Questions and answers
- What does systemwide mean?
We use the term "systemwide" to identify and group topics that are relevant across the child welfare continuum. For example, assessment is an activity that is conducted in all child welfare services, including family support, child protection, out-of-home care, and adoption. Workforce and training are universal concerns. All services require adequate funding. The Systemwide section of this website provides information on these topics as well as cultural competence, service array, laws and policies, courts, statistics, and service improvement/system reform.
- How do you define child welfare?
No "official" definition of child welfare is universally accepted in the field. However, most would agree child welfare is about ensuring the safety, permanency, and well-being of children and youth. Child Welfare Information Gateway provides information on many aspects of child welfare, including child abuse and neglect prevention, child protection, family support and preservation, out-of-home care, permanency, adoption, and family-centered practice.
How the Child Welfare System Works
A Family's Guide to the Child Welfare System (PDF - 847 KB)
Also available in Spanish: Guía para la familia sobre el sistema de bienestar infantil (PDF - 890 KB)
Frequently requested information
Links to State and Tribal Child Welfare Law and Policy
Allows organizations to find and apply electronically for more than 900 competitive grant programs from 26 Federal grant-making agencies.
Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs)
Overview of the CFSRs, information about the review process, and reports and results from State reviews.
Child Welfare Outcomes Report Data
Offers access to the most current data from the annual report to Congress.
Comprehensive Family Assessment Guidelines for Child Welfare
Components of comprehensive family assessment, its relationship to service planning and provision, and how child welfare agencies can support its use.
NASW Standards for Social Work Practice in Child Welfare (PDF - 135 KB)
Standards for child welfare practice, including family preservation and support, out-of-home care, adoption, parenting services, and other fields.
Child Welfare Law and Practice : Representing Children, Parents, and State Agencies in Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency Cases
Ventrell & Duquette (2005)
The nation's top child welfare attorneys explain the role and duties of attorneys in child welfare cases, from initiating court action to reunification or termination and adoption.a