Child Welfare: Improved Federal Oversight Could Assist States in Overcoming Key Challenges Page: 4 of 31
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comments are based primarily on the findings from three reports:' U.S.
General Accounting Office, Child Welfare: HHS Could Play a Greater Role
in Helping Child Welfare Agencies Recruit and Retain Staff GAO-03-357.
Washington, D.C.: March 31, 2003; Child Welfare: Most States Are
Developing Statewide Information Systems, but the Reliability of Child
Welfare Data Could Be Improved. GAO-03-809. Washington, D.C.: July 31,
2003; and Child Welfare: Enhanced Federal Oversight of Title IV-B Could
Provide States Additional Information to Improve Services. GAO-03-956.
Washington, D.C.: September 12, 2003. Those findings were based on
multiple methodologies, including a survey of child welfare directors on
states' use of Title IV-B funds; an analysis of 600 exit interview documents
completed by staff who severed their employment from 17 state, 40
county, and 19 private child welfare agencies; and a survey of all 50 states
and the District of Columbia regarding their experiences in developing and
using information systems and their ability to report data to HHS. In each
case, we supplemented these surveys and analyses by conducting multiple
site visits to selected states and by interviewing child welfare experts and
HHS headquarters and regional officials.
In summary, we found that states use Title IV-B funds to provide a wide
variety of services to prevent the occurrence of abuse, neglect, and foster
care placements, as well as to provide other child welfare services.
Subpart 1 dollars were most frequently used to fund staff salaries, with
almost half of these funds designated for the salaries of child protective
services (CPS) 2 social workers. In comparison, states spent half of their
subpart 2 funds on family support or prevention programs and another 12
percent on family preservation services. CFSR results for the past 2 years,
however, indicate that states have not performed strongly in terms of
assessing the services families need and providing those services. Child
welfare agencies face a number of issues related to staffing and data
management that impair their ability to protect children from abuse and
neglect. In particular, low salaries hinder agencies' ability to attract
potential child welfare workers and to retain those already in the
profession. Our analysis of CFSRs in 27 states indicated that large
'We also recently testified on one of these reports. See U.S. General Accounting Office,
Child Welfare: States Face Challenges in Developing Information Systems and Reporting
Reliable Child Welfare Data. GAO-04-267T. (Washington, D.C.: Nov. 19, 2003).
2Child protective services activities typically include reviewing reports of alleged child
abuse and neglect, investigating those that meet the state's criteria as a potential incident
of abuse or neglect to determine if the alleged incident occurred, and, in some cases,
referring families to needed services and removing the child from the home, if necessary.
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United States. General Accounting Office. Child Welfare: Improved Federal Oversight Could Assist States in Overcoming Key Challenges, text, January 28, 2004; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc291637/m1/4/: accessed December 10, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.