Field Guide to Child Welfare

Judith S. Rycus, Ronald C. Hughes

WHAT:  Web based 4 volume manual on child welfare and social work.  The Field Guide covers the fundamental competencies of a family-centered approach to child welfare practice. 

Volume I Foundation of Child Protection Services:  The principles for social work practice and the rights of children and families;  identifying abuse and neglect; risk and initial assessment;  child protection interviewing and response; interagency collaboration.   

Volume II Case Planning and Family Centered Casework: Case work; case planning; case recording; conducting case work interviews and family assessments; working with cultural differences.

Volume III Development and Child Welfare:  The effects of abuse and neglect; child development; developmental problems, using play to enhance development.   

Volume IV Placement and Permanence:  Attachment disorders; assessing and promoting attachment; placement strategies to prevent trauma and promote permanency; recruiting, screening and assessing prospective foster families; preparing the family to handle the child welfare process; matching families and children for adoption; strategies and services during and post adoption, and methodologies for handling adoption disruption.

WHO:  Intended for use by social and community workers, supervisors,  foster/adoptive parents, and students and instructors in social work

WHERE:  Written for use in the North American context, but can be adapted for use globally

WHY:  Comprehensive guidance on the principles and practice of social work with children and families.  It covers a broad range of topics relating to supporting children within their families, responding to abuse, and providing alternative family based care.   Volume IV in particular provides practice guidance on setting up and supporting foster care and adoptive placements. 

N.B.  For copyright purposes this guide cannot be downloaded from this toolkit but is available online for a trial period at:

If your organization would like permission to download this Guide, please send your request to:

Included in this toolkit is a summary of this guide:  Protection and Permanence: An Integrated Model of Child Welfare Practice Institute for Human Services, Excerpted from Rycus, J.S. & Hughes, R.C., 1998