The primary role of DHS is to protect children who are alleged to have been abused or neglected and to ensure their safety from immediate threats and impending dangers. The Children and Youth Division (CYD) provides child and family-centered services to nearly 20,000 children and their families each year. These services are strategically designed to ensure the safety, permanency, and overall well-being of the Department’s clients.
The CYD is responsible for investigating all reports of child abuse and neglect. Reports whose allegations meet the Pennsylvania definition of child abuse as well as other allegations impacting on a child's immediate safety require that the investigation begin immediately and the child seen immediately, if warranted, or within 24 hours. reports whose allegations do not rise to this level are assigned according to risk factors indicated in the report.
Depending upon the particular needs of children and families, services can include foster care, Services to Children in their Own Homes (SCOH), adoption, and other prevention and community-based services that address the well-being of the entire family. Another important service is a network of support and educational groups designed to help adults to become more effective parents.