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FAQ

 

Family and Children Services, Divison FAQ's

What is SNAP?
How do I apply for Food Stamps, Medicaid, or childcare assistance?
How do I check the status of my Food Stamps, Medicaid or TANF case?
What number do I fax verification to?
Can I receive Relative Care/Enhance Care Subsidy along with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)?
When should a letter be received notifying me of a scheduled review for Food Stamps/TANF/Medicaid?
What should I do when I receive my review letter past the appointment date?
How long does it take for benefits to post to an EBT card after approval?
How can I get a new case worker?
Can I still receive benefits if I disagree with denial at re-certification interview?
How do I find out who my caseworker is?
What is the phone number for my caseworker?
I have called the worker and supervisor and have not received a return call, what should I do now?
Can you expedite my application for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP [i.e. Food Stamps]) and Medicaid?
I received notification that my household's application for Medicaid was approved, but learned later that an adult household member was not included. Why did I receive notification of approval?
Can I apply for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP [i.e. Food Stamps]) and Medicaid on-line?
How do I report child abuse?
What is a Relative Care Subsidy?
What is a case plan?
What are Homestead services?
What is a Mandated Reporter?
What does substantiated mean?
How long is a Child Protective Services (CPS) Investigation?
What is a safety resource placement?
What is a 72 hour hearing?
What is the chain of command in a county office?
What is a SAAG?
What is Deprivation?
What does ICPC mean?
What is Termination of Parental Rights (TPR)?
What is a GAL?
What is a CASA?
How do I obtain a court appointed attorney?
What if I have a complaint on the Judge in my case?
What is a Safety Plan?
How do I report fraud?
 

 

 

Q: What is SNAP?

A: SNAP is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program still referred to as the Food Stamp Program in Georgia.

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Q: How do I apply for Food Stamps, Medicaid, or childcare assistance?

A: Apply on-line for Food Stamps and Childcare at www.compass.ga.gov or contact your local DFCS office. Medicaid applications must be submitted to your local office.

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Q: How do I check the status of my Food Stamps, Medicaid or TANF case?

A: Check My Benefits module is available for Food Stamps, Medicaid, TANF and Childcare at www.compass.ga.gov. You must have you client ID to create a benefits account to access this module. The DFCS Customer Contact Center is also available for inquiries at 1-877-423-4746.

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Q: What number do I fax verification to?

A: When you are interviewed, if verification is needed, the worker should provide you with their fax number. Verification can also be faxed to 1-888-740-9355, the fax for the constituent services section.

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Q: Can I receive Relative Care/Enhance Care Subsidy along with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)?

A: No, you only have the option of one. However, Relative Care/Enhance Care Subsidy tends to be more than TANF.

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Q: When should a letter be received notifying me of a scheduled review for Food Stamps/TANF/Medicaid?

A: Different periods of eligibility from three to six months are assigned to cases based on who is in a household. For example households consisting of mothers and children receive a certification of six months and households where all members are elderly or disabled receive a certification of 12 months. Review letters are normally mailed out by the 25th of the month previous to the month the review is due.

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Q: What should I do when I receive my review letter past the appointment date?

A: Please contact your local DFCS office and inform them of the delay in mail. Once this has been done, request that your review appointment be rescheduled.

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Q: How long does it take for benefits to post to an EBT card after approval?

A: At application, if you have never had a case, it takes 5-7 days to receive an EBT card.
At review, unless your case has been closed, you will receive benefits on your normal issuance cycle.
At review, if your case has been closed and you are being recertified after your normal issuance cycle, it takes 2 days for benefits to post to your EBT card.

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Q: How can I get a new case worker?

A: You may request a new case worker by contacting your local County DFCS Director. The request may or may not be approved.

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Q: Can I still receive benefits if I disagree with denial at re-certification interview?

A: Yes. You may request a fair hearing and request that you continue to receive benefits while the hearing is pending. The request to continue to receive benefits must be made within 12 days of receiving notice of the closure. You may be required to repay the benefits if the hearing decision is not made in your favor.

