Human Services Agency: Children and Family Services (7420P and 7440P)

Program Outcome Statement

Ensure the safety, permanency and well-being of children throughout San Mateo County.
Program Services
Children and Family Services (CFS) offers a broad range of services to protect children, and to maintain and support families throughout the county. Services include:
  • Operating a 24-hour child abuse hotline and an Emergency response Unit to investigate serious allegations of child abuse and neglect.
  • Ensuring the well-being of foster children and non-minor dependents (foster youth ages 18-21) by providing them with the best possible health, mental health, and education services.
  • Collaborating with School Districts to strengthen families with after-school activities, parent support groups and workshops, counseling, and referral to additional resources (Family Resource Centers).
  • Coordinating the adoption of court dependent children in the child welfare system and assists children who have been voluntarily relinquished.
  • Operating the Receiving Home, a State licensed shelter facility, to house youth and provide a safe, homelike facility with an array of services to stabilize foster youth who require short-term out-of-home placement.


CFS operates a child abuse hotline and our social workers provide case management services to help resolve issues and to maintain or re-unite children with their families. For cases where reunification is not possible, social workers develop a plan that will lead to a permanent guardian or adoption. With the Foster Care program, CFS searches for strong, stable families who care about children and can offer love, patience, guidance, and understanding. Court dependent children are placed with these families until they are reunited with their family or an alternative permanent home is found.

Rate of Child Abuse Reports and Rate of Substantiated Allegations Outperforms Benchmark is Exceeding Targets

Percent of Children Who Exited to a Permanent Home within 12 Months of Entering Foster Care is Exceeding Target

Rate of Out of Home Placement Outperforms Benchmark is Exceeding Target

Percent of Eligible Foster Youth Enrolled in College and Vocational Training / Percent of Foster Youth Graduating from High School or GED Program is Within Target

FY 2017-18 Mid-Year Story Behind Performance

Rate of Child Abuse Reports per 1,000 Children and Rate of Substantiated Allegations per 1,000 Children

For FY 17-18, we project a child abuse report rate of 26.0 per 1,000 children, which is just below the target of 25.8 per 1,000 children, and a substantiated allegations rate of 2.1 per 1,000 children, which will exceeds the target of 2.3 per 1,000 children, both of which will be the lowest in California. With the support of the Board of Supervisors and the CMO, the Agency continues to be able to offer early intervention and prevention services and our practice of working collaboratively with other departments and CBOs have contributed to our reduced number of substantiated cases. Furthermore, CFS is the only public child welfare program in California to be nationally accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA).

Percent of children entering care for 12 months who were discharged within the following 12 months

This outcome measures Permanency of our youth who have entered our foster care system. The current projection of 51.5% exceeds the identified target of 40.5%.  System changes that have aided in creating increased permanency for children and youth include streamlining the processes of concurrent planning (reunification and adoption as a permanency option) by licensing family members and foster parents as foster and adoptive resources and starting this process at intake. Also, we have enhanced the Team Decision Making meetings to incorporate the Continuum of Care Reform’s (CCR) Child and Family Teaming (CFT) values of family and child voice and choice, cultural humility and being trauma informed. This process allows family members to identify non-traditional and community supports that will assist them to maintain their child in the home after they exit foster care. In early 2018 we plan to complete the implementation of the CFT rollout and incorporate the Core Practice Model to support best practices in child welfare.

Rate of Out of Home Placement per 1,000 Children

The Agency is projected to have 1.2 per 1,000 children in out-of-home care, exceeding the target of 1.7 per 1,000 children in out-of-home care for FY 17-18. Our strategies in utilizing differential response services are helping children from being removed from their homes as appropriately as possible, and family maintenance to keep the child in the home while services are being provided. These services include: referrals to parenting classes, advocacy with schools, mediate cultural issues, connecting families to food resources, and other early intervention and prevention services.  The goal is to keep children home with their families with CFS’ support and involvement.

Percent of Eligible Foster Youth Enrolled in College and Vocational Training / Percent of Foster Youth Graduating from High School or GED Program

We project our FY 17-18 foster youth college enrollment rate at 75% surpassing our target set at 72%. National studies reflect only a 20% enrollment rate among foster youth.  The current projection for foster youth graduation percentage is 78%, which is well above the State average estimate but a bit short of our target of 85%.  With additional Measure A funding that supports enhanced education and employment services we hope to continually increase that number. 

Future Priorities

  • Implementation of Continuum of Care Reform, measuring the effectiveness of increasing foster youth employment and education rates and increasing the supply of affordable housing for foster youth are priorities in the upcoming budget cycle.
Author: Kerry Ahearn-Brown, Director of Children and Family Services     Contact Email:
Last Updated: 01-26-2018