On October 12, 2023, CWLA submitted comments for the record on the Ways and Means Subcommittee hearing on, “Modernizing Child Welfare to Protect Vulnerable Children.” Our comments explained the history and background of the programs in Title IV-B of the Social Security Act and highlighted a number of key areas of focus for a potential reauthorization:

  • Increased investment in Title IV-B programs
  • Support for the Child Welfare Workforce
  • Support for Families
  • Increased Access for Tribal Child Welfare Programs
  • Maintaining mandatory funding

From the comments:

“Title IV-B is a small portion of federal funding for child welfare, but it is an important piece of the puzzle. It provides flexible funding to states to target root causes of maltreatment and to provide families with connections to other systems for support. The very limited funding for prevention services stands in contrast to the far greater federal investment in paying for the costs of foster care, covered by Title IV-E, despite widespread recognition of the need to invest in upstream prevention. The Family First Prevention Services Act provides additional funding for evidence-based services to prevent families from entering foster care, while the flexibility of Title IV-B funds can complement the more rigorous requirements of Family First and help develop evidence-based models.

According to the annual Child Maltreatment Report, for fiscal year 2021, there are nationally an estimated 600,000 victims of child abuse and neglect. Child Protective Services (CPS) agencies received a national estimate of just under 4 million (3,987,000) total referrals, including approximately 7.18 million children. Forty-six states reported that an estimated 1,761,128 children received prevention services, and the biggest source of federal funding for these services was the IV-B Promoting Safe and Stable Families program. However, a large portion of children and families reported to CPS for suspected child maltreatment do not receive post-response services, and increased funding for Title IV-B would give states the ability to support additional children and families.”

View the full testimony here.