Child welfare agencies across the United States are charged with protecting and promoting the welfare of children and youth who are at risk of or who have been victims of maltreatment. State and local child welfare agencies rely on multiple funding streams to administer programs and services. While many funding sources are available to child welfare agencies, each source has its own unique purposes, eligibility requirements, and limitations creating a complex financing structure that is challenging to understand and administer. Each state’s unique funding composition determines what services are available to children and families and the ways in which child welfare agencies operate.
As a result, child welfare administrators, policymakers, advocates, and researchers need accurate, up-to-date information on states’ financing, and on the financing-related challenges and opportunities that agencies face in serving children and families. To this end, Child Trends conducted the 12th edition of its national survey of child welfare agency expenditures. This survey asked questions similar to those from previous survey iterations to facilitate the analysis of trends, but also added several new questions; for example, we asked states how they use third party income sources like Social Security payments to offset costs, and about the early impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act (Family First Act).
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