CB Fact Sheet

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Mission Statement

The Children’s Bureau partners with federal, state, tribal and local agencies to improve the overall health and well-being of our nation’s children and families. With an annual budget of almost $8 billion, CB provides support and guidance to programs that focus on the following:

  • Strengthening families and preventing child abuse and neglect
  • Protecting children when abuse or neglect has occurred
  • Ensuring that every child and youth has a permanent family or family connection

Brief Description


The Children’s Bureau seeks to improve outcomes in these key areas:

  • Safety: Preventing and responding to maltreatment of children
  • Permanency: Stabilizing children’s living situations and preserving family relationships and connections
  • Well-being: Enhancing families’ capacity to meet their children’s physical, behavioral and mental health, and educational needs

How it Is Administered

To achieve our goals, we participate in a variety of projects, including:

  • Providing guidance on federal law, policy and program regulations
  • Funding essential services, helping states and tribes operate every aspect of their child welfare systems
  • Supporting innovation through competitive, peer-reviewed grants for research and program development
  • Offering training and technical assistance to improve child welfare service delivery
  • Monitoring child welfare services to help states and tribes achieve positive outcomes for children and families
  • Sharing research to help child welfare professionals improve their services

Brief History of the Program

The Children’s Bureau is the first federal agency within the U.S. Government—and in fact, the world—to focus exclusively on improving the lives of children and families. Since its creation by President William Howard Taft in 1912, the Bureau has tackled some of our nation’s most pressing social issues, including the following:

  • Infant and maternal death
  • Child labor
  • Orphanages
  • Child health and recreation
  • Delinquency and juvenile courts
  • Family economic security
  • Abused and neglected children
  • Foster care

In each of these areas, the Bureau has provided groundbreaking leadership and garnered critical resources to improve the lives of children and families. We celebrated our centennial anniversary on April 9, 2012, marking a full century of progress on behalf of children and families.

Budget and Structure

The Children’s Bureau operates on an annual budget of approximately $8 billion.

The Bureau comprises the following eight divisions and teams that work to support our mission. More information is available at: www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/about/organization-structure.

  • Child and Family Service Review Team
  • Division of Child Welfare Capacity
  • Division of Policy
  • Division of Program Implementation
  • Regional Program Units
  • Division of Program Innovation
  • Division of State Systems
  • Office on Child Abuse and Neglect

Number of Children/Youth Served by the Foster Care System

2012: 638,000
2013: 651,796
2014: 653,000

This is an estimated count of all children who were in the public foster care system during the federal fiscal year. This number is the sum of two mutually exclusive groups of children: the children who are already in care on the first day of the fiscal year (as of October 1) and the children who entered foster care during the year. An individual child is counted only once for each year.

(Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families Children’s Bureau’s Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), Trends in Foster Care and Adoption: FY 2005–2014.)

General Information

Rafael López

Children’s Bureau Administration on Children, Youth and Families
1250 Maryland Avenue, S.W. Eighth Floor
Washington, DC, 20024

Website Link

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Last Reviewed: October 28, 2015