Federal Foster Care Financing: How and Why the Current Funding Structure Fails to Meet the Needs of the Child Welfare Field. Note on Data Sources

Data presented in this report are derived primarily from HHS information sources. Most are publicly available as follows:

  • Data on title IV-E funding and caseload history (figure 1) are from the 2004 Green Book published by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means (tables 11-2 and 11-3). Years not included in the 2004 Green Book may be found in the equivalent table from previous editions. The 2004 Green Book is online at: http://waysandmeans.house.gov/Documents.asp?section=813.
  • Data for 2002 federal foster care claims is available in 2004 Green Book, table 11-8. Other years used in this report are unpublished HHS data. These data are used in figures 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7.
  • Final Reports for Child and Family Services Reviews (which contain data used in figures 4, 5 and 6) and Title IV-E Eligibility Reviews (containing data used in table 1) are available online from the Children's Bureau within HHS's Administration for Children and Families at: http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/cb/cwrp/index.htm.
  • State foster care maintenance rates shown in figure 7 are those reported by the Child Welfare League of America. They are included in the 2004 Green Book, table 11-9.
  • Data on child welfare funding in figure 8 are derived from 2004 actual figures shown in HHS's FY2006 Budget. Available online at http://www.hhs.gov/budget/docbudget.htm.


1.  The August 2005 version contains updates to calculations that incorporate revised Title IV-E foster care caseload data submitted by Ohio. Subsequent to the reports initial publication, officials in Ohio realized that the number of Title IV-E foster children reported on its program claims forms, which ASPE relied on for the analysis, had been incorrect. This had implications for the claims-per-child calculated in figure 2 and used in figures 5, 6 and 7. The change is most noticeable on figure 2, in which the per-child claims for Ohio have moved down in the rankings. The underlying thesis of the analysis is unaffected by the update.


*  About This Issue Brief

This ASPE Issue Brief on How and Why the Current Funding Structure Fails to Meet the Needs of the Child Welfare Field was written by Laura Radel with assistance from staff in the Administration for Children and Families.

The Issue Brief provides an overview of the financing of the federal foster care program, documenting and explaining several key weaknesses in the current funding structure. It also discusses the Administrations alternative financing proposal, the creation of a Child Welfare Program Option, which would allow States to choose between financing options.

Office of Human Services Policy
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Washington, DC 20201

Michael J. O'Grady, Ph.D.
Assistant Secretary

Barbara B. Broman
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Services Policy

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