VDSS & the Virginia Social Services System
VDSS is part of the larger Virginia Social Services System (VSSS), which is a partnership of three key organizations responsible for the administration, supervision and delivery of social services in Virginia:
- VLSSE (Virginia League of Social Services Executives), which represents the 120 local departments of social services
- VaCAP ( Virginia Community Action Partnership), an association of community action programs across the state
- VDSS (Virginia Department of Social Services).
VDSS Organizational Structure
VDSS consists of:
- Home Office in Richmond Virginia, which houses its Divisions and Program Areas
- Five Regional Offices which oversee and support community and local organizations
- Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) District Offices
- Licensing Offices
VDSS Divisions & Program Areas (orgchart)
Division of Appeals & Fair Hearings
About the Division
Individuals who believe that the local agency or district office has taken inappropriate action in the application of a policy or law may have an impartial hearing officer review the case, hear their concerns and make a decision in the matter.
Appeals and Fair Hearings hears appeals in the following cases:
Guidance & Procedures
Division of Benefit Programs
The Division of Benefit Programs develops and administers programs that provide timely and accurate income support benefits and employment services to families and individuals in the Commonwealth, in order to assist their movement from dependency on public assistance programs to self-sufficiency.
The Division of Benefit Programs is responsible for the supervision and management of 16 public assistance programs, administered by 120 local departments of social services which serve 95 counties and 41 cities.
Virginia's welfare reform initiative, the Virginia Independence Program (VIP) and its work component, the Virginia Initiative for Employment not Welfare (VIEW), operate under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The cornerstone of VIP/VIEW in Virginia is a "work-first" philosophy.
The programs assigned to the division are administered locally through some 2,400 workers and account for a total expenditure of federal, state and local funds of over $2.4 billion per year.
Other programs the division is responsible for include:
- Energy Assistance (comprised of Fuel, Crisis and Cooling components) (Webpage)
- General Relief (GR) (Webpage)
- Medicaid (Webpage)
- SNAP & SNAPET (SNAP Employment & Training) (Webpage)
Division of Child Care & Early Childhood Development
About the Division
This division provides funding to enhance the quality, affordability, and supply of child care available to Virginia's families. Child care programs are child-centered, family-focused services that support the family goals of economic self-sufficiency and child development by providing substitute parental care, protection, guidance, and early childhood education.Toward this end, policies and service strategies are designed to meet the following goals:
- To provide low-income families with the financial resources to find and afford quality child care for their children
- To ensure that the family child care program contributes to the broader objective of self-sufficiency
- To provide child care to parents trying to achieve independence from public assistance
- To promote parental choice in the selection of child care
- To empower working parents to make their own decisions on the child care that best suits their family's needs
- To provide consumer education to help parents make informed choices about child care
- To ensure that subsidy dollars are provided to the neediest families
- To enhance the quality and increase the supply of child care for all families
- To improve the coordination among child care programs and early childhood development programs.
Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE)
The Commonwealth of Virginia believes that every child has a right to receive support from both parents. Many times this right is violated when parents who aren't living with their children don't provide them the kind of financial care they are entitled to.
Because the lack of adequate child support is a national concern, Congress passed a law in 1975 requiring every state to create an agency responsible for a child support program in that state. In Virginia, that agency is the Departmentof Social Services, which includes the Division of Child Support Enforcement.
Since 1975, the Division of Child Support Enforcement has been able to help custodial parents and their children in many ways. In 1984, Congress passed additional laws which give the division even more authority to work on the problem of absent parents who fail to provide for their children's needs.
- Learn more about child support » Webpage
Division of Community & Volunteer Services (CVS)
VDSS maintains close relationships with community organizations, faith based organizations, non-profits and local departments of social services. These relationships enable the Virginia Social Services System (VSSS) to pool resources to provide a safety net for services for those most in need. CVS seeks out ways to partner with the Commonwealth, private, volunteer and community organizations to share information and fortify the VSSS statewide network of services. provides accurate information, research expertise and strategic planning coordination for VDSS and the VSSS network.
Groups & Programs Managed by CVS
CVS oversees VDSS' five regional offices, which in turn oversee local department administration and delivery of services and programs by providing training, program consultation, monitoring, technical assistance, and coaching of local staff to assure that federal and state policies and regulations are properly implemented. Field offices also house and provide administrative support for the Division of Appeals and Fair Hearings and the Division of Licensing Programs.
The following groups/programs are managed by CVS:
- 2-1-1 VIRGINIA, whose purpose is to manage a health and human services information and referral network which Virginians can access by dialing 211.
- Community Services Block Grant, which is designed to wage war on poverty.
- Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which is a refundable federal income tax credit for low income working individuals and families.
- Family and Children's Trust Fund (FACT), which provides support and development for the prevention and treatment of family violence in Virginia.
- Family Strengthening & Fatherhood Initiative - This initiative was launched in April, 2009 to connect families with local, state and national resources to help them develop effective parenting and family relationship skills. FSFI recommends education and awareness strategies to prevent family violence and encourages responsible fatherhood.
- Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP), which emphasizes partnerships between the private and public sector to assist the economically deprived.
- Office of Community and Prevention Partnerships (OCPP), which is responsible for the Prisoner Reentry Pilot Programs, the Fatherhood, Healthy Marriage and Stable Families Initiative, and the Virginia Mentoring Initiative.
- Office of Newcomer Services (ONS), which is responsible for coordinating, planning, implementing and evaluating Virginia's refugee program.
- Office of Family Violence (OFV), which supports, strengthens and monitors community-based domestic violence programs and acts as a resource to local departments of social services on issues of domestic violence.
- Office on Volunteerism and Community Service (OVCS), which works with those helping to address needs in areas of education, public safety and human needs across the Commonwealth through AmeriCorps programs.
