Child Welfare Links to Additional Resources

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. For state level data on adoptions with public child welfare agency, scroll down to annual links provided under the heading “State Specific Adoption Statistics.”

Number of Children Entering or Exiting Foster Care During the Fiscal Year and Number in Care on the Last Day of the Fiscal Year – A table showing data by state for FY2004-FY2013.

Number of Children Adopted with Public Child Welfare Agency Involvement by State, FY2004-FY2013

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. 

National Survey of Adoptive Parents Reports based on survey of adoptive parents, including special study of parents who adopted children out of foster care. 

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 Database – This website was developed and is managed by the social policy research group, Child Trends, with funding from Casey Family Programs.  It includes state-level information on laws, policies, and practices related to kinship care, child welfare financing, older youth in care, family foster care reimbursement rates, programs to prevent child maltreatment, differential response, domestic violence, definitions of child abuse and neglect, and mandatory reporting of child abuse or neglect.

Child Welfare Demonstration Projects (“waivers”)

Information about past, currently operating, and planned child welfare demonstration projects, including federal policies related to these projects is available online


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 a fiscal penalty unless they are able to successfully implement a Program Improvement Plan (PIP). General information about the CFSR, including how the review is conducted is available online.

A report on findings of the most recent round of reviews (FY2007-FY2010) is available online.

Copies of individual 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

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.

Federal Laws

Social Security Act

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 in Title IV-B, Title IV-E and sections of Title XI.

Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), Adoption Opportunities, and Abandoned Infants Assistance

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. 

This page was prepared on November 18, 2014 for the 2014 version of the House Ways and Means Committee Green Book.