15th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect
ACYF Commissioner's Award Book
Department of Children and Families
Melanie DeFranco, a social worker with the Department of Children and Families since October 1999, displays outstanding case practice in her work. She is an experienced ongoing service and permanency planning worker. On a daily basis, her dedication, hard work, and careful and thoughtful planning for each individual in her caseload reflect her deep commitment to the children and families she serves.
Ms. DeFranco advocates strongly for the children in her caseload, exerting tremendous effort to assure their safety and well-being. She skillfully assesses children and families both individually and in the context of the family system to identify and foster strengths to preserve the family but without compromising child safety and well-being. Ms. DeFranco engages families in a way that promotes shared responsibility, making possible the creation of a mutual plan to address family concerns. Her approach of shared planning and responsibility allows Ms. DeFranco to reunify children with their parents and prevent them from entering the foster care system. Her success is attributable to her perseverance to ensure that children and families receive competent, culturally compatible services that address identified concerns and promote positive growth within the family system.
Ms. DeFranco excels at achieving the goal of permanency for children. In a timely manner, she effectively identifies services and resources to facilitate reunification and, when necessary, to search out relatives to allow children to stay with family. When there are no viable relatives, she strives to identify a permanent placement to promote bonding of the child and family. Ms. DeFranco works swiftly to complete adoption paperwork, completing six adoptions in August 2004 to finalize long awaited permanency arrangements for these children.
The dedication and compassion of Melanie DeFranco for the children and families she serves is endless and unconditional. She has a true commitment and passion to ensure that every child has a safe, stable, and permanent home.