Division of Family Services (DFS)
About Family Services
This division promotes safety, permanency and well-being for children, families and individuals in Virginia. It is composed of the following units:
- Child Protective Services
- Continuous Quality Improvement
- Foster Care
- Interstate Compact on Placement of Children/Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance
- Outcome Based Reporting and Analysis
- Resource Family Development
The Division's programs are designed to address the needs of Virginia's most vulnerable citizens. The programs balance effective intervention (when necessary) and emphasis on personal responsibility for safety, stability and well-being. The programs are state supervised and locally administered. Those operated at the local level are:
- Child Protective Services
- Foster Care & Foster Care Prevention
- Youth Services (aka Independent Living)
- Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF)
Division programs that are state administered:
- Interstate/Intercountry Placement of Children (ICPC)
- Interstate Compact on Adoption & Medical Assistance (ICAMA)
- Adoption Records
- Adoption Disclosure
- Hotlines for Child Protective Services & Adult Protective Services
The Virginia Children's Services Practice Model
The children's services practice model is central to Family Services' decision making; present in all division meetings; and in every interaction that the division has with a child or family. Decisions that are based on the practice model will be supported and championed. Guided by this model, the division's process to continuously improve services for children and families will be rooted in the best of practices, the most accurate and current data available, and with the safety and well-being of children and families as a fixed center of the division's work.
- We believe that all children and communities deserve to be safe.
- We believe in family, child, and youth-driven practice.
- We believe that children do best when raised in families.
- We believe that all children and youth need and deserve a permanent family.
- We believe in partnering with others to support child and family success in a system that is family-focused, child-centered, and community-based.
- We believe that how we do our work is as an important as the work we do.
Additional information about the Practice Model can be found at the Children's Services System Transformation Web site at http://www.vafamilyconnections.com/.
Division of Finance (DOF)
DOF performs management and oversight of the annual budget and expenditures for the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS). It provides guidance for the department's financial policies and ensures fiscal compliance with state and federal regulations. The Division of Finance is also responsible for processing financial transactions for the department and reporting the results of those transactions to local agencies, field offices, state and federal entities. it is also responsible for overseeing the following subunits:
- General Services
- Office of Emergency Planning and Community Response (OEPCR)
Division of Human Resources
About the Division
This division provides comprehensive human resource management services, serving as planners,consultants and strategists to our state and local customers in support of social services programs. It's functional areas include:
- Salary Administration, and Compensation and Classification
- Training and Development
- Employee Relations and Equal Employment Opportunity
- Policy Administration
- Benefits, Records Management and Human Resource Information Systems
The Division provides comprehensive human resource management services to 120 local departments of social services, comprised of approximately 8,000 employees. It also provides human resource management services to 1600 state employees, inclusive of approximately 134 managers and supervisors, five regional offices and 22 District Child Support Offices, four of which are privatized.
The program's legal authoriity is located in sections 63.1-26 and 63.1-87 of the Code of Virginia and Federal 5CFR, Part 900 subpart F(b).
Division of Information Systems (DIS)
The Division of Information Systems develops and maintains automated information systems in support of the departmentís business. Other functions include system operations, customer support, network services, application database management, business intelligence, software quality assurance, and system and application security.
The division works with department business units to manage information technology resources using the Information Technology Investment Management (ITIM) methodology. This set of best practices operates through business-led steering committees and a department Investment Board. This structure assures that information technology dollars are spent in alignment with business defined strategic goals and objectives.
Division of Licensing Programs
The Division of Licensing Programs protects children and vulnerable adults in day and residential care settings. It operates from Home Office in Richmond, Virginia and eight licensing offices statewide.
Adult Programs Regulated by the Division
Children's Programs Regulated by the Division
- Child Caring Institutions (CCI)
- Children's Residential Facilities (CRF)
- Certified Preschools (CP)
- Child Day Centers (CDC)
- Family Day Homes (FDH)
- Family Day Systems (FDS)
- Voluntarily Registered Family Day Homes (VRFDH)
- Religious Exempt Child Day Centers (RECDC)
- Licensed Independent Foster Homes (IFH)
- Licensed Child Placing Agencies (LCPA)
Background Investigations Responsibilities
Division of Public Affairs
The Division of Public Affairs provides comprehensive internal and external communications services to the Department of Social Services and the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Public Affairs is responsible for fostering an environment that encourages open, frank and willing communications. It provides users with the tools to enhance effective communications and establish policies to ensure complete, effective and timely information sharing.
Public Affairs handles media relations and promotes public awareness of VDSS programs and services. The primary functions include:
- Developing and maintaining the departmentís Internet and Intranet sites;
- Supervising the state-wide hotlines that respond to citizen inquiries;
- Creating marketing and public relations materials;
- Responding to requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act and overseeing the Information and Referral program.
Office of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs (OLRA)
The Office of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs provides oversight of all legislative and regulatory activities of the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS). Primary responsibilities include:
- Monitoring VDSS-related legislation during each General Assembly session and coordinating year-round legislative activities
- Ensuring departmental compliance with state and federal mandates in the development and promulgation of social services regulations
- Providing technical support to the State Board of Social Services
Office of Research & Planning (ORP)
Office of Research & Planning (ORP) - which provides accurate information, research expertise to state and local social services staff as well partners of the Virginia Social Services System (VSSS). Responsibilities include:
- Analyzing data
- Assisting with research and survey design
- Conducting and managing comprehensive program evaluations
- Developing databases to facilitate research
- Operating the VDSS Institutional Review Board
- Producing a performance indicator system for local VDSS offices
- Strategic planning coordination for VDSS and the VSSS network
- Technical assistance on data analysis