Child Welfare Links to Additional Resources

Links to Additional Resources

Federal Laws

The Social Security Administration maintains an online compilation of the Social Security Act: Child welfare programs and activities authorized in the Social Security Act are listed below by Title and with section(s) number.

Social Security Act


Subpart 1 – Stephanie Tubbs Jones Child Welfare Services Program

  • Stephanie Tubbs Jones Child Welfare Services Program (Sections 420-425, 428)
  • Research, Training and Demonstrations (Section 426)
  • Family Connection Grants (Section 427)
  • National Random Sample Child Welfare Study (Section 429)

Subpart 2 – Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program

  • Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program (Sections 430 – 437)
  • Court Improvement Program (Section 438)
  • Mentoring Children of Prisoners (Section 439)

Subpart 3 – Common Provisions

  • Data Standardization (Section 440)


  • Foster Care, Adoption Assistance and Kinship Guardianship Assistance
    (Sections 470-473, 474-476, 478-479B)
  • Adoption Incentives (Section 473A)
  • Chafee Foster Care Independence Program, including Education and Training Vouchers (Section 477)


  • Effect of failure to carry out State Plan (Section 1123); (identical language also enacted at Section 1130A)
  • Reviews of child and family services programs and of foster care and adoption assistance programs, for conformity with State plan requirements (Section 1123A)
  • Child Welfare Demonstration Projects (Section 1130)

Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, Adoption Opportunities, and Abandoned Infants Awareness

The Children’s Bureau maintains a compilation of these acts on its website. The document at this link incorporates all amendments made to them through their most current reauthorization, P.L. 111-320, enacted in December 2010.

Data on Number, Characteristics, and Certain Outcomes of Children and Families Who Come Into Contact with Child Welfare

Child Maltreatment – An annual report that includes national and state-by-state information on number of children found to be victims of child abuse or neglect, number of child abuse or neglect fatalities, and other related data.

Adoption and Foster Care Analysis Reporting System (AFCARS) Reports An annual report that includes national data concerning children entering or exiting foster care in a given fiscal year, those who remain in foster care on the last day of the fiscal year, those who were waiting to be adopted on the last day of the fiscal year, and those who were adopted during the fiscal year.

Number of Children Entering or Exiting Foster Care During the Fiscal Year and Number in Care on the Last Day of the Fiscal YearA table showing data by state.

AdoptionMultiple tables providing state-level data on adoptions with public child welfare agency involvement. From link below scroll down to “State Specific Adoption Statistics.”

Child Welfare Outcomes Database – An interactive site that allows users to select which state or states they would like to see information about and for what years. The website was launched in January 2011 and is to be annually updated. The site includes all the data that is published in the congressionally mandated  Child Welfare Outcomes report (Section 479A of the Social Security Act), as well as data showing state performance on certain standards used to assess states as part of the Child and Family Services Review (CFSR). The website continues to be developed and readers may want to check back periodically to learn about any new resources posted.

National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) – Reports and other information based on the congressionally mandated national random sample study of child welfare (Section 429 of the Social Security Act). Includes links to research briefs, reports, and other information based on nationally representative samples of children who come into contact with child welfare agencies and their families.

Information on Federal Policies and State Laws and Policies

Child Welfare Policy Manual – The Children’s Bureau has issued both formal federal regulation as well as less formal “program instructions” to interpret and implement federal child welfare law. The online Child Welfare Policy Manual draws on these sources (and current law) to offer guidance on federal child welfare policy. Information is organized, topically, by program and is provided in a question and answer format.

State Statute Series – Available via the Children’s Bureau supported information clearinghouse (known as the Child Welfare Information Gateway),  the State Statute Series provides a brief overall summary of state statutes regarding selected child abuse and neglect, foster care, and adoption issues. It also shows the relevant excerpt of state law for each issue.

State Child Welfare Policy Data Base This website was developed and is managed by the social policy research group, Child Trends, with funding from Casey Family Programs. As of October 2011, it primarily includes state-level information, collected via surveys, on policies and practices related to kinship care, child welfare financing, and older youth in care.

Fostering – This website, primarily managed by Child Trends and funded by a variety of child welfare interest groups, provides resources and information on state implementation of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-351).


States are held accountable to federal child welfare policy through a variety of mechanisms and reviews. Links to information about two reviews are provided below.

Child and Family Services Review – The Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) is the most comprehensive federal effort to determine whether states are in “substantial conformity” with state plan requirements made under Title IV-B and Title IV-E of the Social Security Act. The review is periodically conducted and focuses on outcomes achieved by the state for the children and families it services as well as the systems in place to achieve those outcomes. Each review includes a statewide assessment and an onsite review. State “substantial conformity” is determined using standardized data measures, case record reviews, and stakeholder interviews. States found not in “substantial conformity” with federal child welfare policy face fiscal penalty unless they are able to successfully implement a Program Improvement Plan (PIP). Information about the CFSR, and copies of state assessments and state final reports are available online.

Title IV-E Eligibility Review – A Title IV-E Eligibility Review is periodically conducted in each state to ensure the state accurately applies federal eligibility rules related to determining federal eligibility for Title IV-E foster care assistance. Information about the review, including state final reports is available online.

Federally Supported Clearinghouses or Resource Centers

Training and Technical Assistance Network – The Children’s Bureau supports an array of resource centers and information clearinghouses as part of its training and technical assistance network. You can read about (and link to) all members of that network online.

Direct links to selected members of this training and technical assistance network are provided below. These sites typically include many resources, and only a few of them are highlighted below.

Child Welfare Information Gateway – Clearinghouse of information on broad range of child welfare topics.

AdoptUSKids – Among other things, includes a photo listing of children available for adoption as well as information and resources, nationally and by state, for families seeking to adopt.

National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections – Among other things maintains a “hot topics” list with easily accessible information on range of foster care and related issues.

National Resource Center for Legal and Judicial Issues in Child Welfare – Provides access to information on Court Improvement Program activities by state and other legal resources for child welfare.

National Resource Center for Youth Development – Provides information on state services and activities for youth in care and those who have aged out of care.