Parents with DCFS Cases
If you are a parent who has been referred to DCFS or has an open case with DCFS, there are services that are specifically designed to help you navigate the DCFS process and better ensure a positive outcome for your children and family.
DCFS Parent Services
Preventive and Support Services
Preventive and support services are designed to keep families together and prevent DCFS investigations in the first place.
These services are free to families regardless of age, immigration status or insurance status. You do not need to have an open DCFS case to access this parenting support.
Throughout Los Angeles County, DCFS partners with CBOs to provide support services and assistance to parents and families who need help. Whether you have a referral or an open case with DCFS, or you’re simply an LA County resident looking for some help these programs can provide:
- Basic Family Needs Services
- Case Navigation including linkage to needed resources
- Child Developmental Screenings
- Education & Special Education Information
- Family Fun Nights
- Fatherhood Programs
- Financial Literacy
- Navigating Child Support
- Neighborhood/Community Action Groups
- Nurse Visitation for Expectant & New Mothers
- Parenting Education
- Peer Support Groups
- Safe Sleep Program
- Structured Parent-Child and/or Family Centered Activities
- And more…
Find the Community-Based Organization offering preventive and support services in your Service Planning Area (SPA) to call them directly, or call your Regional Office to get connected. You can also call (213) 739-6208 to speak to DCFS Preventive and Support Services staff.
Preventive and Support Services Directory
Partnerships for Families Program
Partnerships for Families (PFF) services are short-term, family centered interventions designed to diminish factors known to be associated with child abuse and neglect. These service are available to parents of children under the age of 5 and pregnant women who are considered high-risk for mistreatment. If you are a parent currently being impacted by substance abuse, domestic violence and/or mental health issues, you may be eligible to participate in the Partnerships for Families program.
PFF parenting support specialists are trained to coach parents on topics such as parent-child relationships, maternal health and child development. This program can also play a key role connecting families to additional community supports. These home-based services are free to families, regardless of age, immigration status or insurance status and a family can be enrolled for up to one year.
Find the Community-Based Organization offering the Partnerships for Families program in your Service Planning Area (SPA) to call them directly, or call your Regional Office to get connected. You can also call (213) 739-6208 to speak to DCFS Preventive and Support Services staff to learn more.
Some parents of newborns feel that they are not ready or able to raise a child. This is why California has a Safely Surrendered Baby Law, which gives parents or guardians the choice to legally and safely leave a baby three days old or younger with an employee at any Los Angeles County hospital or fire station, no questions asked. The parent or guardian may surrender the baby without fear of arrest or prosecution for child abandonment.
New and First-Time Parents
MAMA’s Neighborhood is a free, prenatal and postnatal support service offered by the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services that can help you prepare for the birth of your child and navigate your and your child’s postnatal health care for up to ten weeks post-birth. MAMA’s Neighborhood has established partnerships with community agencies throughout Los Angeles County to create a network of support services for expecting mothers.
MAMA’s Neighborhood parenting classes cover the following areas:
- Introduction to Baby Basics and Body Vocabulary
- Nutrition and Building Healthy Eating Habits
- Exercise and Pregnancy
- Labor and Delivery
- Comfort Techniques during Labor
- Postpartum Care for Mom
- Postpartum Care for Baby
To access MAMA’s Neighborhood services and enroll in parenting classes, talk to your primary health care provider or call 844-37-MAMAS or visit their website.
Becoming a mom for the first time can be a bit overwhelming. Imagine having your own personal nurse to help! Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) can make that happen. First-time moms in LA County who are pregnant 24 weeks or less and meet income requirements are eligible for free help. A personal nurse will come to your home to provide prenatal care, parenting education, and referrals, and counseling when you need it most through your pregnancy and until your baby is 2 years old. NFP has been proven to improve pregnancy outcomes, child and parent health, and maternal life-course development.
Learn more by visiting their website or calling (213) 639-6433.
