What is a DFCS Assessment for?
DFCS assessments are required for a variety of reasons. Child custody, divorce, family violence, parental fitness, substance abuse, child abuse, and a variety of matters that may be pending in judicial proceedings.
Many families come to the attention of child welfare and protective services, specifically to determine the presence of parental substance use and mental disorders, child abuse, neglect, or criminal acts. The priority is to ensure the safety, permanency, and well-being of the entire family while keeping all children safe. CPS workers, doctors, nurses, and other professionals utilize evidence-based screening tools, which present a set of standard questions to determine parental substance use and the need for a referral for further assessment or treatment.
An assessment is a confidential process that can be conducted by a certified professional to determine a diagnosis and family/individual treatment needs. CPS workers, clinicians, treatment programs, and certified professionals play a major role in screening and assessing situations that expose children to any dangers.
Commonly, parents are required to participate in these types of assessments due to ongoing substance use disorder by a parent, or a situation where child endangerment has occurred.
A parental fitness assessment is a specialized psychological evaluation, typically ordered by a court, and used to assess the capacity of a parent to parent their children. Oftentimes, this evaluation is ordered by a court as part of a termination of parental rights case or in the course of determining a parent’s ability to assume custody of their children in a custody dispute. Parents involved in DCFS cases are often required to obtain a parental fitness evaluation.
Here is a link to APA.org for further assistance in understanding the importance of DFCS Assessments https://www.apa.org/practice/guidelines/child-protection