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					                                                                  CONDUCTING THE                                      IS FAMILY-CENTERED
                                                                FAMILY ASSESSMENT
           SYSTEM (MRS)?
                                                                                                              Safety of the children is the first priority.
                                                        The first recommended contacts shall be              Children belong in their families.
North Carolina Law requires that local County
                                                         with the parents or parents and children             Parents raise and support their children.
Departments of Social Services (DSS) ensure
                                                         together.                                            Parents should be supported in their efforts
childrens safety in their homes. When a Child
                                                        People who know the family will be contacted.         to care for their children.
Protective Services (CPS) report is received, the
                                                        When professional collaterals are contacted,         Families are respected for their differences.
DSS must determine whether it meets the legal
                                                         the family may be present with the Social              Children can do well in different types of
definition of child abuse, neglect and/or
                                                         Worker when contact is made if they choose.           families.
dependency and, if so, conduct an investigation.
                                                        Safety,     Risk     and     Strengths/Needs         A crisis is an opportunity for change.
In the past, all reports were treated the same,
                                                         assessments will be completed.                       Inappropriate intervention can do harm.
receiving a traditional investigative approach.
                                                        Family Assessments will be completed within          Families who seem hopeless can grow and
                                                         45 days of the report.                                change. It is DSSs job to instill hope.
                    North Carolina has realized,
                                                        While the family assessment approach is              Families know what works best for them.
                    however, that this traditional
                                                         voluntary, the DSSs duty to investigate is          Family members and the GCDSS are partners
                    approach may not be best in
                                                         not. If a family is not in agreement with the         in decision-making.
                    all situations. The Multiple
                                                         family assessment approach, or at any point
                    Response System (MRS) was
                                                         during the family assessment becomes
                    created to meet the unique
                                                         uncooperative, a traditional investigation will
                    circumstances of some types
                                                         be conducted. The traditional investigative
                    of neglect or dependency.
                                                         approach will remain in use on all reports of
                                                         abuse, abandonment, domestic violence and
In 2004, Gates County DSS (GCDSS) joined the
                                                         other specialized reports.
MRS pilot. In this pilot, an alternative approach
to reports of child neglect can be implemented.                    CASE DECISIONS
Families who are reported to have neglected their                                                                   RIGHTS OF THE FAMILY
children may be asked to participate in a family     Outcomes of the family assessment include
assessment to determine the need for services to     findings of:                                          An important part of developing partnerships
assist them in ensuring the safety and protection     In Need of Services (services are required);        with families is acknowledging their rights.
of their children.      This family assessment        Services Recommended (services voluntary);           Families have the right to be treated with
approach emphasizes child safety, prevention and      and Services Not Needed.                                dignity and respect.
assistance.                                                                                                 Families have the right to know DSSs legal
                                                     If the case decision indicates that services are          authority and right to intervene.
Above all, family assessments set aside the issue    needed or recommended, a Social Worker will            Families have the right to know what they
of fault, avoiding negative labels for parents. In   meet with the family within 7 days to discuss             can expect from DSS and what DSS expects
partnership with parents, we build on strengths      services. Then, a Family Team Meeting (FTM) will          of them.
and identify needs that can be met with services     be held within 30 days to involve the family and       Families have the right to have their
and resources matched with the family. That          their supports, as well as community partners, to         telephone calls returned within one workday.
partnership extends to the community as well, as     develop the service plan                               Families have the right to be heard and to be
we encourage collaboration to provide information                                                              involved in planning for their children.
and services that help families.                         THE FAMILY ASSESSMENT PROCESS
         SAFETY IS PRIORITY                                                             FOR MORE INFORMATION
                                                                                           Gates County DSS
                                                                                         ON MULTIPLE RESPONSE
                                                                                       Child Protective Services
                                                                                        OR TO MAKE A REPORT OF
                                                                                       CHILD ABUSE OR NEGLECT,
                                                                                        MULTIPLE RESPONSE
                                                                                          The SYSTEM
                                                                                              Gates County
                                                                                                Social Services
The goal of the GCDSS Childrens Protective
Services Program is to keep children safe. If at
any time it is found that children are in a
                                                                                               (252) 357-0075
dangerous environment, GCDSS has the legal                                                           OR
obligation to protect the children.
                                                                                               (252) 357-1748
It may become necessary for the children to
stay somewhere other than their own home. The                                               fax (252) 357-2132
first step will be to ask the family to choose a
safe place for the children. If necessary,
GCDSS may have to take custody of the children                                                 Monday-Friday
to assure safety for them.         Under those
                                                                                             8:30am to 5:00pm
circumstances, relatives willing and appropriate
to provide care would be explored before foster
care placement would occur.                                                            (after hours, call 911 for emergencies)

                                                                                       Building Partnerships in
                                                    The printing of this publication
                                                        was made possible by:               the Protection
                                                       The Family Care Center
                                                   NC Cooperative Extension Services         of Children
                                                         Gates County Center

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