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Funding Principles

Increase Exits from Foster Care to Permanence through Reunification

Funding Principles

How Can States Invest in Safe Exits from Foster Care to Reunification?    

Financing Strategies to support reunification include:

  • Create flexible funds.   States can create flex funds out of existing funding streams for children and families.  Flex funds allow agencies to meet the unique needs of families in a timely way.  Indiana experienced higher likelihood of reunification in their federal waiver demonstrations that allowed local jurisdictions to use federal funds more flexibly. [i]
  • Leverage funds from other systems.  Resources from housing, substance abuse, mental health, and TANF can be dedicated to provide priority assistance for families awaiting reunification.  California’s budget authorized the transfer of $63 million in TANF funds to be dedicated to child welfare services. [ii]
  • Leverage funds from the private sector.  Private sector resources can be invested in successful approaches that reduce time to reunification.  The Maryland Opportunity Compact is a promising public-private partnership that has shifted resources to help speed time to reunification and reduce re-entry.

 [i] Institute for Applied Research (2003).  Indiana Title IV-E Child Welfare Demonstration Project: Final Evaluation Report.  Executive Summary.  Available online.


Federal Funding Limitations California lawmakers urged Congress to enact laws to allow for more flexible use of federal child welfare funding to address prevention, reunification and other supports to keep or get children out of foster care. 


Reinvestment of Foster Care Dollars : State dollars previously spent on children in placement can be reinvested into efforts to support families who have been reunified.