Child Welfare Policy

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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Child Welfare policies began to be implemented in the United States in 1974. The major Child Welfare policies are as follows:

  1. AFCARS- The Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System. The system was created to collect and preserve case information on all children who are in foster care as well as all children who have been adopted. It houses demographics of the foster/adoptive parents as well as the child’s information. It documents the current placement as well as the placements that the child has been removed from.
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    AFCARS is also a major tool for the preparation of the Child Welfare Outcomes Report. (Bureau, 2019)

  2. CAPTA- The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (1974.) CAPTA was implemented to ensure that federal funding was provided for prevention of child abuse and neglect. It also ensures that funding is provided for: assessments of abuse, investigations of abuse, as well as providing grants to nonprofit organizations and public agencies. (Child Welfare, 2019)
  3. MEPA- The Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994- This policy was implemented so that children could have permanent, safe families and homes. It is mostly geared towards minority children. It provides funding for different programs that help minority children and families. (League, 2007)

Child Welfare policies were detrimental to the United States to help regulate funding and implement different programs for children and families. There weren’t really any policies or laws in place to protect children and strengthen families before the CAPTA. There was also a lot of concern with the treatment and care of foster children and children who were adopted. There were a lot of problems regarding these children as far as monetary support and even health insurance. There were also a lot of discrepancies regarding who “needs” a child and who “should get” a child in regards to adoption.

When it comes to Child Welfare policies the people eligible for the services would be: children, families, children in foster care, adopted children, and children and families living in poverty. This following demographical data was taken from the 2015 Child Welfare Outcomes Report:

National Child Population

In 2015, the total population of children under the age of 18 was estimated to be 74,382,502. The three States with the largest populations under the age of 18 were California (9,120,916), Texas (7,211,771), and New York (4,210,817). These States also had three of the four largest populations of children in foster care. The three States with the smallest populations under the age of 18 were the District of Columbia (118,107), Vermont (119,923), and Wyoming (138,895). Similarly, the District of Columbia and Wyoming were second and fourth in rank, respectively, for the smallest foster care populations. Nationally, 20.7 percent of children under the age of 18 were estimated to live in poverty in 2015. Poverty rates for children vary widely across states, ranging from 10.7 percent to 58.3 percent, and 23 states (44 percent) have poverty rates above the national average of 20.7 percent. Although there is evidence of a relationship between income and child maltreatment, there is no meaningful correlation between states’ foster care entry rates and their estimated proportion of the child population living in poverty for 2015 (Pearson’s r=–.16).32

Children In Foster Care

On the last day of 2015, approximately 428,000 children were in foster care nationwide. Previous Child Welfare Outcomes Reports have noted a downward trend in the number of children in foster care. Recent foster care data suggest that the previous decline in the number of children in foster care has leveled off and that the number of children in foster care is rising. Figure I–1 shows a dramatic decline in the number of children in foster care on the last day of the FY between 2006 and 2015. That number declined from 505,000 in 2006 to 428,000 in 2015, a 15.2-percent decrease.33 The number of children in foster care approximated 400,000 from 2011 through 2013, but increased in 2014 and reached about 428,000 in 2015. Note that the data displayed in the table are from an HHS report, Trends in Foster Care and Adoption: FY 2006–FY 2015, and are current as of July 2016.34. (Bereau, 2015) Child Welfare is federally, state, and locally funded. The largest funding source is allocated from grants or fed reimbursement eligible programs such as foster care. Title’s IV-B and IV-E of the Social Security act contribute a large part of the funding as well.”

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Child Welfare Policy. (2019, Sep 07). Retrieved from