News Release for RAND Report on U.S. Child Welfare Reforms

On May 23, 2017, RAND distributed a press release announcing the publication of the findings from a study in which RAND researchers built a quantitative model that simulated how children enter and move through the nation's child welfare system. They used the model to project how different policy options (prevention services, family preservation efforts, kinship care efforts, and a policy package that combined prevention services and kinship care) would affect a child's pathway through the system, costs, and outcomes in early adulthood. Our findings indicated that striking a better balance between programs to prevent child maltreatment and services for those who have already suffered from abuse could improve long-term outcomes for children while also significantly reducing child welfare system costs in the United States.

However, in the wake of the initial release of our findings, we received some feedback from the wider child welfare research community about several of the inputs used in our model—specifically those related to lifetime rates of child maltreatment and resulting engagement with the child welfare system. RAND's commitment to accuracy and quality compelled us to take these concerns seriously; we evaluated how altering our assumptions to reflect higher lifetime rates would affect the policy scenario results, and in December 2017 issued a revised report.

For more information, please contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (703) 414-4795, (310) 451-6913, or