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September/October 2001Vol. 2, No. 5Children's Bureau Debuts New Web-based Policy Manual

For State child welfare officials, locating the latest Federal policy statements just got easier. On Sept. 24, the Children's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) launched a new online Child Welfare Policy Manual. The Manual conveys policies formulated by the Children's Bureau in response to Federal law or program regulations. The Web-based format makes it faster and easier for States to get the most current policy information.

The virtual manual replaces the Children's Bureau's former policy issuance system, which relied on postal mailings of printed copies of policy issuances. The electronic Manual updates and reformats all of the existing relevant policy issuances into an easy-to-use question and answer format. Future policy guidance will be disseminated in this format and announced as "Updates!" to the manual. As changes are made, email broadcasts will alert the regional offices of the Administration for Child and Families and the State child welfare offices. Federal locations without email access will continue to receive updates through postal mail.

The Manual is organized in the following nine main policy areas, each of which contains detailed subsections:

  • AFCARS—Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System
  • CAPTA—Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act
  • Independent Living
  • MEPA/IEAP—Multiethnic Placement Act/Interethnic Adoption Provisions
  • Monitoring
  • SACWIS—Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System.
  • Title IV-B
  • Title IV-E
  • Tribes/Indian Tribal Organizations

A handy user's guide explains how to use, print, and cite the manual. It also explains the history of the development of the online Manual and how to access the old system. The Manual can be downloaded in HTML or PDF versions and printed in its entirety or by section or subsection. Users without printer access can purchase a copy of the manual from the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse (888-251-0075).

Access the new Child Welfare Policy Manual online at: