Foster Care/Child Welfare Budget in Context: An Analysis of the Governor’s Proposed FY 10 Budget

Back • Publication Date: March 25th, 2009

Authors: Tamara Kramer and Alexandra Dufresne, J.D.

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This brief provides an analysis of Governor’s proposed Fiscal Year 2010 budget proposals as they affect foster care and child welfare programs. While the Community Preventative Services line item saw an increase of $13.5 million dollars in the Governor’s recommended FY 10 budget from the FY 09 final budget, there were cuts from other preventive and family support programs. Family Support Services, Community Emergency Services, Support for Recovering Families would suffer a combined appropriation decrease of $8.2 million. This is particularly troubling, as research shows that as the economy deteriorates, families are in even greater need of these types of support.

Although this budget provides minimal new funds to help keep children at home, the Governor’s proposed FY10 budget proposals do not do enough to put DCF on the right track. In FY 02, DCF spent four times as much on board and care for children in out-of-home placements as it did on preventive and community-based supports. Under the Governor’s FY10 recommended budget, DCF allocates almost three times as much for board and care (residential and foster) as it does for preventive and community-based supports. This is a welcome trend towards preventive supports. However, the spending disparity in the FY10 budget between out-of-home placement expenditures and preventive and community-based supports would grow by almost 3% from the FY 08-FY 09 budget, in spite of modest increases for programs that help keep children at home and families together.