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Thursday, January 26, 2012

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. Final FY2012 funding provided for the child welfare programs discussed in this report is $8.0 billion. This amount is roughly the same as the amounts proposed in FY2012 funding bills introduced or otherwise acted on in the House (H.R. 3070 and H.R. 2596) and the Senate (S. 1599 and S. 1572). It is above the $7.7 billion in final funding provided for these programs for FY2011 but lower than funding proposed for them as part of the President’s FY2012 budget ($8.3 billion).

Most child welfare programs are administered by the Children’s Bureau of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), which is within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Final FY2012 funding for these programs was included in P.L. 112-74 (Division F), enacted on December 23, 2011. A few child welfare programs are administered by the Office of Justice Programs at the Department of Justice (DOJ) and they received final FY2012 funding as part of P.L. 112-55 (Title II), enacted on November 18, 2011.

The primary reason for the increase in overall child welfare funding authority provided in FY2012 (as compared to FY2011) is the level of definite funding authority provided for the Title IV-E foster care, adoption assistance, and kinship guardianship assistance funding. That FY2012 level ($6.9 billion) is $384 million above the comparable level assumed for FY2011. Funding for the Title IV-E program is authorized on a mandatory and open-ended basis and, as it did this year, Congress typically provides the level of budget authority estimated by the Administration as necessary to meet all obligations under current law. For FY2012, Congress did not provide additional definite funding authority under Title IV-E that was sought by the President ($250 million for FY2012) to initiate a foster care reform proposal included in his FY2012 budget.

Apart from the Title IV-E program, the final FY2012 funding bill provides level or somewhat reduced funding for most child welfare programs discussed in this report when compared to FY2011 funding levels. This is similar but not identical to what the President sought in his FY2012 budget. The final FY2012 funding legislation reduced overall capped mandatory funding for child welfare programs by $26 million, which includes a $20 million (4.7%) reduction in overall funding for the Promoting Safe and Stable Families program. Additionally, no funding was provided to support continuation of the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW), which received capped mandatory funding of $6 million in FY2011. The President’s budget sought to maintain FY2011 funding levels in both of those instances.

Finally, the FY2012 funding legislation reduced overall discretionary funding for child welfare programs by $11 million. For most programs, the reduced funding resulted from an across-theboard reduction applied to all HHS programs receiving discretionary funding (and meant that their final FY2012 funding levels equal roughly 99.8% of what they received in the last fiscal year). However, for a few discretionary programs (e.g., Court Appointed Special Advocates, CASA), the cuts were larger.

This report compares final FY2012 child welfare program levels to the budget request made for those programs in the President’ s FY2012 budget proposal and the final funding provided for those programs in FY2011. Table 1 in this report shows the share of dedicated child welfare funding provided by general category for recent years, including final funding for FY2010- FY2012. Table 2 includes recent and proposed funding levels by child welfare program.

Date of Report: January 1
3, 2012
Number of Pages:
Order Number: R
Price: $29.95

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