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Recent Changes in the Child Welfare System: One State's Experience

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out-of-home care, IV-E Waivers, child welfare system


Mary Armstrong, PhD


Nationwide over the past 5 years there has been a substantial reduction in the number of children involved with the child welfare system entering out-of-home care as well as a reduction in the lengths of stay among those who do enter the system. This article compares national data on children entering out-of-home care and the length of stay with data from Florida over a 7-year period (2005 –2011). Findings are shared on the strategies and services that stakeholders in one state reported as contributing to preventing out-of-home placements and reducing lengths of stay in residential settings. Federal policies such as IV-E Waivers that support this reduction also are discussed. The article concludes with policy and research recommendations regarding how to sustain this reduction while ensuring that child safety and well-being are preserved.



Armstrong, M. I., Swanke, J. R., Strozier, A., Yampolskaya, S., & Sharrock, P. J. (2013). Recent changes in the child welfare system: One state's experience. Children and Youth Services Review, 35(10), 1712-1718.  doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2013.07.005


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