program brochure in English and en español.

Family Advocacy Centers
Family Advocacy Centers (FACs) provide support to parents to follow through on their goals that allow them to preserve and reunite their families. There are 30 Family Advocacy Centers (FACs) across the state operated by 25 service providers. FACs maintain a focused, holistic approach that builds on a family’s existing strengths.

Family Advocacy Centers tailor their services to the individual needs of the communities they serve. In addition to traditional counseling, referral and training services, a typical center may also offer the following services:

  • 24-hour crisis response and systematic support services;
  • Intensive mediation services;
  • Counseling for women and children who are victims of domestic violence;
  • After-school, summer and out-of-school programs;
  • Parent coaching, mentoring and classes in English and Spanish;
  • Execution of intervention strategies to support the family reunification process; and
  • Court ordered supervised child visitation for non-custodial parents.

All FAC providers work collaboratively with Be Strong Families, an agency contracted by the department to provide Parent Cafes and quarterly trainings to FAC advocates. Referrals are accepted from DCFS and private agency staff and community stakeholders. Self-referrals are also accepted. FAC staff can attend Child and Family Team Meetings and participate in other clinical staffing meetings as needed as well as provide information for court reports. 

Family Centered Services
Family Centered Services are offered to at-risk families to provide support and intervention before removal of the children becomes unavoidable and imminent. Services include family preservation, family support, family advocacy centers, adoption promotion and support, and time-limited reunification.

Family Preservation Services
Family preservation services are provided to intact families, families being reunified, and adoptive and subsidized guardianship families to ensure the child's development, safety and well-being in his or her home; preventing placement or reducing the time a child is away from the family. These services include:

  • Crisis intervention;
  • Counseling;
  • Home based services;
  • Casework and case management services;
  • Parenting training;
  • Day care services;
  • Limited cash assistance; and
  • Linkages to services available in the community.

Intact Families
The Intact Family Services program is designed to work with at-risk families who have been referred for continuing assistance and monitoring following a child abuse or neglect investigation. The Intact Family Services program ensures the safety and well-being of children without the need for protective custody by providing families with needed in-home services, including counseling, domestic violence prevention, substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment, parenting coaching/classes or housing.

For more information about the Intact Family Services program, read the brochure in English, en español, en français, Russian (русский) and Polish (Polskie).

Norman Emergency Cash Assistance and Housing Locator Service
Norman Services provide assistance to families who have children who are in danger of coming into DCFS care (or cannot be returned home from DCFS care) due to lack of food, clothing, housing or other basic human needs.

The program provides the following three services:

  • Cash assistance to purchase items needed to care for the children that the client cannot afford to purchase themselves;
  • Assistance finding housing; and
  • A waiver to allow families to apply for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) so that children in DCFS custody can be returned home within 90 days.

For more information about Norman Services, read the DCFS publication Norman Services in English or en español.

Safety Plans
DCFS assesses the safety of any alleged child victim and other potential child victims during the course of all child abuse and neglect investigations. When necessary, the department takes appropriate steps to insure the safety of those children. One method by which DCFS attempts to insure the safety of children is to develop a safety plan. A safety plan is a voluntary, short-term plan designed to address serious and immediate threats to children’s safety.

Safety plans can take a variety of forms and are developed with the input and voluntary consent of the children’s caretakers and other family members. They may include asking a caretaker and/or children to live in another location during the course of an investigation, asking a caretaker to have supervised contact with children or asking another family member to move into the home during the investigation to supervise contact with the children. The specific requirements of each safety plan will depend on the individual circumstances of the investigation and the specific needs and circumstances of the family situation.

For more information about safety plans, read the DCFS publication What You Need to Know about a Child Abuse/Neglect Investigation in English or en español.