The NCSL Blog


By Meghan McCann

Boy jumpingDID YOU KNOW: The number of children in foster care reached the highest number since 2008 at 437,465? See the latest Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System data released in October for more.

NCSL’s Children and Families program covers many human services issues, including child support and family law, child welfare, early care and education, welfare and poverty.

Recent Webinars

State Home Visiting: Enhancing Maternal and Child Health, Well-being and School Readiness: Home visiting is a prevention strategy that supports pregnant women and new parents, promotes infant and child health, fosters educational development and school readiness, and helps prevent child abuse and neglect. Legislators can play an important role in establishing effective home visiting policy in their states through legislation and coordination with executive branch agencies. Policymakers can ensure the state is investing in evidence-based home visiting models with accountability and quality improvement measures. This webinar highlights the benefits of home visiting, discusses funding options and provides examples of state initiatives and programs.

Legislative Children’s Caucuses: A Roadmap and Lessons Learned: Legislative children’s caucuses currently exist in at least seven states, the oldest founded in 1994 and the newest established in 2017. This webinar explores the concept and structure of children’s caucuses among several states, including the expressed interest of legislators and the purpose of these caucuses, ranging from broad education to introducing legislative packages. This webinar highlights the specific structure of a few existing caucuses and provides the opportunity for legislators to ask questions of their peers who are currently promoting such bodies in their own state.

NCSL Resources

Opioid Deep Dive: The opioid epidemic is so complex that it cannot be solved without an all-out effort by the health, criminal justice and human services agencies working together to find solutions. NCSL, mirroring state efforts, has compiled our resources from these three policy areas on our Opioid Deep Dive webpage.

Early Care and Education Fall E-Update: In the Fall E-Update, learn about recent NCSL resources, the 2017 legislative session, Early Learning Fellows Program and the Infant and Toddler Project. Additionally, learn more about Medicaid funds being used for home visiting and access a handful of resources related to early care and education policies.

Child Support and Domestic Violence: The intersection between child support and domestic violence is critical, yet often overlooked. NCSL’s new webpage, Child Support and Domestic Violence, details the intersection between child support and domestic violence and the various policy levers that can be used to protect victims while providing important financial support.

Supporting Older Youth in Foster Care: Approximately 25 percent of the nearly 430,000 children in foster care are age 14 or older. NCSL’s “Supporting Older Youth in Foster Care” toolkit looks at five aspects of supporting older youth in foster care, including the extension of foster care services beyond the age of 18, higher education support, normalcy, housing and engaging youth.

National Reports and Resources

Adverse Childhood Experiences: The Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative released an issue brief in October, “A national and across-state profile on Adverse Childhood Experiences among U.S. Children and possibilities to heal and thrive.” The brief looks at data from the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health and compares ACEs across states, races and child and family health measures.

Child Well-Being: Considerations for Policymakers: A new U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, “Child Well-Being: Key Considerations for Policymakers, Including the Need for a Federal Cross-Agency Priority Goal,” looks at child well-being across the country, highlighting populations that are doing better than others. The factors considered include health indicators, neighborhood safety, child maltreatment, food security and others.

FY 2016 Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting Data: The Children’s Bureau released its annual report on the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System data in October. The numbers show continued increases in foster care caseloads and entries into foster care.

Ready by 21 National Meeting: Ready by 21 is holding its 2018 National Meeting in Palm Beach County, Fla., April 18-20, 2018. Workshops for the meeting will be on ensuring college, work and life readiness, promoting equity and closing opportunity gaps, and improving the quality and effectiveness of programs for youth.

Meghan McCann is a senior policy specialist with NCSL’s Children and Families Program. She covers child support, child welfare and family law issues.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.