The safety of Los Angeles County’s more than two million children is our highest priority.

We are proud to work closely with other county departments and community partners to help care for young people and strengthen families in need. DCFS partners with advocacy groups, faith-based community groups, immigrant rights advocates, and many others who share the goal of protecting children.

At DCFS, social workers utilize the Core Practice Model, an evolution in child welfare that emphasizes working with families to improve safety and outcomes for children. The Core Practice Model prioritizes child safety while emphasizing strengths over deficits, addressing underlying needs over behaviors, and instilling empowerment over helplessness. For DCFS staff, the Core Practice Model helps build trust with children and families and enables stronger teamwork. For children and families, it creates the opportunity to be heard and empowered that is grounded in strong community support.

Specialized Programs Core Practice Model Who We Work With

DCFS and our partners support children and families in crisis by focusing on three key areas: Safety, Well-Being, and Permanency.


DCFS oversees Los Angeles County’s 24/7 child abuse and neglect hotline and responds to the immediate needs of any child at risk.

If you know or suspect a child is being abused or neglected, please call the Child Protection Hotline at 1-800-540-4000.

Of Los Angeles County’s population of 10 million people, more than two million are children under the age of 17.

When a call reporting suspicions of child maltreatment is received by our 24-hour Child Protection Hotline, social workers determine how best to respond. In many cases, a thorough investigation is conducted that may include interviews with the child, family, teachers, medical professionals, and others, to assess risk and safety, and take all necessary precautions.

In some cases, it is determined that children may remain safe at home. Perhaps the family is going through a difficult time and requires the assistance of a community-based provider, but there may be no need to open a court case.

In other cases, when abuse or neglect is substantiated and the courts determine that a child is not safe at home, DCFS helps to:

  1. Find a temporary, loving and stable home environment for the child, such as with relatives or a resource family, and
  2. Works closely with parents to ensure they receive the support and services they need to address any underlying issues that may be preventing them from providing a safe home for their child.

To achieve our mission of ensuring every child in Los Angeles County has a loving, stable home, DCFS relies on resource families of all diverse backgrounds, regardless of age, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital or domestic partnership status, physical characteristics, national origin, medical status or disability status.

DCFS Investigations Court Proceedings Child Placement


Whenever possible, family reunification is the goal for DCFS cases, as evidence-based research shows it is often the best outcome for a child’s development and well-being.

To accomplish this, DCFS partners with more than 50 community-based organizations to give families the tools and support needed to make the home a safe place for the child and reduce the chance of DCFS involvement in the future.

DCFS works with more than 50 community-based organizations to provide support services to families in need.

Services offered through DCFS and our partners range from parenting education courses, housing assistance, medical screenings, tutoring, child care, and general family friendly activities. Each of our regional offices throughout Los Angeles County is staffed with experts and social workers who can provide access to necessary services to help strengthen and support the family during a time of need.

Parent Resources Youth Resources Path to Reunification


Whenever possible, our goal for children in foster care is to reunify them with their parents. Sadly, not every foster child can return home to his or her parents. While we do everything we can to provide parents with the skills and support they need to provide a safe home for their child, there are some instances where a court may terminate parental rights.

Every child deserves to grow up in a loving and stable family environment.

For those children, DCFS makes every effort to identify an alternative permanent home—whether a relative who becomes a legal guardian, a foster parent who adopts, or other arrangement in which the child may cope and heal from the trauma of maltreatment and separation from his or her parents, and ultimately, thrive.

For foster care and adoption, DCFS recruits, approves, prepares and supports resource families of all diverse backgrounds (age, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital or domestic partnership status, physical characteristics, national origin, medical status or disability status) who can provide healthy, stable, and loving homes.

Relative Caregivers Foster Parent Resources Adoption
Back to Top

Child Protection Hotline

24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Toll Free within California

(800) 540-4000

Outside of California

(213) 639-4500

TDD - Hearing Imparied

(800) 272-6699