Analysis of Child Welfare Services Expenditure Data and Child Day Care Expenditure Data: Phase II Report. C. Differences in State Service Definitions and Components

09/01/1988

The variations in terminology used by States in describing social welfare services have long been a barrier to collecting comparative data at the national level. Differences in State service definitions and components of State services have a major effect on the way service expenditures are reported and impede comparisons of expenditure data among States.

Our contact with the States produced strong evidence that this problem has been exacerbated since the enactment of the Social Service Block Grant. Many States no longer use the previous Title XX Goal and service structure; they have moved toward a more localized description of their activities. This has served to complicate the collection of data on a service by service basis.

For example, in some States, Adoption is considered a component of Substitute Care and not a separate service. In these cases, the amount of expenditures are not reported separately for Adoption, and must be estimated (based upon client counts or other factors). In addition, some States have changed service programs so that for one year Adoption and Substitute Care are separate services and for the succeeding year one is a component of the other. In other States, Preventive Services is a component of Child Protective Services, and expenditures are not tracked separately.

Some States have a service called 'Residential Day Care'. The definitions of this service reveal that the service is really Emergency Substitute Care and should be counted under the category of Substitute Care rather than under Child Day Care, where it has been reported in some cases.

Note: For this report, Residential Day Care was counted under Substitute Care

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