Welcome to Children's Services.

To Report Child Abuse or Neglect call: (209) 468-1333

What is Child Abuse?

  • Physical abuse
    • Any non-accidental act that results in physical injury (bruises, bite marks, burns, abrasions, lacerations, fractures, internal injuries)
    • Can be discipline that went too far and left bruises or otherwise injured a child
    • Shaken Baby Syndrome
  • Neglect
  • Emotional Abuse
    •  Belittling, screaming, threatening a child to the point that they withdraw, act out, have problems with basic functioning (eating, sleeping, concentrating at school, etc.)
    •  Exposing a child to violence (verbal or physical) in the home that leads to problems with basic functioning
  • Sexual Abuse
    •  An adult engaging in any sexual act with a minor
  • Failing to meet basic needs in terms of food, clothing, shelter, medical care or supervision
  • Failing to protect a child from someone abusing them in some way
  • If you believe that a child is being abused or neglected by their mother, father, caretaker or a member of their household call CPS at (209) 468-1333
  • If you believe that a child is being abused or neglected by someone other than their parent, caretaker or household member call law enforcement
  • You will be asked questions about why you suspect the abuse or neglect – answer them truthfully and if you don’t know say that
  • Unless you are a mandated reporter you do not have to provide your name. It is helpful to leave at least your first name and phone number in case clarification or additional information is needed
  • You will need to provide a name or address for the family, or the current location of the child you feel has been abused or neglected so that they can be located
  • Trained CPS social workers will assess the information and determine whether or not CPS will respond
  • If CPS does not respond in all likelihood the matter will be referred to a community agency to contact the family and offer them services
  • If CPS does respond the response will be
    • Within 24 hours if the child is thought to be in immediate danger
    • Within 10-days if there is not immediate danger to the child

There is no simple answer to this as lots of things go into making a decision about the danger the child is in as well as the risk that the child may be abused or neglected again. CPS social workers rely on their education, training as well as specific tools available to them to decide what level of services will keep the child safe. Some common things that can help reduce the risk of the child being abused or neglected again are the willingness of the person that caused the abuse to admit to it and seek help as well as the family having support in terms of friends or family that will also help make sure the child is safe.

Within 2 working days of the child being removed there will be a Team Decision Making meeting. This is an important meeting because it is a time for family and friends to meet along with the social worker and others that might be able to provide services to the family. At this meeting decisions about the child’s placement will be talked about and decided upon. If the decision is that the child cannot safely return to the home of the parent then there will be a Court hearing in Department 12 of the San Joaquin County courthouse on Weber Ave in Stockton.. This hearing will be at 8:30am three working days after the child was removed. The parents will be told of the exact date before the hearing and arrangements will be made to get any parent in the San Joaquin County jail transported to the hearing.

The Foster Care Licensing Program evaluates and licenses prospective foster parents. This unit also provides foster care recruitment.

Please call (209) 465-KIDS (5437) if you are interested in becoming a foster parent.

The Independent Living Program is integrated with the Foster Care Program and is designed to prepare foster youth for life beyond foster care, which includes career, employment, educational and living arrangement goals.

The Guardianship program provides supervision and assessments for children placed in non-relative and probate guardianship's.

The Treatment Program provides out-of-home placements for children in need of group homes or specialized services for mental, emotional, behavioral or physical issues.

The Adoption program provides services for children needing permanent homes, adoptive home studies, and counsels parents relinquishing their child for adoption.

Please call (209) 465-KIDS (5437) if you are interested in adopting.


The Adoption Assistance Program (AAP) Program provides post-adoption resources to Adoptive Families and handles post adoption inquiries.

The Relative/Non-Relative Extended Family Member (NREFM) program completes assessments of potential placements for children in Relative/NREFM placements and conducts family finding efforts.

