The DCF is the Department of Children & Families; every state has one, and they work on a number of goals. The Florida DCF lists its mission as “protecting the vulnerable, promoting strong and economically self-sufficient families, and advancing personal and family recovery and resiliency.”

In this post, we break down what exactly the Department of Children & Families does by reviewing the various services they provide, as well as examining how these services help Floridians.

Abuse Hotlines

The state of Florida has a toll-free number that you can call (1-800-962-2873) or fax (1-800-914-0004), as well as an online reporting tool. All Floridians are legally obligated to report suspected child abuse, so if there is suspicion, follow through at those points of contact. The fax and online reporting tools also allow you to attach relevant documents as proof.

ACCESS Florida

ACCESS Florida covers assistance programs that come through the state. Assistance programs mainly consist of food assistance, temporary cash assistance, and Medicare. It allows Floridians to apply for assistance, assistance renewals, and track the assistance that they are receiving.

Adoption Resources

The DCF handles public adoptions in the state of Florida, and has many resources on the subject. This includes pre-adoption resources, as well as ongoing help from post-adoption counselors and adoption support groups.

Adult Protective Services

Certain adults are more susceptible to be taken advantage of, particularly senior citizens and individuals who struggle with disabilities. Adult Protective Services strives to protects vulnerable adults by stopping abuse. Above all, they accomplish this by educating susceptible adults on potential abusers and possible scams.

Background Screening

Background screening is required for many people in the state, and the Florida DCF is the one who conducts the screening and provides resources on it. The state of Florida screens employees, for instance, public school teachers and potential foster families.

Child Care

The DCF provides information and resources for childcare to families and for childcare providers, such as daycares or preschools. They handle training and credentials for childcare, as well certifications for professionals. The website even gives information on products that have been recalled in order to keep families safe.

Child Welfare

Child welfare has several missions, and all of those missions focus on the goal of keeping Florida’s children healthy and safe. The department aims to keep families together, but in the case that they do have to separate, provides resources for the children to continue growing and become healthy young adults.

Children’s Legal Services

Children are one of the most vulnerable legal groups.

Children’s Legal Services is the legal arm of the DCF that protects Florida’s neglected, abused, and abandoned children. They have over 250 attorneys across the entire state that handle all Chapter 39 proceedings. Additionally, these attornies can provide guardian ad litems if needed.

Community-Based Care

Community-based care is a Florida state project that builds entire communities for the safety and advancement of foster children. Instead of simply placing a child in a foster home and leaving them there until they are adopted or age out of the system, community-based care focuses on growth and support.

Domestic Violence

The domestic violence center runs the domestic violence hotline at 1-800-500-1119. In addition, the state offers support for those attempting to exit a violent domestic situation. Perhaps most importantly, the department funds and operates 42 domestic violence centers statewide. These centers provide a host of information for victims of domestic violence, from legal support to life skills classes.

This is not all the DCF offers! Next week we will continue to break down the services that the department provides.