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Child Welfare Financing Reform

The Importance of Maintaining the Entitlement to Foster Care Funding

By Angie Schwartz & Amy Lemley

Critics of the child welfare financing system, which incorporates an entitlement to services, contend that the system harms children by stifling innovation and limiting states’ flexibility in responding to children’s needs. The critics argue instead for a capped allocation of child welfare funding, a system akin to block grants. But experience with ending entitlements in other programs and substituting block grants teaches that the result is likely to be reduced funding in the face of greater need for services, particularly as states struggle with budget crises.

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