California Department of Social Services

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) is an Early Start collaborative partner whose mission is to serve, aid, and protect needy and vulnerable children and adults in ways that strengthen and preserve families, encourage personal responsibility, and foster independence. CDSS strives to carry out its mission of providing aid, services, and protection to needy children and adults while strengthening and encouraging individual responsibility and independence for families. By managing and funding its programs, the objectives of CDSS are carried out through 51 offices located throughout the state, the 58 county welfare department offices, and a host of community-based organizations. CDSS programs are administered locally by county and branch offices and provide local information on public and private social services available in each county.

CDSS regulates and monitors the delivery of services through individual county governments. CDSS is the agency authorized by statute to issue regulations, policies, and procedures necessary to implement the state’s child welfare system.

Children Services Division

The Child Services Division (CFSD) plays a vital role in the development of policies and programs that support its vision of “Every child will live in a safe, stable, permanent home, nurtured by healthy families and strong communities.“ The CFSD is responsible for ensuring the safety, permanency, and well-being of California’s children and providing oversight of Child Welfare Services, which is the primary responsibility of the division in collaboration with its many stakeholders. The goals of CFSD are to prevent child abuse; provide services early to prevent foster care placement; assure foster care placements are short-term and children reside in safe, permanent families; and prepare and support transition youth to be self-sufficient and independent with a permanent adult connection.