Child welfare

This factsheet provides a brief overview of the purposes and functions of the child welfare system. Child welfare systems typically receive and investigate reports of possible child abuse and neglect; provide services to families that need assistance in the safety and care of their children; arrange for children to live with relatives or with foster families when they are not safe at home; and arrange for reunification, adoption, or other permanent family connections for children and youth leaving foster care. A flowchart illustrates how cases typically move through the child welfare system.