Welfare Info

Child Welfare in The United States


Child welfare in the United States has a long and complex history, with the federal government playing a major role in providing assistance to children in need. Since the early 1900s, numerous federal aid programs have been established to provide financial and other assistance to children in need.

  • In 1912, the U.S. Congress passed the Children’s Bureau Act, which created the Children’s Bureau within the Department of Labor. The Children’s Bureau’s mission was to investigate and report on the conditions of American children, and to promote their welfare. The bureau’s first major initiative was the development of the Sheppard-Towner Act, which provided federal funds to states to establish maternal and child health programs, including prenatal care and health screenings for children.
  • In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law, which created the Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) program. This program provided financial assistance to widows and single mothers with dependent children. The program was later expanded to include children who were in foster care or orphaned.
  • In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed the Juvenile Delinquency and Youth Offenses Control Act, which provided federal funding to states for programs that worked to prevent juvenile delinquency. The act also established the Office of Juvenile Delinquency Prevention, which provided grants to states to develop delinquency prevention programs.
  • In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act into law, which provided federal funding to states for the development of public education programs, including programs for disadvantaged students. The act also created the Head Start program, which provided early childhood education and health services for children from low-income families.
  • In 1972, President Richard Nixon signed the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program into law, which provided financial assistance to children with disabilities. The program also provided health care, education, and other services to these children.
  • In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, which created the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program. This program provides financial assistance to low-income families, including aid for children.
  • In 1997, President Clinton signed the Adoption and Safe Families Act, which established federal standards for the protection of children in foster care, and provided financial assistance to states for the development of adoption programs.
  • In 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which expanded health care coverage to millions of children in the United States. The act also created the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides health care coverage to children from low-income families.

Today, the federal government continues to provide financial and other assistance to children in need through a variety of programs, including Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Head Start, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.