Pennsylvania's child dependency system shall:

  • Recognize that a family is the primary source for the nurturing and protection of a child and has the primary responsibility to meet a child's needs for permanency, safety and well-being.
  • Define "family" broadly to include parents, relatives, those not related by blood but who have a close and meaningful relationship with the child and those who provide a permanent home for a child.
  • Recognize that a child should be maintained with his or her parents whenever possible and, if not, then with other family members.
  • Encourage families to utilize all available resources to meet that responsibility.
  • Recognize that the family is significant to all aspects of the child's development.
  • Recognize that families are capable of change and, with support, most can safely care for their children.
  • Engage families respectfully.
  • Recognize that each family is both unique and diverse and provide services tailored to its unique and diverse strengths and needs by respecting its economic, ethnic, class, cultural beliefs, religious beliefs, values, practices and traditions.
  • Inspire hope, growth and change in each family by identifying its strengths.
  • Engage custodial and non-custodial parents as well as kin in the care of their children.
  • Engage non-participating parents effectively.
  • Include family members in the ongoing care of their children, even when those children are temporarily placed outside of the family home.
  • Support families by stressing the importance of formal education for the child.
  • Educate families in parenting and life skills.
  • Ensure that a child in placement maintains safe family connections.
  • Find and engage absent parents, siblings and other relatives to keep children connected to their birth families.
  • Value extended family members as permanent resources for children.