Your County Children & Youth Services Office
The Child Welfare system in Pennsylvania is a state mandated, county operated system. This means that, while the state legislature passes the laws and the state Department of Public Welfare issues policies and regulations, each county has some discretion in exactly how it provides the services to their citizens. To help the County Commissioners make those determinations, they set up an office of Children and Youth Services, appoint an administrator and appoint a citizen's advisory board that is representative of the county.
Typically, the agency administrator reports directly to the Board of Commissioners, although increasingly, Commissioners are appointing a Human Services Director to oversee children and youth services and the other categorical county social service programs (mental health, mental retardation, drug and alcohol, county nursing homes). The county children and youth administrator also has a responsibility to the Judicial System and acts as an arm of the court in juvenile dependency (child neglect and abuse) and some delinquency areas. And, the administrator also must ensure that the operations of the agency are in substantial compliance with all applicable state regulations in order to maintain a state license to operate.
The responsibilities of the County Children & Youth Agency (CCYA) include:
- Providing services to families to help to prevent and/or resolve the problems of child abuse, dependency and neglect;
- Consistent with a child's safety, making all reasonable efforts to avoid out of home placement of the child;
- If the Juvenile Court places a child outside of the home, to work with the child and family to return the child home as soon as possible, or if that is not possible, then to recommend alternative permanent placement to the Juvenile Court.(4/99)