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December/January 2015Vol. 15, No. 11Report Examines 2012 State Child Welfare Expenditures

Child Trends published a report documenting State child welfare expenditures in State fiscal year (SFY) 2012. Findings were derived from a survey that tracks and monitors State child welfare agency financing data. The report shows that agencies rely on several funding sources to finance a wide range of child welfare services and activities conducted on behalf of vulnerable children and families. Survey results indicate that trends change from year to year. The following notable patterns emerged in the most recent study:

  • There was an overall decline in child welfare expenditures by States, indicating the first drop in spending since the survey began in SFY 1996.
  • Federal funding for child welfare activities significantly decreased between SFYs 2010 and 2012, bringing these expenditures to their lowest levels since the SFY 1998 survey.
  • The title IV-E program continues to represent the largest Federal funding source nationally.
  • There is a continued decrease in the percentage of children eligible for Federal title IV-E foster care reimbursement.

The report also highlights the considerable differences across States in how they use Federal, State, and local funds. Results from across time are presented in figures and analyses throughout the report, and detailed data are included in the appendices.

Federal, State, and Local Spending to Address Child Abuse and Neglect in SFY 2012 is available on the Child Trends website at (2 MB).