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University of Washington Health Sciences Library

SOC W 320 Social Welfare Policy

Federal Agencies

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services 
This is the current homepage for the federal department that oversees social and human services programs. Brief descriptions and links to its major agencies follow below.

Administration for Children & Families (ACF)
This HHS agency is responsible for federal programs that promote the economic and social well-being of families, children, individuals, and communities. It oversees numerous programs and administers TANF, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, the state-federal welfare program. The ACF has four major bureaus:
  • Children's Bureau
    The oldest federal agency responsible for children, it assists the States in the delivery of child welfare services. Important links include: Laws & Policies and Research, Data, and Technology. The Child Welfare Information Gateway provides access to numerous publications that deal with child abuse, child welfare, and adoption
  • Child Care Bureau
    This bureau administers federal funds to states, territories, and tribes to assist low-income families in accessing quality child care for children.
  • Family and Youth Services Bureau
    The FYSB supports local communities in providing services and opportunities to young people, particularly runaway and homeless youth.
  • Office of Head Start (formerly Head Start Bureau)
    Head Start and Early Head Start are comprehensive child development programs that serve children from birth to age 5, pregnant women, and their families with the goal of increasing the school readiness of young children in low-income families.

Administration on Aging (AOA) 
Part of HHS, the AOA develops polices, plans, and programs that promote the welfare of the elderly. It also supports a nationwide aging network that provides services to the elderly.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) 
This HHS agency conducts scientific research that provides evidence-based information on health care outcomes, access, quality and cost, and use.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) 
Formerly the Health Care Financing Administration, the centers administer Medicare and Medicaid programs and the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) 
The mission of the HRSA is to assure the availability of quality health care to low- income, uninsured, isolated, vulnerable and special needs populations. Key programs include HIV/AIDS services, maternal and child health, and rural health policy.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) 
SAMHSA is the HHS agency that focuses on the prevention and treatment of substance abuse and mental disorders. Included are links to statistics and data, workplace resources, mental health services, and addiction treatment.

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE)
This office focuses on welfare, poverty, service delivery issues, data for research, and policies affecting children, youth and families. This is an important source of information on policy and legislative developments.

U. S. Department of Housing & Urban Development 
This federal department oversees and supports community development, access to affordable housing programs, homelessness programs, etc. Useful links include those to homelessness, information by state, and the library.

Social Security Online 
This is the official website of the U.S. Social Security Administration. From a policy perspective, the links to the history of the social security program and in particular, its legislative history, are informative.

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