Child Welfare League of America Making Children a National Priority


Child Welfare League of America Making Children a National Priority
About Us
Special Initiatives
News and Media Center
Research and Data
Conferences and Training
Culture and Diversity
Support CWLA
CWLA Members Only Content

Home > Advocacy > CWLA 2006 Children's Legislative Agenda/2006 Hot Topics > 2006 Legislative Hot Topics


2006 Legislative Hot Topics

Social Services Block Grant

© Child Welfare League of America. The content of these publications may not be reproduced in any way, including posting on the Internet, without the permission of CWLA. For permission to use material from CWLA's website or publications, contact us using our website assistance form.


  • Reject the President's proposal to reduce funding for the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG). The President's budget reduces funding from $1.7 billion to $1.2 billion. SSBG is a major federal source of funding used to prevent child abuse and to support children who have been abused and neglected.

Importance of SSBG for Abused and Neglected Children

SSBG represents 12% of all federal funding states receive from the federal government to provide child abuse prevention, adoption, foster care, child protection, independent and transitional living, and residential services for children and youth. 1

In FY 2003, states allocated nearly $700 million in SSBG funds for children and youth involved in child welfare. Nationwide, more than 2.6 million children received a range of child welfare services funded in part or in total by SSBG. In 2003 (the latest data available) 2:
  • 28 states used a combined $32 million in SSBG funds to provide adoption assistance;

  • 35 states used nearly a combined $332 million in SSBG funds for foster care services to more than 377,000 children. States often use SSBG to pay foster care costs for the board and care of children not eligible for federal Title IV-E foster care assistance;

  • 39 states used more than $217 million in combined SSBG funds to protect children from abuse and neglect;

  • 18 states used a total of $15 million in SSBG funds to provide independent and transitional living services to more than 8,000 youth;

  • $85 million in SSBG funds supported residential treatment to more than 26,000 youth in 22 states; and

  • 17 states used a combined $14.9 million in SSBG funds to help more than 141,000 youth at risk. SSBG funds allow states to cut across the fragmented juvenile justice, mental health, and child welfare systems to give youth the help they need.
Also in FY 2003, child protection and child foster care services accounted for 22% of SSBG expenditures. 3 Thirty-nine states used SSBG funds to provide child protection services, and 35 states used SSBG to provide foster care, mainly for children who were not eligible for Title IV-E federal foster care assistance. More than 8,000 youth benefited from independent living services funded through SSBG funds, 377,000 children received foster care assistance, and more than 175,000 adopted children received assistance that was at least partially funded by SSBG. 4
Although states can and do use SSBG funds for an array of social services, such as home delivered meals for senior citizens, child care, family planning, substance abuse treatment, services for domestic violence victims, and a range of home-based services, states choose to direct funds to child welfare services more frequently than any other program.

Recent Legislative Activity

Many states rely on SSBG funds to supplement foster care. In February 2006, Congress passed legislation (the Deficit Reduction Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 2005 (DRA)) 5 that cut close to $600 million in Title IV-E federal foster care assistance. This cut in Title IV-E funding means that states will need to be able to rely on SSBG to support an even greater share of children in foster care. Many states already use SSBG funds to support foster care placements for the 46% of children in foster care in this country who are not eligible for federal Title IV-E assistance.
Additionally, the DRA includes a five-year TANF reauthorization that adds stringent new work requirements for TANF recipients. These new requirements will result in states diverting TANF funds from child welfare (states currently receive 20% of all federal funding for child welfare from TANF) to implement these requirements. Since TANF will be much less available for foster care and other child welfare services, states will again need to rely on SSBG to provide this array of services formerly funded with TANF funds.

The President's budget, released in February, proposes to reduce FY 2007 funding for SSBG by $500 million. Since 2000, funding for SSBG has been maintained at $1.7 billion. Last year, Congress approved an additional one-time, $550 million through the SSBG for hurricane stricken areas, bringing total SSBG funding to $2.2 billion for FY 2006.

If Congress adopts the President's FY 2007 budget proposal to reduce funding for the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) from $1.7 billion to $1.2 billion, each state will receive less funding to provide important services to abused and neglected children. The chart on the following page projects the amount of funding each state would receive at the reduced level.

Current State Allocations and FY 2007 White House-Proposed Reduction in State Allocations if President's FY 2007 Budget Proposal is Adopted 6

STATE2007 Allocation at current levels ($1.7 billion)President's Proposal ($1.2 billion)Reduction in State Allotment
District Columbia$3,139,7792,216,315$923,464
New Hampshire$7,470,9645,273,622$2,197,342
New Jersey$49,720,82735,097,054$14,623,772
New Mexico$10,998,1277,763,384$3,234,743
New York$109,814,67777,516,243$32,298,434
North Carolina$49,523,02034,957,426 $14,565,594
North Dakota$3,631,1522,563,166$1,067,985
Rhode Island$6,137,8154,332,575$1,805,239
South Carolina$24,267,95917,130,324$7,137,635
South Dakota$4,425,3683,123,789$1,301,578
West Virginia$10,362,0517,314,389$3,047,662
American Samoa$48,51834,248$14,270
Northern Mariana$58,62141,380$17,241
Puerto Rico$8,793,1036,206,896$2,586,206
* Mass- Blind$729,877515,207$214,669

Source: Current state allocations from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Community Services FY 2007 State SSBG Allocation Table, provided by the American Public Human Services Association.

