Where can I find answers about federal and tribal child welfare laws and policies applicable to state child welfare programs?

Publication Date: July 15, 2021


Child Welfare Information Gateway, a service of the Children's Bureau, links to federal laws that have a significant impact on how states fund and deliver child protection, child welfare, and adoption programs and services.

On its website, you may also find links to online publications created by state agencies to describe their services and to provide guidance on child welfare-related topics. The most common types of publications include policy or procedure manuals, handbooks for families involved with the child welfare system, and other guides explaining how the state provides child welfare services to families. The guides are organized by topic (such as child protection, adoption, foster care, etc.) and can be searched by specific audience, including parents, children and adolescents, foster parents, and relatives.

In addition, the Child Welfare Policy Manual includes all relevant policy issuances (Policy Announcements) that have their basis in federal law and/or program regulations. It also provides interpretations of federal statutes and program regulations initiated by inquiries from state child welfare agencies or the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Regional Offices (Policy Interpretation Questions).

Occasionally, policy is issued in an Information Memorandum or a Program Instruction, which can be found on the Laws and Policies portion of the Children's Bureau website. Additional Questions should be directed to the Children's Bureau Regional Administrator or Program Manager. ACF provides a link to contact information for all of the Regional Offices.

Child Welfare Information Gateway, also provides access to Links to State and Tribal Child Welfare Law and Policy on the State Statutes section of its website.

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