A family who requests TANF often requires services from more than one state or community social service agency, including DCFS. Communication and interaction between DHS and DCFS is key to helping jointly served families progress to maximum independence. This coordination is critical, because a family faces serious consequences for failing to comply with the service plan requirements of either agency. Such consequences include TANF denials or sanctions, substitute care for children, and possibly loss of parental rights.
DCFS provides intact family services to a family when credible evidence of abuse or neglect has been found, but the children are not removed from the home. DCFS works with the family to prevent the loss of parental rights.
When a family applies for TANF and indicates that they are currently receiving intact family services from DCFS, notify DCFS and schedule a joint staffing. The joint staffing must occur prior to the revision of the DCFS service plan or the development of the final RSP. The objective of the joint staffing is to develop a well-coordinated service plan which takes into consideration the immediate and long-range needs of the family. The staffing must create appropriate parental and work-related activities that complement each other and avoid conflicts or duplication.
At a minimum the DCFS and DHS caseworkers must be involved. Invite and encourage the applicant to attend. Tell the applicant that their attendance and participation will aid in their success at meeting their objectives. Invite any other worker or service provider (such as TPS, substance abuse, mental health, domestic violence, work and training, etc.) who is working with the family to achieve the self-sufficiency goals.
Information about DCFS services, or other services such as substance abuse treatment or mental health services, requires the applicant's consent for release of information. This is provided by the consent statement on the applicant's application which states that they agree that DHS may share information provided by the applicant with other state departments who are also providing services to the applicant. DHS can provide information about receipt of TANF or an applicant's RSP.
A TANF applicant who receives DCFS services is not exempt from:
- cooperating with work and training activities and child support enforcement unless good cause has been established; or
- the 5-year lifetime limit for TANF benefits.