This report highlights recommendations to public policy to promote family preservation, support secure families, improve federal child welfare policies, and ensure all of America’s children and families can thrive. Systemic racism is a significant problem in child welfare systems, and these recommendations include a dedicated focus to promoting equity to improve health and wellbeing outcomes for families that disproportionately face child welfare involvement, including Black, Native, and Latinx families 

The Child Health Imperative for Child Welfare Policy Reform

Pediatricians bring a unique voice to the child welfare policy conversation because their expertise allows them to: 1) speak to the science of child development; 2) emphasize the long-term health implications that adverse childhood experiences have on children; and 3) advocate for a variety of health care needs of children and youth. The AAP is committed to working collaboratively with other child welfare stakeholders to serve as effectively as possible as a champion for strong child welfare policies that ensure all children, youth, and families have access to the resources they need to succeed.

Read More about the child health imperative and the case for change.

Recommendations at a Glance

  1. Build on the important prevention and family-strengthening goals of the Family First Prevention Services Act to further incentivize agencies to implement prevention programs and reduce child welfare involvement.
  2. Improve policies and practices relating to reporting and investigating child maltreatment.
  3. Further strengthen federal policies to promote family-centered and family-based care for children and youth in foster care and ensure residential care is used only to meet clinical treatment needs.

These three recommendations encapsulate the larger themes identified within the 14 public policy recommendations included in this report. Click below to read the full list of recommendations.

More About the Process

Thank you to Our Funders

The work to reimagine child welfare takes collaboration, strategy, and partnership. AAP is grateful to have the partnership and support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. This project and this critical work were made possible through their generous support.

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American Academy of Pediatrics