Children and Family Services Unit
The Children and Family Services Unit of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office is charged with providing supportive legal services to the county’s child welfare agency, whose statutory duty it is to protect the most vulnerable Cuyahoga County citizens – its children.
The CFS Unit consists of 19 Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys and 12 support staff. The CFS Unit provides legal counsel to the Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services in all stages of child protective proceedings. The APAs appear in the Juvenile and Probate Divisions of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, the Eighth District Court of Appeals, and the Ohio Supreme Court.
Mission and Vision
The mission of the Children & Family Services Unit is to provide high quality legal support in the pursuit of the agency’s mission of protecting children from abuse and neglect and securing safe, stable and nurturing permanent families for those children.
The Prosecutor’s Office recognizes that prosecuting child welfare cases is sensitive and highly specialized work, requiring highly trained staff. The APAs receive specialized training in the area of child welfare law and practice and the related complex legal issues that arise in these cases.
The Children & Family Services Unit zealously advocates its client’s position in court from seeking protective supervision or custody of children to achieving reunification. When returning a child to his or her home is not possible, we strive to achieve alternative forms of permanency - such as living with a relative or other significant person; or adoption - for children in the shortest time possible. We strive to honor a child’s sense of time and urgency.
Our APAs also understand the importance of treating child victims and family members fairly and with dignity and respect, knowing that the decisions made in the courtroom can affect a family for years.
In working to achieve the best outcomes for families and children, the Unit participates in the Family Treatment Drug Court, which is designed to assist those parents who have struggled to care for their children due to addiction issues. Its mission is to provide intensive legal and social services support to parents in drug treatment to help them maintain or regain custody of their children.
The Unit also works to advance child protection/child welfare law and practice by participating on a statewide committee that reviews and drafts initiatives on laws and regulations impacting child welfare.
There is an old African adage that says “It takes a village to raise a child.” Similarly, it takes a community to protect the children of Cuyahoga County.
If you suspect that a child is being abused or neglected, help protect that child by calling the Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services Hotline at: 216- 696-KIDS (5437)
More informatin about Children & Family Services in Cuyahoga County can be found at the following agencies' websites:
The Prosecuting Attorney represents the Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services and
cannot represent or provide legal advice to an individual involved in a CFS case. You should discuss questions with your own legal counsel,
a law school clinic or Legal Aid Society.
You may seek consultation through the following agencies:
- Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association-Lawyer Referral Service at 216-696-3532, www.clemetrobar.org
- Legal Aid Society at 888-817-3777 (toll free in Ashtabula,
Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake and Lorain Counties in Ohio) or 216-687-1900
(Cleveland, Ohio, local), www.lasclev.org.