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Child and Family Services Agency

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CFSA's Mission

Mission Statement:
The Children and Family Services Agency (CFSA) works to improve the safety, permanency, and well-being of abused and neglected children in the District of Columbia, as well as to strengthen its families. 

Key Programs:   
Children and Family Services Agency (CFSA) emphasizes eight key values. 

  • All children and young people have the right to be safe.
  • Families have the right to be understood, valued, encouraged and empowered. Families can always have a say in decisions that affect them.
  • Community partnerships are essential to keeping children and young people safe.
  • Our child welfare practice and services build on inherent strengths to help children, youth and families achieve positive outcomes.
  • Children and young people deserve opportunities for growth, development, physical and mental health, education and preparation to get ahead as adults.
  • Children and young people have an urgent need to achieve permanence as soon as possible, with a family that loves them unconditionally.
  • Children, young people and families deserve understanding and respect within the context of their history, traditions and culture.
  • Best practices and continuous quality improvement across the child welfare support system make a positive difference in the lives of those we serve.


Record: The Child Protection Registry (CPR) is a confidential database of individuals who are known or strongly suspected of having abused or neglected children in the District of Columbia.

CFSA Ombudsman: Make your voice heard, CFSA offers several ways to get support if you are dissatisfied with the agency's services or decisions.

Foster Parents: CFSA provides safe environments for children and youth in the District of Columbia who cannot be safe in their own homes.
Child Abuse and Neglect Investigations: CFSA provides information to families, so they know what to expect during a child welfare investigation. 

Grandparent Program: The Grandparent Caregiver Program supports family unity and helps prevent children from entering the child welfare system. 

Duty Reporter Training: Duty Reporters are an integral part of child protection in the District of Columbia. 

Safe Shelters for Newborns: The CFSA provides safe environments for children and youth who cannot remain in their own homes.

Voluntary Foster Child Registration: Current and former foster youth and their immediate family members who were separated by the foster care system now have a way to find each other again.

General Information: Find the answers you need about community services, resources and safe shelters.

Interpreter Services: 
For translation/interpretation issues, please contact one of the following partners:

Language Access Coordinator:
Ms. Grenetta Wells: (202) 321-0062, [email protected]

Language Access Coordination Assistant:
Ms. Christina White: (202) 497-4387, [email protected]

Contact Information:   
Children and Family Services Agency (CFSA)
200 I Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Telephone: (202) 442-6100
Fax: (202) 727-6505

DC Children and Family Services Agency

● Child Abuse or Neglect First Responder

● Investment in the community through strengthening families

In the District, the DC Children and Family Services Agency (CFSA) has the legal authority to protect children who are victims of, or at risk of, abuse or neglect.

Like public child welfare agencies nationwide, CFSA protects children through four primary functions.

Receive and investigate complaints: CFSA Child Protective Services is the gateway to the local public child protection system. Child Protective Services (CPS) receives reports of suspected or actual abuse or neglect of children up to age 18 in the District, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. When a report indicates that a child has suffered abuse or neglect as defined by law, CPS must investigate to determine whether the report is true or false. Investigative social workers review reports of child abuse or neglect by parents, guardians, or others exercising such capacity when they occur in the District.

Strengthening families: Child care is unique in that serving our primary clients, children, means helping their parents or caregivers. When CFSA identifies children who are victims of abuse or neglect, trained CFSA social workers, or private organizations under contract with CFSA, intervene to protect children by working with their families. We connect families with services that will help them overcome long-standing difficulties that put children at risk. About half of our cases involve social workers who monitor the safety and well-being of children in the home.

Important Phone Numbers

 To report child abuse or neglect, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week 202-671-SAFE
(202) 671-7233
To adopt or become foster parents (202) 671-LOVE or (202) 671-5683)
To donate or volunteer (202) 727-7101

Visit our website to search:

  • Online training for mandated reporters (professionals who are required to report child abuse or neglect by law)
  • Publications
  • CFSA Performance Information
  • News
  • And more

Provide safe, temporary homes for children: When the family home (or other living environment) presents too much danger, the CFSA has the authority to remove children to a safe environment. In such cases we promptly seek consent from the District Family Court. Relatives often take in children who cannot be safe at home. The CFSA recruits, trains and licenses foster parents and licenses, supervises and maintains contracts with foster homes (and other safe places) for children.
Children develop best within the bonds of family. For this reason, removing children from their home is generally a temporary measure. The goal is to help parents resolve crises and overcome difficulties, so they can protect and care for their children themselves. However, when parents are unable or unwilling to protect their children, the CFSA and Family Court seek permanent residency for the children outside of their natal home.

Ensuring children have permanent homes: We all need a family. The CFSA recruits and trains people who want to adopt. Most local youth who want to leave the child care system for foster care are 8 years old or older. Many want to be adopted with their siblings. People who adopt through the CFSA are generally eligible for financial or other assistance. Legal custody is an alternative to adoption for relatives (or others) who want to provide a permanent home for children without legally ending parental rights.

Frequent Questions
How many children are in the District's child welfare system?
CFSA currently serves approximately 3,200 children and youth (56% in their homes and 44% in out-of-home care).

How old must minors be to be able to live alone in the District?
DC law states that a minor is anyone up to 18 years of age, but does not indicate a specific age at which children can live alone in their home. Parents should use their own judgment. When CFSA receives a report about a child who is home alone, we look at each situation individually. We considered several factors that you, too, will want to consider when deciding whether your child is ready to supervise himself for a while.

  • Age: Infants, young children and others who need constant care should not be left alone at any time. Generally, the older the child, the lower the risk.
  • Maturity: Infants and toddlers are not ready. Beyond that, you know your child. A reliable 12-year-old may be fine at home if she leaves him alone for an hour while he runs errands. The same may not be a good idea for an undisciplined 17-year-old.
  • Time: There is a big difference between leaving a child or adolescent home alone for a couple of hours than for the entire day or night, or for several days. Generally, the less time you are left alone, the lower the risk.
  • Safety: have you given the child ground rules for when he is left alone at home? Does the child know how to contact you and what to do in an emergency? Do you have a backup plan in case you don't make it home on time? Planning and preparation generally reduce risks.

Can I see records from when I was adopted in DC?
In the district, adoption records are sealed. You will need to petition the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to break the seal on your records. To get started, visit To discuss the process with an experienced CFSA person, call (202) 727-5094.

How can we train our employees to recognize and report cases of child abuse and neglect?
Free District-specific training is available online. Visit the CFSA website at and click on the image marked Mandated Reporter Training.

What can I do to help abused or neglected children in DC?
Thanks for asking. Offering help shows children that your community cares and helps provide “extras” not covered by public funds. Visit our website or call (202) 727-7101 to receive information about donations and volunteer opportunities through our Partners for Kids in Care program.

Can we get a speaker to talk about child welfare issues?
Yes. Call CFSA Public Information at (202) 442-6180.