The Cost of Protecting Vulnerable Children V

Research Report

The Cost of Protecting Vulnerable Children V

Understanding State Variation in Child Welfare Financing

Abstract

This report marks the fifth time the Urban Institute has collected data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia regarding child welfare spending. States spent at least $23.3 billion on child welfare activities in state fiscal year (SFY) 2004, with the increase in total spending between SFYs 2002 and 2004 driven by increases in state and local spending. Our findings highlight why we see such variation in states' financing strategies. Reasons include the availability and use of various nondedicated funding sources, how states use various funding sources, legal or political factors, and how the child welfare agency budget fits into the "big picture" of states' overall financing strategies.

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