Children's Bureau

CB partners with federal, state, tribal, and local child welfare agencies to improve the overall health and well-being of children and families. CB is deeply committed to collaboration between child welfare agencies and their partners in order to provide comprehensive supports that create the conditions for strong, safe, and thriving families. CB’s top priority is to reshape child welfare in the United States to focus on proactively strengthening families through primary prevention of child maltreatment. To be effective, a primary prevention approach must engage service providers located in communities where families live and must involve partners from various disciplines providing families with supports individualized to meet their needs. Integral to this approach is collaboration between child welfare agencies and community partners that support early childhood development, such as child care providers, early intervention, HS/EHS, and other early care and education providers. These entities are well positioned to know the strengths, resources, and ways in which their families, friends, and neighbors are struggling and the types of supports and services that will be most culturally responsive and appropriate to their needs. Current data indicate that children from birth to 3 years old are particularly vulnerable to maltreatment[1]. This emphasizes the importance of partnerships between early childhood and child welfare systems in order to strategically coordinate methods for effectively supporting families with young children.

Partnership Opportunities

Partnerships between early care and education programs and the child welfare system can support children and their families by providing a safe and enriched learning environment; connections to holistic, family-centered, and culturally appropriate services; and early identification of developmental delays and access to early intervention.

Programs and resources aimed at preventing child abuse and neglect must start early. Early childhood providers and child welfare agencies must collaborate to develop and provide effective, comprehensive programming to address the needs of children and families. Strategic and meaningful collaboration between child welfare agencies and early childhood providers in the development and provision of appropriate services will help to strengthen families’ protective capacities, reduce the risk of initial harm to children and family disruption, and help all families thrive.

The Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA), enacted as part of Public Law (Pub. L.) 115–123, authorized new optional Title IV-E funding for time-limited, evidence-based prevention services for mental health, substance abuse, and in-home parent skill-based programs for children or youth who are candidates for foster care, pregnant or parenting youth in foster care, and the parents or kin caregivers of those children and youth. State child-welfare agencies that elect to provide the Title IV-E prevention program must submit a 5-year plan for their Title IV-E prevention program, and this process requires engaging stakeholders across various sectors.

General information about CB.

Technical assistance resources.

Information about the Title IV-E Prevention Services Program.

[1] U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2020). Child Maltreatment 2018.

Last Reviewed Date: