Coming into contact with The Los Angeles Department of Children & Family Services can be a traumatic experience for any family, and losing custody of a child is devastating.
The Parents in Partnership program is a committed group of Parent Partners who have first-hand knowledge of this experience, and who know how overwhelming and stressful it is for families to understand their rights and responsibilities when working with DCFS.
The first time Miranda and her family received a site visit from their family preservation case worker, they were living in a motel. The in-home outreach counselor conducted her sessions in the motel, in a the single large room crowded due to the number of family members staying there.
Despite the circumstances, the family maintained hope. Miranda had just started a job and her family felt confident that they could move from their motel to an apartment shortly – and shortly thereafter, they were right. But right after moving, Miranda’s husband decided to leave the family, leaving Miranda with five children to raise alone, without enough money to afford rent for the apartment they had just moved to.
A few weeks after the father left, DCFS announced that each family preservation agency would get one Section 8 voucher for one of their families and Miranda and her four children were the lucky recipients.
IHOC was able to work with Miranda for two days and complete the entire application and assist in the additional paperwork required. Miranda and her family had to overcome the massive amount of paperwork and information that is required on the application for Section 8 housing. Miranda stayed motivated, even though she barely had any time between working and caring for her five children, and accepted help where needed.
The IHOC cleared her schedule so she could be available to assist the mother as best as she could in order to meet the deadline for completing the application.
*In order to protect the anonymity and privacy of our families, names have been changed and photos are randomized.
Parent Partners have successfully navigated the system and now work in partnership with DCFS to provide support, information and mentorship to parents who have recently lost custody of their children, as well as parents whose children are not in the foster care system permanently.
These parents are trained in the areas of parents’ rights and responsibilities, grief and loss, communication, cultural awareness, child abuse reporting and family violence. DCFS Parents in Partnership (PiP) is dedicated to the parents in the communities served.
If you or someone you know is a parent with an open DCFS case, Parent Partners are here to help provide you with support and vital information. They assist parents and families with the following services:
Parent Partners are available to parents via phone to take questions and requests for support and information Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00am and 5:00pm. Voicemails are checked and responded to daily. Find the warm line in your area.
Parent Partners and DCFS staff members co-facilitate an orientation where parents are given the information they need regarding child abuse, neglect and strategies for success. The goal is to increase parental awareness and advocacy, leading to better outcomes for families.
Recent studies suggest that parents who participate in this Parent Orientation are 30% more likely to regain custody of their children in one year or less, compared to parents who don’t participate. In one study, parents who participated in the Parent Orientation regained custody of their children, on average, seven months sooner than parents who did not participate.
Support groups are available for parents who have children currently living under DCFS supervision, in-home or out-of-home. These groups, facilitated by Parent Partners, provide parents with a supportive environment among others who are having similar experiences, and offer information about reunification, parenting and advocacy.
Family Team Meeting Support
With parents’ permission, our Parent Partners are available to advocate for the parent in Child and Family Team Meetings (CFT) by assisting parents in communicating their family’s strengths and concerns. At your request, we will support parents during CFT meetings (availability may vary).
Connecting Parents with Resources
Parent Partners provide families with information and resources to encourage parents to make full use of DCFS and community partner services.
To get connected to Parents in Partnership services, locate your Regional Office and call the number that serves your community. Parent Partners are located in the lobbies of the offices listed below to provide support and information.