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May 2008Vol. 9, No. 4Child Welfare Outcomes Report Released

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released Child Welfare Outcomes 2002-2005: Report to Congress, the seventh in a series of annual reports designed to inform Congress, the States, and the public about State performance on delivering child welfare services. The Child Welfare Outcomes Reports provide information about State performance on seven national child welfare outcomes related to the safety, permanency, and well-being of children involved in the child welfare system. The outcomes reflect widely accepted performance objectives for child welfare practice.

The first six Child Welfare Outcomes Reports presented data for each State regarding 12 measures used in the Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs) that assessed State performance relevant to the seven national child welfare outcomes. The current report includes data on the 12 original outcome measures as well as 15 additional measures recently developed for the second round of the CFSRs that began in March 2007.

Highlights of the recent report include:

  • Of the States submitting data for all 4 years, 64 percent demonstrated an improvement in performance on the measure of maltreatment recurrence.
  • The majority of children in all States who were legally free for adoption at the time of exit from foster care in both 2004 and 2005 were discharged to a permanent home.
  • In 2005, many States that had a relatively high percentage of children reunified within 1 year also had a relatively high percentage of children reentering foster care within 1 year.
  • In 2005, many States that had a high percentage of reunifications occurring within 1 year also had a high percentage of adoptions occurring within 2 years.
  • States were generally effective in achieving placement stability for children who were in foster care for less than 1 year, but placement stability declined dramatically for children who were in foster care for longer amounts of time.

The report can be found online on the Children's Bureau website: