Given the overlapping interests between child welfare and education, one might expect federal laws and policies in these two areas to work in tandem. But in the United States, they have not. With food, nutrition, and early childhood programs among the few exceptions, welfare and education laws have largely been embodied in separate statutes and administered by different agencies. Since their advent and evolution from the 1900s to the present, welfare laws have become increasingly and predominantly concerned with regulating mothers and families, while education laws have become increasingly and predominantly concerned with regulating teachers and schools. Neither area of law has prioritized children as its direct beneficiaries. This Article argues that this misdirected attention is responsible for why these two areas remain disconnected: both welfare and education laws have ignored the immediate needs of children, while focusing instead on regulating the institutions surrounding them. If children were placed at the center of public benefits, the importance of linking adequate child welfare and education systems would become more obvious, as it has been for the food, nutrition, and early childhood programs that buck this trend. After analyzing the gap between these two areas of law, this Article proposes a reconceptualization and unification of child welfare and education laws and policies to better serve socioeconomically disadvantaged children and their families.