This factsheet provides an overview of the process by which legislative actions and policy changes at the Federal level impact State and Tribal child welfare systems and service delivery. Links to pertinent resources are provided for each step of the process; however, the steps described do not always occur in the sequence in which they are listed below.
- Step 1: Congress passes and the President signs legislation that creates or amends a federally funded child welfare program.
- Step 2: The Children's Bureau provides guidance in response to Federal legislative mandates.
- Step 3: The Children's Bureau disburses funds to support child welfare programs as authorized by Federal legislation.
- Step 4: In response to Federal legislative mandates, policy, and/or funding requirements, States may enact statutes, and State and Tribal child welfare agencies may develop programs and policies to meet the needs of their constituencies.
- Step 5: The Children's Bureau monitors State child welfare services through data collection and onsite reviews to ensure that programs achieve positive outcomes for children and families.
- Step 6: The Children's Bureau responds to Congressional mandates to report on State performance in delivering child welfare services.
Step 1: Congress passes and the President signs legislation that creates or amends a federally funded child welfare program.
Enactment of a new act is the result of a long legislative process that begins when a member of the House or Senate introduces a bill to his or her respective legislative body. Only a Member of Congress can introduce a bill, but the idea may be developed by constituents, academics, interest groups, lobbyists, State legislatures, executive branch departments, Federal agencies, and/or the President of the United States.
For more information:
- Federal Laws
Children's Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Provides descriptions of significant Federal child protection, child welfare, foster care, and adoption laws, as well as links to the full text of selected acts and other resources.
- Major Federal Legislation Concerned with Child Protection, Child Welfare, and Adoption
Child Welfare Information Gateway (2012)
Summarizes the major provisions of key Federal laws regarding child protection, child welfare, foster care, and adoption and includes a timeline, links to the full text of each act, and an index page that allows users to browse or search the acts included in the publication.
Library of Congress
Tracks legislative activity in the U.S. Congress and provides links to summaries and full-text versions of bills, the Congressional Record, committee reports, and other resources.
- How Our Laws Are Made
Parliamentarian, U.S. House of Representatives
Describes the organization, operation, and legislative process in the House of Representatives.
- Enactment of a Law
Parliamentarian, U.S. Senate
Describes the organization, operation, and legislative process in the Senate.