What is Children’s Services?

Clermont County Children’s Protective Services is the agency mandated by law to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect against children. If our investigation indicates abuse/neglect, the agency then offers services to protect the child from further harm. While our mandates is to protect children, we also have the goal to stabilizing families and providing permanence for children. We believe children should be in the least restrictive family setting possible. Therefore, whenever possible we provide services to children while they remain in their own homes. If a child cannot stay at home safely, the best alternative is for the child to live with a relative or kin. In lieu of an appropriate relative or kin, we will place the child in a foster home or other need based placement while we offer services to the family.

What should I do if I believe a child has been abuse or neglected?

Call Children Services at 732-STOP (7867). You will be making what is called a “referral”. You will be asked a series of questions that will help us determine if we should assess the matter. We do not disclose identities of people who make referrals.

What services does the agency offer?

We offer an array of services aimed at keeping the family together, or reunifying them if the child has been removed from the home. These services, which are available to children and their parents, include family counseling, parenting classes, substance abuse assessment and treatment, psychological evaluations. We also develop a “safety plan” for each family, which is an agreement between the agency and the family on what must be done to make a home safe for a child. A comprehensive Risk Assessment is complied on every family in which we have received an allegation of abuse or neglect. This instrument is an effective tool in defining the level of risk to the child in his/her family setting.

What happens to a child who comes into the agency’s care?

Our foremost concern – even above preserving families – is child safety. No child is left in his or her home if we believe they will be further harmed. If a child is removed from the home, we first look to a suitable relative or kin to provide care. If a relative or kinship caregiver is not available, the agency will work to find a suitable placement for the child in a foster home.

At any given time, approximately 200 children are in the custody of Clermont County Children’s Protective Services.

Can Children Services remove a child from his or her home?

No. Only law enforcement and the courts have the authority to remove a child from the home. When a child must be removed, Children Services will seek assistance from the police, county sheriff’s department or juvenile court.

Does Children Services bring charges against perpetrators of child abuse/neglect?

No. Children Services does not have the power of prosecution. Adjudication is a function of law enforcement, the prosecuting attorney and the courts. The role of Children Services is limited to protecting children and stabilizing families.

When children are removed from their homes, do they ever go back?

Yes, whenever possible. We value families, and believe the best place for a child is a safe, loving home with the biological family. The agency helps remove barriers for families by providing resources and services to promote reunification and ensure safety for children.

What happens if Children Services determines a child can never live safely with his or her biological parents again?

In that case, Children Services will do one of the following:

  1. ask that the court award legal custody to a relative, who then becomes the child’s primary caregiver;
  2. petition the courts for permanent custody of the child, and upon receiving custody place the child into an adoptive home if he or she is not placed in an adoptive home already.
  3. If he or she chooses not to be adopted, the agency will work to prepare the youth for adulthood through independent living services.

Who can become a foster or adoptive parent?

Anyone who is at least age 18, complies with a background check, meets certain criteria and can provide a safe, loving home is welcome! Single or married, with children or without, male or female-it doesn’t matter. Are foster parents and adoptive parents paid? Not exactly, but there is financial support. All foster parents receive a daily stipend to care for the children placed in their homes. This per diem increases depending upon the needs of the child. The greater the child’s needs – he or she may have emotional, behavioral or medical problems – greater the daily stipend. Once a child is adopted, Children Services and the federal government may provide a monthly subsidy until the child reaches legal age.