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Welcome to the new home of the online Field Guide to Child Welfare.  Scroll down to view and download free PDF versions of each section of the Field Guide to Child Welfare - no login required.

Please contact if you need more information.  Thank you!



About the Field Guide
The Field Guide to Child Welfare was originally published by the Child Welfare League of America as a four-volume resource textbook for use by child welfare caseworkers,  supervisors, and foster/adoptive parents, and by students and instructors in in-service training and university child welfare classes.

The Field Guide covers the fundamental competencies of a family-centered approach to child welfare practice. Its primary topics include:

  • Child welfare values and practice principles

  • Fundamentals of child protection

  • Risk assessment and child safety

  • The technology of case planning and family-centered casework

  • Interviewing strategies

  • The impact of maltreatment on child development

  • Separation and child placement

  • Family reunification

  • Foster care and adoption for children with special needs

  • Sexual abuse

  • Cultural competence

  • Services to children with developmental disabilities and their families

​Published in English, French, and Russian, the Field Guide is used by many thousands of professionals worldwide who are committed to assuring protection and permanence for abused and neglected children. The Field Guide is comprehensive and well-grounded, pragmatic, logically organized, easy to read. It has proven to be an invaluable resource for anyone who works in child welfare or related practice fields.

Click on a section title to view, print, or download in PDF format:

Table of Contents


I: Child Welfare Values

II A: Identifying Abuse & Neglect
II B: Dynamics of Child Maltreatment
II C: Risk Assessment
II D: Intake & the Initial Family Assessment
II E: Family-Centered Child Welfare Services

III: Sexual Abuse

IV A: Integrating Casework & Protective Authority
IV B: The Casework Relationship
IV C: Conducting the Family Assessment
IV D 1: Case Planning Flow Chart
IV D 2: Developing the Case Plan
IV E: Case Closure & Recidivism
IV F: The Casework Interview
IV G: Case Recording

V: Culture & Diversity in Child Welfare Practice

VI A: Child Development in Child Welfare 
VI B: Effects of Maltreatment on Infants/Toddlers
VI C: Effects of Maltreatment on Preschool Children
VI D: Effects of Maltreatment on School-Age Kids
VI E: Effects of Maltreatment on Adolescents

VIII A: Attachment & Attachment Disorders
VIII B: The Effects of Traumatic Separation on Children
VIII C: Placement Strategies to Prevent Trauma

IX A: Emotional Impact of Placement on Family

IX B: Empowering Families to Participate in Placement
IX C: Promoting Reunification

X A: Components of Effective Foster Care System
X B: Recruitment & Selection of Caregivers
X C: Working with Foster & Other Caregivers

XI A: Identifying & Preparing Adoptive Families
XI B: Selecting & Matching Families & Children
XI C: Preparing a Child for Adoption

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