Children’s Services Act (CSA)

WHAT IS CSA?

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It is a Virginia law designed to help troubled youths and their families. State and local agencies, parents and private service providers work together to plan and provide services. In each community, local teams decide how to do this.

The Community Policy and Management Team (CPMT) coordinates agency efforts, manages the available funds, and sees that eligible youths and their families get help.

The Family Assessment and Planning Team (FAPT) looks at the strengths and needs of individual youths and families, decides what services to provide, and prepares a service plan for each family.

Both teams include parents, staff from community service boards, court service units, the departments of health and social services, the schools, and private providers. In some localities, these teams go by different names and may also include other members.

Who is eligible for services?

Services under CSA may be available to a child who meets at least one of the following descriptions:

  • has serious emotional or behavioral problems
  • may need residential care or resources beyond normal agency services
  • needs special education through a private school program, or
  • receives foster care services as a ward of the court, or
  • is a ward of a state agency

Eligibility is determined by various laws (in education, juvenile justice and social services) and by your local CSA office. Also, there must be funds available in your community.

How can I find out if my child is eligible?

Contact your local CSA office at (804) 541-2470.

How does the CSA work?

The Family Assessment and Planning Team invites the family (and child when appropriate) to attend a meeting to discuss their needs. The child and family take an active part in the discussion and the decisions about what services should be provided.

If the family agrees with the service plan, they sign the plan and services begin as soon as possible.

If the family disagrees with the service plan, they may ask for a review by the Community Policy and Management Team. (See “What Are My Rights?”) Emergency services may begin immediately.

What are my rights?

You have the right to notice…
You will be notified before your child is assessed or offered services.
You have the right to understand…
You have the right to understand the information you receive. The information you receive will be in your native language, when possible.
You have the right to consent…
You must agree in writing before beginning any services that are part of the Individual Family Services Plan, except when ordered by the court, upheld by the court, upheld by the appropriate appeals process, or authorized by law.
You have the right to records and confidentiality (unless otherwise authorized by law or ordered by the court)…
You may read your child’s records, and may receive an explanation of these records.
You may challenge information that you believe is wrong, incomplete, not relevant, not timely or unnecessary.
You must give permission before any other  person or agency can see the records.
You may have a copy of your records, unless prohibited by law.
You have the right to assistance…
Someone will be assigned to help you get the services in your Individual Family Services Plan. If you wish, you can have other members of your family, a friend, an advocate or support person, or an attorney present during Family Assessment and Planning Team meetings.
You have the right to review…
If you disagree with any part of your child’s assessment or service plan, you may state your disagreement in writing and will receive an answer in writing. Your Community Policy and Management Team can tell you how to do this. You may ask the Community Policy and Management Team to review the decision of the Family Assessment and Planning Team. You will get a written answer to your request within 30 days.
You have the right to participate…
You may be present for the entire meeting at which the Family Assessment and Planning Team discusses your child or your family situation. You may take an active part in the discussions and the decisions that apply to you. All persons on the Family Assessment and Planning Team are responsible for taking an active part in team meetings.

What about children and youth eligible for special education?

If your child is eligible for special education, all the rights and protections of special education continue to be available to you and your child.

  • You have the right to notice before your child’s educational services begin or change.
  • You have the right to consent before certain evaluations or placements.
  • You have the right to an independent educational evaluation if you disagree with the school’s evaluation.
  • You have the right to participate in the preparation of your child’s Individual Educational Plan (IEP)
  • You have the right to inspect and review your child’s education records.
  • You have the right to file a complaint or request a due process hearing.

If you think your child may be eligible for special education, A Parent’s Guide to Special Education provides more detailed information about these rights. You can receive a free copy from the Virginia Department of Education (1-800-292-3830).

What about children and youth receiving foster care?

If your child is in Foster Care, you can ask the social worker for help. Unless the court has taken away your rights, you have the right to be involved in making decisions about your child.

  • You have the right to have contact with your child, including telephone calls, visits, and or letters, unless the court has determined that you cannot have contact.
  • You have the right to be informed by the agency about how your child is doing.
  • You have the right to be consulted when there are important decisions to be made about your child.
  • You have the right to participate in service planning for your child.
  • You have the right to be informed of and invited to all court hearings or reviews of your child’s case. You have the right to legal representation at court hearings.
  • You and your child both have the right to confidentiality.

For more information about foster care services, contact your local Department of Social Services office.

How can I get more help?

The Children’s Services Act process can seem overwhelming and impersonal. Help is available at every step of the CSA process. Contact the local CSA Office at (804) 541-2470 for assistance.

Need more information?

Contact the:

Office for Children’s Services (OCS)
1604 Santa Rosa Road; Suite 137
Richmond, VA 23229
Phone: (804) 662-9815
Fax: (804) 662-9831

Your Local Contact:

Office for Children’s Services Act
316 E. Cawson Street, Suite 119
Hopewell, VA 23860
(804) 541-2470

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