The U.S. child welfare system, made up of many variations at the state and local levels, is unified in design by federal laws and regulations. This chapter reviews the definition of maltreatment as set forth by the federal government, along with rates of maltreatment reporting nationwide. A description of the general parameters of the child welfare system is provided including prevention services, out-of-home care, and long-term living alternatives for children who cannot return to their birth parents. Major federal legislation shaping child welfare policy is reviewed, though many current reform efforts are initiated at the local level. Some of the most prevalent reforms are reviewed in some detail include practice changes related to family-centered services, and cultural and community continuity.
Keywords: family-centered services; cultural and community continuity; permanency; maltreatment; federal laws; regulations
Chapter. 8183 words.
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