Federal legislation provides funding for State grants to provide services that will prevent the unnecessary separation of children from their families, improve their quality of care, and ensure permanency by reuniting them with their parents through adoption or via another permanent living arrangement. Federal programs related to family support include the Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention program, the Family Preservation and Family Support Services Act of 1993, the Promoting Safe and Stable Families provisions of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, the Safe and Stable Families Amendments of 2001, and the Family First Prevention Services Act of 2018.
The following resources provide a broad overview of policies addressing family support services and program approaches to providing such services to families.
Community-Based Family Support: Exemplars With Implementation and Evaluation Strategies (PDF - 1,393 KB)
Casey Family Programs (2016)
Focuses on community-based family supports and explores why they are needed, what support networks look like, lessons learned for design and implementation of family support networks, and evaluation strategies to consider.
Family Support and Well-Being
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center
Provides information on family support services to ensure that all family members are safe and healthy and have the opportunity for educational attainment and economic advancement. The website highlights resources for children and families experiencing homelessness, affected by domestic violence, striving for family well-being, and working toward economic mobility.
Features of Programs Designed to Help Families Achieve Economic Security and Promote Child Well-Being (PDF - 798 KB)
Sama-Miller & Baumgartner (2017)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
Reviews programs for families and children aimed at helping them achieve economic security and promoting child and family well-being. The report presents the results of a questionnaire on how these programs develop, program maturity, who the programs serve, services provided to adults and children, how programs engage adults and children, and how these programs are funded.
Home Visiting: Improving Outcomes for Children
National Conference of State Legislatures (2019)
Explores home visiting as a prevention strategy to support pregnant women and new mothers to promote infant and child health, foster educational development and school readiness, and help prevent child abuse and neglect. The website discusses research on home visiting, overviews Federal programs that support the effort, describes how States are implementing home visiting programs, and outlines key questions to consider.
National Home Visiting Resource Center
Provides information about early childhood home visiting and works to support sound decisions in policy and practice to help children and families thrive. The organization tracks research and data, posts news about home visiting, and links to related resources.
Programs for Children and Families
Rural Health Information Hub (2020)
Outlines programs for rural children and families and describes a range of services for families with low incomes in areas such as education, violence prevention, and foster care and adoption.
Programs for Families and Children
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2020)
Lists Federal programs available to assist families and help prevent abuse. The information provided covers topics such as financial aid, child care/child support programs, and child abuse prevention.
Start With What's Going Right: Supporting Families With Protective Factors
Capacity Building Center for States (2020)
Children's Bureau Express, 21(3)
Explains how discussing protective factors when beginning to work with families instead of discussing risk factors can help reduce feelings of defensiveness, develop positive relationships and trust, and establish a positive foundation on which child welfare caseworkers can build on going forward.
Two-Generation Strategies Toolkit
National Conference of State Legislatures (2018)
Examines a new approach to helping families break the cycle of poverty. This approach is known as a two-generation, intergenerational, multigenerational, or whole-family strategy. These efforts are taking hold in several States, and the toolkit outlines these examples.