Child Protective Services
The Child Protective Services (CPS) worker participating on a DEC response team assists in coordinating the team assessments, including transportation to and from appointments, and coordinates communication between the criminal dependency and/or family law courts. Child protective services typically operate under local county offices of social services, and, when necessary, intervene on behalf of children at the direction of the juvenile court. When parents who are illegally manufacturing or abusing drugs are suspected of child endangerment, child welfare workers determine the course of the child welfare investigation and share information with law enforcement officers, district attorneys’ offices, and health care and mental health agencies. Investigations by CPS and/or adult protective services (who become involved when vulnerable adults are found at the scene) may involve law enforcement assistance when necessary for the safety of children or other vulnerable family members.
Florida Child Protection Teams (CPTs)
Florida has statutorily authorized Child Protection Teams (CPTs) that are required to assist in certain cases of child abuse. The purpose of the program is to aid the child protective investigation activities of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) or designated sheriffs’ offices by providing multidisciplinary assessment services to children and families involved in child abuse and neglect investigations.
Each child protection team functions under the direction and supervision of a medical director who is a Children’s Medical Services (CMS) physician and board-certified pediatrician with expertise and training in child abuse and neglect. The daily coordination of CPT activities is the responsibility of the Team Coordinator working with the Medical Director. Case coordinators, varying in number depending on the size of the team, arrange and provide the direct, individual case assessment activities including child and parent interviews.
All CPTs have available (on a consultant basis or as paid staff) a Florida licensed team psychologist with experience in the evaluation and treatment of child abuse and neglect, and a team attorney who is a member of the Florida Bar to provide legal services and consultation to the team on a part-time basis. Other CMS physicians, Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (ARNPs), attorneys, psychologists or psychiatrists are available as needed or appropriate for consultation and diagnosis and evaluation. Children's Medical Services has a list of CPT offices and CMS offices near you.
Florida Children's Advocacy Centers (CACs)
Children's Advocacy Centers (CAC’s) work with the Child Protection Teams (CPTs). They are child-friendly facilities where child victims of abuse may be interviewed, undergo medical examinations by CPT medical professionals, and receive therapy. CAC's reduce additional trauma to child victims by coordinating investigations and services, reducing the number of times children must be interviewed, facilitating effective joint investigations, increasing prosecution rates, and providing for prompt access to mental health and other appropriate services. CAC's are community-based, so each is uniquely designed to best meet the needs of its individual community. For a list of CAC's near you, visit www.fncac.org
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Children’s Protective Services in Florida