For Children

Supporting children in Pennsylvania is one of the Department of Public Welfare’s primary goals, and a wide array of services and benefit programs are available for children. DPW oversees children’s welfare programs, adoption and foster care, juvenile justice and early childhood education in addition to providing benefits for children such as Medical Assistance and Cash Assistance. To explore the range of services for children, please use the links below.

State Centers

The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare – through the Office of Developmental Programs – operates five Intermediate Care Facilities, called state centers, for people with intellectual disabilities.

State Centers Mission Statement and Guiding Priciples

Mission Statement – To create a healthy and safe place that supports people with intellectual disabilities who are eligible for Medicaid ICF/MR to have a full and rich life.

Guiding Principles, Everyday Lives

The State Centers system places a high value upon the self determined principles of everyday lives which promotes that people and their families want to have an everyday life that is typical of the general population:

  • Accountability in the government and agencies that provide supports in order to assure that people will do what they are supposed to do and assure needed services.
  • Choice in all aspects of life including: the services they receive, who provides the services, where to live and with whom, and where to work and recreate.
  • Control over their life, including relationships, supports, and planning the services they receive.
  • Collaboration between Office of Developmental Programs and other Program Offices within the Department of Public Welfare and other Departments to assure collaborate service planning.
  • Contributing to the community as full citizens and not being segregated, to vote, work for pay, volunteering, belonging to a religious community, participating in leisure activities, and the dignity to being recognized for their abilities and gifts.
  • Freedom to have the life they want and to negotiate risk to exercise the freedoms of choice.
  • Individuality to be known and respected for their unique self.
  • Mentoring from people and families to help other people by providing information and working with them until they can do things on their own.
  • Quality of life as determined by the individual to live the life that they want.
  • Relationships with family and neighborhood, and having friends they choose.
  • Safety in their home, in their neighborhood, at work, as well as all other aspects of their lives which ensures health and safety without being restrictive or overprotective
  • Stability to feel secure that all changes in their lives are made only with their input and permission….’nothing about me without me’.
  • Success measured as freedom from poverty and having a chance to be successful in the life they choose.

Mission Statement and Vision Statement of the Office of Developmental Programs

Mission Statement – To support Pennsylvania Citizens with intellectual disabilities to achieve greater independence and enhance their quality of life.

Vision Statement – Continue refining a system of quality services and supports delivered in respectful, inclusive environments, to foster competent, evidence-based practice, and to extend our reach to all Pennsylvanians with the intellectual disabilities who need our services.

State Centers Staff DevelopmentState Center Course Catalog Monthly Training Calendar

Please use the links below to view information about the individual state center facilities.

For Adults

The Department of Public Welfare offers a wide variety of supports and services to maintain or improve the quality of life for older Pennsylvanians and other adults in need of assistance. Whether assistance is needed due to financial hardship, mental or physical health needs, or other issues such as substance abuse or domestic violence, DPW works to provide the tools to help Pennsylvanians overcome obstacles and lead productive, fulfilling lives. To explore the range of services for adults, please use the links below.

Apply for Benefits

For your convenience, there are now three different ways to apply for or renew your benefits.  You may choose to do so online, with a paper application, or in person. 

  • Online – using the COMPASS website
  • In Person – Visit your local County Assistance Office and apply in person
  • Paper Application – Download the paper application (English Version or Version Espanola) and mail it to your local County Assistance Office

 You can also check your eligibility before submitting your application using the online COMPASS website.