- Children enter foster care due to a number of issues related to abuse, neglect or dependency.
- Many children in foster care have special needs, including health issues, behavioral issues, special educational needs, and mental health diagnoses.
- Dependent children are those children without an appropriate adult caretaker.
DSS has the responsibility to work with birth parents and other extended relatives to address safety issues so that children can return home.
- Although each family's situation is different and a Judge makes the final ruling, the Department of Social Services is required to make a recommendation about a child's long-term plan within one year of the child entering foster care.
- The Department also makes diligent efforts to identify extended relatives who could care for the child. When that cannot be done, the agency pursues other long-term plans for the child, including adoption.