The Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) is the District of Columbia public agency that protects child victims, and children at risk, of abuse or neglect.

CFSA has four basic functions: (1) Child Protective Services (2) Supportive Family Services (3) Foster Care and (4) Permanence.

1. Child Protective Services is the gateway to child protection. When people report child abuse or neglect to CFSA, Child Protective Services is the first critical step to protecting child victims. CFSA examines reports of child abuse and neglect wherever incidents occur in the District. Units of trained investigators specializing in responding to these reports visit the child’s home. A special CFSA unit located with the Youth Division of the Metropolitan Police Department investigates reports of child sexual abuse with police. To report child abuse/neglect call (202) 671-SAFE.

2. Supportive Family Services is the bridge to help troubled families to heal. CFSA connects families to services such as counseling, parenting classes, housing and child care assistance, and substance abuse treatment. The Healthy Families/Thriving Communities Collaboratives provide a variety of supportive programs to families right in their own neighborhoods. In addition, CFSA’s Clinical Practice office works to improve health and mental health services to all children and families we serve. Clinical doctors and nurses on staff at CFSA provide expert advice to social workers and foster parents.

3. Foster Care is a safe and short-term haven. When parents are unable or unwilling to keep children safe, CFSA with court approval must remove the children from home. CFSA then works with parents to help them overcome family problems so the children can return home to a safe environment. Meanwhile, the children stay in the least restrictive, most family-like setting that can meet their needs. In most cases, parents can visit their children regularly while working toward taking them home.

4. Permanence is a safe exit. CFSA creates pathways to permanence through four processes: reunification, guardianship, adoption and life-long connections. All young people need a stable, nurturing family or other enduring connections to grow and develop to their full potential. CFSA has made great strides in achieving permanence for more children more quickly. Although many children are reunited with their birth families, some find permanence through legal guardianship, life-long connections to a mentor or family-like member, or adoptive parents.


Last modified: 8/20/2010 8:54:18 AM