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.
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:
- Mental health support.
- Budgeting/financial planning services.
- Parenting classes.
- Drug and alcohol services.
To learn more, contact ARC directly at (267) 514-3500.
Parenting support services
DHS offers free parenting classes and support groups to help parents improve their parenting skills and relationships with their children. Parenting classes and groups allow parents to connect with each other in a nurturing, safe, and informative environment. Classes and groups are for families currently receiving services from DHS, as well as those who are at risk of involvement with DHS. Sometimes these services are mandated by the court as a step toward reunification.
We have a wide range of parenting education programs conducted by more than 70 community-based agencies.
See a list of classes, or call (215) PARENTS.
CUAs host parent cafés in 10 different neighborhoods throughout the city. These parent-led cafés create environments that are free of judgement, where parents from all walks of life can get together to share a free meal and talk. It’s a great way to discuss any concerns you may have as a parent, whether or not your child is in placement.
To find parent cafés near you, contact your local CUA.
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.