The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services has worked to keep children safe and support families in crisis since 1984.


Our Mission
The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services promotes child safety and well-being by partnering with communities to strengthen families, keeping children at home whenever possible, and connecting them with stable, loving homes in times of need.

DCFS operates with three main goals in mind for the children under our care: SafetyWell-Being and Permanency. We are committed to ensuring that all children have access to loving and safe homes, and that families have what they need to help their children thrive.

Director Brandon T. Nichols works closely with an executive team and nearly 9,000 staff across 20 regional offices, specialized bureaus, and administration that cover a broad array of services and programs to support children and families in crisis.

DCFS is one of 38 Los Angeles County Departments governed by the five-member Board of Supervisors.


Meet DCFS Leadership


Learn more about What We Do, and Who We Work With to make it happen. Then, explore the site to discover the services we provide to support parents, youth, and caregivers across the county.

DCFS Overview

Interested in learning more about DCFS?  A 45 minute e-learning is available to provide the community an overview of the Departments’ mission, history and supportive/specialized services to help children, youth, and families of LA County thrive.  A certificate is issued for completing the training overview.

Instructions to Register     Register for Training

Don’t need a certificate of completion?

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History of DCFS

Approaches to child welfare have changed greatly over the years as societal norms and expectations have shifted. The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services originates from the Office of Superintendent of Children’s and Women’s Work that formed in 1891 to care for destitute women and their children under the guidelines of the 1851 Poor Law. In 1903, the First Juvenile Court in California was established, and in 1913, the first iteration of DCFS as we know it today was created under the Department of Charities.

Key Dates in the History of DCFS

The Department of Charities is formed. 1913
Passage of California Civil Code 232 allowed abandoned children to be eligible for adoption. 1935
The Division of Outdoor Relief is expanded and renamed the Bureau of Indigent Relief. In 1943 it was changed again to the Bureau of Public Assistance. 1938
Mandatory child abuse reporting laws are created to provide a legal basis for child abuse reporting. 1964-1966
The Bureau of Public Assistance became the Department of Public Social Services (DPSS). 1966
With the support of local child advocates, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors creates the Department of Children Services. 1984
Since 2000, DCFS has ensured the safety, well-being, and permanency of over 2 million children across Los Angeles County. 2018
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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