Child Welfare Services (CWS) is committed to excellence in the delivery of culturally competent, family-centered and child-focused protective services. CWS investigates reports of suspected child abuse and neglect and intervenes with families who do not meet the minimum community standards of health and safety as required by law. You may call our 24 hour Hotline to report suspected child or adult abuse at 1-800-340-5411 or 760-932-7755.
Emergency Response (ER) is the first area of CWS to become involved with a family. ER investigates referrals received by the agency. Depending upon the ER social worker's findings, a family may become involved with other social workers. The social worker may offer mandatory or voluntary services or no services at all. In order to protect the safety of children, some children may need to be detained.
Family Preservation and Family Maintenance Programs
In both Family Preservation and Family Maintenance Programs, services are provided to families so that the child can remain in the home. Family Preservation services are usually offered to families to prevent abuse or neglect, while Family Maintenance services are usually offered after a family has been reported for abuse or neglect. Family Preservation services are usually offered on a voluntary basis.
Family Maintenance services can be offered when the children remain in the home. Family Maintenance is designed to overcome any challenges that the family is facing which could lead to an unsafe environment for the children in the home.
Families who state they are willing to accept voluntary services from our Department, may be eligible for up to 12 Months of Family Maintenance services if it is determined the children can remain safely in their home while these services are being provided. Services may be extended under certain circumstances if the family is willing to work on correcting the problems that brought the family to the attention of Child Welfare Services in the first place.
Service plans for parents who keep their children at home generally include some or all of the following:
• Individual and family counseling
• Parenting classes
• Drug treatment services
• Anger management classes
• Intensive in-home services
Service plans for children who remain at home generally require that the parent provide the child with ongoing medical care, adequate food, clothing, housing, and supervision.
When children are detained, a Family Reunification social worker provides services to the family so they can reunite. At the same time, CWS must prepare an alternate plan in case the children are not able to return home.
Permanency Planning social workers search for a permanent home for children that cannot be returned to their parents. Adoption, guardianship, and long-term foster care are all options for permanency.