Frequently Asked Questions

Parents and Caregivers

  1. How do I handle misbehavior from my child?
  2. How old does a child have to be to stay home by him/herself?
  3. How do I toilet train my child?
  4. What is normal teenage behavior?
  5. What if my teen is becoming a parent?
  6. What can I do to help prevent youth violence?
  7. What are the dangers of shaking a baby?
  8. What should I know about attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?

Reporting Abuse and Neglect

  1. How do I make a referral? (Should I report this?)
  2. What happens if I make a report to Children Services and Children Services does not find abuse or neglect? Could I be found liable?
  3. What can happen if I fail to make a report?
  4. What can happen to someone who makes a false report to Children Services?
  5. If a referral is made about a child currently at school, will you come to the school to start the investigation?

Programs and Services

  1. What FCCS services can be of help to my family?
  2. What other services can be of help to my family?
  3. What is foster care?
  4. What is adoption?
  5. What volunteer opportunities do you have?
  6. Do you have employment opportunities?

Community Resources and Information

  1. What are the statistics concerning abuse in Franklin County?
  2. Who else can I contact for information or resources (food/clothing/shelter) for my family?
  3. Do you have a report to the community?
  4. Does FCCS do speaking engagements?

Clients and Families Involved with FCCS

  1. What happens if my children must leave home?
  2. Who do I call if I am unhappy about how my Children Services case is being handled?
  3. When and where is my court date?
  4. Who reported me to Children Services?
  5. Who is my caseworker?

Parents and Caregivers

  1. How do I handle misbehavior from my child?

    Every child misbehaves from time to time. When your child misbehaves, it is your job as a parent to respond to your child and teach your child the appropriate behavior. To encourage good behavior: set a few clear rules, be consistent, be firm but fair, and be encouraging when your child behaves well. To deal with misbehavior, try timeouts, tuning out (when your child is trying to provoke you), or removing privileges. Physical punishment is not a good idea because it teaches a child to use violence to solve problems. It may also lead to injury. If you feel you are losing control, take a deep breath and count to 10.

    If you need further help, call Franklin County Children Services at (614) 229-7000 or Hands on Central Ohio at 2-1-1.

  2. How old does a child have to be to stay home by him/herself?

    No specific age recommendation can be given because it depends on the individual child. Many children are not mature enough to stay home alone until they are at least 12 years old. At the same time, some 10 year olds are very responsible and are able to stay at home for a short time after school until a parent comes home. Yet, there are some teenagers who can never be trusted to be home alone. Click here to download a printable flyer on this topic.

    To help everything run smoothly when you can't be home, set rules, post important phone numbers, teach practical skills and plan for emergencies.

    There may be resources available in your area to help supervise your child, such as: school programs, community youth programs, recreation departments, community centers, neighborhood groups, libraries, places of worship, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, United Way, or local colleges and universities. Check your local phone book, newspaper and government offices to learn what's available in your community.

    If you need further help, call Franklin County Children Services at (614) 229-7000 or Hands on Central Ohio at 2-1-1.

  3. How do I toilet train my child?

    Using the toilet is a complex skill. Before being fully trained, a child must be able to: be aware of the need to go, resist the urge to go, communicate the need to go, and release urine and bowel movements. Toilet training can also be an emotional challenge. Understand that each child is different, and each trains at different rates and ages. Be patient and keep stress low by not shaming or punishing a child for accidents. Use praise for any effort to use the toilet. Be flexible as to how they use the toilet (sitting down or standing up), and don't take it personally if they don't get it quickly. Relax, your child will learn eventually!

    If you need further help, call Franklin County Children Services at (614) 229-7000 or Hands on Central Ohio at 2-1-1.

  4. What is normal teenage behavior?

    The teenage years are a time of great change physically, mentally and emotionally. Only when your child was a baby did he or she grow faster. Some common teenage traits include: self-centeredness, idealism, critical of self and others, rebelliousness, and being more interested in friends than family members. These traits may seem unpleasant at times, but are normal and usually temporary.

    To an extreme, they can lead, however, to common problems, such as alcohol and drug use, school violence, sexual activity, eating disorders, and depression or suicide. You can reduce the risks by being available to your child, starting conversations, really listening to your teen, setting clear boundaries, and not judging your teen. Make the most of your time together and try to have a least one family meal per day.

    There are some warning signs that your teen may need help. Watch for these signs: isolation, changes in eating or sleeping habits, problems at school and/or home, changes in friends, use of alcohol or drugs, major mood swings, or suicidal thoughts. You can get help for your teen with the assistance of a health care provider, school counselors, local mental health centers and agencies, private therapists, or religious leaders.

    If you need further help, call Franklin County Children Services at (614) 229-7000 or Hands on Central Ohio at 2-1-1.

    If your teen is suicidal, call the National Hopeline Network at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or 9-1-1. Stay with your teen until help arrives.

  5. What if my teen is becoming a parent?

    One in 10 young women between the ages of 15 and 19 becomes pregnant each year. Having and raising a child involves special considerations for teenagers. Because of their youth, many teenagers are emotionally and physically unprepared for parenthood. Also, many teenagers do not know about or do not use the services that are available to help them.

    Becoming a teenage parent often means a sudden, drastic change in lifestyle. New problems and responsibilities may include: deciding about marriage, finding a home, learning parenting skills, dealing with others, handling finances, and finding work. Teenage parents also need to tend to their own needs and not forget about family planning for the future. Teen parents can find help from family planning clinics, local and county health departments, social service agencies, and special programs for teenage parents through public or private sources.

    If you need further help, call Franklin County Children Services at (614) 229-7000 or Hands on Central Ohio at 2-1-1.

  6. What can I do to help prevent youth violence?

    Don't accept youth violence as a way of life! Help promote peace instead. Youth violence comes at a high cost. It can cause property damage, emotional damage, physical injuries or death, and create a climate of fear. Of those arrested for serious crimes, 40% are under age 18.

    Solving the problem takes a united effort – one that includes other adults, young people and you. You can help make your community safer by joining efforts to help prevent youth violence; working with police and sheriff departments, schools, churches and community groups; supporting recreational and educational programs for young people; and encouraging multicultural awareness. You can also encourage peace by setting a positive example by resolving conflicts peacefully, getting to know your neighbors, supporting local schools, and keeping your neighborhood safe and clean.

    If you need further help, call Franklin County Children Services at (614) 229-7000 or Hands on Central Ohio at 2-1-1.

  7. What are the dangers of shaking a baby?

    Shaking a baby could lead to brain damage, blindness, bleeding, mental retardation, or death for the baby. Children under 2 years old are most at risk, as their heads and necks are very weak.

    If you feel you are losing control of your temper, there are steps you can take. Be patient. Your baby is not trying to upset you by crying. Sometimes they cry just to blow off steam. Take a break. Make sure your baby is safe and then go into another room or ask for help from a friend or relative.

    You can also get help by calling a health care provider, taking a parenting class, or by joining a support group for new parents.

    If you need further help, call Franklin County Children Services at (614) 229-7000 or Hands on Central Ohio at 2-1-1.

  8. What should I know about attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?

    ADHD is a medical condition that makes it hard for a person to pay attention and/or control his or her actions. The exact cause of ADHD is unknown, but may be linked to a chemical imbalance in the brain, may be inherited, or may be caused by a child's environment.

    Only a team of qualified professionals can say for sure if a child has ADHD, but symptoms may include: poor attention span, weak impulse control, and/or hyperactivity. It may be difficult to tell symptoms of ADHD apart from behavior common to children before age 5.

    ADHD can be treated through behavior modification, counseling, medication, and/or educational planning. Support for parents with children with ADHD can be found by talking to people in your community (school staff, health care providers, etc.), through local libraries, or by calling Children and Adults with ADHD (CHADD) at 1-800-233-4050.

    If you need further help, call Franklin County Children Services at (614) 229-7000 or Hands on Central Ohio at 2-1-1.

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Reporting Abuse and Neglect

  1. How do I make a referral? (Should I report this?)

    The first step in helping abused or neglected children is learning to recognize the signs of child abuse and neglect. The presence of a single sign does not prove child abuse is occurring in a family, but a closer look at the situation may be warranted when these signs appear repeatedly or in combination. Check out our Child Abuse and Neglect page and our Guidelines: What You Need to Know About Child Abuse and Neglect publication which covers recognizing signs of abuse and neglect and what the referral source can expect from the intake, assessment and investigation processes.

    To file a report, contact Franklin County Children Services at (614) 229-7000 or your local police department. An additional resource for information and referral is the Childhelp® National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453).

  2. What happens if I make a report to Children Services and Children Services does not find abuse or neglect? Could I be found liable?

    If a person makes a report in good faith, that person is immune from civil or criminal liability.

  3. What can happen if I fail to make a report?

    If a mandated reporter fails to report abuse or neglect to Children Services or a law enforcement agency, that person could be charged with a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. If the child is under the direct care or supervision of the mandated reporter, the reporter fails to make a report, and the child suffers injury, then the offence could be a misdemeanor of the first degree.

    To file a report, contact Franklin County Children Services at (614) 229-7000 or your local police department. An additional resource for information and referral is the Childhelp® National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453).

  4. What can happen to someone who makes a false report to Children Services?

    A person who knowingly makes a false report to Children Services could be charged with a misdemeanor of the first degree.

