Unleashing innovation in child welfare: The child welfare demonstration project allows states to efficiently invest Title IV-E dollars

A maximum of 21 states and the District of Columbia may participate in 2012, 2013 and 2014 – 30 states in total. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services approved demonstration projects for all nine states that completed applications in 2012: Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

In addition, five states – California, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Oregon – received extensions of Title IV-E waivers they had received under previous federal action.  That means 14 states currently are developing and implementing innovative prevention and permanency services supported by flexible funding.

Evaluation of these services is ongoing. Current waivers outline how states can better target available resources to improve outcomes for children and families, but they are limited in number and scope. At the same time, they inform the urgent need to reform the federal child welfare ­finance system comprehensively so that all states can make smarter investments to support more effective services.

In Florida, we already have seen that the path toward hope is achieved by providing more families the services they need to keep their children safe and raise them successfully at home. Through its Title IV-E waiver, Florida was able to shift how it spent child welfare dollars. As the state safely reduced the number of children in foster care by 38 percent, it redirected those dollars into new services aimed at helping more vulnerable children and families in  more ways.

Before the waiver, the state spent about $12 on foster care for every $1 spent on prevention and permanency services. At the end of five years, that ratio shifted dramatically to $3 for every $1.

Demonstration Project States for 2012:

  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • District of Columbia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

Title IV-E Extension States

  • California
  • Florida
  • Indiana
  • Ohio
  • Oregon