What Happens After I File a Petition?When you first get protection, it's only temporary. The order is called a PPO. You must return to court on the date indicated in the PPO, usually about 15 days, so the judge can determine if a full Protective Order is necessary. Both you and the abuser will be asked to appear in court on that date. During the 15-day period, the police will serve the abuser with a copy of the order, so the abuser will know when the hearing is scheduled.
How Can I Get Protection?To get a protective order, the abused person will file a petition in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Division. Each county has its own filing procedure.
How Can a Restraining Order Help Me?
A restraining order can do the following:
- The court can order the abuser not to have any contact with you, in person or by phone, at home, work or almost anywhere you ask the court to put in the order. The order against contact may also protect other people in your family.
- The court can order the abuser to leave the house or apartment that you and the abuser share, even if it is the abuser’s home.
- Grant you custody of your minor children.
- Order the abuser to pay child support and support you.
- Order the abuser to pay for costs that resulted from the abuse; for example, household bills that are due right away, medical/dental treatment, moving expenses, loss of earnings
- Order the abuser to pay attorney’s fees, and can make the abuser pay damages to you or other people who helped you or got hurt by the abuser
- Order the abuser to receive professional domestic violence counseling, or tell the abuser to go get evaluated or go to AA or NA
What Type of Protective Orders are Available?
1. Emergency Protective Order (EPO): Expires at the end of the third day following issuance or the next day court
is in session, whichever is later)
2. Preliminary Protective Order (PPO): Lasts up to 15 days or until a full hearing.
3. Final Protective Order: Can last up to two (2) years.
How long does it take to become a foster/adoptive parent?It typically takes a family between three and four months to become an approved foster/adoptive parent after completing all in-service training. The time can vary depending on how quickly families complete the requirements.
Would a child's biological family be involved while a child is living in my home?Yes, in most circumstances a child’s family remains involved with their child while they are in foster care. Department of Social Service Family Service Specialists will help coordinate contact and visits. Regular contact with their biological families is very important. Foster parents have a big role in supporting a child’s connection with their family.
How long is temporary?
A child’s stay in foster care may be as short as overnight or may be much longer. Some children in foster care become permanent members of a family or are adopted. Each child’s journey is unique but is important to understand that the goal of foster care is for a child to be reunified with his family.
What is the goal of foster care?The goal of foster care is to provide a safe, stable, nurturing temporary home and services for children who cannot presently remain in their own home.
Who are foster children?The children range in age from newborn to 18 years. The majority of the children we work with have experienced abuse and neglect. Many of them also may have emotional issues, behavioral problems, school difficulties, developmental delays, or are members of sibling groups who need to stay together. These children represent a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds. There is a specific need for foster homes for children ages 7 and older.
How do I become a Foster Parent?Contact the Foster Parent Trainer by phone or e-mail and introduce yourself. You will then be invited to attend an orientation session that will give you a brief overview of the process and our program. After attending orientation and completing an application you will be required to complete 27 hours of pre-service training. During the pre-service training you will meet with a Family Assessment Specialist to complete a home study and other required paperwork.
Who are Foster Parents?Foster Parents can be single adults and/or married couples. They are financially stable, have adequate bedroom space and meet all state required criminal clearances. They have a love of children and believe in the unique potential of every child. They provide children with guidance, structure, supervision, safety, and discipline. Foster parents appreciate being part of a supportive system of other parents and professionals working together to changes the lives of children.
Is the purpose of CPS to take children out of the home?In accordance with the Code of Virginia, Social Services also provides foster care prevention/ongoing Child Protective Services. The purpose of this unit is to provide services to prevent further abuse or neglect of a child and to prevent the removal of the child from his/her home. If your family has been referred to ongoing/prevention services one of the following has occurred:
You have voluntarily agreed to work with Social Services to find parenting solutions.
A family assessment has been completed with your family.
A CPS investigation has been completed with your family.
There is a current Court Order indicating that Social Services shall provide services to your family.
There are risk factors and concerns that have been identified surrounding the children and caretakers in your home/family.
There are risk factors that indicate your child is at risk of abuse or neglect or your child is at risk of removal from your home.
Prevention services will work in partnership with the family and other community resources to identify specific behaviors and environmental conditions that need to change to prevent further abuse or neglect and to provide a safe environment for the family and their children).
Does CPS provide foster Care Services?The CPS unit also provides foster care prevention services to families referred by the community and by Court Order. In addition, the CPS unit attempts outreach to prevent child abuse or neglect by addressing risk issues before they result in maltreatment of children.
What system is in place to protect children?CPS utilizes a Differential Response System. Once an incoming call/referral is determined to be valid, the Differential Response then helps the local agency determine if the referral will be a Family Assessment or an Investigation. The Structured Decision Making tool helps staff determine if the valid concern should be a Family Assessment or an Investigation. The Family Assessment process is service oriented, strength based and non-punitive. The Investigation Process determines if abuse or neglect have occurred and makes a finding of Founded or Unfounded. During both a Family Assessment and Investigation, safety of the child is addressed as well as risk of future harm.
