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Client Information Page

Client Rights and Responsibilities | Family Case Conference

Complaint / Problem Resolution | Ombudsman

 

Client Rights and Responsibilities

All families involved with the Butler County Children Services have rights and responsibilities. To learn more about your rights and responsibilities, please download our Client Rights Brochure.  

 

If you are involved with Butler County Children Services, you have the right to:

  • Be treated with consideration and respect.
  • Receive services in the least restrictive and most humane setting possible. This is defined by Ohio laws and is included in the Family Case Plan.
  • Be informed of your own condition, of proposed or current services, treatment or therapies, and of the alternatives.
  • Refuse to participate in any investigation, service, treatment or therapy once the consequences of refusing have been explained unless you are ordered to participate by the court or a Family Case Plan that has been journalized by the court.
  • Be given an up-to-date, written, individual Family Case Plan that discusses mental and physical health, and social or economic needs, and that says how services are to be provided, either by Butler County Children Services or by another agency.
  • Actively and knowingly take part in developing, reviewing, and evaluating the Family Case Plan.
  • Take part in any appropriate and available agency service.
  • Talk to other treatment specialists or lawyers at your own cost, unless determined indigent by the court.
  • Be told ahead of time of the reasons for discontinuing services and be involved in planning for the consequences.
  • Be told why services are being denied.
  • Be served without discrimination on the basis of religion, race, color, creed, sex, national origin, age, lifestyle, physical or mental handicap, developmental disability, or inability to pay.
  • File a formal complaint or grievance.
  • Be told how to file a formal complaint in your primary language. If you have special physical needs, you have the right to be reasonably accommodated.
  • Have the unique cultural attributes of your family respected at all times.

 

With these rights come certain responsibilities. You have a responsibility to:

  • Partner with the Butler County Children Services to help strengthen and/or get your family back together and meet your children’s needs.
  • Help write the Family Case Plan that will include services to meet your family’s needs.
  • Provide a safe, clean and nurturing home for your children with enough food and clothing.
  • Meet with your caseworker and other staff to review progress in your case.
  • Attend and participate in programs or services listed in the Family Case Plan.
  • Attend court hearings and follow orders set by the court.
Inform the agency if you have any special needs, language preferences or are of Native American descent

 

Family Case Conference

A Family Case Conference is a gathering of people who come together to plan for the safety and well being of a child who is determined to be at risk of abuse and/or neglect in their home environment. The purpose of the conference is to provide an opportunity for the child, biological family members, caseworkers, service providers and and other relevant community members to be actively involved in developing a plan for safely maintaining the child with his/her biological parents. It is designed to give families involved in child protective services a meaningful voice in their family affairs.

Families are asked to participate in a Family Case Conference after an investigation into abuse or neglect has been completed and a determination is made that the child remains at risk of harm in the biological family's home.

Who Attends a Family Case Conference?

The plan is created with the people who know the child the best–family members and others who are important to the child who can assist the family in addressing the concerns that led to the involvement of child protective services. Those who participate are invested in the well being of the child who needs help. We regularly see grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, guidance counselors, members of the faith community, neighbors and friends. The conference may also include other service professionals identified either by the family or by the caseworker. These persons may include Guardian Ad Litems (attorneys appointed to represent children, a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer, service providers and case managers, therapists, and other community personnel, such as an MRDD or a Help Me Grow specialist.

How Does the Agency Conduct Family Case Conferences?

Using a neutral facilitator, each participant identifies the family's strengths (as they currently exist) and determines what help is needed to remedy the issues that are of concern. All participants are given the opportunity to provide input regarding the concerns and possible solutions. A plan is put in place based on these discussions and read to everyone in attendance. Participants have the opportunity to agree or disagree with the plan, and appropriate participants receive copies of the plan at the end of the meeting. Family Case Conferences are held at the Butler County Children Services Hamilton and Middletown offices.

Complaint / Problem Resolution

There are steps that you can take if you are not pleased with the way the agency is handling your case. Be sure to keep detailed records of what is happening with your case. Write down the names of the agency employees you talk to, the information they provide and the dates of all conversations. This documentation will be important in resolving your problem.

If you have a problem, please follow these steps:

  1. Contact your caseworker and try to resolve the issues.

  2. Contact your caseworkers' supervisor to resolve the issues.

  3. Contact the administrator who oversees the activities of the caseworker and supervisor.

  4. Contact the Ombudsman, the official who manages client complaints, at (513)785-5909 or download and mail a Complaint Form.

You have the right to contact the Ombudsman at any time, but you are encouraged to try to resolve the matter first with your caseworker and/or your caseoworker's supervisor.

Ombudsman

Download a Complaint Form

The Ombudsman has the authority too independently and impartially review cases involved with Butler County Children Services. It is the Ombudsman's job to determine whether Children Services has followed proper policies, procedures and laws related to a case. The Ombudsman maintains a neutral, impartial perspective on each case. Based on the results of any investigation into a complaint, the Ombudsman may recommend a different action or disposition. In addition, the Ombudsman may recommend changes to agency policies and procedures to better serve the children and families of Butler County.

The services of the Ombudsman are free to the public and are designed to protect the interests of the children and families.

The Ombudsman will:

  • Listen to you

  • Investigate your complaint

  • Explain what is happening in your case

  • Help you understand confusing rules, laws, procedures and/or policies

  • Mediate conflicts whenever possible

  • Recommend alternative actions in your case

  • Recommend changes to policies and procedures

Who may file a complaint with the Ombudsman?

Any person may file a complaint with the Ombudsman for investigation.

What if I Disagree With the Disposition of My Case?

If you are listed as the alleged perpetrator of child abuse or neglect you have the right to a hearing to appeal the disposition made in your case. Your appeal needs to be filed within 10 days of receipt of your disposition. The appeal hearing will be conducted by the Ombudsman. The agency staff that issued the disposition against you will appear and testify as to why they believe you abused or neglected your child. You can testify as to why you do not believe you abused or neglected your child. You may be represented by an attorney and may bring witnesses with you to the hearing. Within two weeks of the hearing the Ombudsman will issue a finding either agreeing with the agency’s disposition or overturning it in your favor. The Ombudsman’s decision is final regarding the disposition but this may not effect your court case as that is separate.

Appeal hearing requests must be made in writing to the:

Office of the Ombudsman

300 North Fair Avenue

Hamilton, OH 45011

Once your request is received, the Ombudsman’s Office will contact you to set up a hearing date and time.

 

 

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