Child Welfare Services
For more information, call the KidsLine at 877-792-KIDS (5437).
Child Welfare Services (CWS) is committed to excellence in the delivery of culturally competent, family-centered and child-focused protective services. CWS investigates reports of suspected child abuse and neglect and intervenes with families who do not meet the minimum community standards of health and safety as required by law. Investigations are conducted in a thorough and professional manner. Family interventions are completed in the least intrusive manner necessary for the protection of the child. In addition to these services, CWS administers the following: Polinsky Children’s Center, a 24-hour facility for the temporary emergency shelter of children; San Pasqual Academy, a first-in-the-nation residential education campus for adolescent foster youth; foster care eligibility and licensing; group home placement services for foster youth with emotional and behavioral issues; services to emancipating foster youth; adoptive home assessments and placements; and critical support services to regional operations.
Child and Family Well-Being
The new Child and Family Well-Being (CFWB) Department will integrate First 5 Commission of San Diego and Child Welfare Services, along with the childcare system and other essential resources for families, to reimagine prevention and protection services to create a partnership that will shift our traditional approach to child protection.
Services offered by Child Welfare Services:
County of San Diego Adoptions serves all members of the adoption triad: adoptees, birth families, and adoptive parents. Both voluntary relinquishments, and adoptions of children from the foster care system, are handled by the agency. Free, no-obligation orientations are available for those interested in learning more about available services, including, ongoing, professional education and training classes about adoption issues.
Are you inspired to see children and families thrive and want to work with culturally mindful, dedicated professionals? This may be the place for you! CWS is committed to strengthening families by providing trauma-informed prevention and protection services to vulnerable children, their families, and communities across the county to reduce child abuse and neglect.
Child Abuse Hotline
The Hotline is contacted when a member of the community has a concern regarding potential abuse or neglect of a child. Upon notification of the concern (via phone or fax), the Hotline Social Worker does an immediate assessment of the referral. If the child is determined to be at risk, a social worker is assigned to investigate. Hotline staff are available 24 hours per day.
Child Assessment Network-North (CANN)
The Child Assessment Network North (CANN) is a project designed to provide prevention, assessment and intervention services for North County children 0-17 years of age who are in need of protective custody.
Child and Family Strengthening Advisory Board
The Board of Supervisors has taken a strong leadership role in supporting efforts to prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect. The efforts focus on strengthening families by identifying and addressing the needs of children and youth who are in the public charge as well as those whose safety and welfare may be at risk.
Child Welfare Improvements and the COAS
The County of San Diego Child Welfare Improvements was developed to respond to the California Outcomes and Accountability System (COAS). This was formerly known as the California-Child and Family Service Review (C-CFSR).
Child Welfare Services (CWS) Policy Manual
Policies for Child Welfare practice.
Child Welfare Services (CWS) Resources for Families
Resources available for Families
Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (Human Trafficking)
Human trafficking is the second largest underground economy in San Diego, at an estimated $810 million annually. When minors under age 18 are trafficked, this is child abuse. We usually identify girls as victims of trafficking, but boys and youth of all genders are regularly targeted. If you or someone you know needs help, please call our Child Abuse Hotline at (800) 344-6000. Caring, trained people are available 24 hours a day.
Available data reports include the Annual Statistics Report and the CWS Dashboard.
Foster and Adoptive Resource Family Services
At any given time, there are about 2,100 children in out of home care and about 30 children awaiting permanent adoptive placement in the County of San Diego.
COVID-19 FAQs for FFAs and STRTPs 4/9/20
COVID-19 FAQs for FFAs and STRTPs 4/20/20
Foster Care Services Committee
To meet monthly with representatives from community-based organizations and County programs that directly impact foster families.
Family Urgent Response System (FURS)
FURS includes a 24/7 Statewide Hotline and a 24/7 County-based Mobile Response and Stabilization Team. FURS will provide current and former foster youth (up to age 21) and their caregivers with immediate, trauma-informed support by caring and trained professionals when they need it.
Independent Living Skills
Independent Living Skills is a program designed to assist 16 to 18 year olds who are in out-of-home placement and are likely to remain there until they can live on their own.
The County of San Diego Child Welfare Services takes your concerns seriously and handles them with the utmost diligence. Depending on the nature of your concern, we have three options to handle the issue most effectively:
- CWS Office of the Ombudsman
- Resource Parent Ombudsman
- HHSA Agency Compliance Office
If you are a foster youth and want to elevate your concerns while in foster care, please contact the California Foster Care Ombudsperson at (877) 846-1602, or fosteryouthhelp.ca.gov.
Polinsky Children's Center
The A.B. and Jessie Polinsky Children's Center is a 24-hour facility for the temporary emergency shelter of children who must be separated from their families for their own safety, or when parents can not provide care.
Polinsky Children's Center (PCC) Advisory Board
The PCC Advisory Board shall consist of five members, all of whom shall be residents of the County of San Diego.
Child Welfare Services is committed to the importance of relatives and the role they play in a family’s life. Relatives provide important family and lifelong connections for children involved with child welfare services. Relatives can provide critical support when the mother and father cannot.
The County of San Diego Child Welfare Services (CWS) values our collaborative partnership with Resource Families and recognizes both the importance of providing supportive services and the unique needs of Resource Families. We understand that the role of the caregiver can be challenging and that supportive services are vital to success.
Safe4Baby focuses on educating parents and caregivers about four primary areas: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), Safe Sleeping, Shaken Baby Syndrome and the Safely Surrendered Baby Law.
San Pasqual Academy
San Pasqual Academy, a first-in-the-nation residential education campus designed specifically for foster youth, serves as a placement option for dependents of the Juvenile Court, 12-17 years old, and Non-Minor Dependents (NMDs) up to age 19 years old.
Child Welfare Services (CWS): Safety Enhanced
Together (Strengthening Children and Families) (Video)
Parent's Guide to CWS and Juvenile Court (Printable Guide)
Parent's Guide to CWS and Juvenile Court (Video)
Una Guia del Sistema Bienestar al Menor Para Padres de Familia (vídeo)
Parent's Guide to CWS and Juvenile Court - ICWA Version (Video)