Legislative Analyst's Office, January 1996

Child Abuse and Neglect in California
Part II

The Child Welfare Services System, Part A

Spurred by the failure of the CWS system to address the needs of abused and neglected children, the federal government enacted the Adoptions Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980. This act required states to enact specific reforms as a condition for receiving federal funds. In 1982, California incorporated various reforms into state law through the enactment of Chapter 978, Statutes of 1982 (SB 14, Presley). The major goals of Chapter 978 were to (1) reduce unnecessary foster care placements by providing treatment services to families, (2) safely reunify foster care children with their families, (3) increase the stability of foster care placements, and (4) place more foster care children into adoptions when appropriate.

County welfare departments administer the CWS Program under statutes and regulations established by the state. Nevertheless, there is some variation among the counties in how they operate their CWS Programs. This variation may be partly due to differences in demographics, administrative structure, or the child welfare philosophy of the county.

Currently, much data about the CWS cases are unavailable on a statewide basis. However, state law requires the implementation of a single statewide CWS case management system. This system -- scheduled for completion in October 1997 -- is designed to provide a statewide data base, case management tool, and reporting system for the program.

Most Child Abuse/Neglect Cases
Are Closed After Initial Intake


Proportion of Abuse/Neglect Reports
"Screened Out" Varies Among Counties


Counseling and Crisis Intervention
Are the Most Common Services

January 1993

Fewer Children in the CWS Program Are
Receiving Family Maintenance Services

Types of Foster Care Placements

Foster Care Occupancy Rates Are Below Capacity

Foster Care Caseloads Increasing

In Thousands

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Continue to Part III, The Child Welfare Services System Part B

Return to Part I, Introduction

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