Enhancing our Child Welfare System
The Department of Children and Families has worked diligently to build a strong system for protecting children and families across the Commonwealth. Recent enhancements include hiring more than 550 new employees in 2014 and distributing nearly 2,400 iPads to help social workers access case information remotely and report information on families more efficiently.
DCF has accomplished a great deal working with partners like the Child Welfare League of America, and the Department is committed to continuing this progress over the coming years.
Thanks to the state’s commitment to children and families, in 2014, Massachusetts was ranked the Number 1 state in America for overall child well-being by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Investing in DCF
The Department of Children and Families is charged with protecting children from abuse and neglect and strengthening families. DCF’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget includes significant investments in DCF to enhance the agency’s work to protect the over 100,000 youth served each year, while strengthening families across the Commonwealth. The investment will allow the Department to continue to move towards its caseload goals, while enhancing screening, investigation, and case review practices.
Promoting Infant Safe Sleep
In the summer of 2014, EOHHS convened an interagency Task Force on Infant Safe Sleep to take direct action to educate the public, parents and caregivers about infant safe sleep practices and find ways to collaborate across state agencies, and with medical associations and hospitals, to reduce the risks associated with unsafe infant safe sleeping practices.
And, through a partnership with Charlie’s Kids Foundation, the state distributed more than 11,000 copies of the “Sleep Baby, Safe and Snug” book in both English and Spanish directly to 46 maternity hospitals, pediatrician offices and health centers for recent parents.
Learn more about the Infant Safe Sleep Campaign.
Expanding Kinship Placements
The Department’s mission is to ensure that children are able to grow and thrive in a nurturing home environment. This sometimes requires the difficult decision of removing a child from his or her home and placing the child in a more stable environment. When a child is removed from their home and taken into DCF custody, they are considered to be in placement. The first placement DCF considers is with a child’s extended family / kin. Kinship care is the full time nurturing and protection of children in a licensed family setting by relatives or those adults to whom a child and the child's parents and family members ascribe a "family" relationship. Other placements include: DCF foster homes; intensive foster care via a provider; and congregate care, including group homes or residential placements.
DCF has made great progress expanding kinship care placements, which is proven to provide better outcomes for children who come into foster care. More than 50 percent of children in DCF foster care are now placed with kin, and more than 30 percent of children in all placements are with kin. And more children leaving DCF care are being reunified with their families. In 2014, nearly 80 percent of children were reunified with their family within 12 months.
- The Department of Children and Families (DCF) is the Massachusetts state agency charged with the responsibility of protecting children from child abuse and neglect. To report abuse or neglect, call the Child-at-Risk Hotline anytime of the day or night at 1-800-792-5200.
- The Department of Children and Families offers a unique opportunity for community members to donate and/or volunteer; making a difference in a foster child's life.