The debate over firearms policy receives nationwide attention on a continuing basis focusing on rights of gun owners, background checks and banning certain types of weapons, however missing from the gun control debate is a discussion on firearm safety for children and youth.

In the United States, unintentional injury is the leading cause of death for children and young adults between the ages of 1 and 24. Firearms are the eighth leading cause of accidental deaths among children 5 to 9 years old and the tenth leading cause of accidental deaths among 10 to 14-year-olds (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016). Unintentional firearm discharge can be prevented.

CWLA’s National Blueprint voices the need to protect the fundamental rights of children and emphasizes the obligation that all individuals have in ensuring a safe and supportive environment for children and youth. CWLA’s National Blueprint encourage communities to take responsibility for the well-being of children and youth, which every state is technically responsible for as it relates to their foster care system.

In the wake of the widespread gun violence in America, where too often youth use their parent’s guns in both fatal and nonfatal injuries in homicides, suicide, and unintentional shootings, the child welfare community should be aware of state gun laws and regulations for foster homes. States have a variety of policies regarding firearms in foster homes. We have created a resource to identify the specific state policies regarding firearms in foster homes.