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Organizational Structure

VDSS & the Virginia Social Services System

VDSS is part of the larger Virginia Social Services System (VSSS), which is a partnership of three key organizations responsible for the administration, supervision and delivery of social services in Virginia:

  1. LDSS (Local Department of Social Services), which represents the 120 local departments of social services
  2. VaCAP (Virginia Community Action Partnership), an association of community action programs across the state
  3. VDSS (Virginia Department of Social Services).

VDSS Organizational Structure

VDSS consists of:

VDSS Divisions & Program Areas

VDSS Organizational Chart

Benefit Programs (BP)

The Division of Benefit Programs develops and administers programs that provide timely and accurate income support benefits and employment services to families and individuals in the Commonwealth, in order to assist their movement from dependency on public assistance programs to self-sufficiency.

The Division of Benefit Programs is responsible for the supervision and management of 16 public assistance programs, administered by 120 local departments of social services.

Virginia's welfare reform initiative, the Virginia Independence Program (VIP) and its work component, the Virginia Initiative for Employment not Welfare (VIEW), operate under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The cornerstone of VIP/VIEW in Virginia is a "work-first" philosophy.

The programs assigned to the division are administered locally through some 2,400 workers and account for a total expenditure of federal, state and local funds of over $2.4 billion per year.

Other programs the division is responsible for include:

In addition to the programs listed above, the department has an interagency agreement with the Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) to develop policy, provide technical assistance and training to local departments of social services for the Medicaid Program. DMAS is the single-state agency responsible for the administration of the Medicaid Program. Medicaid provides medical insurance to nearly 1 million needy Virginians at a cost over $8 billion per year.

Business Operations

The Division of Business Operations is responsible for maintaining the State Disbursement Unit, which processes child support payments, and the Office of Background Investigations, which houses the Criminal Background Investigation Unit and the Child Abuse & Neglect Central Registry Search Unit.


Compliance is responsible for agency-wide compliance and risk mitigation that helps to ensure adherence to state and federal legal and regulatory standards including Appeals & Fair Hearings, Quality Control, FOIA & Sub-recipient Monitoring and Fraud.

Community & Volunteer Services (CVS)

VDSS maintains close relationships with community organizations, faith based organizations, non-profits and local departments of social services. These relationships enable the Virginia Social Services System (VSSS) to pool resources to provide a safety net for services for those most in need. CVS seeks out ways to partner with the Commonwealth, private, volunteer and community organizations to share information and fortify the VSSS statewide network of services. CVS provides accurate information, research expertise and strategic planning coordination for VDSS and the VSSS network.

Groups & Programs Managed by CVS

CVS oversees VDSS' five regional offices, which in turn oversee local department administration and delivery of services and programs by providing training, program consultation, monitoring, technical assistance, and coaching of local staff to assure that federal and state policies and regulations are properly implemented. Field offices also house and provide administrative support for the Division of Appeals and Fair Hearings and the Division of Licensing Programs.

The following groups/programs are managed by CVS:

  • 2-1-1 VIRGINIA, whose purpose is to manage a health and human services information and referral network which Virginians can access by dialing 211.
  • Community Services Block Grant, which is designed to wage war on poverty.
  • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which is a refundable federal income tax credit for low income working individuals and families.
  • Family and Children's Trust Fund (FACT), which provides support and development for the prevention and treatment of family violence in Virginia.
  • Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP), which emphasizes partnerships between the private and public sector to assist the economically deprived.
  • Office of Community and Prevention Partnerships (OCPP), which is responsible for the Prisoner Reentry Pilot Programs, the Fatherhood, Healthy Marriage and Stable Families Initiative, and the Virginia Mentoring Initiative.
  • Office of Newcomer Services (ONS), which is responsible for coordinating, planning, implementing and evaluating Virginia's refugee program.
  • Office of Family Violence (OFV), which supports, strengthens and monitors community-based domestic violence programs and acts as a resource to local departments of social services on issues of domestic violence.
  • Office on Volunteerism and Community Service (OVCS), which works with those helping to address needs in areas of education, public safety and human needs across the Commonwealth through AmeriCorps programs.

Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE)

DCSE is responsible for ensuring that Virginia's children receive the financial support due to them by locating noncustodial parents, establishing and enforcing child support obligations, and collecting and disbursing payments. DCSE also has programs to facilitate paternity establishment, encourage noncustodial parents' involvement in their children's lives, and assist incarcerated noncustodial parents as they transition back to society.

Groups & Programs Managed by the Division

DCSE has 21 district offices to serve its clients. In addition, DCSE manages the Paternity Establishment Program (PEP), Intensive Case Monitoring Program (ICMP) and the Access and Visitation Grant, all aimed at the VDSS agency-wide goal of engaging families for success.

Learn More

For more information, please visit DCSE's Child Support webpage.

