The DC Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) is the public child welfare agency in the District of Columbia responsible for protecting child victims and those at risk of abuse and neglect and assisting their families.
Overview of Services
CFSA has four primary functions:
- Take and Investigate Reports: CFSA Child Protective Services (CPS) takes reports of known or suspected child abuse and neglect of youngsters up to age 18 in the District 24 hours a day at 202-671-SAFE. When a report indicates a child may have suffered abuse or neglect as defined in law, CPS must investigate to determine whether the report is true or false. Investigative social workers look into reports of child abuse and neglect by parents, guardians, or others acting in a parental capacity wherever they occur in the District.
- Assist Families: In child welfare, serving the primary clients—children—means helping their parents or caretakers. When CFSA identifies child victims of abuse or neglected, trained social workers from CFSA and private organizations under contract to CFSA step in to keep children safe while working with their families. Social workers connect families to services that can help them overcome long-standing difficulties that endanger their children.
- Provide Safe Out-of-Home Care: When a home presents too much danger, CFSA temporarily removes children to safe settings—and promptly seeks agreement with the removal from Family Court. Relatives take some children. CFSA also recruits, trains, and licenses foster parents and also licenses, monitors, and maintains contracts with group homes and other safe places for children and youth.
- Re-establish Permanent Homes: Young people grow up best in a family. CFSA works to ensure every child and youth leaves the system to return safely to parents, to go to a permanent home with relatives or others through guardianship, or to join a new forever family through adoption.
CFSA works to improve the safety, permanence, and well being of abused and neglected children in the District of Columbia and to strengthen their families.
CFSA is committed to eight core values:
- All children and youth have the right to be safe.
- Families have the right to be understood, valued, encouraged, and empowered. Families always have a voice in decisions that affect them.
- Community partnerships are essential to keeping children and youth safe.
- Our child welfare practice and services draw on inherent strengths to help children, youth, and families achieve positive outcomes.
- Children and youth deserve opportunities to grow, develop, be physically and mentally healthy, learn, and prepare for successful adulthood.
- Children and youth have an urgent need to achieve permanence as quickly as possible with a family who loves them unconditionally.
- Children, youth, and families deserve understanding and respect within the context of their history, traditions, and culture.
- Best practices and continuous quality improvement throughout the child welfare system support making a positive difference in the lives of those we serve.