Merced County California

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Child Welfare Services
Emergency Response (ER)
Emergency Response is the first area of CWS to become involved with a family. A social worker investigates allegations of child abuse and neglect that are reported to the agency.  Many of these investigations find nothing to indicate any abuse and the investigation is closed.  Some families may need additional services to help children remain safely in their homes, such as food, temporary shelter, parenting education, in-home supportive services, and referrals to resources.  When child abuse is found and services cannot be put into place because the abuse it too severe, CWS will continue to work with the family, but the child may need to be removed from their home temporarily.  Relatives or close friends of the family are contacted to see if they can offer help, support, and possible placement of the child.  If no relatives can be located, then a child will be placed with a resource family.  A court hearing must be held within 72 hours and the court decides if the abuse is too severe for the child to return home.

Family Maintenance (FM)
Family Maintenance services can be offered when the child remains in the home. Family Maintenance is designed to overcome any challenges the family is facing which could lead to an unsafe environment for the child in the home.  Public Health, Mental Health, and other parenting services often assist the family in overcoming challenges.

Family Reunification (FR)
When a child is removed from their home, a Family Reunification social worker provides services to the family so they can reunite. Parent-child visitation is also provided to the family.  Referrals are made to substance abuse treatment, parenting education, anger management, domestic violence counseling, and other services to help the family heal and the home become safe enough for the child to be returned.  In the event the parents do not participate in services or do not stay in contact with CWS, then an alternate plan is made for the child to remain in a long-term loving home. 

Permanency Planning (PP)
Permanency Planning social workers search for a permanent home for a child that cannot be returned to their parents. Adoption, guardianship, and long-term foster care are all options for permanency.  In addition, these children are provided family finding services to connect them to life-long connections.


Merced County 2222 M Street Merced, CA 9543 Ph. (209) 385-7434 Toll Free (800) 226-6452
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