In recent years, we have made policy recommendations and funded advocacy to support kinship families, strengthen early childhood development, align federal child welfare financing with best practices, increase children’s reading proficiency and provide alternatives to youth detention and reduce incarceration

We promote the effective administration of essential safety-net programs proven to lift families out of poverty and the expansion of refundable tax credits for low-income working families, including the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Through our KIDS COUNT network, we support state advocacy organizations to improve programs serving kids and families and achieve policy wins on issues affecting both.

To equip advocates, policymakers and the media with the best and most accurate information, we invest in strong analysis of state budgets and taxes and federal budget issues.

We provide data, resources and technical assistance to state-level advocates seeking to improve child welfare systems. 

We support research projects on the benefits of family leave insurance, poverty measurement and demographic information about low-income families, as well as innovative state approaches to services for low-income working families, such as health coverage, food programs and child care subsidies.

Poverty is a key indicator of whether a child will reach his or her full potential. In addition to developing a better way to measure poverty, we support efforts to connect families to jobs and school and protect federal programs proven to lift people out of poverty.

We focus on ensuring that working families have access to safety-net and public-benefit programs — such as Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, the State Child Health Insurance Program and the Earned Income Tax Credit — that help parents earn enough to better support their families.

As solutions emerge for problems such as intergenerational poverty, early childhood development, economic and racial inequality, we invest in policy research and analysis to bolster these strategies.

Because children do best in families, we promote policies aimed at reducing the need for foster care; enabling relatives to care for children who have been abused or neglected; helping recruit, retain and support family foster parents; and limiting non-family care to short-term treatment that is needed to resolve crisis situations so children can return to families. A key priority for us is to better align federal child welfare funding with these best practices.

We advocate for policies that reduce youth incarceration and increase community-based alternatives for working with young people involved in the juvenile justice system.

To ensure kids in foster care don’t experience unnecessary school moves with placement changes and experience positive educational outcomes, we supported advocates in pushing for the federal Uninterrupted Scholars Act.

Several state legislatures have adopted best practices in such areas as foster home licensing standards, tuition waivers for foster youth and family-finding practices to connect youth in foster care with relatives or close family friends.

Through our partners, we influenced recent federal policy discussions, ensuring billions of dollars of support for low-income working families. Grantees helped protect essential safety-net programs from sequestration and extended key public benefit programs, including the earned income and child tax credits.

KIDS COUNT organizations achieved policy wins in 33 states that resulted in an estimated $3.6 billion in new investments that will serve 2.2 million children and their families.

Casey-supported Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity, an online clearinghouse for news on connecting families to the economy, has more than 50,000 visitors each month.

Opportunity Nation and its Opportunity Index provide a platform for discussing how communities can connect young people and adults to school and the economy. Our support has helped Opportunity Nation’s messages reach more than 100 million Americans.

From the Blog

Woman reads to child in a day-care setting.

Grounded in Data: An Evaluation of the Foundation’s KIDS COUNT Network

The Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT® Network has spent nearly 30 years helping organizations connect and use data to promote smarter policies for kids and families. Now, a new study has moved this network under the microscope, examining data from all 53 KIDS COUNT Network members.

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A growing number of states are moving their juvenile justice systems away from the youth prison model and toward a continuum of community-based programs. One such state — Virginia — has successfully cut its juvenile correctional facility population in half after just five years, according to a new report issued by the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice.

Supporting Policy Reform and Advocacy

Lifting Millions out of Poverty through EITC

For millions of Americans, having a job does not translate into financial stability. Many employees earn too little to provide adequately for their families. The Earned Income Tax Credit is a critically important lifeline.

Helping All Kids Reach Their Full Potential

In its Race for Results policy report, Casey calls for improved data, a better use of evidence-based programs and economic inclusion strategies to connect children to opportunities for healthy development.

Strengthening State Child Welfare Advocates

Sponsored by First Focus, the State Policy Advocacy and Reform Center is a go-to resource for state child welfare policy, improving the capacity of individual state advocacy organizations and the larger field.