Social Service Division
Intake Services Calls of concern are made to the 24-Hour Child Abuse & Neglect Hotline involving the safety and well-being of children. Accepted reports of child abuse and neglect are initially assessed and assigned to one of two pathways: Traditional Response or Alternative Response. Both pathways allow staff to address the unique safety concerns, risks and situations of each family in a way that is collaborative and respectful, with child safety being the primary goal. With Alternative Response, Intake caseworkers focus on the needs of the family and on rapid implementation of services and supports. Also within Intake Services is the Serious Trauma Assessment Team (STAT) Unit which was developed to identify a specialized team of caseworkers to handle serious trauma cases, human trafficking and abuse/neglect in out-of-home settings. This unit has specialized training in forensic interviewing for child sexual abuse, abusive head trauma, shaken baby, and other forms of child maltreatment.
Protective Services Caseworkers provide supportive counseling to children and families to strengthen family supports and maintain children safely in their own homes. Also within Protective Services is the Medically Fragile Unit. This unit provides service coordination to children/ families/ caretakers with open case plans with SCCS who have children with complex medical/developmental needs.
Social Service Programs
The following programs and services are housed in this department:
Thomas W. Blazey Family Interaction Center
Visitation services are provided to maintain placement stability and family connectedness for children in agency custody. The Blazey Family Interaction Center provides a safe and nurturing environment for family visits. Services include supervision and oversight of visits to ensure each child's safety, as well as parenting education and role modeling to increase the liklihood of family reunification.
The STARS Program
The STARS Program (Summit County Collaborative on Trauma, Alcohol & Other Drug & Resiliency Building Services for Children & Families) – SCCS continue to spearhead this multi-system collaboration that provides intensive trauma and treatment services to eligible families. With support from various community partners, services provided include in-home alcohol and other drug assessments, assigned Recovery Coaches, ongoing substance abuse treatment, the Nurturing Parenting Program, trauma screening and services, tutoring and mentoring for children. In 2016, 113 families were enrolled in the STARS Program.
The Family Meeting Unit
The Family Meeting Unit is a unit of trained facilitators who are social workers that bring together people who are interested in and care about the family. Team Decision Making (TDMs) meetings are held to ensure that the best possible decisions are made regarding the child's safety and placement. The TDM meetings focus on child safety and preserving family and community connections.
Placement & Permanency Planning Services
Caseworkers coordinate the placement of children in substitute care when they enter agency custody and seek permanency options when children become available for adoption. Services provided include: Kinship Care, Foster Care, Adoption, Independent Living and Transitional Housing Services.
Kinship Care & Navigator Services
Navigator Services of Summit County – (330) 996-1798 or (866) 996-1798
E-mail Address –firstname.lastname@example.org
Summit County Children Services believes that the best place for children to thrive is in their own homes. However, when a child has been abused or neglected and there is a need for placement outside of the home, whenever possible, children are placed with relatives or individuals considered to be “kin” to the child.
Kinship Care is an arrangement where grandparents, relatives, Godparents, or close family friends provide a child with a home to reside in, food to eat, clothing to wear, and unconditional love. Kinship Care is provided when a child’s parent(s) are unable to care for the child due to abuse and/or neglect, drug dependency, abandonment, incarceration, or death. Kinship Care arrangements may be formal or informal depending on the situation.
Kinship Care staff provide ongoing support to relative caregivers by identifying available community resources, answer questions and offer information and emotional support.
Navigator Services of Summit County
The primary goal of Navigator Services is to “navigate” kinship caregivers through various government and community programs and services. Navigator Services provides information and referral services for financial resources, day/evening child care, tangible resources such as appliances and beds, health and medical care, housing and legal information. The program also assists kinship caregivers in identifying their unique needs as well as offering individual support, advocacy and assistance to meet these needs.
NOTE: Navigator Services is available to ALL kinship caregivers residing in Summit County. The children DO NOT need to be involved with Summit County Children Services in order to access this service.
Services Provided to Youth
Independent Living Program
Summit County Children Services’ Independent Living Program serves children in agency care, 16 years and older, by preparing them for a successful transition from agency care to the world of work and further educational opportunities. A structured curriculum covers such topics as budgeting, meal planning, locating a residence, preparing for a job interview, etc. The program also stresses hands-on experiential work and participants are offered follow-along support in the community.
Transitional Housing Program
Summit County Children Services provides transitional housing and support services to youth adults aged 18 to 25 years who have previously been in agency care and become homeless. Program participants receive instruction and support in employment, education, budgeting, leisure time management, relationships and sexuality, career planning and other life skills to achieve self sufficiency and permanent housing.
Primary medical care for all children in agency custody -- which was formerly provided on-site at the agency's Thomas W. Blazey Diagnostic Center -- is now being provided by Akron Children's Hospital at the hospital's main campus. Dental care is now being provided by various community providers.
Community Education and Outreach
Northeast Ohio Regional Training Center (NEORTC)
Based at Summit County Children Services, the NEORTC is one of eight centers statewide that provides mandated child protective service training to staff and caregivers in 14 counties in Northeast Ohio as part of the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program. The staff of the center develop, contract, monitor, evaluate and track training based on the needs of more than 1,000 regional personnel and 1,400 caregivers.
Child and Family Leadership Exchange
Modeled after Leadership Akron, Child and Family Leadership Exchange incorporates a detailed examination of our local social services system and reviews techniques for impacting and advocating for improved services. Local professionals who serve children and families commit to one and one-half days per month for eight months to participate in class sessions and complete pre-class assignments. The goal of the program is to enhance talent, knowledge and leadership skills among family service providers for a stronger community.
Ambassador Speakers Bureau – (330) 379-1984
Staff and volunteers are available to speak to groups or organizations on numerous topics addressing agency services and child abuse/neglect awareness. In addition, a Positive Parenting Series featuring topics such as Praise and Encouragement, School Success, Handling Stress and Anger, as well as the “No More Bullies” training are offered. Presentations are available for professional trainings, schools, day care centers and places of worship.
Child & Family Awareness Month
This month-long series of free activities, held every April, is designed to build a solid foundation of community support for children and families. Coordinated by Summit County Children Services, agencies, organizations and businesses work together throughout the year to implement a broad range of activities and education.