Guernsey County Children Services receives and investigates child abuse and neglect allegations. Child safety is the agency’s main focus.
Screening / Receiving Child Abuse & Neglect Reports
Guernsey County Children Services screeners receive calls regarding child abuse and neglect concerns. Concerns may be called in to the agency 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 740-439-5555.
Assessment / Investigation
When a report is received, it is reviewed by our Intake department. If the report does not require a full investigation but the Intake department is told about other family problems, referrals will be made to appropriate community agencies.
If an investigation is necessary, an Investigation caseworker is assigned. All investigation begins within 24 hours. In the case of emergencies, someone is working on the case within one hour.
The caseworker interviews all of the children and adults in the home, and uses a risk assessment process to assist them in determining whether the children are safe in their current environment.
If the caseworker finds no basis for the allegations and there is little or no risk in the home, the investigation is closed.
Sometimes a child is in danger. At this point, the caseworker and supervisor determine if the family will accept our help to protect the child. Intake staff offers services to the family to help them change the behavior causing risk to the child.
In some cases, because of the severity of the abuse or neglect, immediate action through Juvenile Court must be taken to order the family to cooperate with the agency or to remove the child from the home.
If there are concerns that a crime has been committed, our community’s law enforcement agencies become involved in the investigation.
THE AGENCY’S FIRST AND FOREMOST CONCERN IS THE SAFETY AND WELL BEING OF THE CHILD, AND ALL EFFORTS ARE MADE TO ACCOMPLISH THIS IN HIS OR HER OWN HOME.
The Intervention Unit’s purpose is to intervene in the lives of children and families by establishing a team of staff, family and support members, and service providers to realize a safe nurturing environment for children.
Cases are assigned within the Intervention Unit after an investigation/assessment by the Assessment Unit has determined that the children have been or are at risk of being abused or neglected.
Foster care is about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. It is about opening your home and your heart to a child who is not safe in his or her home due to abuse, neglect or dependency. These children need a temporary, safe and nurturing environment where they can thrive while their parents address the challenges in their lives with the expectation that the child and parents will be reunited. When this outcome is not possible, foster parents help prepare the child for adoption. Foster parenting is rewarding, life-changing, heartbreaking and joyful. Are you ready for this adventure?
Guernsey County Children Services believes every child deserves a home. When a child cannot remain with their birth family, adoption provides that permanent family. Through our adoption services we create families by placing children in their forever homes.
GCCS adoption services are provided in conjunction with our foster program. Any family wishing to adopt a child must first become a foster family. Through this system, we are able to screen, train and support prospective adoptive parents and ultimately match them with a child in need of a safe and nurturing home. Many of our foster families adopt their charges, and other families become foster parents solely in anticipation of adopting a child. Whichever path you take, adoption is a joyous way to create a permanent parent/child relationship.
Kinship care is the most desirable out-of-home option for children who cannot live with their parents. Kinship care preserves families, provides children with greater stability, creates a sense of belonging, and enhances a child’s ability to identify with and maintain their family’s culture and traditions. “Kin” can be blood relatives, or can be a non-relative who has a bond with the child and/or family. Kinship relationships are established through informal arrangements, legal custody, guardianship, and kinship adoption. Whomever creates this arrangement, and however it is created, kin caregivers make a voluntary, courageous, and life-changing commitment to devote their lives to children in their care.
Independent Living Program
Adolescents ages 16-21 who are or in substitute care or who have emanciapted from care need consistent assistance from adults they trust in order to acquire the many life skills that they will need to function “interdependently” in the community as they are leaving care. They also need to have well established community supports in place once they emancipate; a “safety net.”
This “safety net” is routinely available to kids not in the foster care system through consistent, nurturing parents and family. While the ages of 18 and 21 have a magical meaning in our society, the reality is that life is difficult to navigate even with someone helping you to learn to read a map, gain skills and grow through mistakes and successes. Foster parents/kinship caregivers do an exceptional job of working with our youth to gain these skills, as do caseworkers and our Independent Living Coordinator. However, our kids need the entire community to help.
If you are age 16 to 21 and have been or are currently in foster care, the Independent Living Program can help you make plans for your future. The program provides services to assist teens and young adults with the transition from foster care to independent living.
We provide community education on abuse and neglect recognition and reporting, numerous activities during Child Abuse Prevention Month in April each year, and parenting education through a nationally recognized model known as Incredible Years.