Gateway to a forever family: Improving child welfare through dynamic information

Child Welfare Information Gateway gives social workers the data and resources they need to better protect children.

Our nation’s child welfare professionals—social workers specializing in child abuse and neglect prevention, adoption, and foster care—work tirelessly and with limited resources to promote the safety, permanency, and well-being of children, youth, and families. And they need support. ICF has managed Child Welfare Information Gateway since 1990, getting essential research into the hands of social workers to help achieve this mission.

Client

Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Challenge

Create a continuous flow of resources, training, data, and funding information to U.S. social workers to enhance child welfare efforts.

Solution

Build a dynamic online repository of trusted, relevant information. Conduct outreach and support to help social workers translate new insights into practice.

Impact

As the nation’s largest library dedicated solely to child welfare, Information Gateway contains nearly 110,000 titles and receives over 3 million visits annually. It aids social workers in efforts to reduce the need for foster care, increase adoption, and prevent abuse. With these vital resources, they can better help children and families thrive.

674K

children were victims of abuse or neglect in the U.S. as of 2017

440K +

children were in foster care as of 2017

125K

children were waiting to be adopted as of 2017

How does Information Gateway work?

Child Welfare Information Gateway is a nationwide clearinghouse connecting professionals to resources, data, contact information, and tools covering the continuum of care for child welfare. The public can also use Information Gateway.

We provide access to print and electronic publications, websites, databases, and online tools for improving practice, including educational materials for families. It is a dynamic and ever-evolving service that identifies emerging trends in child welfare. By meeting the ongoing information needs of the right audiences, it helps enhance the lives of children, youth, and families.

What types of services are offered?

On top of operating a vast online repository, including a suite of more than 200 peer-reviewed publications, ICF supports Information Gateway’s users with information services through a 1-800 number, email, and live chat. We address media inquiries and information requests. Often, this means shipping and fulfillment services—we distribute approximately 100,000 materials around the country each year.

ICF has also helped create and share over 24 hours of podcasts, covering perspectives and innovations from child welfare experts. Our social media and outreach footprint reaches more than 55,000 subscribers and followers, so social workers and related professionals can easily find and engage with Information Gateway’s insights.

How do ICF and the Children’s Bureau collaborate?

In managing Child Welfare Information Gateway for 30 years, ICF has become the Children’s Bureau’s (CB) conduit for information. We are a direct voice to professionals in the field. But—just as important—we are also CB’s eyes and ears, maintaining a pulse on the current state of child welfare by:

  • Interacting with child welfare professionals through industry conferences
  • Engaging grantees to share lessons learned and findings from new research
  • Partnering with schools of social work, social work organizations, and public and private agencies to share data, get feedback on current products, and build new resources
  • Responding to requests from professionals, the media, and the public

Ultimately, these insights help shape policy, identify trends, determine needs, and improve practices.