Department Of Human Services, Blair County Enter Into Settlement Agreement To Improve The County’s Office Of Children, Youth, And Families

Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Dr. Val Arkoosh today announced that DHS and Blair County have negotiated and entered into a settlement agreement to improve operations at Blair County Children, Youth and Families (BCCYF). Earlier this month, DHS revoked the license of BCCYF following the expiration of the county's fourth provisional license – the final provisional allowed by law. DHS and BCCYF immediately began negotiating the terms of this settlement and reached an agreement after only three weeks, demonstrating their mutual commitment to supporting children and families.

DHS will grant BCCYF a regular license for a period of six months under the terms and conditions of the settlement agreement. BCCYF remains responsible for maintaining adequate staffing and responding to reports of child abuse and neglect, and intervening, when necessary, to support families and protect children. DHS will continue to provide technical assistance and training as well as continued monitoring of BCCYF.

“Blair County leadership and the staff at BCCYF have demonstrated that they are taking DHS’ concerns seriously, and with this mutual agreement, we have a path forward to making sure that BCCYF’s operations continue to improve so that they can provide more support to families and children. We are committed to working with Blair County to improve BCCYF and ensure its long-term success supporting Blair County’s families and protecting its children,” said Secretary Arkoosh. “Child welfare and family supports are an essential function of county government in Pennsylvania, and DHS will continue to work with Blair County to perform these vital tasks.”

The DHS-appointed Operations Manager will continue to review BCCYF’s operations, direct courses of action, and institute changes to BCCYF’s general operations in order to help improve its operations, support families, and protect children, and DHS will determine when the operations manager’s deployment to Blair ends.  

The settlement agreement calls for Blair County to conduct a comprehensive assessment to determine strategic planning and structural improvements to BCCYF, and have a continuous quality assurance program for essential functions and decisions. The settlement agreement also calls for Blair County to evaluate the BCCYF Administrator and determine whether the leadership team at BCCYF can perform the functions of their positions to the satisfaction of the commissioners and comply with relevant statutes and regulations.  

“Blair County appreciates the efforts of the Commonwealth to work with us to improve these long-standing problems within our CYF department. This restoration of a regular license happened because Blair County’s Commissioners have committed to give every effort towards serious, tangible, and rapid reforms,” said Blair County Commissioner David Kessling. “With the Commonwealth’s assistance, we are engaging in a comprehensive review of our operations and we look forward to making thoughtful and decisive improvements in the coming weeks. These six months will give us the opportunity to begin making the changes necessary to get on a better footing, and we are committed to making the tough decisions necessary to make that happen. There will be more positive news in the near future.”  


Counties in Pennsylvania are responsible for all day-to-day child welfare functions, including investigation and assessments of reports of child abuse and neglect. DHS licenses county agencies to provide essential child welfare operations, which includes case management services, investigations of potential abuse and neglect, foster care coordination and monitoring, and other supportive services. When a county is unable to or is inadequately supporting these operations or is non-compliant with laws like the Child Protective Services Law (CPSL), DHS issues a six-month provisional license that requires a plan of correction and ongoing monitoring to ensure the plan is being followed.

In May 2022, DHS issued a first provisional license to BCCYF following multiple violations documented over the prior 12 months in the areas of assessing child safety and risk, timeliness of assessments, supervisory oversight and conducting thorough assessments.  

A second provisional license was issued in November 2022 because DHS's inspections revealed, again, multiple repeat citations for the same areas identified during the first provisional license.  

A third provisional license was issued in May 2023. The following month, June 2023, the Department's OCYF Central Regional Office (CRO) began providing enhanced technical support to BCCYF, with multiple OCYF staff on-site full-time to support BCCYF staff with overdue reports of potential child abuse or neglect and assisting BCCYF with staff recruitment and development.  

DHS issued a fourth provisional license on November 15, 2023, and in early December 2023, DHS appointed a State Operations Manager to review BCCYF’s operations, including its organizational structure, staffing assignments, policies, procedures, best practices, and budgeting. BCCYF's fourth provisional license expired on May 5, 2024; a fifth provisional license is not allowable under state law.

For more information on DHS and child welfare services in Pennsylvania, visit and


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