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Understanding the Child Welfare System in California: A Primer for Service Providers and Policymakers (2nd Edition)

This primer gives local and state leaders and service providers a concise overview of the public institutions, laws, funding streams, and key issues that one must understand to successfully navigate, serve, and improve California's child welfare system.

  • Diane Reed, Kate Karpilow
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ChildSince the release of the 1st edition of this primer, California’s child welfare system has moved to an outcomes-based approach; and state and local policymakers and providers have intensified their efforts to identify effective practice, secure improved outcomes, maximize efficient use of resources, and most importantly, protect and nurture abused and neglected children.

Created by PHI's California Center for Research on Women and Families, the 2nd edition of Understanding the Child Welfare System in California provides an overview of this complex system—its history, structure, and funding streams. It also presents a profile of the children in the system and summarizes the issues and challenges being addressed to optimally serve the children and families of California.

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As in many states, leaders and practitioners in California’s child welfare system are grappling with numerous issues relating to the safety, permanency and well-being of children. By offering a thorough review of the public agencies, programs and financing mechanisms that support Child Welfare Services, and by presenting a profile of the children and families involved in the system, this Primer aims to inform dialogue and contribute to ongoing efforts to optimally serve the children and families of California.


Understanding the Child Welfare System in California: A Primer for Service Providers and Policymakers is one in a series of primers published by PHI's California Center for Research on Women and Families (CCRWF) to assist practitioners and policy leaders in advancing their basic knowledge of complex social services systems. 

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