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PEATC, Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center
Assisting families of children with special needs since 1978
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Overview of the Comprehensive Services Act for At-Risk Youth and Families

Being a parent may be the hardest job of all.

When it comes to raising children, parents are supposed to have all of the answers. We know how to react to the child who runs into the street or touches a hot stove. But most of us find ourselves at a loss when trying to figure out how to react when our child is running away from home, using drugs and alcohol and getting suspended from school due to behavior. When our children have emotional or behavioral problems that are beyond our control, we often feel that there is no real help for our children or us.

We do not know where to turn or how to get help.

We hear bits and pieces about community services and organizations that might help us. We hear about laws that are established to help us with our children and our families. But we still do not know where to turn for help and sometimes the very people who are working with our children do not know where to direct us.

The Comprehensive Services Act.

The Comprehensive Services Act for At Risk Youth and Families (CSA) is the formal name of a Virginia law passed in 1992. The law combines funds from different agencies that pay for services for children and youth who have serious emotional problems, who may be placed by an agency in a private setting, or who are at-risk of being placed outside the home.

What are Comprehensive Services?

Comprehensive services focus on the individual child and the family and include a wide range of services. The services are community-based whenever possible, may be residential or non-residential, private or public, and they must be responsive to a child's unique needs and culture. They may be services that currently exist within the public agencies such as mental health, social services, education and court services, or they may be available privately.

Examples of comprehensive services include but are not limited to: substance abuse counseling, respite care, psychological evaluations, transportation services, home-based therapy, family counseling, parent training, therapeutic foster care, job coaching, after school care, recreation, and housing assistance.

For more information please contact your local Community Services Board, or local Comprehensive Services Act office.

If you would like to request information from PEATC not found here please contact us at:
Or 800-869-6782 (VA families only)
703-569-6200(en Espanol)

Wythe Building
164 Santa Rosa Road
Suite 137
Richmond, VA  23229
(804) 662-9815

8003 Forbes Place, Suite 310
Springfield, VA 22151
703-923-0010 (phone)
800-869-6782 (toll free)

Copyright © 2019 PEATC - Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center. All rights reserved.

Content on this site was produced, in part, with grant funds from the U.S. Department of Education, under CFDA # 84.328M, #84.310A, and #84.235F. The content herein does not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Education, any other agency of the U.S. government, or any other source.

PEATC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit committed to building positive futures for Virginia's children by working collaboratively with families, schools and communities in order to improve opportunities for excellence in education and success in school and community life. Our special focus is children with disabilities. You can reach PEATC by calling 703-923-0010 (Voice/TTY), or sending an e-mail to

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