FIRST 5 LA’s Welcome Baby Program
Welcome Baby provides an opportunity for parents to learn about their new role as mom or dad and access services when needed to maximize the health, safety and security of their new family. It is a free and voluntary hospital and home-based program open to all pregnant women and parents who give birth at participating hospitals, regardless of income level.
The Welcome Baby program includes prenatal and postpartum home-based visits, a hospital visit at the time of the child’s birth, and provides parents with information about child development, basic health care, insurance coverage, nutrition, breastfeeding, family violence, maternal depression and improving home safety.
Clothing, Diapers, and Supplies
Baby2Baby supplies families in need with essential baby gear, diapers and clothing for children from birth through age 12 through a network of community-based organizations.
DCFS is one of Baby2Baby’s community partners so your DCFS social workers can go to the Baby2Baby warehouse and pick up items that you may need. Contact your social worker to learn more about what items Baby2Baby can provide and to request items.
Head Start Early Childhood Education
LACOE early childhood education programs prepare even the littlest learners for school. Designed for children from birth to age five, Head Start programs address the needs of the whole child, with a special focus on learning skills and literacy. Studies show that when a child starts school with the social and academic skills they need to learn, they are more likely to be successful throughout their school years.
All Head Start programs and are offered free of charge. Children in foster care have priority in the programs, including foster youth with dependent children. Services include:
- 31/2 hour daily programs Monday through Friday (some programs are full day)
- Lunch and snacks
- Assessment screening for special needs: speech therapy, developmental milestones, etc.
- Early education emphasis on school readiness
- Literacy development
- Individual Education Plan for each child
- Field trips
- Family support services
- Conferences at least twice a year with caregivers
- Assistance with transitions to school or another Head Start program upon a move
Head Start Early Childhood Education
Child Health & Mental Health
Children with Special Needs
The DCFS Regional Center Disability Program works in coordination with the Department of Mental Health, Department of Probation and School Districts to ensure that children with developmental disabilities receive appropriate care and support services to address their individual needs. The program operates in all 21 Regional Offices and is available to all eligible children under 18.
Regional Center Disability Program
Children with Behavioral Problems
Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is a proven parent-child treatment program for parents who have children with behavioral problems (e.g., aggression, non-compliance, defiance, and temper tantrums.) PCIT is a unique treatment program promoting positive parent-child relationships and interactions, and teaching parents child management skills. PCIT has been adapted as an intervention for many different types of families, including those receiving child welfare services or exposed to violence, those with children on the autism spectrum, adoptive families and foster families.
PCIT is a short-term therapy model which may positively impact children, including children in foster care, or at risk of entering foster care. PCIT is available for children 2-5 years old who meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Diagnosed with a mental illness
- Impairment in life functioning
- Treatment will improve life functioning
- The illness is not responsive to physical health care-based treatment
If you are a DCFS youth who has a child that meets one of the eligibility requirements, or just to learn more about PCIT, call (213)739-5430.
If your child is feeling depressed, anxious, or is struggling with their mental health in other ways, there are several resources and DCFS programs that can help.
Mental Health Services for Youth
Mental Health Crisis Informational Brochure
Commercially Sexually Exploited Children
If you are the parent of a child who has been sexually exploited, there are resources available to help deal with the emotional, mental, and physical effects that such a trauma can bring.
DCFS offers a 10-week Parent Empowerment Program (PEP), where parents and primary caregivers will learn and talk about the following in a supportive environment:
- How and why do children and youth become victims of commercial sexual exploitation?
- Why do children/youth continue to return to the exploiter?
- Who are the exploiters/pimps/traffickers that are victimizing children and youth?
- How does commercial sexual exploitation impact children/youth?
- How can I best communicate and support my child and what are some ways to help my child heal and recover?
- How can I take care of myself and my whole family during this difficult time?
- Resources in the community that are available to support you and your family
Not sure if your child has been or is being commercially sexually exploited? Learn how to identify signs of abuse: Fact Sheet for Parents and Guardians
Sexual Exploitation of Youth
Additional County Support
Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services works alongside other Los Angeles County agencies to ensure that we are able to provide comprehensive services to parents and families in need of assistance. Visit the sites below to learn more.