Shapiro Administration Visits Snyder County To Highlight Child Welfare System Achievements, Spread Best Practices To Other PA Counties

Secretary Arkoosh poses with Snyder County Staff

Selinsgrove, PA – Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Dr. Val Arkoosh and Child Advocate Maryann McEvoy visited Selinsgrove today for a roundtable discussion to mark Child Abuse Prevention Month and highlight the innovative collaborations and work that Snyder County is doing at all levels of its county government to help support children and families and prevent child abuse. 

Snyder County has implemented innovative solutions to better serve children and families in the child welfare system.

Child welfare is not a one-sided system, and coordination between partners in health care and social services is essential to meet children and families’ evolving needs. CMSU Behavioral Health and Developmental Services provides the residents of Columbia, Montour, Snyder, and Union counties with mental health, drug and alcohol, intellectual disability, and Early Intervention services. Services are in the form of case management, peer, psychiatry, nursing, intake, assessment and referral, school-based prevention services, crisis, housing support and outpatient therapy. CMSU actively collaborates with Snyder County Children and Youth Services (SCCYS) and other service agencies to provide a comprehensive approach to individual and family needs.

The hope is to spread what’s working in Snyder to other counties across the Commonwealth.

“We are in Snyder County to highlight the dedicated professionals who do this work every single day and are an important resource to children and families. It is my hope that the innovative practices and policies that Snyder County has incorporated into its Children and Youth Services will inspire other Pennsylvania counties to further strengthen families and protect children,” said Secretary Arkoosh. “Pennsylvania’s children deserve to grow and thrive in a safe, loving environment, and parents deserve support and partnership in raising healthy, happy children. This is something that every single person at today’s roundtable believes. The Commonwealth’s child welfare system exists to protect children and support families, and we will not relent from that goal.”

Secretary Arkoosh and Child Advocate McEvoy met with Snyder County Commissioners, leadership and staff from SCCYS and CMSU Behavioral Health & Development Services, elected officials and others to discuss Snyder County's wholistic, child-focused approach in providing trauma-informed services. The group highlighted ways other counties can incorporate Snyder County’s successful efforts to support children, families, and the workforce who dedicate their lives to helping families and keeping children safe.

“Child protection is complex, but when counties come together to work across systems and build processes that increase communication and break down disciplinary silos, children's outcomes can improve,” said McEvoy.

DHS, through its Office of Children, Youth, and Families (OCYF), oversees Pennsylvania’s state-supervised, county-administered child welfare system. DHS is responsible for the oversight and enforcement of laws, regulations, and policies that guide the provision of child welfare services by each of the 67 counties in Pennsylvania. This includes the Child Protective Services Law (CPSL)​, which defines child abuse and incidents in which Child Protective Services reports are necessary. DHS believes the child welfare system should be a resource to help families meet their essential needs, navigate, and overcome challenges, and raise healthy, happy children in safe, loving homes. 

DHS also provides funding, oversight, and technical assistance to each county children and youth agency. DHS is responsible for licensing these agencies and providers of child welfare services, and for investigating complaints about these agencies. As part of its technical assistance efforts, DHS helps counties navigate operational challenges, pursue new techniques, and amplify best practices to help counties support families through varying circumstances so children can grow up safe and protected.

As a county-administered child welfare system, county children and youth agencies like SCCYS work to protect children from abuse and neglect, help families to build stable homes and relationships, and provide services to children and families in times of need and crisis. 

"Snyder County has been blessed to have incredible leadership and staff working together with our Court to help ensure the safety of our county's children. In a day and age where the cost of corrections is skyrocketing, the best defense for the future of our taxpayers is utilizing methods that are proven to work for most families to integrate practices that help children avoid challenges later in life. We want to see children have a pathway to prosperity. We thank the Commonwealth for recognizing the outcomes of the practices we have implemented in Snyder County and hope that we can inspire success in other counties," said Snyder County Commissioner Joe Kantz.    

“CMSU Behavioral Health and Developmental Services is honored to be part of this event. It is vital that all child serving agencies within the counties and the community work collaboratively to provide services and education to prevent child abuse and its effects on children and families,” said CMSU Administrator Mary Lyn Cadman, MSW, LSW.

For more information on the child welfare system in Pennsylvania, visit  



Secretary Arkoosh leads a roundtable discussion

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