Community Services

Child and Family Services

Introductory Information

Child and Family Services Division (CFSD) provides mandated protective services to children experiencing abuse, neglect, or abandonment. This includes receiving and investigating reports of child abuse and neglect, helping families to stay together or reunite, and finding placements in foster or adoptive homes. Here we describe the different functions and levels of intervention within Child and Family Services Division.

Eligibility

Youth and families become initially involved with the Child and Family Services Division (CFSD) when someone reports suspected abuse or neglect.

Support

For families looking for support and information, CFSD is not the best agency to call. However, if a child was adopted through CFSD, they can be contacted for possible post adoption support.

Report and Investigation

Youth and families become involved in this system when someone makes a report to the child abuse hotline. Centralized intake collects the information and assigns a level of priority to the call. Some calls will not warrant a follow up investigation, and may be filed as information only. If the call warrants an investigation, the report goes to the local office where a social worker follows up. Social workers determine if a child is unsafe as a result of the parent’s behavior and home environment. Social workers have up to 60 days to investigate a report and make this determination.

If CFSD determines a child is unsafe, there are two possible outcomes: non-legal intervention and legal intervention.

Non-legal Intervention

Also known as "voluntary" intervention, this occurs when a safety concern is present but can be resolved with short term supports or changes. This may include in-home services, parenting education classes, temporary out of home placements, and supervised visits. Non-legal intervention services are provided to children in their own homes when it is possible to do so without risking the child's safety. If a child is placed outside of the home and is unable to return to a home CFSD has determined to be safe within 30 days, the intervention is no longer considered “voluntary” and becomes a legal intervention.

Legal Intervention

Legal intervention takes place when a child is placed out of the home for longer than 30 days due to safety issues. When a child is placed out of the home, the preferred option is a non-custodial parent or extended family member. The second best option is foster care, and the next best option is shelter care. Lawyers join to represent the child, the parent, and the department. A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) may also get involved for the child. Even during legal intervention and placement, the goal is to reunify the child with their parents. At the very least, the goal is a permanent placement in a safe and supported environment.