Child Welfare Primer

Understanding the Child Welfare System in California: A Primer for Service Providers and Policymakers (2nd edition) is one in a series of primers offered to assist practitioners and policy leaders in advancing their basic knowledge of complex social service systems. Originally published in 2002, this 2nd edition of the CWS primer was made possible due to support from the Zellerbach Family Foundation.

In addition to providing a resource for local and state policy leaders and providers, this primer and a companion publication on CalWORKs support Linkages, a statewide effort to coordinate welfare and child welfare programs in California. Linkages is now directed by the Child and Family Policy Institute of California (CFPIC). CCRWF designed and directed the first phase of Linkages.

Primer Addendum: Summary of Federal & State Child Welfare Laws

Recommended Citation:

Reed, D. F., & Karpilow, K. A. (2009). Understanding the child welfare system in California: A primer for
service providers and policymakers (2nd ed.). Berkeley, CA: California Center for Research on Women and Families. Available on the CCRWF website:

Printed Copies:

While supplies last, printed copies are available at no charge through the Resource Center for Family Focused Practice (RCFFP), The Center for Human Services, U.C. Davis Extension, through a grant from the California Department of Social Services’ Office of Child Abuse Prevention.

Contact Monica Caprio at or (530) 757-8643.

Please do not contact CCRWF about printed copies.