State Fact Sheets on Child Welfare Funding 2010
January 21, 2010
Below are links to fact sheets for each of the 50 states on child welfare financing. In addition to data on child welfare expenditures and the sources of this funding, the fact sheets include contextual data such as the number (and percent) of children living in poverty, the number and types of substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect, and the number of children in foster care.
There is broad agreement that the child welfare system must do more to prevent child abuse and neglect. Families struggling with mental health issues, substance abuse, or domestic violence require specialized treatment. Grandparents and other relatives who have stepped in to raise children when their parents cannot often need support. And the child welfare system requires adequate numbers of workers who are trained to deal with the complex needs of families in crisis. The debate lies in questions about how best to increase capacity in each of these areas to improve outcomes for children and families-and how to hold federal, state, and local governments more accountable for outcomes.
The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (Fostering Connections) made significant progress on behalf of children and families involved with the child welfare system. The law largely focused on helping more children safely exit care to permanent families or on improving the experiences children have while in foster care. In highlighting the improvements made by Fostering Connections, Congressional leaders have emphasized that these reforms represent significant first steps, but that there is additional work to be done. We must invest before a crisis occurs and prevent abuse or neglect from ever occurring. As Congress considers next steps, these fact sheets--one for each state and one for the nation--will provide useful background on the current fiscal structure of the child welfare system. They will be helpful in assessing how different financing reform proposals will affect children across the country.
Each fact sheet contains sections that:
1. Describe the context for child welfare spending by providing data on abused and neglected children, children in foster care, children who have left foster care, and children living with kin;
2. Identify how much child welfare funding comes from federal, state, and local sources;
3. Identify the major federal funding streams that are used to support child welfare and the amount of child welfare funding that comes from each; and
4. Highlight expenditures and trends within the Title IV-E Foster Care and Adoption Assistance Programs, including expenditures for foster care maintenance and adoption assistance payments, administrative and child placement costs, and training.
Data used in the fact sheets are the most recent available that are systematically collected for all states. Generally, this means the most recent data reported by the federal government, although additional data sources are used as well, as indicated in the footnotes on the charts. Though it is the most recently available, the data in these fact sheets is from years prior to enactment of Fostering Connections and, therefore, does not reflect the impact of the new law. More recent data may be available from individual states, but these fact sheets include data that are consistently reported across the states.
These fact sheets, compiled as part of a joint project of CLASP and the Children's Defense Fund, are designed to help policymakers, advocates, and the public better understand the complex financing structure of child welfare services in the states, and to enable them to work effectively toward national, state and local reforms that will promote a child welfare system that helps keep children and families out of crisis, provides specialized treatment services for those that do experience crisis and provides supportive services to families after a crisis has stabilized.