Foster care costs

Costs for adoption and foster care programs are expected to rise from $6 billion in FY2003 to $8 billion in FY2008, according to a study issued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) yesterday. Federal aid to help states pay for these programs increased 7% between FY2000 and FY2004 from $2.5 to $2.6 billion. The programs are authorized by Title IV-E of the Social Security Act and administered by the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Administration for Children and Families (ACF).

GAO found that 80% of the increase could be attributed to six states, with California accounting for 31% of the total. The study reviewed spending in 11 states and found that different methods for identifiying eligible children and staff costs and uneven compliance with criteria for reporting costs or interpretation of criteria have made HHS oversight difficult.

FOSTER CARE AND ADOPTION ASSISTANCE: Federal Oversight Needed to Safeguard Funds and Ensure Consistent Support for States' Administrative Costs, GAO-06-649, June 15, 2006
     Full report (pdf, 1.7MB, 54p.)
     Highlights (pdf,356KB, 1p.)
     Abstract (html)

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