• DC


1726 M Street, NW
Suite 500
United States

About Us

CWLA is an association of more than 1,100 public and private nonprofit agencies that assist over 3.5 million abused and neglected children and their families each year with a wide range of services.

Origins . . . The Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) traces its beginnings to the 1909 White House Conference on the Care of Dependent Children, which resulted in recommendations to establish the United States Children's Bureau and a national organization of child-helping agencies and institutions. Eventually, proposals to develop a national organization were put forth, and they led in 1920 to the birth of CWLA, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that opened its doors in New York City on January 2, 1921.

Who We Are . . . CWLA is an association of more than 1,100 public and not-for-profit agencies devoted to improving life for more than 3.5 million at-risk children and youths and their families. Member agencies are involved with prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect, and they provide various services in addition to child protection -- kinship care, family foster care, adoption, positive youth development programs, residential group care, child care, family-centered practice, and programs for pregnant and parenting teenagers. Other concerns of member agencies include managed care, mental health, chemical dependency, housing and homelessness, and HIV/AIDS. For all these areas, CWLA has program experts who consult, train and otherwise assist agencies to advance their practice.

CWLA establishes standards of excellence as goals for child welfare practice. The public policy staff concentrates on passage of child welfare legislation to protect abused and neglected children and strengthen vulnerable families. CWLA is the largest publisher of child welfare materials in the world, is involved extensively in consulting with both governmental and voluntary child welfare organizations on improving services to at-risk children and families, and convenes numerous conferences, seminars and training sessions throughout the year.

Since 1984, CWLA has been based in Washington, DC. Staff numbers 115 and the annual budget is about $16 million. The organization is supported by member dues, foundation grants, corporate and individual contributions, consultation fees, investment income and publication sales.

What CWLA Offers Its Members . . . Members participate in the governance of CWLA; are eligible for grants and scholarships; receive financial support for all costs related to accreditation; receive free or reduced rates for consultation; receive reduced conference and training fees and reduced rates for the CWLA executive search and insurance programs; receive copies of all CWLA publications; and are eligible for various national recognition awards. Also, the interest of members and the children and families they serve are represented by CWLA on Capitol Hill. Members can participate on national task forces and committees studying issues such as kinship care and family foster care, the effects of alcohol and drug abuse on children and families, homelessness, culturally responsive child welfare practice, managed care and research in child welfare.