Briefs Explore Decades of Child Welfare Financing Data

Posted November 8, 2018
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog briefsexploredecadesofchildwelfare 2018

A pair of briefs — intro­duced below — use Child Trends sur­vey data to exam­ine trends in child wel­fare financ­ing nation­wide. Both pub­li­ca­tions, cre­at­ed with sup­port from the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion and Casey Fam­i­ly Pro­grams, share find­ings that can help pol­i­cy­mak­ers, prac­ti­tion­ers, advo­cates, and oth­ers gain a bet­ter under­stand­ing of how much child wel­fare agen­cies spend and which fund­ing streams they use.

Fed­er­al and State/​Local Child Wel­fare Agency Spend­ing per Child, 20042014 exam­ines a decade of results from a bien­ni­al sur­vey admin­is­tered to child wel­fare agen­cies nation­wide. The sur­vey tracks how much agen­cies spend and which fund­ing streams they uti­lize. In 2014, for exam­ple, $16.3 bil­lion in child wel­fare expen­di­tures came from state and local sources, with fed­er­al sources account­ing for the remain­ing $12.8 bil­lion balance.

Sur­vey results over the 10-year peri­od reveal an over­all increase in the aver­age state expen­di­ture per child (from $236 to $255) with a cor­re­spond­ing decrease on the fed­er­al side ($216 to $174). Fig­ures were adjust­ed to account for inflation.

State Vari­a­tion in Child Wel­fare Agency Use of Fed­er­al Fund­ing Sources” zeroes in on how states used $12.8 bil­lion in fed­er­al funds in 2014. The brief explores how fund­ing streams can be ded­i­cat­ed (used only for child wel­fare, such as Title IV‑E and Title IV‑B of the Social Secu­ri­ty Act) or nonded­i­cat­ed (used for child wel­fare and broad­er activ­i­ties, such as Med­ic­aid) and tells how each pro­gram has its own unique require­ments, pur­pos­es and processes.

The Child Trends sur­vey data con­tin­ues to fill a void of crit­i­cal infor­ma­tion need­ed by pol­i­cy­mak­ers and advo­cates who want to improve the invest­ments that states make to bet­ter meet the needs of chil­dren,” says Robert Geen, direc­tor of pol­i­cy reform and advo­ca­cy at the Casey Foun­da­tion. This trust­ed source is even more vital now, as new fed­er­al incen­tives are like­ly to help states imple­ment inno­v­a­tive solu­tions that enable chil­dren to remain where they belong — with their families.”

Watch a webi­nar about fund­ing evi­dence-based pro­grams in child wel­fare with the Fam­i­ly First Act

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