Five counties in Pennsylvania have been selected to participate in a new federal project aimed to improve outcomes for at-risk youth by allowing flexibility in the use of federal Title IV-E funds. They will be using their flexibility to incorporate preventative strategies into child welfare services.
Currently, federal Title IV-E funds are meant to be used for services rendered while children and their families are already involved in the child welfare system (namely, foster care and adoption). Prevention services, on the other hand, receive funding through Title IV-B of the Social Security Act, which is not as well-funded as IV-E.
The five counties in Pennsylvania are combining prevention strategies with intervention strategies in order to improve outcomes for kids and families at risk of entering the child welfare system. As Pennsylvania's Secretary of Welfare, Gary Alexander, puts it,
We know that children who come into the child welfare system can often face many struggles beyond their youth. Flexibility with federal and state funds will allow us to change the outcomes for these at-risk children and their families by directing funding toward preventative services.
Any savings resulting from successful prevention efforts will be reinvested into further prevention efforts and community-based services, thereby increasing funding for prevention work without increasing costs for the state.
Our Special Projects Coordinator, Nancy Johnston, discussed on our video wall the benefits of combining prevention strategies with child welfare services:
What are your thoughts on including prevention work with child welfare work? Answer in the comments below or add your own voice to our video wall by going to our Video Wall website!