Foster Care

Through the title IV-E Foster Care program, the Children’s Bureau supports states (plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands) provide board and care payments for eligible children who are under the supervision of the state and placed in foster family homes or childcare institutions that are safe and licensed. The program is authorized by title IV-E of the Social Security Act, as amended, and implemented under the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 45 CFR parts 1355, 1356, and 1357. The program’s focus is children who are eligible under the former Aid to Families with Dependent Children program and who were removed from their homes as the result of maltreatment, lack of care, or lack of supervision.

Foster Care Programs

CB provides funding to states and tribes to provide safe foster care placements for children and youth who cannot remain in their homes. Our funding also provides assistance to youth aging out of foster care so that they can achieve self-sufficiency.

The Children’s Bureau implements the following foster care programs:

How to Become a Foster Care Parent

The Children’s Bureau, together with its services, Child Welfare Information Gateway Visit disclaimer page and AdoptUSKids Visit disclaimer page, provides resources about the foster care system. See the following for more information and resources about becoming a foster parent and foster parenting:

Foster Care Reporting Systems

The Children’s Bureau collects case-level information from states on all children in foster care, and we recently began collecting information on independent living services for youth in foster care and those who age out of care.

See the following for more information about our reporting systems:

Foster Care Training and Technical Assistance

Through our Capacity Building Services, we provide assistance to states and tribes to establish permanency for all children and youth.

Our foster care training and technical assistance resources include the following:

Special Initiative

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and the Children’s Bureau value the input of youth who have lived experience in the foster care system. The ACF Youth Engagement Team was developed in 2020 to use the expertise of youth formerly in foster care to identify key recommendations for the ALL‐IN challenge and state and federal efforts toward achieving permanency for all children and youth waiting in foster care. This team of young adults provided specific recommendations on how agencies and courts could improve permanency outcomes by supporting connections with kin, securing relational permanency for youth, and achieving successful adoptions for older youth.

Permanency Innovations Initiative

The federal Permanency Innovations Initiative (PII) was a multi-site federal demonstration project designed to improve permanency outcomes among foster care children who had the most serious barriers to permanency. This 5-year initiative included six grantees, each with a unique intervention designed to help a specific subgroup of children leave foster care in fewer than three years.

Foster Care Highlight

For the most recent foster care data from AFCARS, please see Adoption and Foster Care Statistics under Statistics and Research.

Badge for Working to Improve Youth Visit disclaimer page provides interactive tools and other resources to help youth-serving organizations and community partnerships plan, implement, and participate in effective programs for youth.

Current as of: