The child welfare system can be confusing. See a map of how the process works if your child is in foster care or another type of placement with Philadelphia DHS starting on page 16 in the Parent Handbook.
- Read through the Parent Handbook.
- Keep track of your case manager’s and lawyer’s phone numbers.
- If you have questions or concerns, call your case manager and other professionals who work with your family.
- Attend all family meetings and court dates.
Who's involved in my child's case?
When your child enters placement, you will begin working with a number of different people. This list explains the role of some of the people you will be working with.
A DHS investigation worker will first meet with you to assess your child’s safety.
CUA case manager
If it is determined that DHS services are needed, either within your home, or while your child is in placement outside of your home, your child will be assigned a CUA Case Manager. This person will be your main point of contact. If you do not know who your CUA case manager is, you can call the Commissioner’s Action Response Office at (215) 683-6000.
The CUA case manager sets up planning meetings and collaborates with the other professionals working with your family. They also visit your home to help you get any services you may need, attend court hearings, and set up a visitation schedule. The CUA case manager also helps to arrange for your child’s placement in a foster home or alternate setting, and checks on them regularly.
Other people who will be working with your family include:
You will have a lawyer, and your child will have a lawyer. Lawyers are also sometimes called advocates, attorneys, or counsel. The City Law Department has lawyers that represent DHS, they are called Assistant City Solicitors. The court will send you a letter with the name and contact information for your attorney. If you do not know who your attorney is, you can contact the court’s Legal Liaison Office at (215) 686-4290.
The judges from Family Court will be making decisions during court hearings about your child and family.
People who have been trained and approved to care for children who are removed from their homes. Sometimes called foster parents. If your child has been placed by DHS into the care of a relative, or another adult who has a positive relationship with your family, this is called kinship foster care.
What is a CUA and how do I find our CUA?
Philadelphia DHS works with organizations in your neighborhood, called Community Umbrella Agencies (CUAs). The CUA Case Manager coordinates services for children involved with Philadelphia DHS.
Some CUAs also have food pantries and other programs that might be useful to you. Locate the CUA in your neighborhood using our CUA map.
The Achieving Reunification Center (ARC)
The Achieving Reunification Center (ARC) can help you with your goal of getting your children back home if they are in out-of-home placement. It is a one-stop support center with services that include:
- Case management services.
- Behavioral health services.
- Parenting classes.
- Budgeting and financial planning.
- Employment readiness.
- Workforce development.
- Housing support.
To learn more, contact ARC directly at (267) 514-3500.
Parenting support services
Parenting education and support groups
Free parenting education and support groups help parents improve parenting skills and relationships with their children. Our education and support groups provide a safe, confidential, and supportive environment for parents to learn, give, and receive support from other parents, and engage in self-reflection.
DHS supports family classes and groups for all families, whether DHS involved or not. Some services may be court required as a step towards reunification.
Our wide range of parenting programs includes classes at more than 35 community organizations across Philadelphia. Classes focus on a variety of topics, so you can easily find one to fit your needs. Transportation, snacks, or childcare may be offered at some sites. Be sure to ask when you sign up.
We offer classes for:
- Parents with children in placement.
- Women’s empowerment.
- Incarcerated fathers and mothers at Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility and Riverside Correctional Facility.
- General parenting, open to the public.
- Teenage mothers.
To learn more about the range of classes we offer and find the best one for you, call 215-PARENTS (727-3687)
Watch our video about Parent Cafés to learn more.
Parent Cafés are safe spaces where parents share a meal and learn from each other. Community Umbrella Agencies (CUAs) host parent cafés in 10 different neighborhoods throughout the city. These parent-led groups are judgement-free spaces, where parents can get together and talk. They are designed to help parents recognize the strengths they already have and see how to build on them. It’s a great way to discuss any concerns you may have as a parent. It is open to all parents. A meal and childcare is always provided at our Parent Cafés.
To find a Parent Café near you, call 215-PARENTS (727-3687). Or view a listing of upcoming parenting classes and Cafés.
Commissioner's Action Response Office (CARO)
If you have any complaints or questions regarding your DHS case, contact CARO by phone at (215) 683-6000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.