Child Welfare: States Use Flexible Federal Funds, But Struggle to Meet Service Needs, Report to Congressional Committees [open pdf - 1MB]
From the Highlights: "In fiscal year 2011, over 675,000 children were found to be victims of abuse or neglect. To help ensure that such children have safe and permanent homes, state and local child welfare agencies secure child welfare services, such as parenting classes and substance abuse treatment. Title IV-B of the Social Security Act is the primary source of federal funding designated for child welfare services that is available to states. In fiscal year 2012, Congress appropriated $730 million under Title IV-B. Although states augment these funds with state, local, and other federal funds, some children and families may not receive the services they need. Congress mandated that GAO [Government Accountability Office] provide information about the funding and provision of child welfare services. This report addresses: (1) how selected states use funds provided under Title IV-B, (2) what alternative sources of federal funding states use to fund child welfare services and other activities covered under Title IV-B, and (3) what services, if any, child welfare agencies have difficulty securing for children and their families. To answer these questions, GAO reviewed relevant laws, regulations, guidance, and reports; analyzed HHS [Department of Health and Human Services] expenditure data and program evaluations; and interviewed HHS officials, child welfare experts, and state and local child welfare officials in 4 states and 13 localities selected to illustrate a variety of approaches to financing and delivering services. GAO also reviewed state fiscal year 2011 expenditure data from selected states and administered a data collection instrument to selected localities."
Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/