When the DCFS investigates allegations of child abuse or neglect and finds evidence supporting these allegations, they are mandated to take appropriate actions to protect the child. Depending on the severity of the situation, various steps might be undertaken.
1. Providing Services to the Family: If the investigation concludes that the family situation can be improved and the child can be kept safe through intervention services, the DCFS may offer a range of services. These can include parenting classes, counseling, mental health services, substance abuse treatment, and other social services.
2. Establishing a Safety Plan: A safety plan is developed when a child can remain at home but certain changes must be made to ensure their safety. This might include the accused abuser moving out temporarily, regular home visits by a caseworker, restrictions on certain activities, or any other measures that are designed to protect the child.
3. Removing the Child from the Home: In severe cases where immediate danger is present, or if other interventions have failed, the child may be removed from the home to protect their safety. This is typically a last resort when it's believed that no other option will adequately ensure the child's safety. The child may be placed into foster care, with a relative, or in a group home, depending on the circumstances. This process involves the courts when the child is removed from the home.