The Cost of Protecting Vulnerable Children

Research Report

The Cost of Protecting Vulnerable Children

Understanding Federal, State, and Local Child Welfare Spending


Data from the Urban Institute's 50-state survey of child welfare expenditures provides new insight into how states differ in their strategies for financing child welfare. Among the conclusions: total child welfare spending is greater than previously estimated; non-traditional federal funding streams are more important than previously assumed; financing child welfare varies significantly by state; the cost of residential and group care placements is overwhelming; and there is little funding for prevention.

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