What happens when a concern is reported to a local agency?When concerns are reported to the local agency, staff have to first determine if the concerns reported are valid (need attention) or invalid (do not meet criteria for agency follow through). Staff use SDM to assist in making this decision.
Who is eligible for services?Children's Services may be available to a child who meets at least (1) of the following descriptions:
- Youth who require private placement for special education.
- Youth who are in foster care or eligible for foster care services.
- Youth who are eligible for services through a Child in Need of Services Parental Agreement.
- Youth who have significant emotional or behavioral problems and may require services not available from our agency, require services of multiple agencies, or may be at risk of residential placement.
What is the Children's Services Process?
Understanding the local Children's SA process:
- You should be given information on the local CSA process and timelines for receiving referrals.
- Your FAPT should notify you before your child is assessed for services.
- You should be able to understand the information you receive and itshould be delivered inyour native language, if possible.
- You are to consent and agree inwriting before beginning any services, except when ordered by court.
- You may have the opportunity to read records, challenge information, give permission for release of records and be provided a written copy of the records unless ordered otherwise by the court.
- You have the ability to receive assistance from someone assigned toyou as the case manager from the FAPT as well as members of your family, friends, advocates or other identified members of your support system.
- You will have the opportunity to review the Individual Family Services Plan.
- You can disagree with any part of the services plan, and you can place your concerns in writing to the FAPT and/or CPMT.
- You are to participate and be present for the entire FAPT meeting to discuss your child and family's situation,as well as participate in decision that apply to you and your family.
- You should be given information on the local CSA process and timelines for receiving referrals.
How does Children's Services work?
Once a FAPT meeting is scheduled:
- The child and family take an active part of the FAPT meeting to discuss their needs.
- A service plan is developed.
- The family signs the service plan, if they agree with the plan.
- Services begin as soon as possible.
- If the family disagrees with the plan, they may ask for a review with the local CPMT.
- Emergency Services may begin immediately, if needed
- Parents will be screened and may be required to make co-payments for non-foster care services
- Parents may be required to make child support payments for foster care services
- Parents are not required to make co-payments for special education services.
Who is involved in Children's Services?
Community Policy and Management Team
Community Policy & Management Team (CPMT) help coordinates agency efforts, manages the available funds, and sees that eligible youth and their families are referred to appropriate services.
Family Assessment and Planning Team (FAPT)
FAPT looks at the strengths and needs of the youth and families; works with the families; recommends services; and prepares a services plan that is agreed upon by the family and professionals.
The local government appoints team members from the following: COV(2.2-5204)
- One elected or appointed official or designee
- Local Agency Heads or their designee from Community Services Board, Court Services Unit, Department of Social Services, Department of Health, and Department of Education
- Private Provider (if in locality)
- A local government official
- A local law enforcement official
- Representative of other public agencies
Economic Assistance/Benefit Programs provide medical, financial and food assistance to the residents of Bedford, paid from Federal, State, and Local funds. These programs span both the Adult Division and Families and Children Division.
Auxiliary Grants (AG)
Auxiliary Grants (AG) are a supplement to income for recipients of Supplemental Security Income and other low-income aged, blind, or disabled individuals residing in licensed assisted living facilities.
The grant amount received by eligible individuals includes a small personal allowance plus the difference between their own income and the state reimbursed rate for assisted living level of care. Auxiliary Grant recipients also receive medical assistance through the Medicaid program. The Auxiliary Grant Program is a state (80%) and locally (20%) funded financial assistance program administered at the local level.
Child Care Services is a program that provides low-income families with funding to enhance the quality, affordability, and availability of child care.
Child Care Services assist low-income parents who are working and/or are attending school and whose children have child care needs. Child Care Services are also provided to families who are receiving Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) and are working towards economic self-sufficiency. With welfare reform's increased emphasis on employment, many single parent households become low-income working families. These services are designed to help parents locate affordable quality care to support their efforts toward greater self-sufficiency.
For more information regarding Child Care Services, please visit Virginia Department of Social Services.
Bedford County operates three federally mandated Energy Assistance Programs with heating and cooling components for all citizens with economic need.
During the summer, the Cooling Assistance Program provides for the purchase of window air conditioners and fans, or for repair of cooling equipment and/or payment for electricity for households containing a vulnerable individual who is aged, disabled, or under age six. Applications for Cooling Assistance can typically be submitted between June 15th and August 15th each year.
The Fuel Assistance Program helps with home heating fuel and related charges. Benefits are determined and authorizations for deliveries or services are sent to vendors in December. Applications for Fuel Assistance can be submitted starting on the 2nd Tuesday in October through the 2nd Friday in November each year.
Crisis Assistance Program is intended to meet a household's emergency heating needs. Assistance needed to purchase/repair heating equipment or a one-time only heating security deposit for the applicants’ heating source can be provided. Applications for this type of assistance open yearly from November 1st through March 15th.
Purchase of home heating fuel or payment of heat utility bill is also available. Applications for this type of assistance open on the 1st working day of January and extend until March 15th each year.
Each of the three components has income and non-financial requirements.
