Gateway to a forever family: Improving child welfare through dynamic information
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.
As the nation’s largest library dedicated solely to child welfare, Information Gateway contains nearly 110,000 titles and receives over 3 million sessions 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.
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 250 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 160,000+ materials around the country each year.
ICF has also helped create and share nearly 60 episodes of podcasts, covering perspectives and innovations from child welfare experts. Our social media and outreach footprint reaches more than 100,000 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.
The next chapter: IT modernization
To continue to deliver on its mission, the Children’s Bureau required a significant technology update. Made up of 28 systems, websites, and databases that were primarily managed and maintained in separate environments, the agency’s IT ecosystem was ripe for IT modernization.
With intimate program knowledge and federal IT modernization expertise, we are in a unique position to translate the Children’s Bureau’s program needs into technology modernization vision and strategy.
In early 2020, we proposed a technology modernization roadmap to help the agency better serve child welfare professionals, applying new and innovative tools to simplify access to relevant content and improve collaboration and learning. Our agile approach will also deliver significant benefits to CB’s internal operations—reducing maintenance, simplifying business processes, centralizing analytics, and promoting agency-wide alignment. The work is currently underway, and we’re eager to deliver powerful new IT capabilities to help the Children’s Bureau meet its business objectives.