The CWLA Standards of Excellence for Child Welfare Services provide goals for the continuing improvement of services for children and families. They represent those practices considered to be most desirable in providing services. Standards are useful in planning, organizing, and administering service; in establishing state and local licensing requirements; and in determining the requirements for accreditation. Standards provide content for teaching and training child welfare and other related fields, in in-service training and staff development programs, and in the orientation of boards and volunteers. They can help to explain and justify expenditures and budget requests to fundraising bodies, and appropriation requests to legislatures. There are 13 volumes of the CWLA Standards of Excellence (All Standards can be ordered online from the Bookstore):

(All Standards can be ordered online from the Bookstore)

For more information, click on a Standards volume title above for the specific service area in which you are interested.

CWLA Standards of Excellence – Best Practice Guidelines

Best Practice Guidelines are a topical reference or particular aspects of practice that:

  • are guided by the National Blueprint for Excellence in Child Welfare;
  • are described in greater detail;
  • are often cross-cutting;
  • represent the “best thinking” of professionals across program areas;
  • intended for cross-system audience with specific interest in the topic; and,
  • focus on a more narrow audience than for Standards of Excellence.

Current Best Practice Guidelines

Additional Guidelines

Guidelines for Cultural Competence in Rural Child Welfare


Additional Resources

Workshops on CWLA’s National Blueprint for Excellence in Child Welfare

See the CWLA National Blueprint in Action



Julie Collins