Welcome to the California Department of Social Services

Right Column

Complaints About County Child Welfare Services Agencies

Complaints about county agencies in California that provide CWS should be sent to the Office of the Foster Care Ombudsman (FCO).  A letter can be written to the FCO specifically describing the CWS issues involved, why it is felt that the county agency handled the situation inappropriately and what efforts were made to resolve the problems directly with the county.

Information should also be provided regarding the names, ages or dates of births, and addresses of all the children involved; the names of the parents or other caretakers; and the names and office location of county CWS agency staff already familiar with the case. Letters with the above information should be mailed to the FCO at: 

Office of the Foster Care Ombudsman
744 P Street, M.S. 8-13-25
Sacramento, CA 95814
1-(877) 846-1602
fosteryouthhelp@dss.ca.gov

Reporting Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect by Parent or Other Caretaker Having Custody

If you suspect that a child's health or safety is jeopardized due to abuse or neglect by parents or other caretaker who has custody of the child, contact the appropriate Emergency Response Hotline Number For County Child Protective Services to report the details. The appropriate county CWS agency is the county, in which, the child resides. These telephone number are also available in the County Government section of the local telephone directory, or call 911 for emergencies.

Child Custody and Visitation Issues

Concerns about child custody and visitation orders issued by the Family Court must be directed to the Family Court Services Office in the county where the orders were issued. Family Court Investigators, Child Custody Evaluators, and Family Court Mediators are available to provide dispute resolution in each of the 58 counties. The telephone number for Family Court Services is in the County Government section of the local telephone directory under "Courts" or you may also find custody-related information and county contact telephone numbers at www.courtinfo.ca.gov .

Child Support Issues

The California Department of Child Support oversees California’s Child Support Program. For additional information, please contact them at (916) 464-5050 or (866) 249-0773 or visit them at  www.childsup.ca.gov .

Complaints Regarding County Social Worker Conduct

Concerns about possible inappropriate actions of county employees and requests to change assigned social workers should be addressed to the Director of the county CWS agency for resolution. The names of county directors, addresses, and telephone numbers are listed in the County Government section of the local telephone directory or you may also find this information by visiting the County Welfare Directors Association website at http://cwda.org/about/membership.php .

Complaints About Law Enforcement Officers

Complaints about sheriff deputies and police officers should be directed to the complaint department of the appropriate law enforcement agency, which can provide details about how to file a complaint. If satisfaction is not received from that process, a further complaint can be filed with the county's District Attorney's Office. These telephone numbers are available in the City/County Government section of the local telephone directory.

Complaints About California Judges for Misconduct or Wrongdoing

Complaints about California judges should be made in writing to the Commission on Judicial Performance. You may use the Commission's complaint form or write a letter describing the judge's conduct. (A complaint form can be obtained by calling the phone number for the Commission shown below.) Written complaints should include the name of the judge, relevant dates, names of witnesses, and sources of information. Copies (do not send originals) of court documents may be attached to your letter to support the allegations against the judge. Written complaints should be sent to:

State Commission on Judicial Performance
455 Golden Gate Avenue, Suite 14400
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 557-1220
Website address: www.courtinfo.ca.gov

Please note that the Commission does not have authority to direct a judge to take legal action, or to review a case for judicial error, mistake or other legal grounds. These functions are for the State's appellate courts.

FOR ADDITIONAL CHILD WELFARE SERVICES INFORMATION:

California Department of Social Services
Children's Services Operations Bureau
744 P Street, M. S. 3-90
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 651-8100

NON CHILD WELFARE COMPLAINTS

File a complaint involving non-child welfare services issues here
www.dss.cahwnet.gov/cdssweb/PG49.htm