Section 3: Functions of department; area-based service programs
Section 3. (a) The department shall provide comprehensive, area-based child welfare services. These services shall be organized by regions and areas consistent with those established by the secretary of health and human services under section 16 of chapter 6A.
(b) In order that the area-based services be adapted, organized and coordinated to meet the needs of certain population groups, the department shall provide programs for:
(1) families and children which shall, among other objectives, serve to assist, strengthen and encourage family life for the care and protection of children, assist and encourage the use by any family of all available resources to this end, and provide substitute care of children only when preventive services have failed and the family itself, or the resources needed and provided to the family, cannot insure the integrity of the family and the necessary care and protection to guarantee the rights of any child to sound health and normal physical, mental, spiritual and moral development; and
(2) other population groups which require special adaptation of the services provided because of special needs.
(c) The department shall:
(1) formulate the policies, procedures and rules necessary for the full and efficient implementation of programs authorized by the laws of the commonwealth and federal laws in the area of services for children and families;
(2) administer the services, funds and personnel necessary for these programs throughout the commonwealth;
(3) establish and enforce high standards of service and strive to elevate such standards;
(4) provide the range of services on a fair, just and equitable basis to all people in need of such services;
(5) collaborate with other departments of the commonwealth and with voluntary or private agencies or organizations to assure efficient and high-quality social and educational services for persons who are unable, for social or economic reasons, to provide such services for themselves;
(6) study the social and economic problems in the commonwealth and make recommendations to the appropriate branches and agencies of government, including the office of the child advocate, for broadening and improving the scope and quality of child welfare services; and
(7) recruit and retain foster care and pre-adoption parents sufficient for the needs of children serviced by the department, including expanded efforts through education of the public.