The Bureau of Child Welfare Services is primarily responsible for monitoring the delivery of services by county and private children and youth social service agencies throughout the commonwealth. In Pennsylvania the ages for children and youth services is birth to 21.
The Bureau conducts these functions through the four Offices of Children Youth and Families (OCYF) Regional Offices and its Division of Licensing. The essential functions and responsibilities of the four OCYF Regional Offices include:
Monitoring, licensing and providing technical assistance to the public and private children and youth social service agencies and facilities;
Investigating child abuse when the alleged perpetrator is a county agency employee or one of its agents;
Monitoring the county agencies’ implementation of the PA Child Protective Services Law;
Ensuring regulatory compliance of agencies and facilities by investigating complaints and conducting annual inspections; and
Assisting county and private agencies in the interpretation and implementation of DPW regulations.
The Division of Licensing within the bureau is responsible for the regulation of public and private children and youth agencies; foster care agencies; adoption agencies; and child residential and day treatment facilities, including residential services, secure care, secure detention, transitional living, outdoor, mobile, day treatment, and secure residential, that operate in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The oversight of these programs is conducted by the four OCYF Regional Offices.
The Division of Licensing works with over 1,800 facilities and agencies, providing programmatic direction and monitoring for all licensing activities statewide. The division also evaluates and seeks to improve the quality of care and services provided.
The essential functions and responsibilities of the Division of Licensing include:
Responding to inquiries and providing information to families, providers, stakeholders and the general public regarding the statutes, regulations and DPW requirements and processes for operating public or private children and youth agency, child residential and day treatment facility, foster care agency or adoption agency.
Inspecting and monitoring regulated facilities and agencies for continual compliance.
Providing technical assistance and consultation to facilities and agencies.
Conducting complaint investigations to determine the validity of allegations, and performing follow-up as needed.
Reviewing applications from prospective providers that wish to open a new facility or agency.
Preparing detailed reports of survey findings, recommendations for licensure status, and enforcement actions.
Providing information regarding the certification or licensing history of a facility or agency.
The Bureau of Child Welfare Services also coordinates with the Bureau of Policy and Program Development to ensure that county and private provider operations are guided by best practice standards and in conformity with state and federal mandates. In addition, the Bureau of Child Welfare Services coordinates with the Bureau of Budget and Program Support in reviewing the annual program and budget estimates for the 67 county children and youth social service agencies.
Bureau of Child Welfare Services Pennsylvania: https://www.dhs.pa.gov/Services/Children/Pages/Child-Welfare-Services.aspx