The child welfare field is charged with assessing the safety of children while also working with parents to address factors that may have warranted their children’s removal from the home. When children in the foster care system are unable to reunite with their families, some other type of permanent living placement becomes the goal. For over a hundred years, the child welfare and adoptive systems have continued to evolve while remaining true to their initial focus of protecting children. With an estimated 700,000 children believed to be victims of abuse or neglect each year, the child welfare and adoption systems continue to provide safety and stability for vulnerable youth. The child welfare and adoption systems must continue to adapt to the diverse needs of families in order to provide effective services. The provision of effective services will help to achieve residential permanency for children and stability for families.
This overview of the adoption and child welfare systems will explore the history of child welfare and adoption in the United States. The course will also provide a chronological evaluation of how families become involved with the child welfare system, decisions to provide preventative services or to place children into foster care, the services provided to families, the standard policies and procedures of child welfare, and the decisions to either reunify families or to place children for adoption.