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How Federal Legislation Impacts Child Welfare Service Delivery
Child Welfare Information Gateway |
|Year Published: 2012|
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 4: In response to Federal legislative mandates, policy, and/or funding requirements, States may enact statutes, and State and Tribal agencies may develop programs and policies to meet the needs of their constituencies.
The delivery of child protection and child welfare services to individual citizens is primarily governed by State laws, regulations, and policies/procedures. Federal laws provide standards and requirements for providing such programs and services if a State wishes to obtain Federal funding for them. State legislatures may enact legislation in response to Federal legislative mandates and/or the specific needs of their State. States, Tribes, and territories may also develop new program initiatives that help them work toward compliance with Federal funding requirements.
For title IV-E foster care and adoption assistance funding, each State must develop and submit a State plan that documents the State's compliance with Federal requirements. Beginning October 1, 2009, Indian Tribes, Tribal consortia, and Tribal organizations also may submit a title IV-E plan for direct Tribal funding.
To maintain eligibility for title IV-B services, States, Tribes, and territories jointly develop, with staff from the Children's Bureau Regional Offices, a comprehensive 5-year Child and Family Services Plan (CFSP). In years between CFSP submissions, States and Tribes must submit an Annual Progress and Services Report (APSR). The CFSP outlines initiatives and activities the State, Tribe, or territory will carry out in administering programs and services to promote the safety, permanency, and well-being of children and families. The APSR discusses progress made by a State, Tribe, or territory in accomplishing the goals and objectives cited in its CFSP.
For more information:
- State Statutes
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Presents a searchable database of State child welfare laws, organized by more than 35 topics.
- Online Resources for State Child Welfare Law and Policy
Child Welfare Information Gateway (2013)
Provides links to websites that offer access to State statutes and regulations and lists the parts of each State and territory's code that contain laws addressing child protection, child welfare, and adoption. (PDF - 222 KB)
- State Child Welfare Legislation: 2010 and 2011
National Conference of State Legislatures (2012)
Describes significant State legislation related to child welfare issues enacted in 2010 and 2011, including citations and summaries of specific child welfare-related laws in each State.
- State and Tribal Funding
Provides brief descriptions of the array of State and Tribal programs eligible for funding from the Children's Bureau, including Title IV-E Foster Care and Adoption Assistance, Title IV-B Child Welfare Services and Promoting Safe and Stable Families, the Chafee Foster Care Independence program, Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention and Treatment(CAPTA) State Grants, Community-Based Grants for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, the Children's Justice Act (CJA), and the State Court Improvement Program(CIP).
- State and Tribal Child and Family Services Plan
Provides technical assistance documents and materials, as well as references to specific laws and policies, that relate to the development of State and Tribal Child and Family Services Plans (CFSPs)/Annual Progress and Services Reports (APSRs).
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.