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Child Welfare

Child Trends conducts research, analyzes data, and evaluates programs in virtually every area in the child welfare field. Our areas of expertise include prevention of maltreatment, child protection, court oversight, foster care, kinship care, adoption, and youth leaving care. We work closely with practitioners and policymakers who rely on our research and advice to make positive change in child welfare systems.

Child Trends recently completed a comprehensive evaluation of the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids initiative, a program developed to promote adoption of children from foster care. In addition, our child welfare team is evaluating family finding programs across the country. We also conduct biennial state surveys examining the funding streams that support child welfare services.

Featured Projects

Featured Publications

An Introduction to Child Welfare Funding, and How States Use It

Jan 2016 | Elizabeth Jordan; Dana Dean Connelly

This report examines key child welfare financing decisions, based on interviews with child welfare agency officials in 10 states (Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin) about the hows, whys, challenges, and successes of their child welfare financing structures and decisions.

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How States Fund Child Welfare Activities

Jan 2016 | Child Trends

This fact sheet explores how agencies pay for child welfare activities, including challenges and best practices.

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A Primer on Title IV-E Funding for Child Welfare

Jan 2016 | Child Trends

Title IV-E of the Social Security Act is the largest federal funding stream for child welfare activities. Here's how states use it.

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Family Finding Evaluations: A Summary of Recent Findings

Jan 2015 | Sharon Vandivere; Karin Malm

One factor that may facilitate a successful reunification of children in foster care with their parents—or failing that, provide an alternate route to permanency through adoption or guardianship—is children’s connections with extended family. However, because foster care frequently disrupts social connections, practitioners may need to take extra steps to help children maintain or re-establish these connections. The Family Finding model provides child welfare practitioners with intensive search and engagement techniques to identify family members and other adults close to a child in foster care, and to involve these adults in developing and carrying out a plan for the emotional and legal permanency of the child. This report reviews the results from 13 evaluations of Family Finding that have been released over the past two years.

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