Translation Disclaimer

VDSS Bulletins and Closures
staff of hermes icon VDSS COVID-19 Resources | VDSS Alert DSS Closures
An Agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia
Click Here for Additional Resources
Child Abuse & Foster Care Prevention

The goal of Prevention Services is to strengthen families by ensuring the safety, permanency, and well-being of its children. These services are designed to:

  • Prevent the occurrence (or reoccurrence) of child abuse/neglect from any caretaker
  • Prevent out of home care (including the prevention of foster care)
Services are determined by:
  • Target population
  • Degree of trauma experienced by the child and family
  • Level of intervention by LDSS
Benefits of providing prevention services to families in a strength-based, trauma informed system that promotes protective factors include the following:
  • Families who identify their problems and seek help through prevention are more likely to benefit quickly from services and their children are less likely to be at risk of abuse and neglect and out-of-home care
  • Early involvement with the family reduces the likelihood of abuse and neglect occurring, maintains permanency for the child in their family, and preserves sibling groups
  • Strength-based family engagement approaches empower family members and increase their opportunity to be self-sufficient
  • Training and education in the areas of parents' understanding of child development, behavior management, stress management, attachment, and nurturing reduces negative behavior problems and family conflict and improves family relationships

Prevention Services (includes manual)

Child Protective Services (CPS) Prevention Services

Child Protective Services at the Virginia Department of Social Services collaborates with existing networks of public and private non-profit child abuse and neglect prevention programs to provide child abuse and neglect prevention services to families throughout Virginia. Some examples are listed below. For information contact the Child Protective Services Unit at 804-726-7555.

Program Funding & Collaboration

  • Community Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP):
    The Virginia Department of Social Services receives federal CBCAP funds from the Office of Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN), Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Funds awarded to Virginia through this grant are used to support the development, operation and expansion of community-based, prevention-focused programs and activities.

  • Healthy Families:
    Healthy Families is a national program model designed to help expectant and new parents get their children off to a healthy start. Families participate voluntarily in the program and receive home visiting and referrals from trained staff. By providing services to overburdened families, Healthy Families fits into the continuum of services provided to families in many communities.

  • Hugs and Kisses:
    Performing since 1983, this nationally acclaimed, award-winning child sexual abuse prevention program for children K-5 tours local schools in Virginia annually. The production by Theatre IV, a division of the Virginia Repertory Theatre, is supported through funds allocated from the Virginia General Assembly for awareness and prevention. Safety messages are presented to as many as 50,000 children in up to 160 performances per school year.

  • Virginia Child Protection Newsletter:
    The Virginia Child Protection Newsletter (VCPN) is published by James Madison University through a contract with the Virginia Department of Social Services. Each newsletter is focused on one or more topics in child welfare. The articles provide a survey of literature and also address current practice issues.

  • Virginia Child Abuse and Neglect Program
    Virginia Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention funding was established by the Virginia legislature to assist in the development of programs focused on primary and secondary child abuse and neglect prevention.

Child Abuse Prevention Month 2021

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Annually the governor designates April as Child Abuse Prevention Month in Virginia. Individuals and organizations in Virginia and across the United States mark the month with public awareness efforts and by distributing blue ribbons for people to wear and display.

Child abuse and neglect is the cause of more than 1,700 deaths each year in the United States. What can you do to save a child from abuse, neglect, and death?

Packet Materials

Date Event Details Locality & Point of Contact
Pinwheel Garden
Wear Blue Day
Press Release
Prince William County Prince William
@ 2pm
Webinar: "Changing Social Norms about Help Seeking as a Prevention Strategy."
Social norms around seeking help can promote or stand in the way of families getting timely support to prevent their involvement with the child welfare system. Learn how the FRIENDS National Center's Prevention Mindset Institute is working to address this issue.
Webinar Webinar
Register Here
@ 10am
Pinwheel Planting Ceremony in partnership with Bikers Against Child Abuse
Ceremony is at 10am at King William DSS at 172 Courthouse Road King William, VA 23086. Community is welcome to attend. The theme is "It takes a village to raise a child and a community to keep them safe"
King William County King William
Save Jane Event* Gypsy Hill Park Bandstand Shenandoah Valley
Webinar - Race Equity within Our Prevention Work Join the Children's Bureau for a dialogue with practitioners at the national, state, and local level about how we can concretely bring a race equity lens to our prevention work. Register HERE
*Save Jane Event: This is a partnership event with the Valley Children's Advocacy Center. Professionals and community members will read the names and ages of Staunton, Waynesboro and Augusta County children who were reported as abused. Because these children are minors and their identities are to be protected, "Jane Doe" and "John Doe" will be used in place of their names. The Save Jane Project has been an outreach used by other states and localities. This will be the first one ever done in this locality. The goal is to give a voice to the children who can't speak for themselves. Through the use of our partner agencies and community member's participation in this event will serve as time to come together and spotlight the problem, while keeping the victims concealed. This event is also to increase the public's awareness and to recognize the absolute magnitude and prevalence of child abuse in this area.

  • Due to COVID restrictions we will not be having any other planned events, however we have created an activity packet that we are giving out to Williamsburg/James City County families that has a drawing contest in it of "my favorite family moment." We created a Facebook page for our coalition where we will be sharing tips for prevention throughout the month of April as well as the entries from the drawing contest!
  • Throughout the month we will be distributing Parent and Child Activities Calendar and doing public service announcements regarding protective factors.
  • During the month of April our office will be wearing prevention shirts every Friday to bring awareness in the community of abuse/neglect. We will also be distributing information on Dock and Beach Safety as well as Strangulation Awareness in the community.