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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 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.
The Children's Bureau has the responsibility of assessing States' conformity with certain Federal requirements for child protection, foster care, adoption, family preservation and family support, and independent living services. As part of this process, the Children's Bureau administers Federal and State reporting systems that provide data to monitor and improve child welfare outcomes. The data collection systems include:
- The Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS). AFCARS collects case-level information on all children in foster care for whom State child welfare agencies have responsibility for placement, care, or supervision and on children who are placed for adoption under the auspices of the State's public child welfare agency. Each State is subject to an AFCARS Assessment Review to assess and evaluate the accuracy and reliability of its adoption and foster care data.
- The Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS). SACWIS is a statewide, comprehensive, case management system that also automates the collection of federally mandated child welfare data and provides support for the delivery and management of child welfare services. The Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1993 authorized Federal financial participation for the development of such a State system. If a State elects to accept Federal funds and implement a SACWIS, the system must be a comprehensive, automated, case management tool that supports social workers' foster care and adoption assistance case management practice. A Tribe also may develop a similar system, which is referred to as a Tribal Automated Child Welfare Information System (TACWIS).
- The National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS). This data collection and analysis system was created in response to the requirements of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. The data collected serve as the basis for annual Child Maltreatment Reports.
- The National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD). NYTD was created in response to the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP) that requires ACF to develop a data collection system to track the Independent Living services offered by States. States are required to collect information on each youth who receives Independent Living services paid for or provided by the State agency that administers the CFCIP. In addition, States must collect demographic and outcome information on certain youth in foster care whom the State will follow over time to collect additional outcome information. This information will allow ACF to track which Independent Living services States provide and assess the collective outcomes of youth.
The Children's Bureau also administers a system of onsite, case review assessments to determine each State's conformity with the requirements in titles IV-B and IV-E of the Social Security Act (SSA). The system comprises two review components—Child and Family Services Reviews and Title IV-E Foster Care Eligibility Reviews:
- Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs). Designed to help States improve safety, permanency, and well-being outcomes for children and families who receive services through the child welfare system, these reviews monitor States' conformity with the requirements of title IV-B and title IV-E of the Social Security Act.
- Title IV-E Foster Care Eligibility Reviews. Reviews of the Federal Title IV-E Foster Care Program focus on determining whether children in foster care meet the statutory eligibility requirements for foster care maintenance payments.
For more information:
- Reporting Systems
Provides information about Federal and State reporting systems, including AFCARS, NCANDS, NYTD, and SACWIS, that supply data to monitor and improve child welfare outcomes.
- Child Welfare Monitoring
Presents an index of information, guides, instruments, and other resources on Children's Bureau monitoring programs.
- Legislation, Policy, and Technical Bulletins Related to the CFSRs
Includes Federal Register announcements, the Child Welfare Final Rule, Adoption and Safe Families Act, Information Memoranda, and a National Standards background paper.
- Title IV-E Reviews
Provides guidance on planning, conducting, and completing a foster care eligibility review, including an explanation of the title IV-E eligibility criteria against which States will be reviewed, review schedules, and instruments.
Provides guidance to State child welfare program and system staff regarding the AFCARS Assessment Review process.
- State and Tribal Information Systems (SACWIS/TACWIS)
Provides information about laws, regulations, documentation, and available technical assistance regarding SACWIS/TACWIS.
Step 6: The Children's Bureau responds to congressional mandates to report on State performance in delivering child welfare services.