On October 19, 2022, the Society for Research in Child Development published new research finding that due to its flexibility, Title IV-B funds can effectively be used to support families’ access to a variety of programs and financial supports that help to prevent child maltreatment and subsequent child welfare involvement. According to the research brief:

“Emerging evidence suggests that community response and differential response programs funded by Title IV-B are important initiatives to prevent child maltreatment. Evidence on the effectiveness of programs external to the child welfare system that prevent child maltreatment (e.g., income supports, parenting interventions, and early care and education programs) suggest Title IV-B should be used to provide case management and facilitate families’ access to supportive programs. Increasing Title IV-B funds while continuing flexibility of services would allow states to expand access to preventive services, decreasing the number of children experiencing maltreatment and child welfare involvement.”

Title IV-B provides a relatively small amount of flexible funds that states can use on prevention, particularly compared to the larger investments in intervention and foster care funding available through Title IV-E. The flexibility of IV-B funds serves as a compliment to the rigorous standards of the Family First Prevention Services Act, allowing states to address child maltreatment in innovative and effective ways.

Title IV-B is up for reauthorization this year; a series of standalone bills have been introduced for consideration in the reauthorization package, such as the Strengthening Tribal Families Act, the Strengthening Courts for Kids and Families Act, and the Foster Youth and Driving Act. However, there has been little support for greatly increasing the overall funding for Title IV-B programs, and this new study provides evidence that increased funding is critically needed to address the root causes of child maltreatment and child welfare system involvement.