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Q: How do I find out who my caseworker is?

A: You may contact your local DFCS office or contact the OFI Customer Contact Center at 1-877-423-4746.

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Q: What is the phone number for my caseworker?

A: You may contact your local DFCS office or contact the OFI Customer Contact Center at 1-877-423-4746.

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Q: I have called the worker and supervisor and have not received a return call, what should I do now?

A: Contact their supervisor, which is typically your local DFCS Administrator.

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Q: Can you expedite my application for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP [i.e. Food Stamps]) and Medicaid?

A: Benefits for Food Stamps can be expedited if you meet any of the following criteria in the month of the application:

  • has less than $150 in monthly gross countable income and liquid resources of $100 or less
  • OR

  • Is a destitute migrant or seasonal farm worker whose liquid resources do not exceed $100. Only migrant or seasonal farm worker may be considered destitute. Special rules apply to the treatment of income, resources and deductions for destitute migrant or non-migrant seasonal farm workers for an entitled to expedited application processing.

If not expedited, it takes a Food Stamp application up to 30 days to be completed, while Family Medicaid takes up to 45 days to be completed. Applications for Aged, Blind or Disabled Medicaid takes up to 60 days to be completed.

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Q: I received notification that my household's application for Medicaid was approved, but learned later that an adult household member was not included. Why did I receive notification of approval?

A: There are different categories of Medicaid for adults and children as well as income qualifications. In many cases, the adult may not be eligible based on the income limit and the children are.

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Q: Can I apply for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP [i.e. Food Stamps]) and Medicaid on-line?

A: Currently, Food Stamps can be applied for on-line at www.compass.ga.gov. 

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Q: How do I report child abuse?

A: Contact the local DFCS office in your county or the local police department.
After hours (between 5 p.m. and 8:30 a.m.) call 1-855-GACHILD

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Q: What is a Relative Care Subsidy?

A: Relative Care Subsidy (RCS) is a when a child’s income/benefits are diverted to the relative caregiver once the child is transferred from the legal custody of DFCS, by the courts, to the permanent legal custody of an approved relative caregiver.

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Q: What is a case plan?

A: This is a written agreement that defines those actions that will allow a family to achieve a level of functioning, ensures protection and safety of children and eliminates, or significantly decreases, the risk of maltreatment. It includes developing measurable and specific outcomes directly related to the maltreatment and to risk reduction. Outcomes/goals are broken down into specific steps with time frames for accomplishment and review.

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Q: What are Homestead services?

A: This is the department’s most intensive family preservation service. It is a contracted service. It is a family focused, crisis-oriented, short-term (180 days), intensive in-home counseling program for families with children at risk of foster care placement. Homestead services may also be provided to families who are ready for reunification.

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Q: What is a Mandated Reporter?

A: Effective July 1, 2012, House Bill 1176 amended O.C.G.A. 19-7-5, Georgia's mandatory reporter statute, to expand the categories of professionals required to report child abuse and to add clarifying definitions to the categories already in place.
 
The existing category of "child service organization personnel" was clarified through a broad definition that now includes employees or volunteers in the public, private, for-profit and non-profit sectors that provide "care, treatment, education, training, supervision, coaching, counseling, recreational programs, or shelter to children."  Clergy were not specifically added to the list of mandated reporters; however, if a clergyman falls within any of the classes of persons who must report under the mandated reporter statute O.C.G.A. 19-7-5, the clergyman must report unless the information was obtained in the context of a confession or similar context.

The above expansion of professionals and clarification of “child service organization personnel definition” now means any person employed by or volunteering at a business or organization that provides care, treatment, education, training, supervision, coaching, counseling, recreational programs or shelter to children is now included in the mandated reporter statute and is hence a mandated reporter.  A copy of the revised mandated reporter letter attached must be mailed to each mandated reporter making a report.