Division of Family Services (DFS)

The Division of Family Services promotes safety, permanency and well-being for children, families and individuals in Virginia. It is composed of the following units:

  • Adoption
  • Child Protective Services
  • Foster Care
  • Interstate Compact on Placement of Children/Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance
  • Prevention and Resource Family Development
  • Quality Assurance and Accountability

The Division's programs are designed to address the needs of Virginia's most vulnerable citizens. The programs balance effective intervention (when necessary) and emphasis on personal responsibility for safety, stability and well-being. The programs are state supervised and locally administered. Those operated at the local level are:

Division programs that are state administered:

Division of Enterprise Systems (DES)

The Division of Enterprise Systems (DES) focuses on VDSS enterprise information technology projects, with an emphasis on self-service benefits and services models that are efficient, effective, and customer friendly.

Division of Finance (DOF)

DOF performs management and oversight of the annual budget and expenditures for the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS). It provides guidance for the department's financial policies and ensures fiscal compliance with state and federal regulations. The Division of Finance is also responsible for processing financial transactions for the department and reporting the results of those transactions to local agencies, field offices, state and federal entities. it is also responsible for overseeing the following subunits:

  • General Services
  • Office of Emergency Planning and Community Response (OEPCR)

Division of Information Systems (DIS)

The Division of Information Systems develops and maintains automated information systems in support of the department's business. Other functions include system operations, customer support, network services, application database management, business intelligence, software quality assurance, and system and application security.

The division works with department business units to manage information technology resources using the Information Technology Investment Management (ITIM) methodology. This set of best practices operates through business-led steering committees and a department Investment Board. This structure assures that information technology dollars are spent in alignment with business defined strategic goals and objectives.


The Division of Licensing Programs protects children and vulnerable adults in day and residential care settings. It operates from Home Office in Richmond, Virginia and eight licensing offices statewide.

Adult Programs Regulated by the Division

Children's Programs Regulated by the Division

Background Investigations Responsibilities

General Services (GS)

The Division of General Services (GS) provides management and oversight of the agency's contracts and procurement, internal technical assistance and guidance to agency personnel regarding property and facilities management, and assists in preparing the Commonwealth through emergency management.

Information Security & Risk Management (ISRM)

Information Security and Risk Management (ISRM) protects VDSS information systems by addressing security compliance, risk, and opportunities in alignment with VDSS and stakeholder objectives.

Local Engagement & Support (LES)

Local Engagement & Support (LES) is comprised of staff at the VDSS home office and five regional offices across the Commonwealth. Teams work collaboratively across each location to support Virginia Social Services System initiatives by consulting and supporting Local Departments of Social Services.

Office of Innovation & Strategic Initiatives (OISI)

The Office of Innovation & Strategic Initiatives (OISI) is responsible for collaboration with the broader social services system, community based organizations, other state agencies, and nontraditional partners to implement innovation projects and strategic initiatives that will increase our capacity to better achieve our mission.

Office of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs (OLRA)

The Office of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs provides oversight of all legislative and regulatory activities of the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS). Primary responsibilities include:

  • Monitoring VDSS-related legislation during each General Assembly session and coordinating year-round legislative activities
  • Ensuring departmental compliance with state and federal mandates in the development and promulgation of social services regulations
  • Providing technical support to the State Board of Social Services

Office of Research & Planning (ORP)

The Office of Research & Planning (ORP) provides research expertise to state and local social services staff as well partners of the Virginia Social Services System (VSSS). Responsibilities include:

  • Analyzing data
  • Assisting with research and survey design
  • Conducting and managing comprehensive program evaluations
  • Developing databases to facilitate research
  • Operating the VDSS Institutional Review Board
  • Producing a performance indicator system for local VDSS offices
  • Strategic planning coordination for VDSS and the VSSS network
  • Technical assistance on data analysis

Organizational Development (OD)

This division provides comprehensive human resource management services, serving as planners, consultants and strategists to our state and local customers in support of social services programs. It's functional areas include:

  • Salary Administration, and Compensation and Classification
  • Employment
  • Training and Development
  • Employee Relations and Equal Employment Opportunity
  • Policy Administration
  • Benefits, Records Management and Human Resource Information Systems

The Division provides comprehensive human resource management services to 120 local departments of social services, comprised of approximately 8,000 employees. It also provides human resource management services to 1600 state employees, inclusive of approximately 134 managers and supervisors, five regional offices and 22 District Child Support Offices, four of which are privatized.

The program's legal authority is located in sections 63.1-26 and 63.1-87 of the Code of Virginia and Federal 5CFR, Part 900 subpart F(b).

Public Affairs (PA)

The Division of Public Affairs (PA) provides comprehensive internal and external communications services to the Department of Social Services and the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia. PA Directs the agency's media and public relations, public information and employee communications programs including support for the State Board of Social Services and local departments of social services, as appropriate. PA is dedicated to supporting the agency's mission through awareness and outreach to employees, the media and the general public. Responsibilities include developing and maintaining the department's public and internal web portals, supervising the state-wide hotlines that respond to citizen inquiries, creating marketing and public relations campaigns and materials, and responding to requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act.

Effective and reliable communication to both external and internal audiences is integral to supporting and achieving the agency's goals. Our top priority, at all times, is to maintain transparency, consistency, accuracy and credibility in all of the agency's communication efforts.