Child Welfare

Child Welfare

Every child has the right to grow up in a home where he or she feels safe and part of a loving and nurturing family. Unfortunately, there were more than 190,000 reports of child abuse and neglect in the state of Pennsylvania in 2016. Of these reports, over 25,000 were in foster care in 2017. Both the rate of reports of abuse and neglect, and first-time entries into out-of-home care continue to rise.

Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children is working to implement effective public policy changes that better protect children from abuse and neglect, ensure that when child placement is necessary, it is in a family-based setting, improve the well-being of children in out-of-home care and help ensure a forever family for every child.

Child Welfare Policy Goals

  • Advance implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA), to ensure desired child and family outcomes.
  • Promote the identification and utilization of kin resources for all children in foster care to increase their chances of becoming part of a permanent family.
  • Strengthen the response to reports of child abuse and neglect and the services and supports children and families receive to reduce instances of child maltreatment.
  • Develop protections for transitional aged youth to identify strategies for building connections with supportive adults, ensuring access to extended foster care, inclusion in case planning, and promoting access to high-quality services to improve older youth outcomes.
  • Ensure that all children in foster care receive services and supports that increase their well-being while in placement, including the improvement of education outcomes.

Child Welfare Publications

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Child Welfare Fast Facts:

  • Since the change in mandated reporting laws, Pennsylvania continues to see marked numbers in reports of child abuse and neglect, with the highest numbers recorded to date.
  • In 2017, more than 180,000 children and their families were identified as receiving in-home services aimed to preserving the family and/or preventing out-of-home placement.
  • While first time entries into foster care have continued to rise, the rate of children coming back into care after returning home or achieving permanency has decreased:

    – The population of children served in foster care is young, with more than 3 in 5 children served in foster care being under 12 years of age.

    – More than 5 in 6 children entering foster care as first time entries were placed in family settings, with over 46 percent were placed with a relative.

    – On average, children will remain in foster care 11.9 months from their entry into the system.

    – Reunification and adoption remain the two most common reasons for children exiting foster care; however, too often the permanency goal of another planned permanent living arrangement (APPLA) results in older youth leaving foster care without a permanent family to rely on – more than 76 percent of the time.