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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Child Welfare: Recent and Proposed Federal Funding

Emilie Stoltzfus
Specialist in Social Policy

Child welfare services and supports are intended to ensure and improve the safety, permanence, and well-being of children. The President’s FY2011 budget seeks close to $8.512 billion for the child welfare programs discussed in this report. This request is $80 million above the FY2010 funding appropriated for those programs as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010 (P.L. 111-117). Congress has not yet finalized FY2011 appropriations. However, on September 30, 2010, President Obama signed the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011 (P.L. 111-242). That law generally extends federal funding, at the levels provided in FY2010, until December 3, 2010, or until full-year funding is enacted, whichever happens first. For child welfare programs, the Senate Appropriations Committee has recommended full-year FY2011 funding at a level similar to the President’s request. Most child welfare programs are administered by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). However, a few are administered by the Office of Justice Programs at the Department of Justice.

As requested in the President’s FY2011 budget, Congress acted to extend (for six months) enhanced federal support to states for costs they incur in providing foster care maintenance, adoption assistance, and kinship guardianship assistance payments under Title IV-E of the Social Security Act (H.R. 1586, P.L. 111-226). Unlike the President’s request, the bill approved by Congress will step down the level of enhanced support during those six months. HHS estimates the enacted legislation will result in an additional $75 million in federal support to states under Title IV-E. The President’s FY2011 budget also sought legislation to continue for one year the FY2010 level of mandatory funding for two grants that support efforts to improve state court handling of child welfare proceedings ($20 million), as well as annual mandatory funding to continue the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being ($6 million). Congress included both of those proposals, with full-year (FY2011) funding, in the recently enacted P.L. 111-242.

The President’s FY2011 budget proposes to redirect all the discretionary funds provided under the Adoption Awareness program ($13 million for FY2010) to the Adoption Opportunities program. The Senate Appropriations Committee reported legislation (S. 3686, S.Rept. 111-243) that would follow this recommendation. Further, the President’s FY2011 budget seeks $10 million in new discretionary appropriations to advance state implementation of evidence-based programs or activities to prevent child abuse and neglect, and an additional $2.5 million (for a total of $42 million) in FY2011 funds to fully support Adoption Incentives for states that increase adoptions from foster care. The Senate Appropriations Committee recommends funding to meet both of those requests (S.Rept. 111-243). Finally, while the President’s FY2011 budget proposes $10 million in funding for Court Appointed Special Advocates (down from $15 million for FY2010 ) and $20 million for Children’s Advocacy Centers (down from $22.5 million for FY2010), the Senate Appropriations Committee recommends maintaining Children’s Advocacy Center funding at $22.5 million for FY2011 and would provide $14.2 in federal CASA funds (S.Rept. 111-229).

About 86% ($7.2 billion) of the $8.4 billion in federal funds provided in FY2010 for child welfare purposes supports states’ provision of foster care and adoption or kinship guardianship assistance; 9% ($778 million) is distributed to all states for child and family services; more than 2% ($185 million) is for services to assist youth who have left or are expected to leave foster care because of their age; and about 3% ($228 million) is for child welfare related competitive grants or awards. Table 1 shows the share of dedicated child welfare funding provided by general category for recent years and as proposed for FY2011. Table 2 includes recent and proposed funding levels by child welfare program.

Date of Report: October 7, 2010
Number of Pages: 26
Order Number: RL34121
Price: $29.95

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