Information for this report was gathered through reviews of existing documentation about fiscal reforms in the states, including materials produced by the states themselves, results of research by other organizations such as the Child Welfare League of America, evaluation reports by independent evaluators, and conference presentations on the reforms made by state officials as well as their consultants and evaluators. Most of the existing materials used had been published during the period 1999 through 2002. From August 2000 through November 2001, states were contacted to fill in gaps in the publicly available information about their particular initiatives. At that time, officials were invited to verify the accuracy of the information that had been gathered from other sources.
Information was available about a considerable range of changes in the relationships between states and private agencies. In order to focus the report, the universe of interest was defined as those efforts that involved changes in financial arrangements between the state (or county) and private contractors5 designed to affect the behavior of the private organizations. The programs described below do not include or represent every such initiative across the United States because some initiatives were excluded due to time and space limitations. The programs do constitute the majority of such efforts.
The following chapters describe the fiscal reforms, identify issues that were encountered in implementation, and specify what is known about how well they are working. The descriptive information (Chapter 2) covers the scope of these programs and their target populations, their objectives, and their organizational models. Chapter 3 discusses in detail their financial arrangements, with particular attention to issues of risk. Finally, the conclusion (Chapter 4) discusses some of the ongoing challenges in implementing fiscal reforms in child welfare that may be of particular interest to federal policymakers and identifies how those challenges have been addressed by the initiatives. Individual summaries of each initiative are presented in the appendix.