Family and Children Services

The Habersham County Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) investigates child abuse; finds foster homes for abused and neglected children; helps low income, out-of-work parents get back on their feet; assists with childcare costs for low income parents who are working or in job training; and provides numerous support services and innovative programs to help troubled families.

DFCS is overseen locally by the Division of Family and Children Services Board as mandated by the Georgia Public Welfare Act of 1937. This Board is responsible for the administration of all public assistance and child welfare programs in the county in accordance with state law.

DFCS is responsible for welfare and employment support, protecting children, foster care and other services to strengthen families. The three most notable services are food stamps, Medicaid and TANF.

Food Stamps

The Georgia Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as the Food Stamp Program, is a federally-funded program that provides monthly benefits to low-income households to help pay for the cost of food. A household may be one person living alone, a family, or several unrelated individuals living together who routinely purchase and prepare meals together.

Anyone may apply for food stamp benefits. The program helps households that have limited income and resources.

Medicaid

Medicaid provides health care services to individuals that meet the requirements for income, resources and citizenship. Individuals may apply for Medicaid at any local DFCS office, by mail, telephone, fax, email or at designated agencies.

PeachCare for Kids

PeachCare for Kids is a Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) sponsored program that provides comprehensive health care to children through the age of 18 who do not qualify for Medicaid and live in households with incomes at or below 235% of the federal poverty level.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is the monthly cash assistance program with an employment services component for low-income families with children under age 18 and children age 18 and attending school full-time.

Cooperation with Georgia Department of Human Services Division of Child Support Services is a requirement of receiving TANF benefits unless good cause can be established.  

Commodity Food Assistance Programs

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) is a federal program that helps supplement the diets of low income persons in Georgia, including the elderly, by providing them with emergency food and nutrition assistance at no cost.

The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) is a federal program that helps supplement the diets of low income elderly, 60 or older, pregnant women and children up to age 6 in Georgia by providing them with nutritious commodities and nutrition education at no cost. Applicants for CSFP must apply for and meet certain eligibility requirements before being determined eligible to receive CSFP products.

Energy Assistance

The Energy Assistance Program (EAP) pays for some home heating and cooling costs for low-income eligible families including crisis.

Applications for all energy assistance programs can be made through a local Community Action Agency or non-profit organization. The assistance is available in all 159 counties in Georgia.

The general public cannot apply for Regular Energy Assistance until the first of December each year. Application should be made at West Central Georgia Community Action Council, Hwy 90 E. Vienna Rd., Montezuma, Phone: (478) 472-3607, Fax: (478) 472-3609.

Subsidized Child Care Assistance

Subsidized child care in Georgia is provided through the Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) program to help low income families afford quality child care. The CAPS program is administered in all 159 Georgia counties through the county Department of Family and Children Services.

Child Abuse and Neglect

Child Protective Services staff investigates reports of child abuse or neglect and provides services to protect the child and strengthen the family.

Every child needs to be treasured, protected and nurtured. Unfortunately, some parents can't -- or won't -- care for their children. When they neglect or abuse them, someone must step in to ensure the children's safety. That's the job of DFCS, along with the police and the courts.

To report child abuse, please call the DFCS Child Protective Center at 855-GACHILD/855-422-4453. Reports are taken 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you have an immediate emergency, please call 911 or your local police department.

Foster Care

DFCS is responsible for assuring that children are safe from abuse and neglect. When DFCS determines it is not safe for a child to remain in the home of his or her caregiver, the child is placed in foster care. Foster care is intended to be a temporary home away from home while the agency works with the child’s family to eliminate or minimize the safety issues that caused agency involvement.

DFCS’s goal is to return children safely to their families as soon as possible, but only after the safety issues have been resolved.

Interested in volunteering as a foster parent? Contact the foster care and adoption recruitment intake line at 877-210-KIDS.

Adoption

The local county Department of Family and Children Services provides Adoption Services based on the premise that a permanent, safe home is the right of every child. All children have a right to a family and a home of their own. When a permanent home is not provided by the birth family and permanent, legal separation from them is necessary, adoption services are provided.

DFCS Local Board

The local DFCS office is overseen and assisted by the Habersham County DFCS Board. The role of local County DFCS Boards is a combination of advocacy, resource development, political activism, staff relations, customer service, and administrative functions.

When the DFCS Boards were first created, local county boards had limited authority over county operations. That has changed over the past several decades to more of a supportive role. The Board’s primary role is to be the link between the agency and the community.