Federal and State/Local Child Welfare Agency Spending per Child, 2004–2014

Research BriefChild WelfareJun 25 2018

Child welfare agencies across the United States protect and promote the well-being of children and youth who are at risk of, or who have been victims of, maltreatment. With support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Casey Family Programs, Child Trends conducts the Child Welfare Financing Survey every other year. This important survey promotes understanding of how much child welfare agencies spend and which funding streams they use. For example, we know that over half of the $29.1 billion spent by child welfare agencies in state fiscal year (SFY) 2014 came from state and local sources, and less than half came from federal sources. We also know that, over time, the proportion of federal expenditures has decreased and the proportion of state/local expenditures has increased.

While this aggregate information helps us understand trends, it does not account for changes in child populations—important context for understanding changes in child-level spending. This brief summarizes findings from an analysis of federal and state/local child welfare agency spending per child between SFYs 2004 and 2014.