Intake and Assessment

  •  Takes reports of suspected child abuse and neglect
  • Responds to and investigates reports of suspected child abuse and neglect
    •  Within 24 hours for calls where children appear to be in immediate danger
    •  Within 10- days for all other calls requiring an in-person investigation
  •  Refers families to community agencies when the information provided does not rise to the level of an in-person CPS investigation
  •  Hold hearings when a person’s name is submitted to the Department of Justice due to a substantiated finding of abuse and they request a review. Download PDF.
  • Voluntary Family Maintenance
    •  Provides services to families where abuse or neglect has occurred and the risk of future abuse or neglect is high.
    • Goal is to safely maintain children in their home
    •  Participation in the program is voluntary, but if the family agrees to participate they must comply with services listed in a case plan.
  • Team Decision Making
    •  Facilitates meetings with family, friends, service providers, CPS social workers, and others involved with the family to determine the safest and least restrictive placement needs of children involved with CPS
    •  Meetings occur each time a child is likely to experience a change in where they are placed, or when a move happens due to an emergency as soon after the change as possible
  • Child Advocacy Center
    •  Conducts forensic interviews of children who have experienced severe abuse
    •  Has a multidisciplinary team comprised of representatives from the District Attorney’s Office, Mental Health, San Joaquin General Hospital, Child Protective Services, all county law enforcement jurisdictions, Victim Witness, Women’s Center – Youth and Family Services and the Department of Justice that meets monthly
  • Transportation
    •  Assist with transportation needs of children and
      adults working with CPS as necessary to medical appointments, visits, court ordered programs, etc.
      Satellite Shelter
    •  Children under the age of 6 cannot be housed at Mary Graham Children’s
      Shelter and thus need alternate temporary placement. Staff in this unit serve Satellite Shelter Foster homes which provide a short-term family-style alternate living arrangement until a longer term plan is developed for the child
      Placement Facilitators
    •  Work with case carrying social workers to move children into appropriate long term placements, and to assist social workers when it is learned that a child is struggling in their current placement and may not be able to remain in the home.
    •  Participate in team decision making meetings to talk about the needs of the child and once a potential home is identified they arrange pre-placement visits

San Joaquin County provides some training to those agencies that are required by law to report suspected child abuse and neglect. If you would like someone to provide training to your organization please contact Tasha Dunham at (209) 468-1634 or Kimberly Russ-Reite at (209) 468-1758.

Additionally the State of California provides information on their website. Helpful information can be found at mandatedreporterca.com. additionally the Suspected Child Abuse Report that is mandatory for all mandated reporters to complete and send in after their call to CPS can be downloaded at ag.ca.gov.

Court – There are two components to the Court program: Court Intake & Assessment (CI&A) and Juvenile Dependency.

Court Intake & Assessment (CI&A)

The CI&A unit is responsible for all investigations and assessments that are the result of removals handled by law enforcement; investigations and family assessments for babies who are born drug-exposed and whose family situation and circumstances meet criteria for intervention by CPS; guardianship assessments; as well as 241.1 assessments ordered by the Court for youth who appear to come within the description of both the child welfare department and county probation department. The purpose of the 241.1 assessment is to determine which department will serve the best interest of the youth.

After conducting an investigation and assessment, the CI&A social worker determines the level of intervention that best meets the needs of the children and family. Referrals may be closed with a referral to appropriate community services or they may be referred to the Voluntary Family Maintenance program or to the Juvenile Court unit for the filing of petition.

Juvenile Dependency

The Juvenile Court process begins with the filing of a petition under Welfare & Institutions (W&I) Code. Cases are handled by the Court program beginning with the filing of a petition and continues through the jurisdictional and dispositional hearing. When a child is removed from the physical custody of his or her parents by the Juvenile Dependency Court, under Article 6, section 300 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, Family Reunification or Family Maintenance services may be ordered by the Court for the parent’s to regain legal and physical custody of their child. This can be accomplished by alleviating the circumstances that led to the intervention by CPS. The length of Family Reunification or Family Maintenance services is typically 6 to 12 months but can be extended to as much as 24 months depending on the circumstances.

