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42 U.S. Code § 621 - Purpose

The purpose of this subpart is to promote State flexibility in the development and expansion of a coordinated child and family services program that utilizes community-based agencies and ensures all children are raised in safe, loving families, by—
protecting and promoting the welfare of all children;
preventing the neglect, abuse, or exploitation of children;
supporting at-risk families through services which allow children, where appropriate, to remain safely with their families or return to their families in a timely manner;
promoting the safety, permanence, and well-being of children in foster care and adoptive families; and
providing training, professional development and support to ensure a well-qualified child welfare workforce.
(Aug. 14, 1935, ch. 531, title IV, § 421, as added Pub. L. 109–288, § 6(b)(3), Sept. 28, 2006, 120 Stat. 1244.)
Editorial Notes
Prior Provisions

A prior section 621, act Aug. 14, 1935, ch. 531, title IV, § 421, as added Pub. L. 90–248, title II, § 240(c), Jan. 2, 1968, 81 Stat. 912, and amended, which related to allotments to States, was renumbered section 423 of act Aug. 14, 1935, by Pub. L. 109–288, § 6(b)(2), Sept. 28, 2006, 120 Stat. 1244, and transferred to section 623 of this title.

Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries
Effective Date of 2006 Amendment

Pub. L. 109–288, § 12, Sept. 28, 2006, 120 Stat. 1255, provided that:

“(a) In General.—
Except as otherwise provided in this Act [see Short Title of 2006 Amendment note set out under section 1305 of this title], the amendments made by this Act shall take effect on October 1, 2006, and shall apply to payments under parts B and E of title IV of the Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. 620 et seq., 670 et seq.] for calendar quarters beginning on or after such date, without regard to whether regulations to implement the amendments are promulgated by such date.
“(b) Delay Permitted If State Legislation Required.—
If the Secretary of Health and Human Services determines that State legislation (other than legislation appropriating funds) is required in order for a State plan developed pursuant to subpart 1 of part B [42 U.S.C. 620 et seq.], or a State plan approved under subpart 2 of part B [42 U.S.C. 629 et seq.] or part E [42 U.S.C. 670 et seq.], of title IV of the Social Security Act to meet the additional requirements imposed by the amendments made by this Act, the plan shall not be regarded as failing to meet any of the additional requirements before the 1st day of the 1st calendar quarter beginning after the first regular session of the State legislature that begins after the date of the enactment of this Act [Sept. 28, 2006]. If the State has a 2-year legislative session, each year of the session is deemed to be a separate regular session of the State legislature.
“(c) Availability of Promoting Safe and Stable Families Resources for Fiscal Year 2006.—
Section 3(c) [120 Stat. 1235] shall take effect on the date of the enactment of this Act [Sept. 28, 2006].”
Effective Date

Pub. L. 90–248, title II, § 240(e)(2), Jan. 2, 1968, 81 Stat. 915, provided that:

“Part B of title IV of the Social Security Act (as added by subsection (c) of this section) [42 U.S.C. 620 et seq.], and the amendments made by subsections (a) and (b) of this section [amending subchapter IV and enacting part A heading] shall become effective on the date this Act is enacted [Jan. 2, 1968].”

Pub. L. 109–288, § 2, Sept. 28, 2006, 120 Stat. 1233, provided that:

“The Congress finds as follows:
For Federal fiscal year 2004, child protective services (CPS) staff nationwide reported investigating or assessing an estimated 3,000,000 allegations of child maltreatment, and determined that 872,000 children had been abused or neglected by their parents or other caregivers.
Combined, the Child Welfare Services (CWS) and Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) programs provide States about $700,000,000 per year, the largest source of targeted Federal funding in the child protection system for services to ensure that children are not abused or neglected and, whenever possible, help children remain safely with their families.
A 2003 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that little research is available on the effectiveness of activities supported by CWS funds—evaluations of services supported by PSSF funds have generally shown little or no effect.
Further, the Department of Health and Human Services recently completed initial Child and Family Service Reviews (CFSRs) in each State. No State was in full compliance with all measures of the CFSRs. The CFSRs also revealed that States need to work to prevent repeat abuse and neglect of children, improve services provided to families to reduce the risk of future harm (including by better monitoring the participation of families in services), and strengthen upfront services provided to families to prevent unnecessary family break-up and protect children who remain at home.
Federal policy should encourage States to invest their CWS and PSSF funds in services that promote and protect the welfare of children, support strong, healthy families, and reduce the reliance on out-of-home care, which will help ensure all children are raised in safe, loving families.
CFSRs also found a strong correlation between frequent caseworker visits with children and positive outcomes for these children, such as timely achievement of permanency and other indicators of child well-being.
However, a December 2005 report by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General found that only 20 States were able to produce reports to show whether caseworkers actually visited children in foster care on at least a monthly basis, despite the fact that nearly all States had written standards suggesting monthly visits were State policy.
A 2003 GAO report found that the average tenure for a child welfare caseworker is less than 2 years and this level of turnover negatively affects safety and permanency for children.
Targeting CWS and PSSF funds to ensure children in foster care are visited on at least a monthly basis will promote better outcomes for vulnerable children, including by preventing further abuse and neglect.
According to the Office of Applied Studies of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the annual number of new uses of Methamphetamine, also known as ‘meth,’ has increased 72 percent over the past decade. According to a study conducted by the National Association of Counties which surveyed 500 county law enforcement agencies in 45 states, 88 percent of the agencies surveyed reported increases in meth related arrests starting 5 years ago.
According to the 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, nearly 12,000,000 Americans have tried methamphetamine. Meth making operations have been uncovered in all 50 states, but the most wide-spread abuse has been concentrated in the western, southwestern, and Midwestern United States.
Methamphetamine abuse is on the increase, particularly among women of child-bearing age. This is having an impact on child welfare systems in many States. According to a survey administered by the National Association of Counties (‘The Impact of Meth on Children’), conducted in 300 counties in 13 states, meth is a major cause of child abuse and neglect. Forty percent of all the child welfare officials in the survey reported an increase in out-of-home placements because of meth in 2005.
It is appropriate also to target PSSF funds to address this issue because of the unique strain the meth epidemic puts on child welfare agencies. Outcomes for children affected by meth are enhanced when services provided by law enforcement, child welfare and substance abuse agencies are integrated.”