he Child Welfare League of America (CWLA), the nation’s oldest and largest membership-based child welfare organization, has been known and respected as a champion for children since 1920. Our primary objective is to make children, especially our most vulnerable children, a priority in the United States. To do that, we must engage all Americans in promoting the well-being of children and young people and protecting them from harm.
Right now, millions of our children and young people lack the prerequisites for success, like adequate housing, health care, and nutrition. Thousands are exiled to the outskirts of opportunity. Each year, on average, reports of abuse and neglect involve more than 2.8 million children, and three children die every day from maltreatment.
In the face of this ongoing tragedy, CWLA holds up a vision of an America in which families, neighborhoods, communities, organizations, and federal state and local governments work together to ensure that all our children have the opportunity to grow up healthy and strong. CWLA reshapes priorities, one community at a time, by bringing people together around common goals, sharing ideas that have been shown to work, and facilitating collaboration across sectors and systems.
In 2012 and 2013, CWLA worked with members and experts across the country to develop the CWLA National Blueprint for Excellence in Child Welfare (known as the CWLA National Blueprint or National Blueprint). As stated in its introduction:
“The CWLA National Blueprint presents a vision for the future of child welfare that all children will grow up safely in loving families and supportive communities. This means that although the formal child welfare system has a specific role to play as it relates to children who have been or are at risk of abuse and neglect, responsibility for the well-being of children and youth extends well beyond traditional child welfare organizations and services. While achieving the well-being of children and youth begins with their families, everyone – families, communities, providers, and organizations – has a responsibility for ensuring the safety, permanency, and well-being of all children and youth. This is essential for achieving excellence in child welfare. The CWLA National Blueprint applies to all children and youth, whether or not they receive child welfare services, and whether or not they have been identified as at risk for child abuse or neglect. This document is designed as a foundation upon which families, communities, providers, and other organizations can create the greatest opportunities for all children and youth to succeed and flourish.
The primary goal of the CWLA National Blueprint is to be a catalyst for change: to broaden the thinking of communities, individuals and groups, including public and private organizations within and outside of the child welfare system, and to help them understand how their specific roles and responsibilities fit into the overall strategy to improve outcomes for children and youth. Simultaneously, the National Blueprint serves as the foundation for updating and creating CWLA program specific Standards of Excellence, which play a unique and important role in moving child welfare practice forward.”
While some CWLA staff members share expertise that strengthens the management and operation of local agencies, others work on Capitol Hill and in the statehouses to promote policies that benefit children and oppose those that could do them harm. Still others work to shape new, more effective approaches to working with children and families or to promote those that are proven. The result: new resources for proven programs, better coordination of services, more efficient program management, and more effective service delivery.
CWLA’s greatest strength is its members—public and private child-serving agencies from coast to coast. National CWLA programs and expertise reflect the scope of member agency services, spanning adoption, adolescent pregnancy prevention and teen parenting, child day care, child protection, children affected by incarceration, family foster care, group residential care, housing and homelessness, kinship care, juvenile justice, mental health, positive youth development, substance abuse prevention and treatment, and a range of community services that strengthen and support parent- and family-based projects.
As the nationally recognized standard-setter for child welfare services, CWLA provides direct support to agencies that serve children and families, improving the quality of the services they provide to more than nine million children every year. Through its programs, publications, research, conferences, professional development, and consultation, CWLA speaks with authority and candor about the status and the needs of American children, young people, and families.
CWLA is a 501(c)(3) organization supported by membership and consulting fees, publication sales, grants and contracts from federal and state governments, foundation and corporate grants, and individual contributions. CWLA is committed to respecting diversity and maintaining continuous progress toward the goal of cultural competence. CWLA is headquartered in Washington, DC. and has remote employees in locations across the country.