National Study of Child Protective Services Systems and Reform Efforts: Site Visits Report . Summary


The Fairfax County CPS program has undergone a number of significant reforms over recent years. Some of these reforms date to the mid-1990s when the CYFD decided to make its operations more community-based, strength-based, and prevention-oriented.

However, the implementation of these reforms has been incremental and was still underway during the last 12 months when the county introduced the State-mandated DRS.

The reorganization of the CPS program was the original focus of the reform effort and included the creation of regional units that were better equipped to serve a diverse and growing population. This initiative was complemented by subsequent changes in the ways in which the CYFD interacted with families and the community, such as an alternative response for cases involving insufficient supervision. In making these changes, the CYFD did everything feasible within the confines of extant State policy to increase the local program’s flexibility and to make it more prevention-oriented.

As a result, although the implementation of the DRS during 2002 is the single most important reform in CFYD’s practice model in recent years, it is in many respects the culmination of earlier reform efforts that already changed the culture of the Fairfax County CPS program.

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