Established in 1983, the Family Support Division of the Department of Social Services provided child, family and youth social services by authority of The Family Services Act and Regulations and the federal Juvenile Delinquents Act. (after April 1984, the Young Offenders Act). Programs and services were delivered through a network of twenty-four service delivery units throughout the province. The division also oversaw provisions of service by non-governmental organizations that supplemented or complemented services provided by the department. The division reported to the Assistant Deputy Minister of the department, and was organized into two sections: Child and Family Services and Youth Services.
Child and Family Services included child protection, single parent services, adoption and foster care. Child protection services investigated into all reports of child abuse or neglect. Subsequent measures included counselling, referral and supportive services or the removal of a child from the home. Single parent services provided information, referrals, counselling, and pre-natal and post-natal support services, as well as services for single mothers seeking to place children for adoption. In addition, services were expanded to focus on teen parents. Adoption services were responsible for the recruitment, screening, preparation and selection of adoptive families for children in need of placement, as well as facilitating private and step-parent adoptions. In addition, the REACH (Resources for the Adoption of Children) program coordinated adoptions for children with special needs and circumstances. The Foster Home Program provided substitute family environments for children in need of temporary or permanent placement. Responsibility for children in foster care was shared between the department and the foster parents in the program.
Youth Services included young offenders services and residential services. Young offenders services administered cases of juvenile offenders in the justice system. Services offered were consistent with the Act, and included Alternative Measures (non-judicial mediation), Community Options (judicial interim release, community homes, day programs, community service orders, personal service orders, fines, compensation, and probation), and Custody Options (remand, open custody and secure custody.) Residential services were provided from four child care facilities: Saskatchewan Boys' Centre (renamed Paul Dojack Centre in 1985), Roy Wilson Centre, Dales House and Kilburn Hall, from purchased residential care from three non-governmental organizations and from government-funded group homes and receiving homes throughout the province.
As a result of a departmental re-organization in 1985, child and family services renamed the responsibility of the Family Support Division, while a separate division was created for young offender services. A subsequent re-organization in 1988 had responsibilities of the Family Support Division transferred to the Family Services Division.