4515. Family Home Support Services

Service Definition

  1. Family Home Support Services (FHSS) provides supportive, culturally appropriate, in-home, skill-building services in partnership with DCFS client families. Services are provided as part of a comprehensive case plan to clients of DCFS. Services may be offered on weekends and beyond normal working hours. Overnight service may be provided in emergent cases where all other appropriate placement options have been determined to be inappropriate.
  2. Services provided by Home Support Specialists (HSS) include:
    1. Teaching and demonstrating basic physical and emotional care of children, including child development and developmentally appropriate child discipline.
    2. Teaching homemaking and other life skills, including housekeeping, economical shopping, nutrition and food preparation, personal hygiene, financial budgeting, time management and home organization, with consideration given to the family's cultural environment.
    3. Helping families obtain basic needs. Networking families with appropriate supportive community resources; e.g., housing, clothing and food banks, health care services, and educational and employment services.
    4. Providing emotional support to families and building self-esteem in family members; aiding family members in developing appropriate interpersonal and social skills.
    5. Providing client transportation/supervision of visits on a time-limited basis.
    6. Observing family functioning, assisting the social worker in identifying family strengths as well as areas needing intervention or remediation, reporting to the social worker on the family's progress in skill-building, family functioning and other areas defined in the case plan.
    7. Providing individual care services, including child care and household management on an emergent, time-limited basis when necessary to maintain a family that is in crisis.
  3. FHSS is not intended to provide long-term maintenance for a family, is not a housekeeping service, and is not interchangeable with CHORE Services. Requests for on-going or repetitive child care or household maintenance are not appropriate for FHSS.


The following criteria determine eligibility, contingent upon available funding, for FHSS:

  1. The family must be a current DCFS client.
  2. The case plan must document the need for teaching, skill-building, or community networking.
  3. Alternatively, an emergent need exists in which the temporary use of an HSS will prevent out-of-home placement. Such situations include:
    1. The temporary absence or incapacity of the primary caretaker, when it is anticipated that other suitable substitute care will be found within 72 hours.
    2. The one-time provision of household chores when the condition of the home may necessitate out-of-home placement.
  4. Families with adolescents are eligible for this service.

Procedures for Access

  1. The social worker initiates the referral and gives it to the FHSS supervisor/coordinator. Referrals for FHSS shall list specific areas for HSS intervention with a family.
  2. The FHSS supervisor/coordinator evaluates the request for service eligibility and determines priority for service within available full time equivalent (FTE) staff resources.
  3. The FHSS supervisor/coordinator gives service priority to cases where the service is in support of time-limited objectives to improve family functioning or to maintain a family in crisis. Priority cases have one or more of the following characteristics:
    1. There is high risk of out-of-home placement and indication that HSS intervention will reduce that risk. This may include planned skill-building services or emergent, one-time provision of household chores, material resources, or child care, including overnight services. The purpose is to maintain a family having a crisis.
    2. There is probability of continued out-of-home placement and indication that HSS intervention will enhance family reunification.
    3. There is need to provide supportive services to a family when a child returns home from out-of-home placement.
    4. There is need to provide support services to foster parents or relative care providers in order to stabilize and maintain placement.
  4. Except in case of emergency provision of service, the social worker initiates a case planning staffing with the HSS and other appropriate individuals prior to initiation of services to set FHSS service planning goals and expectations and to discuss any issues the HSS should be aware of in dealing with the family. The social worker informs the HSS of any known or suspected issues affecting personal safety prior to contact with the family.
  5. On-going case consultation between the HSS and the assigned social worker shall occur on a regular basis. As part of regular supervisory conferences, review of the need for continued FHSS shall occur.