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.
Looking back, Alma is thankful for the night 15 years ago when DCFS stepped into her life the night she went into labor at a local Los Angeles hospital.
“DCFS doesn’t get involved because they want to ruin your life. They want to see happy, healthy and safe children and families.”
Testing positive for meth and alcohol, DCFS wanted to ensure the well-being of Alma’s children and the well-being of Alma, which resulted in the removal of all six of her children.
“Their involvement forced me to make a U-turn in my life. I loved my kids too much to not make the changes. DCFS put forward the resources, and I had to make sure that I put in the work.”
After a serious commitment and change of lifestyle, Alma was able to be reunited with all six of her children one by one, starting with her baby. She takes everything she learned from her parenting classes to recommended reading and applies it to help in her daily life.
“I look at how far I’ve come, and I’m proud of myself and of my kids. I’m a healthy mom and grandma now. I don’t respond in anger and violence. I’m not addicted to drugs anymore. That’s huge, and I’m so happy that I’ve been able to get this far.”
Alma became a Parent in Partnership (PIP), and has been helping other families who are currently under DCFS care. As a PIP for the past five years, Alma has seen all the families that have gone through similar struggles be reunited with their children.
“I remember the help of my social worker, and how she pushed me to keep going when I wanted to give up. Now, I get to be transparent with the hardships in being reunited with your kids with the parents I get to mentor. It’s hard work, but it’s beautiful when you reach the finish line.”
*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.