How the Child Welfare System Works

Date: October 2020
How the Child Welfare System Works

Author(s): Information Gateway

Year Published: 2020

File Size: 789 KB

This factsheet provides a brief overview of the purposes and functions of the child welfare system. Child welfare systems typically receive and investigate reports of possible child abuse and neglect; provide services to families that need assistance in the safety and care of their children; arrange for children to live with relatives or with foster families when they are not safe at home; and arrange for reunification, adoption, or other permanent family connections for children and youth leaving foster care. A flowchart illustrates how cases typically move through the child welfare system. 

Suggested Citation: Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2020). How the child welfare system works. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau.

This material may be freely reproduced and distributed. However, when doing so, please credit Child Welfare Information Gateway.

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