It shall be the responsibility of the state department to provide care for neglected children who are committed to its care for custody or guardianship. For purposes of this chapter, the Department of Health and Human Resources is responsible for the care of the infant child of an unmarried mother who has been committed to the custody of the department while the infant is placed in the same licensed child welfare agency as his or her mother. The state department may provide care for such children in family homes meeting required standards, at board or otherwise, through a licensed child welfare agency, or in a state institution providing care for dependent or neglected children. The department in placing any child in the care of a family or a child welfare agency shall select as far as practicable a family holding the same religious belief as the parents or relatives of the child or a child welfare agency conducted under religious auspices of the same belief as the parents or relatives.
It is the intent of the Legislature to provide for the creation of all reasonable means and methods that can be established by a humane and enlightened state, solicitous of the welfare of its children, for the prevention of delinquency and for the care and rehabilitation of juvenile delinquents and status offenders. It is further the intent of the Legislature that this state, through the Department of Health and Human Resources and the Division of Juvenile Services, establish, maintain, and continuously refine and develop, a balanced and comprehensive state program for juveniles who are potentially delinquent or are status offenders or juvenile delinquents in the care or custody of the department.