Follow the Money: Federal, State and Local Funding Strategies for Child Welfare Services and the Impact of Local Levies on Adoptions in Ohio
Susan Vivian Mangold
SUNY Buffalo Law School
University of Rochester
Capital University Law Review, Vol. 38, 2009
Buffalo Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2009-19
This paper discusses the impact of public money on the outcomes for children and their families in the child welfare system. We provide a comprehensive historical review of the federal laws mandating the delivery of services at the state and local levels including the fiscal policies accompanying the federal mandates. Our research takes a new focus on local fiscal strategies to determine if they have a disparate impact on children residing in different communities. In particular, we consider the use of dedicated tax levies by approximately half of the 88 counties in Ohio. Using ten years of data provided by the Public Children Services Association of Ohio (PCSAO), we examine whether the use of levies alters the number of children in care over time, as well as the number of adoptions and the median number of days that children await adoption. We find that counties with dedicated tax levies have improved outcomes for children. We will run further data analysis on the impact of fiscal strategies on the statistics for abuse and neglect and foster care.
Our research raises a cautionary call to advocates and policymakers who focus on the substance of the mandates governing the intimate family relations in the child welfare system or the type of funding stream available at the federal level. Eligibility determinations, funds that can be substituted with higher reimbursement rates, and state and local fiscal policies that may limit state matching funds are also crucial components of how child welfare services are actually delivered.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 30
Keywords: child welfare, juvenile law, family law, state and local government law, fiscal federalism, local taxation, adoption, foster care
Date posted: September 5, 2009