Child Welfare League of America

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Child Welfare League of America
PurposeChild welfare
HeadquartersWashington, D.C.
President and CEO
Christine James-Brown
Main organ
Board of directors

The Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that coordinates efforts for child welfare in the United States,[1] and provides direct support to agencies that serve children and families.[2] The organization's vision is "that every child will grow up in a safe, loving, and stable family,"[1] and its primary objective is to "Make Children a National Priority".[2][3] The CWLA is run by professionals in the children's services field. As a national organization it lobbies for both child protection, and delivery of services to children.[4] It is the oldest child welfare organization in the United States.[5]


In 1909. U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt convened a While House Conference on the Care of Dependent Children. For the first time this brought together child welfare advocates from across the United States. In 1915, Carl Christian Carstens, the executive officer of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, presented a report at the National Conference of Charities and Corrections (NCCC) meeting in Baltimore, detailing the need for cooperation among child welfare groups, the need for community planning, and the need for standards of child care. This resulted in the creation of the Bureau for the Exchange of Information among Child Helping Agencies (BEI) under the auspices and funding of the Russell Sage Foundation. In 1917 the BEI became an independent non-profit association. Following a series of national conferences, the BEI undertook yo create a permanent national organization for all aspects of child welfare. With the financial assistance of the Commonwealth Fund the CWLA was organized in 1920[3] with Carl Carstens as its CEO, and formally began work on January 2, 1921 in New York City.[6][7]

While originally founded as a federation of sixty-five service-providing organizations, Carstens, among the most prominent of national child welfare leaders and an opponent of orphanages, wielded it into a force for the development of regulations, especially with regard to child-placement and adoption.[8]

In 1985 the CWLA moved its headquarters from New York City to Washington, D.C.[8] In 2008 the organization had Rep. Chaka Fattah introduce a bill in the U.S. Congress that would have created the White House Conference on Children and Youth for 2010;[9] however, the bill did not pass.[10]

The Indian Adoption Project[edit]

From 1958 to 1967 the CCWLA ran the Indian Adoption Project together with the Bureau of Indian Affairs of the U.S. Department of Interior. Its mission was to place Native American children, primarily from poor households, with mainstream American families.[11] It was criticized by Margaret Atwood and others[12] as "the kidnapping of indigenous children", although most children were removed from their parents care through legal process,[13][14] The Child Welfare League of America continued to assist in the adoption of Native American children even after 1967 when the program was ended.[13][14] In 1978 Congressional Hearings found that “the wholesale separation of Indian children from their families is perhaps the most tragic and destructive aspect of American Indian life today.”[15] This resulted in the Indian Child Welfare Act.[16] In June 2001, Child Welfare League Executive Director Shay Bilchik formally apologized for the Indian Adoption Project saying “No matter how well intentioned and how squarely in the mainstream this was at the time, it was wrong; it was hurtful; and it reflected a kind of bias that surfaces feelings of shame.”[17]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Child Welfare (journal, 1948–present)
  • Kline, Draza; Overstreet, Helen Mary (1972). Foster Care of Children: Nurture and Treatment. Studies of the Child Welfare League of America. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0231036019.
  • Meezan, William; Katz, Sanford N; Russo, Eva Manoff (1978). Adoptions Without Agencies: a Study of Independent Adoptions. New York: Child Welfare League of America. ISBN 0878681744.
  • Magura, Stephen (1986). Outcome Measures for Child Welfare Services: Theory and Applications. Washington, DC: Child Welfare League of America. ISBN 0878682244.
  • Anderson, Gary R (1990). Courage to Care: Responding to the Crisis of Children with AIDS. Washington, DC: Child Welfare League of America. ISBN 0878684018.
  • Penn, Audrey (1993). The Kissing Hand. Washington, DC: Child Welfare League of America. ISBN 0878685855.
  • Hernandez, Arturo (1998). Peace in the Streets: Breaking the Cycle of Gang Violence. Washington, DC: Child Welfare League of America. ISBN 0878686924.
  • Bloom, Martin; Gullotta, Thomas P (2001). Promoting Creativity Across the Life Span. Washington, DC: CWLA Press. ISBN 0878688110.
  • Nunno, Michael A; Day, David M; Bullard, Lloyd (2008). For Our Own Safety: Examining the Safety of High-Risk Interventions for Children and Young People. Arlington, VA: Child Welfare League of America. ISBN 9781587600005.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "About The Child Welfare League of America". The Child Welfare League of America. Archived from the original on 7 July 2022.
  2. ^ a b Espejo, Roman (2013). Custody and Divorce. Detroit: Greenhaven. p. 123. ISBN 978-0-7377-6812-1.
  3. ^ a b Robichau, Robbie Waters (2010). "Child Welfare League of America". In Anheier, Helmut K.; Toepler, Stefan (eds.). International Encyclopedia of Civil Society. New York: Springer Verlag. pp. 132–133. doi:10.1007/978-0-387-93996-4_815. ISBN 978-0-387-93996-4.
  4. ^ "Child Welfare League of America to Present Champion For Children Award to Ruth Massinga." Archived June 8, 2008, at the Wayback Machine Casey Family Programs. Retrieved 17 July 2008.
  5. ^ "About CWLA: Fact Sheet". Child Welfare League of America. Archived from the original on July 26, 2008.
  6. ^ "Historical Note". Child Welfare League of America records. The Social Welfare History Archives, University of Minnesota.
  7. ^ Chambers, Clarke A.; Romanofsky, Peter (1978). Social Service Organizations. Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Institutions. Vol. 1. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. pp. 224–230. ISBN 978-0-8371-9829-3.
  8. ^ a b "Child Welfare League of America" Archived 2009-10-16 at the Wayback Machine, The Adoption History Project at the University of Oregon. Retrieved 17 July 2008.
  9. ^ "Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) Hails Introduction of Bill to Create White House Conference on Children and Youth." Reuters. Retrieved 17 July 2008.
  10. ^ "H.R.618 - White House Conference on Children and Youth in 2010 Act". The Library of Congress.
  11. ^ Bureau of Indian Affairs (14 March 1966). "Adoptions of Indian Children Increase (P.N. 76518-66)" (PDF). U.S. Department of Interior. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 September 2012.
  12. ^ Gilbert, Sophie (2019). "Margaret Atwood Bears Witness". The Atlantic.
  13. ^ a b Bascom, Karen (2007). "The Logic of Exchange: The Child Welfare League of America, The Adoption Resource Exchange Movement and the Indian Adoption Project, 1958–1967". Adoption & Culture. 1 (1): 5–67. JSTOR 44755459.
  14. ^ a b Briggs, Laura (2012). "The Making of the Indian Child Welfare Act, 1922-1978". Somebody's children: the politics of transracial and transnational adoption. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press. doi:10.1215/9780822394952-003. ISBN 978-0-8223-5147-4.
  15. ^ H.R. REP. 95-13896, at page 9 (1978).
  16. ^ Graham, Lorie M. (1998). ""The Past Never Vanishes": A Contextual Critique of the Existing Indian Family Doctrine". American Indian Law Review. 23 (1): 1–54.
  17. ^ "Understanding The Indian Child Welfare Act". Indian Child Welfare Law Center. Archived from the original on 11 April 2015.