The federal government gives states far more money to support children who have been removed from their homes and placed in foster care than it gives them for prevention and treatment programs that could keep kids out of foster care in the first place. For a variety of reasons, the foster care caseload is falling. At the same time, evidence is mounting that well-designed programs can identify at-risk families and help resolve family problems as they emerge, often averting the need for foster care later on. Congress has the opportunity to change the funding formula under Title IV of the Social Security Act so that states have the flexibility to put money where it will be most effective at keeping at-risk children safe, ensuring that they have a permanent home, and promoting their wellbeing. (Author abstract)
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