One of PHD’s core services is Professional Counseling which addresses a variety of issues regarding pregnancy and parenting. One of the issue areas that PHD works with is DCFS (Department of Children and Family Services) involved parents. According to the Illinois Government, the mission of DCFS is “to protect children who are reported to be abused or neglected and to increase their families’ capacity to safely care for them.”
DCFS cases are often opened due to a call to the hotline suggesting abuse or neglect of children. The Juvenile Court assesses if there is evidence of such abuse or neglect and determines if children need to be removed from the home. A case worker is assigned to provide at-home visits, assess and ensure the safety of children. He also recommends community agencies to support the family. PHD is proud to work with DCFS as a community partner, guiding parents on a path to well-being to best provide for their families and children.
DCFS involved parents receive referrals primarily to PHD’s professional counseling services; though parenting education may also be recommended depending on the case and its severity. PHD’s Professional Counselors work with DCFS involved clients to develop a treatment plan and recognize what areas the client can improve on to ensure the safety of their children. This can include identifying and treating anxiety and mood disorders, improving emotion regulation, anger management, addressing addiction or substance abuse, building a support system, and learning healthy coping mechanisms. Often, these clients have past histories of abuse as children or in relationships, which are also important to address and confront to break the cycle of violence.
Professional Counselors at PHD work closely with DCFS case workers to report on client progress to ultimately reunite families in safe and inviting home environments. In addition, all of PHD’s Professional Counselors and Clinical Interns are required to complete DCFS’ Mandated Reporter training prior to meeting with clients to ensure they know how to recognize signs of child abuse and neglect, as well as how to report it if signs are identified.
While such work can be seen as challenging, it is inspiring to see the clients making necessary changes to provide a safe environment for their children. PHD’s vision stands true in our Professional Counselors’ work with DCFS – to be a compassionate community where dignity is preserved, hope is restored, lives are empowered and protected, one woman, one child, one family at a time.