How the Child Welfare System Works

This factsheet provides a brief overview of the child welfare system and its purposes and functions. Child welfare systems typically receive and investigate reports of possible child abuse and neglect; provide services to families that need assistance in the protection and care of their children; arrange for children to live with kin or with foster families when they are not safe at home; and arrange for reunification, adoption, or other permanent family connections for children leaving foster care. A flowchart illustrates how cases may move through the child welfare system. (2013)

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