A family that receives TANF often requires services from several state or community social service agencies, including DCFS. Communication and interaction between staff of our agency and DCFS is key to helping jointly served intact 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 sanctions, substitute care of children, and loss of parental rights.
DCFS provides intact family services to children and adults in a family where 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 receiving TANF 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 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 client to attend. Tell the client that their attendance and participation will aid in their success at meeting their objectives. Consider inviting any other service provider (such as substance abuse, mental health, domestic or sexual violence, work and training, etc.) that 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 client's consent for release of information. This is provided by the consent statement on the client's application which states that they agree that DHS may share information provided by the client with other state departments who are also providing services to the client. DHS can provide information about receipt of TANF or a client's RSP.
A TANF client 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.