* Refers to services for the blind in Massachusetts.

Number Of Children Receiving Child Welfare Services Funded By SSBG (2003) 7

StateAdoption ServicesCase ManagementFoster Care ServicesIndependent LivingPrevention & InterventionProtective ServicesSpecial Services for Youth
Alabama  3,748 20014,645 
Alaska 8,371   3,144 
Arizona 8397,119 1,645478759
Arkansas17  1,4631,069 3,263
California  90,123    
Colorado  22,299    
Connecticut 580 4,3819044,500382
Delaware 110  40  
District of Col 1262,977  4,498999
Florida8,603 20,401 58,89051,472 
Georgia6,406 16,481 35,20224,435 
Hawaii  244  7,15510,512
Idaho7714,349695 7164,349147
Illinois 4,065 11210,90410,48375,351
Indiana 13  64161,369 
Iowa 65,53516,257    
Kansas1,608    40,966 
Kentucky     110,8973,477
Louisiana4,348 6,959 10,51026,247 
Maine  86 82  
Maryland6,888 14,889 9,56940,723 
Massachusetts  7,29347278,999  
Michigan46,076 30,035 12,90241,2478,539
Minnesota1,54961,169  34,94227,632 
Missouri89174,01078526 267 
Nebraska 2558 96 19,297 
Nevada275 1,226 8,371  
New Hampshire 3,2763,716  32,383 
New Jersey 89,194  45,480  
New Mexico334    14,730 
New York54,047   143,30389,027 
North Carolina15,0413,43026,3721,3253,47146,871402
North Dakota3891,3379273,2066,629 
Oklahoma  7,823 1,23835,936 
Oregon1,422 11,469 19,4849,447 
Pennsylvania 22,632   11,748 
Rhode Island 31,412 1857,2801401,123
South Carolina216 1,559 20339,627 
South Dakota509 879  6,249 
Tennessee7,25065,00010,864 47,4006,23813,788
Texas 6,329118 12,030288,01010,059
Vermont64 411    
Virginia8,882 7,916 1,213368 
Washington1,489 21,731 26776,046 
West Virginia3,080 5,188  37,0724,552
Wisconsin1,815 14,256 2,68668,291 
Wyoming314 1,82150  1,795


  1. Bess, R., Scarcella-Andrews, C., Jantz, A., Zielewski, E., Warner, L., & Geen, R. (2004). The cost of protecting vulnerable children IV: How child welfare funding fared during the recession. Available online at Washington, DC: Urban Institute. back

  2. Social Services Block Grant Program: Annual Report 2003, Office of Community Services, Administration for Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services, 2005. back

  3. Administration for Children and Families (ACF). (2005). SSBG 2003: Annual report on expenditures and recipients, 2003. Available online at Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). back

  4. Administration for Children and Families (ACF). (2003). SSBG 2003: Annual report on expenditures and recipients, 2003. Available online at Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). back

  5. CWLA's full summary and analysis of the Deficit Reduction and Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 2005 is located at back

  6. American Public Human Services Association. (2006). State allocations from HHS, Office of Community Services FY 2007 state allocation table. Washington, DC: Author. back

  7. Each year, states file a report with HHS projecting how many people were served by SSBG funds in part or in total. SSBG may supplement other federal, state, and local dollars. For example, foster care is funded with local, state, and federal funding from Title IV-E foster care, but some states may need to add to such funding and use SSBG dollars. When states file their reports, they indicate how many children, adults under age 60, and adults over 60 and older are served in a year within a category of service. States also report using SSBG funds for other services, including transportation, residential services, and information and referral, which may benefit children in the child welfare system, but are not listed here. back

CWLA Contact

John Sciamanna

 Back to Top   Printer-friendly Page Printer-friendly Page   Contact Us Contact Us




About Us | Special Initiatives | Advocacy | Membership | News & Media Center | Practice Areas | Support CWLA
Research/Data | Publications | Webstore | Conferences/Training | Culture/Diversity | Consultation/Training

All Content and Images Copyright Child Welfare League of America. All Rights Reserved.
See also Legal Information, Privacy Policy, Browser Compatibility Statement

CWLA is committed to providing equal employment opportunities and access for all individuals.
No employee, applicant for employment, or member of the public shall be discriminated against
on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or
any other personal characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law.