Children's Bureau Organization Structure

Office of Associate Commissioner

The Children's Bureau is headed by an Associate Commissioner who advises the Commissioner, Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF), on matters related to child welfare, including child abuse and neglect, child protective services, family preservation and support, adoption, foster care, and independent living. The office recommends legislative and budgetary proposals, operational planning system objectives and initiatives, and projects and issue areas for evaluation, research, and demonstration activities. It represents ACYF in initiating and implementing interagency activities and projects affecting children and families, and provides leadership and coordination for the programs, activities, and subordinate components of the Bureau.

Data and Technology Team

The Office of the Associate Commissioner is responsible for the Data and Technology Team, which analyzes and disseminates program data from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), and the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS); develops systematic methods of measuring the impact and effectiveness of various child welfare programs; performs statistical sampling functions; provides comprehensive guidance to States, local agencies, and others on data collection issues, and performance outcome measures; and is the focal point for technology development within the Bureau.

Child and Family Services Review Team

Also under the Office of the Associate Commissioner, the Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) Team, in partnership with the Administration for Children and Families Regional Offices, implements the CFSR process to determine if State child welfare agency practices are in conformity with Federal child welfare requirements, assess what is actually happening to children and families as they are engaged in State child welfare services, and assist States to enhance their capacity to help children and families achieve positive outcomes.

Division of Child Welfare Capacity Building

The Division of Child Welfare Capacity Building provides leadership and direction in the areas of training, technical assistance, and information dissemination under Titles IV-B and IV-E of the Social Security Act, and under the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. Either directly or through the National Resource Centers, they provide training and technical assistance to assist service providers, State and local governments and tribes, and strengthen headquarters and regional office staff. They manage section 426 discretionary training grants and Title IV-E training. They direct the operations and activities of the Child Welfare Information Gateway. In addition, they identify best practices for treating troubled families and preventing abuse and neglect. They participate in the development of grant announcements, and manage certain discretionary grant projects. They develop and issue a periodic newsletter, and are the focal point for conference and meeting planning activities for the Bureau.

Division of Policy

The Division of Policy provides Leadership and direction in policy development and interpretation under Titles IV-B and IV-E of the Social Security Act, and the Basic State Grant under the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. They write regulations and interpret policy for the Bureau's formula and entitlement grant programs, and respond to requests for policy clarification from ACF Regional Offices and a variety of other sources.

Division of Program Implementation

The Division of Program Implementation provides leadership and direction in the operation and review of programs under title IV-B, Subpart 1 (Child Welfare Services) and Subpart 2 (Promoting Safe and Stable Families); and Title IV-E (Foster Care Maintenance Payments, Adoption Assistance, Adoption Incentive Payments, and the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program) of the Social Security Act, and the Basic State Grant under the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. They develop program instructions and information memoranda to provide guidance to grantees. The Division analyzes State Plans and participates in monitoring and reviewing State information systems to ensure the accuracy and relevancy of data submitted semi-annually to the Administration for Children and Families by states. They are responsible for scheduling, coordinating, and participating in Title IV-E foster care eligibility reviews and Adoption and Foster Care Reporting and Analysis System (AFCARS) assessment reviews, and ensure effective corrective action, as necessary. In addition, they collaborate with other appropriate agencies and organizations on the implementation and oversight of relevant sections of the Indian Child Welfare Act. The Division is the focal point for financial issues, including disallowances, appeals, and the decisions of the Departmental Appeals Board (DAB). They respond to client and constituent correspondence received electronically and from a variety of sources.

Regional Program Units

Each of the 10 ACF regional offices has within it a regional child welfare program unit consisting of a program manager and a staff of children and families program specialists. These offices serve as the focal point and source of expertise and technical assistance to State and local governments, Tribes, grantee agencies, and other regional office staff. Regional staff conduct Child and Family Services Reviews; title IV-E foster care eligibility reviews; review State and Tribal plans; monitor mandatory grant programs, negotiate Program Improvement Plans; approve requests for technical assistance through the bureau’s network of resource centers; plan, coordinate, and promote implementation of new program and service initiatives; and work directly with Federal, State, Tribal, and local government officials as well as personnel in community agencies and the private sector who are involved in ACF programs.

Division of Program Innovation

The Division of Program Innovation provides leadership and direction in program development and innovation. The division defines critical issues for investigation and makes recommendations regarding subject areas for research, demonstration, and evaluation. Division staff also administer the Bureau's discretionary grant programs and award project grants to State and local agencies and organizations nationwide.

Division of State Systems

The Division of State Systems (DSS) provides national leadership regarding the planning, design, development, implementation, and operation of automated information systems that support the administration of child welfare programs, foster care, and adoptions. It provides technical assistance to States on information technology and the development and operations of automated child welfare information systems, usually in the form of statewide automated child welfare information systems (SACWIS). The automated child welfare information systems are intended to improve the efficiency, economy, and effectiveness of the administration of Administration on Children, Youth, and Family programs. Federal financial participation for such information technology projects results from the Division's review and recommendations, and the Associate Commissioner's approval of advance planning documents (APD) prepared and submitted by States.

Subsequent to the approval of APDs for system development and implementation, the Division monitors approved State system development activities and conducts periodic reviews to assure State adherence with its approved business plans and compliance with federal regulations applicable to automated systems supported by FFP. It also provides guidance to States on SACWIS functional requirements.

Additionally, the Division works with States regarding the procurement of information technology products and services for the administration of ACYF's programs. It reviews and makes recommendations about States' procurements to the Associate Commissioner, who either approves or disapproves the States' procurements.

The Division also provides leadership regarding the use of information technology to support child welfare services through sponsoring annual national and regional training sessions. These annual training sessions for State technical staff are conducted by experienced experts in information technology products and services. Each session provides State attendees with the latest information about information technology products and services that can be used to support the States' administration of ACYF programs.

Office on Child Abuse and Neglect

The Office on Child Abuse and Neglect provides leadership and direction on the issues of child maltreatment and the prevention of abuse and neglect under the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA). They are the focal point for interagency collaborative efforts, national conferences and special initiatives related to child abuse and neglect, and for coordinating activities related to the prevention of abuse and neglect and the protection of children at-risk. They support activities to build networks of community-based, prevention-focused family resource and support programs through the Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention Program. They support improvement in the systems that handle child abuse and neglect cases, particularly child sexual abuse and exploitation and maltreatment related fatalities, and improvement in the investigation and prosecution of these cases through the Children's Justice Act.