While ensuring safety and permanency for children is critical in child welfare practice, the field is increasingly focusing on the importance of well-being and the interventions that promote the well-being of children and youth. The resources on this page discuss indicators and ways to improve child and youth well-being.
ACYF Framework for Social and Emotional Well-Being
Child and Family Services Reviews Information Portal
Explains the four domains of well-being, ACYF’s framework for addressing social and emotional well-being, and how trauma impacts well-being and development.
Common Indicators of Social-Emotional Well-Being in Early Childhood
Presents service providers with 130 common indicators of social-emotional well-being in early childhood, a social-ecological framework for prevention, and additional well-being resources such as worksheets.
Child & Youth Well-Being
Washington University in St. Louis, Center for Social Development (2019)
Provides articles and reports on topics related to child and youth well-being, including building youth resistance and the impact of race, inequality, and social mobility on youth outcomes.
Provides resources and information on a variety of topics related to child well-being, including child abuse and neglect, trauma, access to social services, coping skills, and more.
Defining and Strengthening Child Well-Being in Child Protection
Jones, LaLiberte, & Piescher (2015)
Child and Youth Services Review, 54
Outlines and compares several well-being and related frameworks to conceptualize and better address child well-being in child protection practice. The report includes implications for child protection services and collaboration across systems.
Early Development & Well-Being
Zero to Three
Provides materials on bonding, healthy development, and other indicators of well-being for children ages three and under.
Health Effects of Adverse Childhood Events: Identifying Promising Protective Factors at the Intersection of Mental and Physical Well-Being (PDF - 359 KB)
Banyard, Hamby, & Grych (2017)
Child Abuse and Neglect, 65
Presents the findings of a study examining the role strengths and resources had on the physical health and adversity as an adult of individuals who had adverse childhood experiences. The study recommends early strengths-based intervention services for children and their families with exposure to adversity.
Housing and Child Well-Being (PDF - 1,362 KB)
Marcal & Fowler (2015)
Washington University St. Louis, George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Center for Social Development
Discusses the developmental consequences of housing instability and reviews available resources in homeless services, public housing services, and the child welfare system. It also identifies gaps in screening practices, service provision, and systems coordination, including recommendations for reducing housing instability and promoting child well-being.
The Impact of a Statewide Trauma-Informed Care Initiative in Child Welfare on the Well-Being of Children and Youth With Complex Trauma (PDF - 331 KB)
Bartlet, Griffin, Spinazzola, Fraser, Noroña, Bodian, Todd, et al. (2018)
Child and Youth Services Review, 84
Presents the findings of a study on three trauma treatments implemented in Massachusetts and the impact on well-being outcomes for children and youth exposed to complex trauma. The study concludes with different findings by treatment model and with implications for further research.
Investing to Improve the Well-Being of Vulnerable Youth and Young Adults: Recommendations for Policy and Practice
Langford, Badeau, & Legters, (2015)
Youth Transition Funders Group
Explores the roles and responsibilities of the education, child welfare, and juvenile justice systems in supporting well-being for youth and young adults. This document provides concrete and actionable recommendations for improving policy and practice, including ways to engage in intentional and meaningful cross-systems alignment and collaboration.