Until the Court approves the dispositional report, Court social workers maintain all case management duties and responsibilities. They are required to assist parents with their Court-ordered case plan by making referrals to programs in the community that will alleviate further risk of abuse or neglect of their child. The Court social worker meets with the parents at least monthly if not more frequently and discusses the case progress, problems encountered and parents cooperation. Court social workers are also responsible for facilitating visitation between the parents, family members and the child. Family members include but are not limited to: grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. In addition to making referrals for parents to court-ordered services (such as individual and/or family counseling, parenting education, substance abuse treatment and testing, sexual abuse counseling, anger management, domestic violence counseling) and facilitating visitation, Family Reunification social workers are also responsible for arranging for transportation

The social worker must visit each dependent child and care takers in the home at least once each month and will arrange for contact with each parent a minimum of once monthly or the stated time in the case plan. Contact is required by the social worker with all service providers. The social worker must also request written reports from these professionals when their services are being provided as a part of the case plan.

California law requires that social workers provide concurrent planning services. Concurrent planning means working towards reunification while also finding a safe, permanent home for children should reunification efforts fail. This involves identifying alternate forms of permanency, such as a member of the family or a non-related extended family member who will commit to adoption or guardianship if a child cannot be returned home safely, or who will be a permanent adult in the child’s life.

Once the dispositional report, to include the Case Plan Family Assessment and Child Welfare Services Case Plan is approved and adopted by the Court, the case is transferred to the appropriate unit in the Family Social Work program for continued case management.

Family Social Work - There are two components to the Family Social Work program: Family Reunification and Family Maintenance.

Family Reunification and Family Maintenance

The goal of both the Family Reunification and Family Maintenance programs is to provide every dependent child a safe, stable, permanent home, nurtured by healthy families and strong communities. Family Reunification services focus on first providing the parents with the best chance of success at reunification while acknowledging, recognizing and providing for the child’s long-term needs for safety, stability and permanence.

The length of Family Reunification and Family Maintenance services is typically 6 to 12 months but can be extended to as much as 24 months depending on the circumstances.

California law also requires a comprehensive Court report and hearing every 6 months to review a family's progress.

  1. 6-month Court Review Hearing: the Court reviews the family's progress with the Case Plan. Family Maintenance/Family Reunification services can be terminated in some cases or continued.
  2. 12-month court Hearing (may also be the Permanency Planning Hearing): The Court reviews the Case Plan progress and may order an additional 6 months if the parents are close to completing their Case Plan.
  3. Permanency Planning Hearing (Called 366.21, 366.22 or 366.25 Hearing).

In situations where Family Reunification services are ordered and the children are placed in out-of-home care, placement options for the dependent child include (in the preferred order):

  1. Relatives
  2. Non-relative extended family members (NREFM), those who are known and already share a bond with the child.
  3. Foster Parents

In situations where the Court determines that it is appropriate to place the children with their parent(s), the case is referred to as a Family Maintenance case. The Court maintains legal jurisdiction and responsibility for the care of the child but placement is with one or both parents.

Dependency Drug Court (Parental Recovery Options Plan – PROP)

The PROP program is a combined effort between San Joaquin County CPS, Juvenile Dependency Court, Adult Drug Court, and the Office of Substance Abuse. The Office of Substance abuse PROP program was designed to provide an intensive court monitoring system to increase family reunification rates for families that have substance abuse problems.

The PROP program is divided into two separate levels of monitoring PROP I and PROP II Dependency Drug Court. PROP I is the first level of monitoring provided by the Drug court Social Worker to Dependency Drug Court. PROP II is the second level of increased court monitoring provided by Dependency Drug Court. PROP II clients are monitored by Drug Court weekly, bi-weekly and then monthly as the client progresses through Dependency Drug Court.

Helpful Numbers

Child Abuse Hotline

(209) 468-1333

Elder Abuse

(209) 468-3780 or
(888) 800-4800

Fraud Hotline

(209) 953-7733