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January/February 2017Vol. 17, No. 10AFCARS Final Rule

The Administration on Children, Youth and Families published a final rule that will improve the data collection process for the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS). This final rule is the first change to AFCARS since 1993 and includes the following:

  • Data will now be collected about all of a child’s removals, placements, and permanency plans rather than at the end of the reporting period.
  • Data will now be collected from State title IV-E agencies for the first time related to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).
  • New information will be collected about a child's educational well-being, siblings, timely health assessments and transition plans.
  • The circumstances surrounding the child at removal will be expanded to include issues such as homelessness, educational neglect, if they were a sex-trafficking victim, and parental immigration detainment or deportation.
  • Data will be collected on children who exit out-of-home care to a legal guardianship, their legal guardians, and children with title IV-E guardianship assistance agreements.
  • New data will be collected on child, legal guardian, foster, and adoptive parent sexual orientation.

The AFCARS final rule is intended to enhance the well-being, safety, and permanency of children in foster care and assist States and Tribes in their efforts to deliver more effective child welfare services.

More information on the AFCARS final rule, including an Information Memorandum, will be available soon on the Children’s Bureau website at

You can also read a blog post about the final rule on the Administration for Children and Families' The Family Room blog at