Federal child welfare finance reform is a strategy to achieve Casey Family Programs 2020 goal of safely reducing the need for foster care by preventing child abuse and neglect and finding safe, permanent and loving families for all children. The federal government must significantly change the way child welfare is financed so that it facilitates measurable outcomes.
Finance Reform: Why is it a Focus Area? Funding influences what the system offers vulnerable children and families Availability of needed services impacts placement decisions States should have the opportunity to invest resources in the most effective way
Federal-State Dynamics in Child Welfare State has primary responsibility to ensure child welfare. Federal role in child welfare. –Financial assistance to states for certain activities and populations –Majority of dedicated federal child welfare dollars support foster care. –Receipt of federal assistance is tied to state performance measures of safety, permanency and well-being (CFSR).
Child Welfare Spending States receive federal dollars for child welfare activities from a variety of sources. States spent $29.4 billion in federal, state, and local funds for child welfare purposes in State Fiscal Year 2010. –$13.6 billion in federal funds (46%) –$12.5 billion in state funds (43%) –$3.3 billion in local dollars (11%)
Dedicated Federal Child Welfare Funding Title IV-E of the Social Security Act ($7.0 billion in SFY2010). –Supports foster care as well adoption assistance and guardianship assistance. Title IV-B of the Social Security Act ($614 million in SFY2010). –Supports prevention and family support services.
Other Federal Child Welfare Funding Temporary Assistance for Needy Families ($3 billion in SFY2010) Medicaid ($1 billion in SFY2010) Social Services Block Grant ($1.6 billion in SFY2010)
Federal Funding: Why Must it Change? Dedicated Funding –Title IV-E primarily pays for maintaining eligible children in licensed settings. –None of this funding can be used for prevention or post- reunification. Other Child Welfare Funding –Other funding sources provide flexibility, but are limited. –Child welfare is not the primary focus.
Federal Funding: Why it must change? Current funding and policy goals are not aligned Inability to reinvest federal “savings” to sustain positive outcomes
Finance Reform: Key Aspects Federal dedicated child welfare funding should be available for a broader array of services. These services should be available to a broader population of vulnerable families. Federal funding should be flexible to address the unique needs of families in their communities and achieve improved outcomes.
Casey’s Goal: Finance Reform by 2015 Activities to help achieve this goal –Support implementation of Title IV-E waivers and capture in real-time information to inform child welfare finance reform efforts. –Focus on and communicate the urgent need for finance reform. –Develop new champions at federal, state, and local level. –Elevate voice of families and children to inform policy development.
What the IV-E Waiver Is… Tool to innovate child welfare practice and spend dollars more flexibly to improve outcomes Exempts states from requirement that all Title IV-E funding be spent almost solely on foster care Several states utilizing IV-E Waivers to implement multi- year demonstration projects under initial Waiver authority (FL, CA, IN, OH, OR) Recent reauthorization allows up to 10 additional states per year between 2012 - 2014 to begin multi-year IV-E Waiver demonstration projects
How IV-E Waiver Demonstrations Inform the Case for Comprehensive Finance Reform Demonstrates how serious states are about the need for comprehensive finance reform Demonstrates how states can use current federal dollars to achieve better outcomes Engages state leaders about the need for federal finance reform Lays out the importance of making finance reform permanent and comprehensive
FY2013 Applications Some 15 states have either applied, been working on an application or expressed an interest in applying If 25 or more states are implementing a waiver, it makes a strong case for comprehensive finance reform
Overview of Finance Reform Discussions Widespread, bipartisan agreement that federal child welfare dollars should be focused on federal goals of safety, permanency, and well- being. Widespread, bipartisan agreement that waivers are an interim step and that comprehensive reform is necessary.
Challenges to achieve finance reform No clear consensus has emerged, although numerous proposals have been floated. –Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care. No clear consensus on whether additional resources are necessary. Political agenda is crowded, with little willingness to undertake any “heavy lift” ideas.
Common themes among reform proposals Most proposals recognize the population served needs to expand and agree the AFDC-link is outdated. Most proposals expand the service array –Extent to which federal resources support prevention or intervention activities varies.
Major differences remain Retaining the open-ended entitlement versus a capped allocation Defining safety, permanency and well-being in an appropriate way to ensure accountability Ensuring finance reform also supports quality improvements.
Activities to help inform any reform proposals Lessons learned from states will heavily influence finance reform. Important to ensure dollars are vested in evidence-based or evidence-informed programs. Capturing outcomes from dollars spent is key. Encourage and elevate voices of child welfare workers, families and children in policy development.
Opportunity to inform proposals exists Significant Opportunity - Historically a few states experimenting with waivers was seen only as informative, but today we have the opportunity to inform proposals particularly if 50% or more of the states engage in a waiver. Maintaining federal support – Current structure means every year fewer children will be eligible for federal funding. Issue is urgent – Child welfare is broader than foster care, and it is urgent we ensure necessary changes to federal financing are implemented.