Child Welfare

About Us

James Beougher, Director, Office of Child and Family Services

Dan Despard, Director, Child Welfare

The Office of Child and Family Services has become fully integrated and now includes Child Welfare Services, Children’s Behavioral Health Services and Early Childhood Services. This combined office looks to serve families and children through the following core values:

  • The OCFS system of care should be child centered and family focused, with the needs of the child and family determining how services can best be provided.
  • The OCFS system of care should be community based and supportive of family involvement. 

Within the Office of Child and Family Services, Child Welfare Services has developed specific goals that will meet the safety, permanency and well-being of families and children. 

  • Improve the quality and timeliness of receiving and responding to reports of child abuse and neglect to keep children safe.
  • Improve the Office’s ability to identify and address the key family issues that put children at risk of harm and identify the services and supports that are needed to increase child safety so that families may safely care for their children in their own homes.

OCFS engages family members in planning by arranging family team meetings which involve all the people the family identifies as a support to them and which can develop a plan for safety.

  • Provide appropriate quality services to families to protect children in their homes and prevent removal.
  • Decrease the number of placements experienced by children/youth in DHHS custody.

Support foster, kinship, adoptive, permanency guardianship families as they provide a safe, caring placement.

  • Increase the number of children who are safely and responsibly reunified with their families or placed with relatives.

Keeping children connected to their relatives and to their communities is a high priority.

We continue to work to identify ways to support families as they stay together in safety and security and work to make sure we advocate for families so they have the means to keep their children safe as they grow into healthy adults. For those children who cannot remain at home our staff is dedicated to finding the right home that will best meet their needs. We value and respect the dignity of all families. Please use this site to learn about how our system works, what laws and practices guide our work, how we partner with service providers to support families, and most importantly, how you can help.