Children and youth in foster care are best supported through a continuum of care that provides ongoing services from entry to exit. The goal of this approach is to use the most appropriate and least restrictive interventions, both in or out of the home, while ensuring that safety issues and needs are addressed. Find information and resources about the multiple services included in a continuum of care.
Child Welfare Continuum [Infographic]
National Council for Adoption (2016)
Presents an infographic showing the child welfare continuum, which highlights a full range of care options for children and demonstrates how placing children in permanent, family-based care is the priority.
The Child Welfare Placement Continuum: What's Best for Children?
National Conference of State Legislatures (2019)
Discusses keeping children with their families when possible and placing them in the least restrictive, family-like environment when that is not possible. The website explores kinship care, foster care, and residential or group homes.
Child Welfare Policy Brief: Developing a Robust Continuum of Care to Support Foster Youth in Family-Based Settings (PDF - 854 KB)
California Child Advocates for Change (2016)
Provides guidelines for the Federal government to support States in their effort to reduce congregate care, based on experiences in California.
The Continuum of Care
Better Care Network
Offers information and resources about the child welfare continuum of care and covers topics such as strengthening family care, foster care, kinship care, adoption, guardianship, residential care, and more.
Every Kid Needs a Family: Giving Children in the Child Welfare System the Best Chance for Success (PDF - 2,089 KB)
Annie E. Casey Foundation (2015)
Presents information on the importance of families and how every child does best in a family setting. The resource includes the graphic, "Our Vision: A Continuum of Care for Child Well-Being" on page 10.
Place Matters: Aligning Investments in a Community-Based Continuum of Care for Maine Youth Transitioning to Adulthood (PDF - 2,345 KB)
Sanchez, King, & Ward (2019)
University of Southern Maine
Explores how the State of Maine is investing in a community-centered continuum of care that promotes the well-being of children, youth, and families. The approach focused on community rather than the criteria of one agency, system, or program.
Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014
National Conference of State Legislatures (2016)
Outlines the Federal law's improvements to the foster care system.
Transforming Child Welfare Practice in Maryland Through the Integrated Child Welfare Practice Model
Chapin Hall (2020)
Outlines a collaboration between Chapin Hall and Maryland that is working to create an integrated practice model to transform the quality of child welfare services in the State and improving safety, permanency, and well-being outcomes for children and families.