Administration for Children and Families

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Administration for Children & Families
Administration for Children and Families logo.svg
Administration/Office overview
FormedApril 15, 1991; 31 years ago (1991-04-15)
JurisdictionFederal government of the United States
HeadquartersMary E. Switzer Memorial Building
Washington, D.C., United States
Administration/Office executives
  • January Contreras, Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Children and Families
  • Amanda Barlow, Acting Commissioner, Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF)
Parent departmentU.S. Department of Health and Human Services Edit this at Wikidata

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is a division of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It is headed by the Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Children and Families.[1] It has a $49 billion budget for 60 programs that target children, youth and families.[2] These programs include assistance with welfare, child support enforcement, adoption assistance, foster care, child care, and child abuse. The agency employs approximately 1,700 staff, including 1,200 federal employees and 500 contractors, where 60% are based in Washington, DC, with the remaining in regional offices located in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, Denver, San Francisco, Missouri and Seattle.[3]

Mission statement[edit]

"The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), within the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), provides national leadership and creates opportunities for families to lead economically and socially productive lives. ACF's programs are designed to help children to develop into healthy adults and communities to become more prosperous and supportive of their members."[4]


ACF's direct predecessor, the Family Support Administration, was created in 1986 by bringing together six existing major programs within HHS.[5] ACF was created in its present form on April 15, 1991, by merging the Office of Human Development Services, the Family Support Administration, and the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant Program.[5][6] Section 6 of Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1953 provided the legal authority for the reorganization.[6]


Major goals[edit]

ACF is responsible for federal programs that promote the economic and social well-being of families, children, individuals and communities. ACF programs aim to achieve the following:

  • families and individuals empowered to increase their own economic independence and productivity;
  • strong, healthy, supportive communities that have a positive impact on the quality of life and the development of children;
  • partnerships with individuals, front-line service providers, communities, American Indian tribes, Native communities, states, and Congress that enable solutions which transcend traditional agency boundaries;
  • services planned, reformed, and integrated to improve needed access;
  • a strong commitment to working with people with developmental disabilities, refugees, and migrants to address their needs, strengths, and abilities."[4]

Major programs[edit]

Other initiatives, clearinghouses and resources[edit]

Abstinence education[edit]

For fiscal year 2006, ending September 30, 2006, Congress appropriated $50 million for state grants for abstinence education programs. Such programs teach that abstaining from sex is the only effective or acceptable method to prevent pregnancy or disease, and give no instruction on birth control or safe sex. In October 2006, revised guidelines by ACF specified that states seeking grants are "to identify groups ... most likely to bear children out-of-wedlock, targeting adolescents and/or adults within the 12- through 29-year-old age range". Previous guidelines didn't mention specific ages, and programs focused on preteens and teens.[8]

ACF also administers the Community-Based Abstinence Education Program, which is focused on funding public and private entities that provide abstinence-until-marriage education for adolescents from 12 to 18 years old. For fiscal year 2005, 63 grants were awarded, totaling $104 million to organizations and other entities; in fiscal 2001, grants totaled only $20 million. In October 2006, the Government Accountability Office reported that ACF does not review its grantees' education materials for scientific accuracy and does not require grantees of either program to review their own materials for scientific accuracy. GAO also reported that most of the efforts to evaluate the effectiveness of abstinence-until-marriage education programs included in GAO's review have not met certain minimum scientific criteria.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Leadership". Retrieved 1 July 2021.
  2. ^ ACF Office of Legislative Affairs and Budget: Budget Information Archived August 13, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "ACF History". Retrieved 2022-04-23.
  4. ^ a b ACF Office of Public Affairs (OPA): Fact Sheet – Administration for Native Americans (ANA) Archived March 10, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b "Child Support Enforcement: Families Could Benefit From Stronger Enforcement Program". U.S. Government Accountability Office. 1994-12-27. pp. 52–52.
  6. ^ a b "ACF History". Retrieved 2022-07-04.
  7. ^ "Administration on Children, Youth and Families". Administration for Children and Families. February 4, 2016. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  8. ^ Abstinence message goes beyond teens –
  9. ^ "Abstinence Education: Efforts to Assess the Accuracy and Effectiveness of Federally Funded Programs", U.S. Government Accountability Office, October 2006

External links[edit]