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City of Alexandria, VA City of Alexandria, VA
Community & Human Services
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Page updated Apr 23, 2014 3:15 PM

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Welcome to the Department of Community and Human Services

We envision a community in which residents enjoy a sense of well-being, safety and self-sufficiency. We strive to provide effective and essential safety net services that measurably improve or maintain the quality of life for Alexandrians. We are guided by the following values and principles: equal access for all people, dignity and respect, cultural competency, ethics and accountability, collaboration, competency, integrity and continuous improvement.

Programs and Services

The Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) provides social services and public benefits assistance; mental health, intellectual disability and substance abuse services; and supports initiatives for women through three direct care centers: the Center for Children & Families, the Center for Adult Services and the Center for Economic Support. Not sure what service you need? See our service chart, visit Call.Click.Connect or contact the DCHS Call Center at 703.746.5700.

Save the Date!  2014 “Art Uniting People” Exhibition
The opening reception for the fourth annual “Art Uniting People” exhibition celebrating recovery, creativity and mental health will be Wednesday, May 7 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Convergence, 1801 N. Quaker Lane. The exhibition is open to artists whose lives have been affected by mental illness, addiction or intellectual disabilities. Artists are also invited to share the inspiration behind their work and their personal story. “Art Uniting People” seeks to engage the community in an ongoing conversation about each person's uniqueness and the commonality we share in effort to raise awareness about the stigma faced by those with mental illness, addiction and intellectual and developmental disabilities. See the entry form, art loan agreement and flyer.  For more information contact
Pinwheel Garden to Symbolize Hope for Abused Children

DCHS and the Center for Alexandria's Children (CAC) joined in a nationwide campaign that puts a new spin on child abuse prevention through the planting of a pinwheel garden.The pinwheel, the national symbol of Child Abuse Prevention and an uplifting symbol of childhood, represents the efforts of Prevent Child Abuse Virginia to demonstrate the importance of ensuring healthy, happy and full lives for all children. Members of the CAC Multidisciplinary Team, including City detectives, social workers, therapists and attorneys, joined together to plant 40 pinwheels to honor Alexandria children who have been harmed, and thrived despite adversity. The garden serves as a symbol of hope and resilience as well as a visual reminder that all children deserve a carefree childhood. Learn about signs of abuse, how to report, and see more on planting pinwheel gardens.

City's First Children and Youth Master Plan
The Children, Youth and Families Collaborative Commission’s charge is to develop the City’s first Children and Youth Master Plan.  On March 12, 2014, the Commission approved the Plan, developed with the support of a 35-member Design Team.  It articulates a vision for the well-being of children and youth in the community and serves as the basis for the coordination, alignment and delivery of effective services for children, youth and their families.  The next step involves presentations on the Plan to the City Council and School Board, which will be followed by a joint meeting of the two bodies (date, to be announced), and the scheduling of a public hearing prior to the Plan’s adoption by City Council.  
Mental Health First Aid Training Continues

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training continues for laypersons and paraprofessionals in Alexandria. MHFA is an 8-hour training on skills to help persons who are developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. Registration is open until filled. Limit 20 participants per class. More information about the training is available here, or visit our online registration form for class dates and registration. All classes are held at 4480 King St., fifth floor, unless otherwise indicated.  Attendees of the full 8-hour course will receive a three-year certification in MHFA. For more information about MHFA, visit

Changes Planned in Virginia Health Care Programs

When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also referred to as Obamacare, becomes effective October 1, people will have the opportunity to use the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace to compare and shop for private health insurance plans, as well as determine their eligibility for tax credits to help pay for coverage. There will also be some changes to Virginia’s existing health care programs. Read more. 

DCHS Strategic Plan Online

We are pleased to present the Department of Community and Human Services Strategic Plan for FY 2013 - FY 2015. The plan is a long-term blueprint aligned with the City of Alexandria Strategic Plan. The plans work to ensure we remain sound financial stewards of public resources by improving existing operations and responding to outside challenges while providing effective and efficient safety net services that measurably improve or maintain the quality of life for Alexandrians.

Annual Report

We welcome this opportunity to share our FY 2013 activities.  The Department of Community and Human Services is organized into three direct care centers: the Center for Adult Services, the Center for Children and Families, and the Center for Economic Support, as well as two offices: the Office of Administrative Services and the Office of Strategic Initiatives and Communications. The pages of this annual report highlight our fiscal information along with the accomplishments of our centers, offices and those of the people we serve.


Confidential Screening

The Department of Community and Human Services welcomes you to the online mental health screening and the screening tool for substance use disorders. This free screening is made available to the general public and is taken anonymously. The screening is provided so that you may find out - in a few minutes - whether or not professional consultation would be helpful to you.

Quarterly Newsletter

The winter issue of the Department of Community and Human Services newsletter features: Director Mike Gilmore Retires from the Helm, Children with Disabilities at Play, Residential Program Participant Finally in a Real Home, Parent Cafés to Strengthen Families, and Ex-Offenders Find Opportunity Through CORE.


City of Alexandria Prepares 2013 Continuum of Care (CoC) Program Application

The City of Alexandria, the collaborative applicant for The Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness in the City of Alexandria, has submitted the federal funding application to the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for homeless assistance.  The proposed projects were reviewed and prioritized in accordance with guidelines set forth by HUD and the community need to support the goal of ending homelessness. See the CoC application and the Coc Project Listings

Department of Community & Human Services

 Customer Call Center 

Intake for Mental Health,
Intellectual Disability & Substance Abuse Services

In Crisis? Call us now.
24 hours a day:

Emergency Mental Health Services

Detox/Substance Abuse Services

Sexual Assault

Domestic Violence

Child Protective Services
or State

Adult Protective Services