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Administration for Children and Families US Department of Health and Human Services
Office of Public Affairs (OPA)
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The Children's Bureau (CB) seeks to provide for the safety, permanency and well being of children through leadership, support for necessary services and productive partnerships with States, Tribes and communities.

Major Goal: Protecting the Well-Being of Children
The CB works with State and local agencies to develop a number of programs that focus on preventing the abuse of children in troubled families, protecting children from abuse and finding permanent placements for those who cannot safely return to their homes.

Maltreatment of Children:
Hundreds of thousands of children each year are found to be victims of maltreatment. Maltreatment can consist of any of the following:

  • neglect
  • medical neglect
  • physical abuse
  • sexual abuse
  • psychological maltreatment.

Programs within the CB to protect the well-being of children:



Foster Care/Adoption Assistance

For children who cannot remain safely in their homes, Foster Care provides a stable environment that assures them safety and well-being while their parents attempt to resolve the problems that led to the out-of-home placement. When the family cannot be reunified, foster care provides a stable environment until the child can be placed permanently with an adoptive family. Under Foster Care, States provide training to staff, foster parents and certain private agencies. Funds are available for:

  • monthly maintenance payments to eligible foster care providers
  • administrative costs to manage the programs
  • training staff and foster care parents
  • foster parent recruitment
  • other related expenses

These payments vary from state to state.

Under Adoption Assistance, funds are available for a one-time payment for the costs of adopting a child as well as for monthly subsidies to adoptive families for care of the child (who is eligible for welfare under the former AFDC program or for Supplemental Security Income). Similar to Foster Care, these funds vary from state to state. Additionally, funds received under Foster Care and Adoption Assistance are used by states to help pay the costs related to child placement and case management activities; training for staff, foster parents, and adoptive parents; foster and adoptive parent recruitment; and other relevant expenses.

— In FY 2006, $6.7 billion is available for Foster Care/Adoption Assistance programs.

Independent Living Assistance – for youth up to age 21
In December 1999, The Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 was signed into law. This legislation helps ensure that young people who leave foster care receive the tools they need to make the most of their lives. It empowers them by providing better educational opportunities, access to health care, training, housing assistance, counseling and other services.
The act increased the annual funding for the Independent Living program and expanded the services and supports available to help prepare foster care youth for the transition to adulthood.

— In FY 2006, $140 million is available for Independent Living Assistance.

Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF)
The primary goals of Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) are:

  • to prevent the unnecessary separation of children from their families
  • improve the quality of care and services to children and their families
  • ensure permanency for children by reuniting them with their parents, by adoption or by another permanent living arrangement.

The programs include:

  • family support
  • family preservation
  • time-limited family reunification
  • adoption promotion and support services.

PSSF services are based on several key principles:

  • The welfare and safety of children and of all family members should be maintained while strengthening and preserving the family.
  • The family unit should receive services which identify and enhance its strengths while meeting individual and family needs.
  • Services should be easily accessible, often delivered in the home or in community-based settings, and should respect cultural and community differences.
  • They should be flexible, responsive to real family needs, and linked to other supports and services outside the child welfare system.
  • Services should involve community organizations and residents, including parents, in their design and delivery.
  • They should be intensive enough to keep children safe and meet family needs, varying between preventive and crisis services.

— In FY 2006, $454,100 million is available for Promoting Safe and Stable Families.

Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention
The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) provides funds in several different ways:

  • by providing funds and technical assistance for prevention and intervention
  • supporting research, service improvement programs and demonstration projects
  • collecting data about the problem, its consequences and the effectiveness of prevention and treatment services
  • facilitating information dissemination and exchange
  • supporting policy development and professional education.

Funding for CAPTA:

  • Community-based Child Abuse and Prevention grants fund statewide networks of local child abuse and neglect prevention and family resource programs.
  • Basic State Grants provide assistance in developing, strengthening, and implementing child abuse and neglect prevention and treatment programs.
  • Federal funds also support research on the causes, prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. These demonstration programs identify the best means of preventing maltreatment and treating troubled families.

— In FY 2006, $25,779,600 million is available to the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Program.
— In FY2006,

— $42,430,410 million is available for Community–Based Child Abuse and Prevention grants.
— $27,007,200 is available for basic State grants.

Child Welfare Services
Child Welfare Services programs are directed toward the goal of keeping families together. They include preventive intervention so that, if possible, children will not have to be removed from their homes. If this is not possible, placements and permanent homes through foster care or adoption can be made. In addition, reunification services are available to encourage the return home, when appropriate, of children who have been removed from their families. Services are available to children and their families without regard to income.

Other programs that address the welfare of children at risk:

  • The Adoption Opportunities program eliminates barriers to adoption and helps to find permanent homes for children, particularly those with special needs who would benefit by adoption.
  • The Abandoned Infants Assistance program provides grants to help identify ways to prevent the abandonment of children in hospitals and to identify and address the needs of infants and young children, particularly those with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and prenatal drug or alcohol exposure.
  • The Infant Adoption Awareness Training program has funded grantees to develop curricula and implement training programs to train designated staff of eligible health centers. The program provides adoption information and referrals to pregnant women on an equal basis with all other courses of action included in non-directive counseling to pregnant women.

— In FY 2006, $289,320 million is available for the Child Welfare Services program.
— In FY2006,

- $26,847,810 million is available for Adoption Opportunities.
- $11,835,450 million is available for Abandoned Infants Assistance.
- $9,727,740 million is available for Infant Adoption Awareness Training.

Special Initiatives – Better Outcomes for Children
Child and Family Services Reviews

Child and family services reviews are an important tool that enables the Children's Bureau to accomplish the following:

  • Ensure conformity with Federal child welfare requirements
  • Determine what is actually happening to children and families as they are engaged in child welfare services
  • Assist States to enhance their capacity to help children and families achieve positive outcomes

The goal of the review process is to help States to improve child welfare services and achieve the following outcomes:

1. Safety

  • Children are, first and foremost, protected from abuse and neglect.
  • Children are safely maintained in their homes whenever possible and appropriate.

2. Permanency

  • Children have permanency and stability in their living situations.
  • The continuity of family relationships and connections is preserved for families.

3. Family and Child Well-being

  • Families have enhanced capacity to provide for their children's needs.
  • Children receive appropriate services to meet their educational needs.
  • Children receive adequate services to meet their physical and mental health needs. - National Adoption Internet Photolisting
The purpose of this initiative is to eliminate barriers to adoption and to provide permanent homes for children who would benefit from adoption, particularly children with special needs, including infants with life-threatening conditions. The website and exchange are designed to link eligible children with qualified prospective adoptive parents.

Answering the Call: A National Campaign to Encourage the Adoption of Children from Foster Care
A partnership with HHS/ACF and the Children's Bureau, the Advertising Council, The Adoption Exchange and the Collaboration to AdoptUsKids, this campaign issues a national call-to-action to prospective parents to adopt children currently in foster care. English and Spanish radio and television public service announcements (PSAs) feature real life scenarios highlighting the notion that it's the everyday things that count in being a good parent.



Administration on Children, Youth and Families
Children's Bureau
370 L'Enfant Promenade, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20447
Phone: 202-205-8618
FAX: 202-205-8221
Visit Our Website
E-mail Us
Child Welfare Information Gateway: 1-800-394-3366

Updated October 2006
Office of Public Affairs (OPA)

Last Updated: June 6, 2008