Food Assistance- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Food Assistance - Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/EBT/ WIC) are programs that provide benefits to eligible persons for the purchase of vital food items.
In October 2009, Virginia officially changed the name of the Food Stamp program to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP can be used like cash to buy eligible food items from authorized retailers. A SNAP account is established for eligible households and automatic deposits are made into the account each month. To access the account, participants will also receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Card, which will debit the account each time eligible food items are purchased. A secret Personal Identification Number (PIN) is required to use the card.
Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC) safeguards the health of low-income women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk by providing nutritious foods to supplement diets, information on healthy eating, and referrals to health care. The program is administered by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). A link has been provided here for applications. Apply here.
Medical Assistance Programs
Medical Assistance Programs (Medicaid) is a joint Federal and State program designed to provide essential medical and medically related services to the most vulnerable populations in our community. This vital program is the third largest source of health insurance after employer-based coverage and Medicare. It provides medical coverage to eligible low-income families, women, children, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities.
Long Term Care support in the form of Medicaid for nursing care or community based care and Auxiliary Grants for adult living facility care is provided through a specialized team of staff at Bedford County DSS who understand the complexities of these services. Family Service Specialists at Social Services complete assessments to decide the level of care needed. When a person is assessed as needing an assisted living level of care and meets financial criteria, an Auxiliary Grant supplements other income in an effort to meet the cost of care in an Assisted Living Facility. After evaluation, financially eligible individuals approved for nursing home level of care can receive that care either in the community or in the nursing home.
There are several Medical Assistance Programs offered in Virginia. Each program covers different groups of people and each program has different eligibility requirements. When you apply for Medical Assistance, you are screened for all possible programs based on your age, income, financial resources, and other information. To be eligible for a Medical Assistance Program, you must meet the financial and non-financial eligibility conditions for that program.
VDSS Covered Groups
- Children Under Age 19
- Parents & Caretakers of Dependent Children
- Pregnant Women
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Recipients
- Adults Aged 65 or Older, Blind or Disabled (not receiving SSI)
- Children or Adults Who Need Long-term Care in a Facility/Home & Community-based Care (Waiver) Services
- Individuals in Medical Institutions With Income < 300% of SSI
- Medicare Beneficiaries
- Plan First - Family Planning Services
- Breast & Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
Hospice. Pop Up- "Hospice" is a covered group of terminally ill individuals whose life expectancy is 6 months or less and who have voluntarily elected to receive hospice care. The term “hospice” is also used to refer to the covered service or a terminally ill Medicaid recipient, regardless of his covered group.
Hospice services can be provided in the individual’s home or in a medical facility, including a nursing facility.
Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) provides temporary financial assistance to eligible families.
A monthly cash payment is distributed to eligible families to meet their basic needs. The program is based upon the principles of personal responsibility, time-limited assistance, and work in exchange for benefits. TANF is the cash assistance component of the Virginia Independence Program (VIP) that helps families work toward their goal of total independence.
Virginia Initiative for Employment not Welfare (VIEW)
Virginia Initiative for Employment not Welfare (VIEW) provides employment education, training and support services to qualified Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) recipients.
VIEW, Virginia's welfare reform program, is designed to encourage self-sufficiency through a "work first" philosophy. VIEW offers recipients the opportunity to work and continue to receive some TANF benefits and supportive services. VIEW also encourages personal responsibility. In addition to employment, other VIEW work activities can include on-the-job training or community work experience for at least the minimum federally required hours per week. VIEW participants can also participate in optional transitional services such as child care.
Simple Solution Career and Support Center
All of Bedford County’s VIEW participants are eligible to receive supportive services from Simple Solution. Simple Solution is a private non-profit contracted by Bedford County Department of Social Services to provide job readiness training and support. Simple Solution works with participants to build skills needed to obtain and keep employment. The center uses the “Bridges Out of Poverty” philosophy and uses the “Getting Ahead in a Just Getting By World” curriculum.
The mission of Simple Solution is to provide career resources and services to prepare a workforce that is informed, capable and ready for work. Job seeker assistance at the center is free and open to the public. Simple Solution is an inclusive "one-stop" center that can assist the individual in conducting a successful job search and provide guidance and support in all areas of your career advancement. Job search seminars are conducted on a regular basis. They are free and open to the public, however, registration is required. Transportation is provided and is free.
The Simple Solution Career and Support Center has all the tools you need to help in your job search. Services that are available include:
- Internet ready computer
- Resume software and services
- Cover letters and job searches
- Fax, phones, and copier
- Resource library
- TV/VCR, educational video
- Newspapers and magazines
- Experienced career counselors
- Skill assessment
- Local employment information
- Access to employer websites
- Tools to help you apply online and access your own e-mail account
The Simple Solution Career and Support Center also provides training to help participants advance in their journey to improved employment:
- Skill Assessment
- Understanding Attire/Dress
- Mock Interviews
- Money Management/Budgeting
- Help understanding and repairing your credit report
- Proper Nutrition
Transportation to and from class is provided.
204 East Main Street
Bedford, VA 24523
Office hours are 9-4 M-F
Class: Monday-Friday 9-1