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New Work Group Will Develop Policy Recommendations on Child Welfare Financing and Accountability 

Fifteen of our nation’s top child welfare experts formed a new work group focused on improving policies that govern child welfare financing and accountability. The work group is one of a series of efforts led by BPC’s Child Welfare Initiative and launched its first meeting this month.

Over the next year, the work group will examine existing financing streams and performance measures, study prior reform efforts, analyze data, and hear from families and others with unique expertise. Following a months-long discovery phase, the experts will develop actionable recommendations that policymakers can use to spark innovation, improve accountability, and drive better outcomes for children, youth, and families.

The passage of the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) more than six years ago marked a pivotal shift in federal child welfare policy. By providing dedicated federal funding for prevention efforts, this legislation signaled a paradigm shift aimed at supporting and strengthening families earlier, so that more children could safely avoid the need for foster care. The legislation also attempted to minimize inappropriate residential placements for children and youth and strengthen family-based foster care.

BPC’s extensive landscape analysis conducted last year identified an overwhelming level of support among child welfare stakeholders for the vision of FFPSA, yet they expressed a high level of frustration with implementation thus far. There is a strong bipartisan appetite in continuing financing reform efforts that:

  1. increase flexibility and access to funding to respond to local needs while incentivizing best practice,
  2. improve system accountability for outcomes of child safety and family strengthening, rather than just process measures,
  3. are responsive to changing levels of need, and
  4. are administratively efficient including determining eligibility for and obtaining federal funding.

The work group has a timely opportunity to develop recommendations that can shape the future of child welfare financing and accountability.

Work Group Members

Cassie Statuto-Bevan, EdD | Co-chair | Policy specialist, lecturer and child advocate

Wendell Primus, Ph.D | Co-chair | Economic Studies, Center on Health Policy, Visiting Fellow, Brookings Institution

Uma Ahluwalia | Managing Principal, Health Management Associates

Reggie Bicha | President & CEO, American  Public Human Services Association

Sixto Cancel | Founder and CEO, Think of Us

Brenda Donald | Consultant.

Sarah Font | Associate Professor of Sociology and Public Policy, Penn State University

Zach Laris | Federal Advocacy Leader

Ryan Martin | Deputy Director, National Governors Association Center for Best Practices

Judith Meltzer | Senior Fellow and past President, Center for the Study of Social Policy

Tom Rawlings | General Counsel, Fostering Impact

Ron Richter | CEO, JCCA, formerly known as Jewish Child Care Association

Rebecca Robuck | Partner, ChildFocus

Bryan Samuels | Executive Director, Chapin Hall

Don Winstead | Consultant

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Policies that govern our nation’s child welfare system have a direct impact on our collective efforts to keep children safe and strengthen all families – biological, adoption, foster, and kinship. Every child deserves a childhood that is safe from harm where they can learn, grow, and thrive. As co-chair, I will continue to focus on policy goals that I’ve been deeply committed to throughout my career, which is the health and safety of very young children who are at highest risk of maltreatment. Recent data show an alarming increase in the fatalities of infants and toddlers due to abuse and neglect, which makes the work group’s goals even more urgent.
Co-Chair Cassie Statuto-Bevan, EdD
The statistics on how many children are abused each year are both sad and daunting. It is an honor to be named by BPC to co-chair this bipartisan group of distinguished experts. I look forward to developing recommendations that will reduce child abuse, avert the need for foster care, and improve the lives of all abused children who are no longer with their parents but living with kin or elsewhere. It is a formidable task.
Co-Chair Wendell Primus, Ph.D

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