After the completion of Child Welfare CORE Training and successful Provisional Certification, specialists are required to complete specialized courses, known as Level Classes. The expected timeframe in which to complete all Level 1 courses is within 18 months of hire.
Child Protective Services (CPS) is responsible for the intake, screening, and investigation of child abuse and neglect.
Included within the CPS Umbrella are:
- Hotline Specialists
- receive calls regarding Abuse and Neglect and determine whether referrals are accepted or screened out based on a child’s safety, permanency, and well-being.
- CPS Specialists
- are responsible for completing investigations and/or assessments to determine child safety, permanency, and well-being.
- COMP- CPS
- Like the CPS Specialist, COMP-CPS completes investigations and/or assessment in addition to working with children, youth, and families on securing child safety, permanency and well-being.
Comprehensive Specialists are assigned caseloads that generally combine Permanency Planning and Child Protective Services. In most cases, a specialist will be assigned a “primary” role of Comp- CPS or Comp-PP based on an anticipated percentage of the cases assigned.
Comprehensive Specialists will carry responsibilities such as investigating referrals in addition to working with children, youth, and families to achieve permanency.
Family Centered Services (FCS) – FCS works with families where a safety threat has been identified for their children but court involvement is not required. The FCS Specialist assists the caregivers and refers them to services to help correct the conditions that caused their children to be unsafe. The goal is to maintain the safety, permanency, and well-being of the children and their families. The FCS Specialist can refer families to DHS contracted services that include Comprehensive Home-Based Services (CHBS), Parent Education Services and Sexual Abuse Treatment Services, as well as community services to meet their needs.
Permanency planning specialists provide services to families that include: assessing the needs and strengths of the child; involving family members as participants in their own treatment plan; consulting with service providers to evaluate the effectiveness of the services; providing placements for children which will meet safety, permanency, and well-being needs; returning children to their own homes as soon as their needs can be met in their parent(s)’ home, and arranging a permanent plan when returning to the home is not possible.
Its goal is to provide training, guidelines, support and expertise to equip child welfare staff with the necessary skills to provide quality services to foster and adoptive families throughout the state of Oklahoma. In addition, the Resource Unit is mandated to expedite permanency planning for children and to secure adoptive families for each waiting child with the passage of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 and changes in Oklahoma Statute.
On-going training is provided to all specialists in the Foster Care and Adoption Program to ensure they remain up-to-date on all the current agency, state and federal foster care policies and guidelines. This section also works with field staff to help organize and support activities and events that promote the recruitment and retention of foster homes.
Foster Care and Adoption Specialist and Supervisors are available when needed to attend staffing and other meetings in the county offices to provide advice and expertise on issues that may arise.
Below are the specialists within the Foster Care and Adoption Program:
- Resource Specialists:
- Manages and supports a caseload of Resource families (traditional foster families, relative kinship families, and non-relative kinship families) to asses and maintain safety and well-being for foster care children placed in the home.
- Resource Specialist / Non-ID:
- Manages and supports a caseload of Adoptive Resources to assess and maintain safety, permanency, and well-being for the children who are placed for adoption in the resource home. Works with permanency and Adoption Transition unit to place children in homes where they can achieve permanency through adoption. Also, maintains a caseload of children placed in trial adoption that are placed in their adoptive homes.
- Recruitment and Development Specialist:
- Works within the community to actively recruit traditional foster care and adoptive homes through community events, presentations, media opportunities, and campaigns. Maintains a caseload of recruited families to fully assess the safety and viability of the homes while completing the approval process. Responsible for building and maintaining community partnerships. The specialist is also assigned “Actively Seeking Kin” (ASK) requests to determine of kinship placement options are available for children in State custody.
- Adoption Specialist:
- Manages a caseload of children with the goal of adoption by coordinating with permanency workers, children and identified resource families to move towards permanency for children. They are responsible for ensuring the family has all available information regarding the child, completes adoptive placement requirements and carries the adoption case through finalization.
- Adoption Transition Specialist:
- Manages a caseload of children that are legally free for adoption with no identified placement. They work with the child through preparation activities and child assessments to prepare the child for the adoption process. The specialist participates with the Permanency and Resource Specialists/Non-ID in transition of children into an adoptive home when a match is made between a child and a family. ATU helps with the identification of possible adoptive homes for the children on their caseload by case mining for connections and working with Recruitment and Development on recruiting new adoptive homes.
School Based Services (SBS) is a contractual and collaborative partnership between OHS and School Districts. Through the partnership, a School Based Specialist is placed in the school with the dedicated purpose of providing a human service connection and support to the children and families served by the school.
The SB Specialist connects students and their families to local and state resources that can offer support and hope for the family. This compassionate and professional support helps students navigate out-of-classroom obstacles that would affect their success in the classroom and allows school staff to focus on instruction. The SB Specialist has a significant impact on the well-being of the communities they serve by enhancing student outcomes and decreasing risk factors. The SB Specialist is responsible for connecting the student and their family to all available OHS services, such as medical, snap, daycare and TANF. They may also refer the family to Child Welfare Services if they suspect abuse or neglect.
Provides support to adoptive families with the goal of safely maintaining the child in their permanent home. This includes managing a caseload of adoptive families participating in an open Adoption Assistance Agreement. Support from the specialist includes assistance with subsidy, medical coverage and any other necessary modifications of that agreement. Additionally, the specialist assists with referrals for services and facilitating connections to appropriate mental health and community resources.