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Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect


The proportion of funds from federal sources is decreasing. In SFY 2006, federal funds accounted for 48 percent of total child welfare spending - a decrease from over 50 percent earlier in the decade[1]. Policymakers are advised to pool federal funds whenever possible to maximize the use of non-state funding sources. Integrated funding streams work best when the programs themselves have been bundled. Many policy strategies create these likely scenarios. The more multilayered a program, the more opportunities policymakers have to merge multiple funding sources and apply them to uniform program efforts.

How Can Policymakers Invest in Reducing Child Abuse and Neglect?

  • Maximize federal funds. Virginia’s governor in 2005 outlined ways in which the state should go about obtaining the maximum amount of federal funding for child care welfare services. The recommendations outlined ways to not only maximize TANF and CCDF claiming, but to, at the same time, increase the number of child care placements same time.
  • Blend and braid funding. Illinois established a unique birth-to-five funding stream that pulled together the existing education-funded programs.
  • Supplement federal funds. Ohio’s Kinship Permanency Incentive Program matches federal funds with state general funds to carry out a critical indicator to well-being, permanency, and safety.
  • Create Dedicated Revenue Streams. Kansas’ Children’s Cabinet created an appropriation category for at-risk infants and toddlers so that any new investments in preschool would automatically include set-aside investments in high-quality programs for this at-risk population. Connecticut established a tax credit program for businesses that offer needed community services.
  • Leverage private funding. Michigan capitalized on private funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Family to Family child welfare system to build a community-specific range of services where child welfare referral rates are high.

Current Funding Approaches

  • Title IV-E/IV-B. Kinship navigator programs are poised to grow in response to funding made available through the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008.  States with programs that rely on the support from kin and guardians in the care of children can now use federal dollars to offer special training for relative caregivers about the developmental needs of children and how best to address them.
  • Head Start. States can offer home visiting to infants and toddlers participating in the approved home-based program option, following the federal EHS Enhanced Home Visiting Pilot Project .
  • Child Care Development Fund (CCDF). Since 2008, states have reported to the Child Care Bureau that more money is being spent on ways to benefit families during the current economic crisis. Some funding strategies include lowering copayments and an increased window of coverage time for parents who are looking for jobs.  Click here for more details on specific state CCDF usage.
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). States can promote the employment prospects of parents and enhance child well-being by increasing payments to families seeking employment.  In addition, the TANF Emergency Fund, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, provides victims of domestic violence with financial and in-kind services to help address the effects of domestic violence on family stability, including short-term cash assistance, emergency shelter, medical treatment, counseling and relocation assistance for parent and child(ren).
  • Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA). CAPTA was reauthorized in 2010 including a provision that permits states to use CAPTA grants to fund services to assist children exposed to domestic violence and support the non-abusing caregiving parents.
  • American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Act doubled the resources available for workforce development programs for families. It also created new opportunities to increase use of on-the-job training, paid work experience and other strategies that combine work and learning.

[1] 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, and 2005 Urban Institute Child Welfare Surveys and 2007 Casey Child Welfare Financing Survey


 Read important principles for policymakers to use in developing a strategic financing approach to support child abuse prevention policies.