Data Tools: Data Sources
State child welfare agencies are required by federal law and regulation to collect case level information on all children for whom the state child welfare agency has responsibility for placement, care, or supervision and on children adopted under the auspices of the state's public child welfare agency. AFCARS includes two data files: adoption and foster care. Both data sets contain numerous elements. AFCARS includes information on children in care as well as foster and adoptive parents. The data are obtained and entered by local child welfare staff in the state. State child welfare agencies are required to submit this data to the federal government every six months; the two submission dates are March 31 and September 30. AFCARS is considered to be the 'official record' and is used by the Administration for Children and Families for many purposes including: monitoring, reporting, and fiscal determinations.
AFCARS is used on the website for measures related to children removed, children in care, and children discharged.
NCANDS is currently a voluntary data collection and analysis system created in response to the requirements of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. However, there are certain data elements within NCANDS that must be submitted to the federal government. NCANDS is submitted annually by states. NCANDS includes a compilation of key aggregate child abuse and neglect statistics as well as case level information from child protective service agencies. Data elements included in NCANDS include: report, child, child victim, and perpetrator data.
NCANDS is used on the website for measures related to safety.