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September 2003Vol. 4, No. 7The Child Welfare System, Step by Step

The path a child takes through a State child welfare system can be confusing for those unfamiliar with it. The Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care has recently developed an online resource, "A Child's Journey Through the Child Welfare System," that provides a step-by-step flow chart of the process. Users can click on any part of the flow chart and be linked to text that describes that key decision point, or they can read a text overview of the entire system.

To view or download this product, go to the Pew Commission website at

"A Child's Journey" is based on Federal laws and may not reflect all laws and practices in individual States. To learn more about State laws related to child welfare issues, visit the State Statutes section of the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information website at

Additional Resources

The Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care has also developed short (3 to 10 page) easy-to-read briefing papers on various child welfare topics. Topics include:

  • The Federal Legal Framework for Child Welfare
  • Child Welfare and the Courts
  • The Child Welfare Financing Structure

These papers can be obtained at

Related Item

For more about the Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care, read "Bipartisan Commission Launched to Address Foster Care Outcomes" in the May 2003 issue of Children's Bureau Express.