  5. If a referral is made about a child currently at school, will you come to the school to start the investigation?

    Not necessarily. Franklin County Children Services cannot interview children without the consent of their parents unless:

    • There is credible information indicating the child is in immediate danger of serious harm
    • The child will be in immediate danger of serious harm upon returning home from school
    • There is credible information indicating the child may be intimidated by discussing the allegations at home
    • The child requests to be interviewed at school due to one of the circumstances listed above

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Programs and Services

  1. What FCCS services can be of help to my family?

    Children Services offers services including:

    • Investigation of child abuse and neglect
    • Protective services and case management
    • Services to adolescents
    • Services to unmarried parents
    • Counseling services
    • Home-based services
    • Homemaker/home management services
    • Volunteer services
    • Medical services for children
    • Psychiatric and psychological services for children
    • Emancipation and independent living services for youth 16 years and older
    • Adoption services for children of all ages
    • Family preservation services

    For more information, call Franklin County Children Services at (614) 229-7100.

  2. What other services can be of help to my family?

    Children Services makes referrals to community agencies for the following supportive services:

    • Mental health services
    • Parenting education
    • Drug and alcohol assessment and treatment
    • Assistance with day care
    • Services to help the healthy development of children
    • Material assistance
    • Housing
    • Services for troubled teens
    • Head Start for all pre-school age children

    For more information, call Franklin County Children Services at (614) 275-2523 or Hands on Central Ohio at 2-1-1.

  3. What is foster care?

    Children Services is the agency mandated by law to protect children from mistreatment. The Agency also provides supportive services to keep families together. However, when a child cannot safely live with their own family, he or she may be placed with a foster care family. Youngsters are typically placed with foster families because of abuse, neglect, or unstable family situations.

    The job of fostering has some very specific requirements. Foster parents provide temporary care for children whose families are experiencing a crisis. Most often the goal of foster care is to reunify children with their birth families, and the foster parents will be expected to work jointly with the agency to achieve this goal.

  4. What is adoption?

    Adoption is the permanent, legal transfer of all parental rights and responsibilities from one family to another family. Adoptive parents have the same rights and responsibilities as parents whose children are born to them. Adoption is the first step to a lifelong commitment of sharing your life with a child who has had an abusive or neglectful past.

    If you are interested in adopting a child with Franklin County Children Services, please call us at (614) 341-6060, or fill out an inquiry form.

  5. What volunteer opportunities do you have?

    You can become a Friendship Volunteer or a Simba, Malaika, or College Bound Mentor if you are at least 18 years old and have a valid driver's license. It is preferable that applicants have an automobile. All volunteers and mentors are asked to maintain a consistent relationship with their mentee (meeting at least twice per month) for a minimum of six months. Volunteers are also needed for our Holiday Wish program and the Crisis Center.

    If you are interested in becoming a volunteer with Franklin County Children Services, please call us at (614) 275-2690, or click here for more information.

  6. Do you have employment opportunities?

    Check out our employment page for a current list of open positions.

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Community Resources and Information

  1. What are the statistics concerning abuse in Franklin County?

    In 2016, the total number of children served by Franklin County Children Services was 32,941. The total number of children served in placement was 4,103. For complete information click here to view our statistical analysis.

  2. Who else can I contact for information or resources (food/clothing/shelter) for my family?

    If you have a caseworker, talk to him/her about assistance, otherwise you may call Hands on Central Ohio at 2-1-1 or check out our Community Resources page.

  3. Do you have a report to the community?

    Yes, our report to the community features a message from the director and information about FCCS, including financial information and statistics.

  4. Does FCCS do speaking engagements?

    Professionals from Franklin County Children Services are available to speak to local groups and organizations. Presentations can be designed to fit a group's program needs.

    To schedule a speaker, call (614) 275-2780 or click here to send an email. Please allow two to three weeks notice prior to the event.

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Clients and Families Involved with FCCS

  1. What happens if my child must leave home?

    All children deserve a safe home. In an effort to ensure this, they may be placed temporarily in the most home-like setting available. That setting may include: a relative's home (kinship home), a foster home, a group home, a residential facility as close to home as possible, or an adoptive home (if permanency is the goal).

  2. Who do I call if I am unhappy about how my Children Services case is being handled?

    Ohio and federal law provides specific safeguards for your rights while you are receiving services from Franklin County Children Services. Additional questions regarding your rights can be discussed with staff or anyone in the Office of Client Rights. Click here to view client rights information. For more information, call Franklin County Children Services at (614) 275-2621.

  3. When and where is my court date?

    Your caseworker should know the time and location of your court date. You may also call the Franklin County Clerk of Courts at (614) 525-4411 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to learn your court date.

  4. Can you tell me who reported me to Children Services?

    By law, this information is confidential and cannot be disclosed.

  5. Who is my caseworker?

    To learn your caseworker's contact information, call Franklin County Children Services at (614) 229-7100.

24-Hour Child Abuse Hotline
(614) 229-7000
General Inquiries
(614) 229-7100