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Resources for Communities

Your group or organization can play a vital role in supporting the more than 430,000 children and youth involved in foster care. Your engagement helps create a community of care to support families—especially those involved in foster care—to be the best they can be even under stress. There's an overwhelming need for individuals and families to become involved as foster parents, respite providers, volunteers, or mentors of children who need an adult role model. Resources in this section outline information about the children in your community involved in foster care, the national and local policies that impact communities, and how to support local children and caregivers involved in child welfare. You can also find additional information on collaborative community relationships and trauma-informed child welfare practice across the country.

Who are the children in foster care?

About the Children in Foster Care
Provides information about the children in foster care, including the median amount of time a child spends in care and the number of youth who age out of foster care.

Foster Care Statistics 2016
Series Title Numbers and Trends
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Availability View
Download (PDF - 383KB)
Year Published 2018
Provides the most recent national statistical estimates for children in foster care from fiscal year (FY) 2016 and also provides earlier data from FY 2006 to allow for some estimate of trends over time. Data were obtained from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS). The factsheet provides statistics on number of children in foster care and entering and exiting care and includes information on child characteristics, placement goals and settings, length of stay, and outcomes.

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Policy and supportive programs

Major Federal Legislation Concerned With Child Protection, Child Welfare, and Adoption
Series Title Factsheets
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Availability View
Download (PDF - 391KB)
Year Published 2016
Presents a summary of Federal legislation since 1974 that has had a significant impact on the child welfare field. It provides an overview of each act and its major provisions. To browse or search the summaries of acts included in this publication, visit the Major Federal Legislation Index and Search. The full text of the acts included in this publication can be found on Information Gateway's Index of Federal Child Welfare Laws. The PDF version presents an overview of the legislative history and a graphic timeline of the included acts. For a Spanish summary of the text related to the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 included in this publication, see Ley de 2008 Sobre el Promover de las Conexiones Para Lograr el Éxito y el Aumento de las Adopciones: Un Resumen.
Placement of Children With Relatives
Series Title State Statutes
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Availability View
Download (PDF - 755KB)
Year Published 2018
Presents an overview of State laws that give priority or preference to relatives when children are in need of out-of-home care. The issues addressed include locating relatives, determining the fitness of a relative to provide care, and requirements for licensure. Requirements for placing siblings together whenever possible and adoption by relatives also are addressed. Summaries of laws for all 50 States are included.

National CASA Association
Court Appointed Special Advocates For Children
Explains how court appointed special advocates provide consistency and advocacy for children involved in the child welfare system.

Supporting Informal Kinship Families in Nebraska (PDF - 441 KB)
Voices for Children in Nebraska
Explores the challenges kinship caregivers may face—such as trying to make important decisions for children in care—and potential solutions to help.

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Guides and additional information

Benefits of Grandfamilies
Generations United
Provides research related to the improved outcomes of children and youth who are cared for by relative caregivers instead of traditional foster care settings.

Building and Sustaining Collaborative Community Relationships
Capacity Building Center for States (2017)
Highlights the importance of effective, ongoing collaboration between child welfare agencies and community-based partners to strengthen assessment and decision-making, increase understanding of the family’s needs, promote communication and information sharing across systems, and provide better overall support to children and families.

CW360°: Trauma Informed Child Welfare Practice (PDF - 1,516 KB)
Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (2013)
Provides working definitions and examples of casework practice implementation for emerging knowledge about trauma-informed care in the child welfare system.

Child Welfare Toolkit for Early Childhood Professionals (PDF - 23,091 KB)
Partnership for Resilient Infants + Toddlers (2014)
Outlines a collaborative approach between early childhood professionals and the child welfare system in order to implement trauma-informed practices in work with parents and children.

Disaster Planning for Child Welfare Agencies
Series Title Factsheets
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Availability View
Download (PDF - 532KB)
Order (Free)
Year Published 2016
Provides an overview of disaster planning for child welfare agencies. Outlines the reasons child welfare agencies should develop disaster plans, provides an overview of plan development, points to resources for creating preparedness plans, and highlights State and local examples.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network: National Disasters
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Provides information about responding to children's mental health needs following natural or manmade disasters.

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