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Child Welfare

Child welfare systems seek to ensure that children who have experienced or are at risk of experiencing child maltreatment achieve safety, permanency, and well-being. Child welfare services provided by state, tribal, local, and private social service agencies are intended to:

  • Prevent child abuse and neglect;
  • Protect children by strengthening their families while they remain home, or when necessary, providing foster care; and
  • Promote permanency for children through reunification with their families or facilitating adoption, guardianship, and post-permanency services for those who cannot be safely reunited with their families.

ASPE conducts work on policy and cross-cutting topics related to child welfare, such as identifying system drivers of foster care; improving outcomes for youth aging out of foster care; building state capacity to prevent involvement with the child welfare system, including reducing the disproportionate contact with Black and American Indian families; parental substance use; understanding variations in performance and outcomes across states; and, linking child welfare data systems with other health and human services data.

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