Voluntary DCF Services?


New Member
None of our Social Workers or anyone has brought this up, but at Family Night tonight at the psychiatric hospital during Group, the nurse running the group turned to my husband and I and suggested that we look into Voluntary DCF Services and the psychiatric Tech, as well as another family, agreed.

They said that they would provide in-home services such as respite care, behavior mods, etc. Many services that money can't buy and/or that insurance won't pay for, and that it will also pick up the tab for gaps in insurance coverage.

Do any of you have any experience with this? Is this something you would recommend? Anytime I hear "DCF" I am very hesitant to want my family and DCF in the same paragraph, let alone the same sentence, but they made it sound like a very positive step in the right direction and it was coming from people that have been working with my son day in and day out and seem to think that we have a long road ahead of us (which, I'd have to agree with them there!).


Well-Known Member
This is a big step and it can have dire consequences depending on how your state is run. Some states are really good and some states are horrible. Sometimes it even depends on what county you live in how the services are handled.

If I were in your shoes, I would call and just ask questions. That cant hurt. If they said I had to completely give up custody, I would run for the hills. Surely there has to be a way to access services without that. I think there are medicaid waivers and such that might bring in the same help. Before I would give up custody of such a young child I would exhaust every other avenue.


Active Member
I agree with Janet. We've had some members that have had good experiences with state help and others who are still licking their wounds.


New Member
They said it had nothing to do with taking our child away or anything like that. And that's my fear and hesitation to even looking into it...I would hate to say one wrong thing or have something misconstrued or whatever and suddenly be in the middle of being investigated or something awful. I've always felt like I want nothing to do with DCF, why on earth would I voluntarily let them into my life? So, that's why I'm asking here if anyone has any experience with this.

I'm sort of hoping he gets discharged from the psychiatric hospital and things are just dandy...yeah, I know...wishful thinking! A girl can dream, can't she? We've had such nice, calm visits the past few nights with him on the medications...of course, with a possible lowered dose on the horizen, that could change.

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
I'm a parent who's had a lot of positive support from county mental health along with a CADI waiver of services.

That's not to say all states are the same. There's just so much money to go around & some states offer more than others.

Having said that, I would want clarification of services, custody status, & most importantly an understanding, responsive & educated case manager. The case manager assigned can make or break the entire situation.

The services in this state are based on the GAF score (axis V on diagnostic impressions). (GAF = global assessment of functioning) The diagnosis itself seems unimportant; services here are granted on the GAF.

Again, every state is different.

That is my experience with services offered by the county & state. There are others where it has been a nightmare.


New Member
At the moment I am in a hotel using the business office computer --so my time is quite short and I am in a very public area, LOL------------
Once I get home, maybe late tomorrow nite, I will be unable to reply on the group board here..........If you wish to email me at [email protected], I can tell you our experiences on this topic (they were NOT all so good........we had our states version of these services from approx 1990 to 2000: WRAP, SASS, respite, mentors, homemakers mentors for each child............behav mod, case managers, in home tdocs, psychiatrists, medication management and nurse)
EVen if you do not email me--do keep in mind, the more services you get, the more vulnerable you can become.the more open you are to other people who may carry their own opinions, ideas, mindsets about ill children.
I will say that I called for these services myself------begged for help for my oldest difficult child..........and yes, itopened up a whole lot of new cans of worms.........and for the entire 10 years welived like bugs under glass or specimens under a microscope...........even long after we wanted them to all go away. Once enmeshed, it can sometimes be difficult to disentangle and get out.


Well-Known Member
I had what I would consider very good help from county mental health for my son. It had nothing whatsoever to do with county department of social services though. Here they are two separate agencies. I didnt have to go through one to access the other because my son was already on SSI and received medicaid.

That being said, I had bad luck with DSS when I begged for help from them one time. That got me investigated for neglect. Of course, that was probably my fault because of the way I did it because I got ticked off at them.

I happened to be an employee of DSS and had been begging all the social workers for help and when no one would help I went to the Director and asked him. I told him that my sons problems and behaviors were so extreme they were causing problems for me not only in my home and community but they were impacting my job. As a member of the county and as his employee I was begging him for his help. He basically blew me off and told me to just do whatever my supervisor instructed me to do. Bad advice since my supervisor had told me to "beat the hell out of the kid."

I sent an email to the head of Family and Childrens Services for the State of NC and CC'd my boss telling them exactly what my director said and asked them for help...lol. Well I got investigated but I ended up getting my son in an excellent program. Oh well. I got results from it. Ticked the director off though.

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
by the way, I wanted to mention, I no longer fear what I say around all these people who come & go around here.

They know me well enough to understand my jaded sense of humor. They've seen me in action with my children - know the situation, the needs.

However, I've had a very positive experience with fairly seasoned workers. They are open to reading the entire history, recognize this is a family illness & therefore the entire family needs to be taken into account. My workers also listen, more importantly, hear what I say & what I feel the needs are for my tweedles.

Again, it's my experience. There are parents here who've had a very negative experience.


Well-Known Member
I think it's hit or miss and nobody can tell you how it will be for you. I know the power of Social Services. They can help, but also misdiagnose and then if you don't do what they want they can use it against you and even cause serious trouble for you. We had this happen long ago, but it left such a bad taste in our mouths that we moved from Illinois to Wisconsin. WE also ended up getting investigated for "not controlling your child" (he has autism, as a toddler, it was severe). The social worker didn't believe it and thought we just couldn't control our son and you can imagine the rest. You may have a better experience than us. I think it's a toss of the dice and have never asked for social services again. I was happy when we finally left the state and were no longer involved with our family.