ChildNet manages the system of foster care and related services for Broward’s abused, abandoned and neglected children. As the lead agency, ChildNet contracts with local social service organizations to provide an array of services for local children and their caregivers. We work closely with our network of providers and non-contracted community organizations to provide the necessary resources for Broward’s most vulnerable children and their caregivers. ChildNet does not provide direct services other than child welfare case management, adoption and independent living.
As the lead agency responsible for managing the child protection system in Broward County, our focus is to ensure that the children in our care are safe and permanently placed in a loving home. Case workers, whom we call Child Advocates, provide case management to ensure appropriate and timely services are available to children and families involved in the dependency system. Child Advocates develop case plans, prepare judicial reviews, conduct home studies, attend court hearings and make suggestions based on the best interest of the child. The primary goal of the case plan is to ensure the child's safety and assist in the stabilization of a permanent, loving home. To accomplish this goal, ChildNet works closely with local social service agencies and network providers to connect Broward's most vulnerable children and their families to a variety of services in our community. They include behavioral health services, educational assistance, parenting, skills training, anger management counseling and a variety of other therapeutic interventions.
Responsibility for managing child welfare services statewide has been contracted out to local Community Based Care organizations. In Broward County, ChildNet is the lead agency responsible for case management services and contracting with local agenecies to provide shelter and group care, foster home management, family strengthening and adoption support services. Children become involved with the dependency system when a report of abuse, abandonment or neglect is made to the Tallahassee Abuse Hotline. The call is then routed to Broward Sheriff's Office Child Protection Investigations unit to conduct a thorough investigation.
Once the risk assessment and investigation has been conducted by the Child Protection Investigator they will either:
- determine no findings of abuse, abandonment or neglect and close the investigation
- provide informal services and close the case
- staff the case for formal voluntary protective service agreement
- request a petition for adjudication while the child remains in the home
- remove the child from the home and request a shelter hearing within 24 hours
When a child is removed from the home there are two options:
(1) Protective Supervision - If the family identifies an appropriate and willing relative/non-relative to care for the child, a home study and background checks are completed and with Court permission, the child is placed in their temporary custody, while the parents are offered services to remedy the issue causing the removal to occur when appropriate.
(2) Foster Care - When no appropriate or willing relative is available, the child is placed into a foster home or a group home, while the parents are offered services to remedy the issue causing the removal to occur when appropriate.