The statute requires that an oral report be provided to DHS/DFCS within 24 hours of the time the reporter learns of the suspected abuse or maltreatment.  Reports may be made to law enforcement or the District Attorney if a DHS/DFCS report cannot be made.

Additionally, changes were made beyond the definition provisions to permits photographs of a child's injuries to be taken without parental permission as documentary evidence. Previously photos could only be taken by hospital "staff," physicians, law enforcement personnel, school officials and staff of child protection agencies.  The limitation to "staff" has now been expanded to include "employees or volunteers" of hospitals and other child protection agencies.
 

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Q: What does substantiated mean?

A: An investigation disposition by a CPS investigator concludes, based on a preponderance of evidence collected, that the allegation of maltreatment as defined by state law and CPS procedure requirements is true.

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Q: How long is a Child Protective Services (CPS) Investigation?

A: An investigation lasts from 30 to 60 days and is dependent on the circumstances of the case.

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Q: What is a safety resource placement?

A: A safety resource placement is a temporary out of the home placement for a child until CPS completes an investigation or until further notice.

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Q: What is a 72 hour hearing?

A: This is the first hearing held after a child is placed in the custody of DFCS, this hearing is usually held within 3 business days.

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Q: What is the chain of command in a county office?

A: In the case of a complaint, first contact the case manager, then the supervisor, followed by the administrator, and lastly the county director.

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Q: What is a SAAG?

A: A Special Assistant to the Attorney General (SAAG), is the attorney who represents DFCS office.

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Q: What is Deprivation?

A: Deprivation is classified as when a child is without proper parental care or control, subsistence, education as required by law, or other care or control necessary for his physical, mental, or emotional health or morals; has been placed for care or adoption in violation of the law; has been abandoned by his parents or other legal custodian; or is without a parent, guardian, or custodian.

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Q: What does ICPC mean?

A: Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) states that the juvenile court system only has authority to place a child in institutional or foster care within the confines of our state. A juvenile court should not order a child to be placed outside of the State of Georgia without the cooperation and approval of the state where the child will reside.

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Q: What is Termination of Parental Rights (TPR)?

A: An order terminating parental rights ends all rights and obligations of the parent with respect to the child and/or the child to the parent, including the right of inheritance. The parent will have no right to object or not-object to the future adoption of that child into another home. The termination of one parent's rights with respect to the child has no effect on the rights of another legal parent to the care and control of that child.

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Q: What is a GAL?

A: The Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) is a trained professional appointed by the court to cases of minor children in disputed custody cases or DFCS cases.

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Q: What is a CASA?

A: A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is a trained community volunteer appointed by a judge to speak up for the best interests of an abused, neglected or abandoned child involved in a juvenile court deprivation proceeding. Bringing urgency to a child's needs, both in and out of a courtroom, CASA volunteers advocate for safety, permanence and well-being for children through independent recommendations.

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Q: How do I obtain a court appointed attorney?

A: You must go through your local court office. DFCS has no authority in this matter. Contact the court or the Georgia BAR association for issues concerning your court appointed attorney.

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Q: What if I have a complaint on the Judge in my case?

A: Contact the Judicial Qualification Commission at:

State of Georgia
8206 Hazelbrand Road Suite C
Covington, GA 30014
Work (770) 784-3189
Fax (770) 784-2454

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Q: What is a Safety Plan?

A: A safety plan is a response to each factor, identified on a safety assessment, which affects a child's immediate safety. It identifies the controls that are being put in place to ensure a child's immediate protection and safety. It also expands on the available resources, by identifying persons or agencies that will take responsibility for a child’s safety. Lastly, it provides a detailed description of the specific steps that everyone participating in the plan has agreed to for keeping a child safe. A safety plan is completed for every substantiated report and for any unsubstantiated case that is required to remain open (e.g. court-ordered supervision).

A plan can be completed at any time during an investigation once a safety assessment suggests a child might not be safe. There must be a plan in place by the time the investigation is completed.

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Q: How do I report welfare fraud?

A: Contact the fraud hotline at 1-877-423-4746.

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