Dept. of Social Services

VDSS logo

The Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) is a state-supervised and locally-administered human services system. Providing oversight and guidance to 120 local offices across the state, VDSS delivers a wide variety of services and benefits to over 1.6 million Virginians each year.

VDSS’ programs are designed to help Virginia’s most vulnerable citizens find permanent solutions to life’s many challenges. Through the Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Development, and the Division of Licensing – Children’s Programs, the Department is responsible for assisting over 41,000 children who receive financial assistance to provide them with quality child care while allowing their parents to remain in the workforce. The Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Development manages a variety of child care related programs, including the following:

  • Professional development standards and opportunities for the child care workforce (online classes, other distance learning opportunities, undergraduate Scholarship Program, TIPS Calendar, conference support, etc.)
  • Professional development registry for providers across sectors (called IMPACT)
  • Quality rating and improvement system for child care programs (now called “Virginia Quality”)
  • Infant and Toddler Specialist Network
  • Head Start State Collaboration Office
  • Child care resource and referral services for families (through Child Care Aware of Virginia)
  • Child care assistance for low-income families, including families experiencing homelessness (subsidy)
  • Child care program licensing and inspections
  • Quality Initiative sub-grants for local departments of social services
  • Other quality initiatives to improve the quality of child care in the state

VDSS often partners with other early childhood experts to develop standards for child care practitioners (e.g., Virginia’s Milestones of Child Development, Competencies for Early Childhood Professionals, “Career Pathways for Early Childhood and Out-of-School Time Practitioners”, “Trainer and Technical Assistance Professional Approval Matrix”, Virginia Quality Standards, etc.). Through other divisions, VDSS administers Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, Adoption, and Refugee Resettlement Services. Additionally, VDSS provides protective services for children and enforcement for child support.

Our goal is to promote the well-being of our citizens through the delivery of essential services and benefits to ensure families are strengthened, and individuals achieve their highest level of self-sufficiency. Our mission is to help people triumph over poverty, abuse, and neglect to shape strong futures for themselves, their families and communities. We strive to help create a Commonwealth, in which individuals and families have access to adequate, affordable, high-quality human services that enable them to be their best.

For more information, please visit the VDSS child care website at: