Well-being integrates a wide range of components from various areas of practice.   We encourage you to look at our other Hot Topics webpages for subject areas that are connected with well-being.

Resources - Well-Being in the Child Welfare System

  • Raising the Bar: Child Welfare’s Shift toward Well-Being
    There is a significant opportunity now to successfully implement a policy and practice agenda to improve social, emotional, physical, and educational outcomes for children, youth, and families involved in the child welfare system. Examples exist across the country of promising federal, state, and local efforts on which to build. This brief from the Center for the Study of Social Policy State Policy Advocacy and Reform Center (SPARC) aims to outline initial steps for policymakers and advocates, as well as summarize the research, policy, and practice trends driving this increased focus on well-being. (July 2013)

  • National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NCSAW), No. 20: Adverse
    Child Experiences in NSCAW
    The second cohort of the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW II) is a national longitudinal study of 5,873 children, ranging in age from 2 months to 17.5 years old, who had contact with the child welfare system between 2008 and 2009. More than half of the children in the NSCAW II sample reported four or more adverse childhood experiences.  This brief from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services uses NSCAW II to examine rates of adverse childhood experiences among children who have been reported for maltreatment to the child welfare system. It also compares this sample’s adverse experiences to those reported in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACES). ACES was a study from the mid-1990s which surveyed over 17,000 adults and examined the association between adverse childhood experiences and later adult outcomes. This report examines the prevalence of the adverse experiences identified in ACES among NSCAW participants and compares rates between the two studies. (2013)

  • Realizing Permanency, Well-Being through Authentic Engagement
    This paper from Alliance for Children and Families seeks to showcase the strengths of a child and family engagement values system in which engagement isn't simply about activating family as a response to fill a placement challenge, but rather about respecting and empowering families to share responsibility for the safety, permanency, and well-being of their children. Over the last few decades, policy and practice have moved towards emphasizing kinship care and family-centered practices (i.e. Family Finding, concurrent planning, family team meetings) as tools and resources for working with children and their families. The Alliance believes these approaches, while positive, will only be able to achieve long-term results when they are practiced within a system that truly embraces person- and family-centered, and strengths-based values in every aspect of system policy, organizational culture, and day to-day practice for every child, every time. Complete the online form to download the report free of charge. (2013)

  • Integrating Safety, Permanency, and Well-Being for Children and Families in Child Welfare – A Summary of Administration on Children, Youth, and Families Projects in Fiscal Year 2012
    This document provides an overview of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families’ Projects in FY 2012, which are all designed to support innovative efforts to help children heal and recover from the impact of trauma and maltreatment. (2013)
  • Letter from ACYF Commissioner Bryan Samuels Regarding Well-Being and Child Welfare
    This letter from ACYF Commissioner Bryan Samuels provides an overview of opportunities for States to enhance their efforts to promote social and emotional well-being for children and youth in or at risk of entering foster care. These include: title IV-E child welfare waiver demonstration projects, several discretionary funding opportunities, and activities to improve management of psychotropic medications for young people in foster care. (July 24, 2012)
  • NSCAW II Wave 2 Report: Child Well-Being
    The second National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW II) is a longitudinal study intended to answer a range of fundamental questions about the functioning, service needs, and service use of children who come in contact with the child welfare system. The study is sponsored by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). It examines the well-being of children involved with child welfare agencies; captures information about the investigation of abuse and neglect that brought the child into the study; collects information about the child’s family; provides information about child welfare interventions and other services; and describes key characteristics of child development. Of particular interest to the study are children’s health, mental health, and developmental risks, especially for those children who experienced the most severe abuse and exposure to violence. Wave 2 is a follow-up of children and families approximately 18 months after the close of the NSCAW II index investigation. The NSCAW II cohort of children who were approximately 2 months to 17.5 years old at baseline ranged in age from 16 months to 19 years old at Wave 2. Data collection for the second wave of the study began in October 2009 and was completed in January 2011. (July 2012)

For additional Child Welfare Outcomes reports to Congress, as well as further data, visit the Statistics & Research webpage of the Children’s Bureau website.

  • Child Well-Being as Human Capital
    This paper from the Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago explores how the general principles of child development intersect with the emerging interest in child well-being as an outcome for children who come in contact with the child welfare system. Well-being is similar to the idea of human capital in that it embeds multiple dimensions, such as education, physical health, and behavioral health, into a single construct. (2008)
  • Children in Foster Homes: How Are They Faring?
    In this research brief, Child Trends describes the well-being of children living in foster homes by looking at select indicators. Findings indicate that generally children in foster homes are in poorer health than other children, they have more developmental and behavioral problems, and many are poorly engaged in school. However, on the positive side, nearly all foster children have health insurance, many have strong relationships with at least one adult, and more than half attend religious services regularly. The brief also provides a set of potential policy suggestions which include more support and training for foster parents, as well as better service integration for parents and children. By Sharon Vandivere, Rosemary Chalk, and Kristin Anderson. (December 2003)
Resources - Well-Being and Income
For resources on obtaining credit reports for youth in foster care, please visit our Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act (2011) webpage.
  • NRCPFC’s Digital Stories from the Field: Youth Financial Empowerment
    A collection of digital stories by young people who participated in the New York City Administration for Children’s Services Youth Financial Empowerment Program (YFE).  These NRCPFC Digital Stories were created to raise awareness about the YFE program and about financial literacy issues faced by foster care youth.

    Orenilia shares how financial literacy programs can help youth in foster care especially when the channels of communication are open.

Resources - Well-Being and Community
  • Analyzing State Differences in Child Well-Being
    This report, from the Foundation for Child Development and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, examines differences in the welfare of children across the U.S. using 25 indicators of well-being. These indicators are categorized into seven domains of child well-being including: family economic well-being, health, safe/risky behavior, education attainment, community engagement, social relationships, and emotional/spiritual well-being. (January 2012)
  • Geography Matters: Child Well-Being in the States
    Published by the Every Child Matters Education Fund, this report uses commonly recognized measurements of child well-being such as poverty and fatality indictors, to explore how wide gaps are among all 50 states on critical indicators of child well-being. (April 2008)
  • How Does Family Well-Being Vary Across Different Types of Neighborhoods?
    This paper from the Urban Institute uses the latest data from the National Survey of America's Families (NSAF) to explore variations across types of neighborhood environments in the well-being of families and children. Its goal is to take advantage of the richness of NSAF's data on family work effort, economic security, access to services and supports, and child well-being to shed new light on the relevance and role of neighborhood environment. (May 2006)
  • Community-Monitoring Systems: Tracking and Improving the Well-Being of America's Children and Adolescents
    An increasing number of communities are establishing community-monitoring systems (CMSs) to monitor the well-being of children and adolescents and the factors that influence their development. This monograph from the Society for Prevention Research places CMSs within the framework of public health efforts to improve the well-being of populations and describes seven key features of CMSs and their value in supporting successful development of children and adolescents. Examples describe functioning CMSs in the context of state and national developments in monitoring young people's well-being. Finally, the monograph presents key strategies to advance widespread and effective implementation of CMSs.

Resources - Well-Being and Cultural Competence

  • Native American Kids 2003: Indian Children’s Well-Being Indicators Data Book for 14 States
    This report from the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) presents a literature review on 10 well-being indicators for American Indian/Alaska Native children, including: low birthweight; teen births; infant mortality; child deaths; teen deaths by accident, homicide, and suicide; teens who are high school dropouts; teens who are not attending school and not working; children in poverty; children living in families where no parent has full-time, year-round employment; and families with children headed by a single parent. Well-being indicator data on American Indian/Alaska Native children are produced for 14 states. (December 2003)

Resources - General Well-Being

  • Home Front Alert: The Risks Facing Young Children in Military Families
    Currently, two million children under the age of 18 in the United States have at least one active-duty parent and nearly 500,000 of those children are between the ages of birth and five years. This Child Trends brief, authored by David Murphey, examines emerging research on how issues related to parental deployment –- parental separation, disruptions in living circumstances and caregivers, increased parental stress, and direct and indirect experience of trauma –- impact the social, emotional, and cognitive development of children under age five. Based on a comprehensive review of the literature on the well-being of young children in military families, this brief also explores the implications of this research on policies designed to address their needs. (July 2013)

  • 2013 KIDS COUNT Data Book
    The KIDS COUNT Data Book, published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, provides national and state-by-state data on key indicators of child well-being.  In addition to ranking states on overall child well-being, the Data Book ranks states in following four domains: Economic Well-Being, Education, Health, and Family and Community. (2013)
  • The Critical Need for Positive Indicators of Child Development
    Human development includes positive and negative developmental processes. Too often, researchers have focused on negative developmental behaviors alone, which provide an incomplete picture of factors that ultimately combine to affect child outcomes. There is a critical need to monitor positive development among children and youth, as well. As part of its Flourishing Children Project, Child Trends has added new resources on Positive Indicators of child development to its website. Child Trends has developed rigorous national indicators of flourishing among children and youth for inclusion in national surveys, research studies, and program evaluations.
  • America’s Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being
    Each year since 1997, the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics has published a report on the well-being of children and families. Pending data availability, the Forum (which fosters coordination and integration among 22 Federal agencies) updates all 41 indicators annually on its website and alternates publishing a detailed report with a summary version that highlights selected indicators. This report series makes Federal data on children and families available in a nontechnical, easy-to-use format in order to stimulate discussion among data providers, policymakers, and the public. The child well-being indicators span seven domains: family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education, and health. Click here to view past reports. (2012)
  • Preventing Child Maltreatment and Promoting Well-Being: A Network for Action 2012 Resource Guide
    This guide for service providers was developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau, Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, the Child Welfare Information Gateway, the FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention, and the Center for the Study of Social Policy—Strengthening Families. The focus of this guide is to build family strengths through promotion of six protective factors which have been proven to reduce the risk of abuse and neglect: nurturing and attachment, knowledge of parenting and child development, parental resilience, social connections, concrete support for parents, and social and emotional competence of children. Strategies, tools, and resources for integrating these protective factors are provided. (2012)
  • Frequent Residential Mobility and Young Children’s Well-Being
    In this study, Child Trends examined a select group of children younger than six from the 2007 National Survey of Children Health who are termed “frequent movers.” Their aims were to understand some of the particular demographic characteristics of this group, and to explore whether “frequent movers” were more likely than children who did not move frequently to have poorer physical and/or mental health. By David Murphey, Tawana Bandy, and Kristin A. Moore. (January 2012)
  • What Works to Prevent or Reduce Internalizing Problems or Socio-Emotional Difficulties in Adolescents: Lessons from Experimental Evaluations of Social Interventions
    Adolescence is often characterized as a tumultuous time in youth development, marked by occasional mood swings and intense emotions. For some young people, however, more serious, internalizing problems such as depressive or anxious moods, negative self-perceptions, and emotional distress compromise healthy development. This Child Trends brief synthesizes findings from 37 random-assignment social intervention programs designed to prevent or treat internalizing problems for adolescents. Findings from this literature review suggest that social interventions to address internalizing problems are most effective when they teach adolescents how to cope with negative thoughts and emotions, solve problems, and interact effectively with others. Therapeutic approaches, such as family therapy, group therapy, individual therapy, and treatment-focused, school-based approaches appear to be effective. (December 2011)
  • Child Health USA 2011
    Published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources, and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), this online version of the book Child Health USA 2011 is an annual report on the health status and service needs of America’s children. Secondary data of over 50 health-related indicators were compiled for this report, providing both graphical and textual summaries and addresses long-term trends. (September 2011)
  • CWLA 2011 National and State Fact Sheets
    Statistics summarized by The Child Welfare League of America on America’s most vulnerable children, including information on child abuse and neglect, poverty, child care, and physical and mental health. (2011)
  • How Are the Children?
    Casey Family Programs released this report to inspire hope, renew vision and influence action in improving the safety and well-being of America’s children. The “How Are the Children?” report introduces readers to real families, dedicated individuals, and forward-thinking organizations that deserve credit for many improvements taking place in child welfare. Their commitment, leadership, and collaboration help make it possible to realize the vision of every child being raised in a safe, strong, and permanent family. (May 2010)
  • Children in Vulnerable Families: Facts and Figures
    This fact sheet from the Urban Institute looks at trends in some of the most significant risks facing families today: child maltreatment, domestic violence, children's disabilities, substance abuse, and parental mental illness. (December 2006)
  • The Health and Well-Being of Children: A Portrait of States and the Nation 2005
    A chartbook released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) that highlights major findings of the National Survey of Children’s Health. This survey presents findings on the health and well-being of children at the national and State levels, including physical and mental health, health care, social well-being, and aspects of family and neighborhood that can affect children’s health. (2005)

Resources from the States

  • New Mexico:
    • Best Practices - Well-Being Checklists
      This bulletin outlines best practices and describes the roles of caseworkers, judges, attorneys, court staff, and CASA volunteers.
    • Ensuring Well-Being
      A resource for judges, attorneys, social workers, service providers, child advocates, and others who work with children and families.
  • New York State Kids' Well-Being Indicator Clearinghouse
    This website, developed by the New York State Council on Children and Families with funding from the NYS Office for Technology, offers human services providers, child advocates, researchers and others a way to quickly and conveniently access and sort data tailored to accommodate their needs. It provides access to data related to children's health, education, and well-being.


  • Focusing on Youth Well-being: New Information about Applying a Protective and Promotive Factors Approach for Adolescents in Foster Care – Archived NRCPFC Webinar
    In February of 2012, Dr. Charlyn Harper Browne and Susan Notkin of the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) presented in the NRCPFC webinar, Focusing on Well-Being: Developing a Protective Factors Framework for Youth in Care. They built on that presentation and provided updated information about their work in this event. During the past year, Dr. Harper Browne and Ms. Notkin further developed Youth Thrive, CSSP’s research-based Protective and Promotive Factors Framework for adolescents. Additionally, they continued to explore ways in which this orientation and framework can be used to inform policies and practices in the child welfare system. The presenters provided an overview and description of Youth Thrive’s protective and promotive factors. The presenters also discussed recent work they have been doing and next steps related to the application of their findings to child welfare policies and practices and CSSP’s effort to identify exemplary programs that build these protective and promotive factors to support youth well-being and positive development. The webinar closed with a question and answer period. (February 2013)
  • Focusing on Well-Being: Developing a Protective Factors Framework for Youth in Care
    In this NRCPFC teleconference, the presenters, Dr. Charlyn Harper Browne and Ms. Susan Notkin, provided an overview of research on youth development, resiliency, neuroscience, and the impact of trauma on brain development, and discussed how child welfare agencies and their partners can use this information to define and improve the overall well-being needs of youth in foster care. The presenters also put forward a newly expanded, research-based Protective and Promotive Factors Framework for adolescents that can serve as a guide for helping address the development needs of youth and improve their prospects for success. The event closed with a question and answer period. (February 2012)
  • ACE - Adverse Childhood Experiences Study
    ACE is one of the largest investigations ever conducted on the links between childhood maltreatment and later-life health and well-being. Through a collaboration between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente's Health Appraisal Clinic in San Diego, Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), members undergoing a comprehensive physical examination provided detailed information about their childhood experience of abuse, neglect, and family dysfunction. Over 17,000 members chose to participate. To date, over 30 scientific articles have been published and over 100 conference and workshop presentations have been made. The ACE Study findings suggest that these experiences are major risk factors for the leading causes of illness and death as well as poor quality of life in the United States. Progress in preventing and recovering from the nation's worst health and social problems is likely to benefit from the understanding that many of these problems arise as a consequence of adverse childhood experiences.
    • Centers for Disease Control
      This CDC website provides detailed information about the study and publications resulting from it.
    • ACE Study
      This unofficial website provides information about the ACE Study and the ACE Reporter, a publication written for lay people who do not have easy access to scientific, peer-reviewed medical articles.
  • Center for Research on Child Wellbeing
    CRCW conducts research on children's health, education, income, and family structure. The website includes a section on the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. The study, also called "The Survey of New Parents," follows a birth cohort of (mostly) unwed parents and their children over a five-year period. It is designed to provide new information on the capabilities and relationships of unwed parents, as well as the effects of policies on family formation and child well-being.
  • Child Trends
    Child Trends was established to measure and monitor the well-being of children. Child Trends monitors well-being across an array of outcome domains, including physical health and safety; educational achievement and cognitive attainment; and social and emotional development.
  • Child Trends DataBank
    This resource offers the latest national trends and research on over 90 key indicators of child and youth well-being, with new indicators added each month.
  • Foundation for Child Development
    The Foundation for Child Development (FCD) is a national, private philanthropy dedicated to the principle that all families should have the social and material resources to raise their children to be healthy, educated and productive members of their communities. FCD is currently focused on four main program initiatives — Mapping the PK-3 Continuum (MAP), New American Children, the FCD Index of Child Well-Being and the Young Scholars Program.
  • Indicators of Child Well-Being
    A comprehensive listing of resources of child well-being statistical indicators used to assess health status, cognitive functioning, and social and emotional status, etc., from the Finance Project. Electronic resources including publications are provided. Some state initiatives are listed and described.
  • Kids Count
    This project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation is a national and state-by-state effort to track the status of children in the U.S. By providing policymakers and citizens with benchmarks of child well-being, KIDS COUNT seeks to enrich local, state, and national discussions concerning ways to secure better futures for all children.
  • National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being
    The NSCAW makes available nationally representative longitudinal data drawn from first-hand reports from children, parents, and other caregivers, as well as reports from caseworkers, teachers, and data from administrative records. This is the first national study that examines child and family well-being outcomes in detail and seeks to relate those outcomes to their experience with the child welfare system and to family characteristics, community environment, and other factors. The study describes the child welfare system and the experiences of children and families who come in contact with the system. It will increase the knowledge needed for support service, program, and policy planning.

Last updated 1/30/14