Surveys federal, state, and local initiatives that influence child welfare policy and practice and discusses ways to improve coordination between child welfare and mental health agencies. Federal child welfare policy increasingly emphasizes child well being and accountability. Federal requirements also call for integrated planning on the part of states, potentially paving the way for a continuum of collaborative services that includes mental health services for children and their parents. Mental health policy makers and providers seeking to enhance relationships with child welfare organizations need to recognize that these agencies operate in diverse ways, and that child welfare administrators and practitioners frequently must contend with multiple levels of regulation, oversight, and scrutiny. Understanding these pressures is central to determining where the interests of mental health and child welfare agencies converge. For example, child welfare officials, who are held to a high standard of accountability for the well being of their clients, may be reluctant to participate in collaborative systems with mental health providers if they believe they must relinquish control of case management. Moreover, negative publicity surrounding a case of harm befalling a child under the supervision of a child welfare agency could easily undo the most thoughtful collaborative arrangements.