The Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families (also known as the Delaware Children’s Department) was established in 1983 by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware. Its primary responsibility is to provide and manage a range of services for children who have experienced abandonment, abuse, adjudication, mental illness, neglect or substance abuse. Its services include prevention, early intervention, assessment, treatment, permanency and after care. The Department also offers desirable career opportunities, attracting and retaining proud and talented employees who are motivated to think of the child first in all that they do.

The Children’s Department employs approximately 1,400 staff at 31 locations, who serve over 8,000 children on any given day. Among the workforce are 54 Family Crisis Therapists (FCTs), who work in elementary schools throughout the state. The Department is comprised of four divisions. There are three service divisions and one management support division. They are as follows:

Our Mission

Engage families and communities to promote the safety and well-being of children through prevention, intervention, treatment and rehabilitative services.

Our Vision

Safe and healthy children, resilient families, strong communities.

Our Core Values S.C.R.C.


  1. All children deserve to be free from abuse and neglect.
  2. Evidence-based tools and evidence-informed practices are used to aid decision making and planning for child safety, but we recognize safety cannot always be ensured by rigid compliance; a decision that is contrary to an evidence based tool or practice is appropriate when it is necessary to ensure a child’s safety.
  3. We are committed to creating emotionally and physically safe environments for youth, families and staff.
  4. We are committed to the rehabilitation of youth and will seek the least restrictive, but most effective, methods to accomplish rehabilitation while still maintaining public safety.


  1. Always seek to mitigate trauma and avoid re-traumatization by utilizing trauma informed practices.
  2. Ask “what happened to you” instead of “what’s wrong with you.”
  3. Recognize that all children want to be with their own families and we must empower parents to take responsibility for the care and safety of their children by making sure they have the support and resources they need.
  4. Recognize that every contact with a family is an opportunity to make them stronger, healthier and more stable.
  5. Acknowledge and appreciate those things that make every family unique.


  1. Dignity and respect is shown to children and families in every interaction.
  2. Make sure all people we serve can access what they need and are treated fairly.
  3. Make families our partners in all decision making.
  4. All children and families deserve prompt attention by skilled staff.
  5. Serve our families where they are – in their homes, schools and communities.
  6. Recognize that every contact with a family is an opportunity to make them stronger, healthier and more stable.


  1. Plan for transitions and prepare children and families for each transition, including case transfers to new workers.
  2. Minimize the number of placements and transitions.
  3. Ensure communication between divisions for all multi-divisional youth.
  4. Determine what would make a family more stable and connect with other divisions, agencies and providers to meet their needs.

DSCYF Strategic Plan FY2022-FY2027

The Delaware Children’s Department (DSCYF) has created a five-year strategic plan, in collaboration with our team, partners and stakeholders, that will serve as a strategic roadmap for an integrated service delivery model that is responsive and efficient, while helping strengthen Delaware families and communities through quality service delivery. As we live our mission and vision, we know how important it is to value the experiences of our workforce and stakeholders, as well as the journeys of the children and families we serve. Working together, we can accomplish so much.

The four overarching goals of the plan are:

  1. Utilize best practice framework across DSCYF that emphasizes child and family engagement and empowerment.
  2. Improve integration of practice and infrastructure across divisions.
  3. Expand and institutionalize data-driven decision making.
  4. Ensure a qualified, competent, and supported workforce.

Read our robust plan to learn more – DSCYF Strategic Plan
DSCYF Strategic Plan – A Snapshot