background shadows

DCF's Children's System of Care (CSOC), formerly the Division of Child Behavioral Health Services, serves children and adolescents with emotional and behavioral health care challenges and their families; children with developmental and intellectual disabilities and their families; and, children with substance use challenges and their families.  CSOC is committed to providing services based on the needs of the child and family in a family-centered, community-based environment.

Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Services for Children and Youth Under Age 21

The Children's System of Care offers a wide range of services for children up to age 21 for behavioral health or developmental disability needs. These services include community-based services, in-home services, out-of-home residential services, and family support services. For questions about or to access behavioral health or developmental disability services for children and youth, call the 24-hour, toll-free Access Line at:


Substance Use Treatment Services

The Children's System of Care offers an array of substance use treatment services, including detoxification, outpatient, intensive outpatient, partial care, short-term residential and long-term residential.  For questions about or to access substance use treatment services for children and youth, call the 24-hour, toll-free Access Line at:

To access services call: 1-877- 652-7624

Eligibility Determination for Children with Developmental Disabilities

As of January 1, 2013, the New Jersey Department of Children and Families - Children's System of Care (CSOC) assumed responsibility for determining eligibility for developmental disability services of children under age 18. This eligibility process for children, which was formerly completed by the Division of Developmental Disabilities, is required under New Jersey law in order to access publicly available developmental disability services. For information on the application process please call:


Additional information and the eligibility application can be found at the PerformCare Website.

Click HERE for resources outside of the Children’s System of Care that may be beneficial to families with very young children and/or children who require extensive personal care.

Eligibility for individuals over 18, including life-long planning after age 18, is provided by the Department of Human Services' Division of Developmental Disabilities. More information on this can be found at the Division of Developmental Disabilities Website or by calling 1-800-832-9173.

CANS - New Jersey’s Children’s System of Care’s Information Management Decision Support (IMDS) Tools

The Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths, or CANS is designed as a multi-purpose communication tool for which applications include: supporting decisions with youth and caregivers regarding service planning, as well as  intensity of care determination, continuous quality improvement/assurance initiatives and the monitoring of outcomes regarding interventions. The CANS was developed from a communication perspective, which assists in support of the shared vision of all child/youth serving systems- increased wellness and independence.  Since the CANS is straight forward with regards to understanding and purpose, it is well appreciated by parents/caregivers, providers and other family team partners (e.g. youth, clergy, coaches, teachers) for gathering information in the development of individualized plans of care- including the application of evidence-based practices. New Jersey Children's System of Care utilizes the various versions of the CANS to serve as the Information Management Decision Support (IMDS) tools in order to uniformly and comprehensively assess the needs of children/youth (and their parents/caregivers). In addition, the CANS also serves an important role in incorporating and/or building the strengths of all children/youth and their families.

To view two of the tools used in NJ, please click on the links below.

Strengths and Needs Assessment Tool (SNA) 

Crisis Assessment Tool (CAT) 

Family Assessment Needs and Strengths (FANS) 

To access training on the tools used in NJ, please visit the CSOC Training and Technical Assistance page:

To become a certified user of an IMDS tool, after training, please visit:

Information for Communities About Out-of-Home Care

Helpful Information for Communities 

Developmental Disability Family Support Services

Developmental Disability Family Support services are intended to help support uncompensated caregivers for individuals who are eligible for developmental disability services and living in their own homes. For more information, please visit the CSOC Developmental Disability Family Support Services page.

NJ Connect for Recovery Call Line

The NJ Connect for Recovery Call Line was established to support two distinct groups across the state of New Jersey: those concerned with their own opiate use; and, those who are experiencing distress related to the opiate use of a friend or family member.  This service is a safe, confidential, nonjudgmental forum for people to connect, grow and transform through a unique combination of supportive counseling from certified alcohol and drug counselors and peer specialists.