State Fact Sheets on Child Welfare Funding

The Center for Law and Social Policy has collected state fact sheets on child welfare funding to help policymakers, advocates, and the public better understand the complex financing structure of child welfare services in their states. The fact sheets should enable child advocates to work effectively toward national and local reforms that will help ensure that our nation's child welfare system protects children, accurately identifies and addresses their needs—including the needs of their families—and helps all them grow up in safe and loving families.

Many believe the child welfare system must do more to prevent child abuse and neglect; to provide specialized treatment to families struggling with problems of mental health, substance abuse, or domestic violence; to support grandparents and other relatives who have stepped in to raise children when their parents cannot; and to provide adequate numbers of child welfare workers who are trained to deal with the complex needs of families in crisis.

At the heart of the debate lie questions about how best to increase the 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 these outcomes.

As Congress debates various reform proposals, 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 and on the ways 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. Describe 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 Program, including expenditures for foster care maintenance 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. We recognize that more recent data may be available from individual states, but we prefer to include data that are consistently reported across the states.

The CLASP web site enables users to select a report for each state and also one aggregate report for the U.S. For more on the State Fact Sheets, select this link.

State Fact Sheets on Child Welfare Funding. Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP). 2015. English.

Last Reviewed: January 2016

Last Updated: January 15, 2016