Titles IV-B and IV-E of the Social Security Act, amended by the Fostering Connections Act of 2008
In 2008, the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act (Fostering Connections) included several education provisions in federal child welfare law. This was the first time that school stability was prioritized in federal law and marked a shift in the need for child welfare agencies to prioritize the educational needs of students in foster care.
Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS)
In 2020, final regulations were released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) revising the data that child welfare systems will be required to report annually to HHS as part of the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), a child welfare data collection system designed to gather uniform and reliable information across states on children in foster care and children who have been adopted. Among the changes adopted, child welfare agencies are now required to report on several elements related to education, including school enrollment, highest grade completed, and involvement in special education.
Comprehensive Child Welfare Information System (CCWIS)
In 2016, HHS published the Comprehensive Child Welfare Information Systems (CCWIS) final rule, significantly changing federal requirements related to automated systems that collect and store child welfare data for state and tribal Title IV-E agencies. Among the requirements, the CCWIS final rule for the first time requires agencies building these systems to exchange data with other health and human service agencies including education systems and child welfare courts, if practicable.
National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD)
The National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) is managed through the Children's Bureau and collects information on youth in foster care care including outcomes of youth who have aged out of foster care.