As we celebrate our 25th anniversary, we are proud of our accomplishments, committed to our mission, and look forward to addressing tomorrow’s challenges.

Twenty-five years ago, on April 15, 1991, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) was born. ACF was created to bring together a wide range of programs for children, families and communities, under a single division of the Department of Health and Human Services.

HHS Secretary Louis Sullivan explained at the time: “For the first time, the government will have a single agency bringing together the many child and family programs.” In doing so, a key goal was to encourage existing federal programs, now under the same roof, to find ways to work with each other to address the needs of the same populations being served.

Much has changed in the 25 years since ACF was established, but not our commitment to bring together the diverse programs under ACF’s jurisdictions in our coordinated efforts to help children and their families.

Twenty-five years ago, the Child Care and Development Block Grant was one year old, and the Early Head Start Program didn’t exist. Congress hadn’t yet enacted the Temporary Assistant for Needy Families Block Grant. The major legislation strengthening the child support program in 1996 hadn’t yet occurred, nor had the major child welfare legislation of the past 25 years. There was no Unaccompanied Children program at HHS.

Over the last quarter-century, ACF has incorporated new programs, ceased to operate some programs that Congress did not continue, and throughout, has maintained a commitment to research, learning, strengthening the effectiveness of the programs we operate, and to building shared goals across these programs.

We support American families, and our state, tribal and local partners with new systems and technologies—from the Office of Child Support Enforcement’s Federal Parent Locator Service, to the innovative National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline, and the Children’s Bureau’s multiple data reporting systems. We have provided innovative evidence-based technical assistance on everything from early childhood education, to job training, to services for victims of domestic violence. And we respond to basic human needs, whether due to extraordinary events like Hurricane Sandy or the repatriation following the catastrophic 2010 earthquake in Haiti, or more common needs for access to affordable child care and support for seasonal heating and cooling expenses.

These accomplishments are only a small representation of ACF’s considerable work for our nation’s families. We’ve adopted a theme — Impacting People, Affecting Change, Empowering Families — which embodies ACF’s agency, mission and the passion our employees bring to work with them every day. In the coming months, we’ll highlight ACF programs and staff who have been with us throughout ACF’s history to connect children and families with the services they need to thrive.  

As we celebrate our 25th anniversary this spring, the Administration for Children and Families and its 1,800 employees and contractors are proud of our accomplishments, committed to our mission, and look forward to addressing tomorrow’s challenges.

 

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