Advancing the Children's Bureau's Vision
Advancing the Children's Bureau's Vision
The Capacity Building Center for States (the Center), a service of the Children’s Bureau, helps state and territorial public child welfare agencies and their partners become prevention-focused systems that prioritize the importance of families, prevent unnecessary removals, and achieve safety, permanency, and well-being for the children, youth, and families they serve.
The Center offers an array of resources, events, and services designed to help jurisdictions meet federal laws and requirements, achieve their goals, and improve child welfare practice.
Select a topic below to learn more about Center resources that support Children’s Bureau priorities, federal laws and requirements, and annual initiatives supported by the Center.
Children’s Bureau Priorities
- Prevention of Child Maltreatment and Unnecessary Foster Care Placement
Nurturing and safe parental relationships are essential to the healthy physical and emotional development of children; when interrupted, children and parents suffer trauma, sometimes for a lifetime. These resources can help agencies develop prevention-focused, community-based services that strengthen the protective capacities of families to keep children in the home and help them thrive.
- Foster Care as a Support to Families, Not a Substitute for Parents
The need for strong relationships with parents and parental support continues when a child enters foster care. Even when parents are unable to keep their children safe at home, parents can remain actively involved with their children in foster care in safe and healthy ways. These resources can provide agencies with information on developing family engagement and continuity of relationships for children in care.
- Community-Based Programs That Support Families
Locally based community programs provide families with access to critical resources and services in supportive environments that enhance protective factors. These resources can help agencies work with families, stakeholders, and service providers to create strong, community-based collaborative programs.
- Child Welfare Practice That Supports the Well-Being of Children and Families
Children’s physical safety should not be attained at the expense of their emotional and psychological well-being—this can perpetuate trauma for children and parents alike. Physical safety is one critical aspect of well-being, but well-being also requires social, educational, economic, behavioral, cognitive, and relational functionality. Addressing all aspects of well-being helps reduce risks of harm and strengthens critical protective factors for ending patterns of maltreatment and trauma. These resources can help agencies support the well-being of children, youth, and families.
- A Strong, Healthy Child Welfare Workforce to Achieve Better Outcomes
To serve families well, child welfare agencies must have a competent, skilled, and informed workforce guided by a capable and visionary leadership. These resources can help agencies build a stable and healthy workforce to help children, youth, and families thrive.
Federal Laws and Requirements
- Child and Family Services Plan Development, Implementation, and Monitoring
To be eligible for federal funding under title IV-B, a state agency must submit a 5-year Child and Family Services Plan (CFSP) and a yearly Annual Progress and Services Report. The CFSP is a long-term, strategic plan that describes a state’s vision and goals to improve its child welfare system. These resources can assist states in preparing for, developing, implementing, and monitoring their CFSP.
- Child and Family Services Review Program Improvement Plan Development, Implementation, and Monitoring
The Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) enables the Children’s Bureau to: (1) ensure conformity with federal child welfare requirements; (2) determine what is actually happening to children and families as they are engaged in child welfare services; and (3) assist states in enhancing their capacity to help children and families achieve positive outcomes. Ultimately, the goal of the reviews is to help states improve child welfare services and achieve better outcomes for families and children. The Program Improvement Plan (PIP) is developed after the CFSR is concluded to address any challenges in meeting outcomes identified by the CFSR. These resources can help states develop, implement, and monitor their CFSR PIPs.
- Family First Prevention Services Act Implementation
The Family First Prevention Services Act was signed into law as part of Public Law (P.L.) 115–123 and has several provisions to enhance support services for families to help children remain at home, reduce the unnecessary use of congregate care, and build the capacity of communities to support children and families. These Center for States resources are relevant to specific requirements of FFPSA, and can support states, territories, and local jurisdictions when planning for FFPSA implementation.
- Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act (P.L. 113–183) Implementation
The Center for States provides resources to support the implementation of the P.L. 113–183 provisions. Enacted on September 29, 2014, P.L. 113–183 amends the title IV-E foster care program and includes child welfare requirements on several provisions, including identifying, reporting, and determining appropriate services for children and youth who are victims, or at risk of becoming victims, of sex trafficking, and implementing a reasonable and prudent parent standard for resource parents and child care providers to promote developmentally appropriate activities and normalcy for children and youth in foster care. These resources can help agencies implement the provisions of P.L. 113 – 183.
Urgent Needs and Annual Initiatives
- Building Capacity for Disaster Preparedness at a Child Welfare Agency
When disasters such as pandemics or hurricanes occur, having the necessary capacity to quickly respond at all levels is crucial for children, families, and staff. These resources can help child welfare agencies build capacity to pivot their practices and policies and efficiently deploy or reallocate needed supports in the event of a disaster.
- Responding to Nationwide Performance on Round 3 of the Child and Family Services Reviews
Round 3 of the Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs), conducted between 2015 and 2018, identified urgent areas of need across jurisdictions. Responding to these needs is a top priority for the Children’s Bureau. These resources can help support agencies as they respond to these urgent areas of need, including accurate assessments, timely permanency, and family engagement.
- Celebrating National Adoption Month (November)
- Celebrating National Foster Care Month (May)
- Celebrating National Child Abuse Prevention Month (April)
- Celebrating Child Welfare Workforce Development (September)