September 5, 2012; Source: Youth Today

Reporting for Youth Today, Maggie Lee writes that millions of dollars of federal money formerly tied to foster care services will be freed up to be used on other services that divert children from state custody. This allows states to pursue a more diverse set of strategies to keep children safe while attempting to avoid state-controlled custodial care. A recent article posted on The reports that the Connecticut Department of Children and Families has been pursuing such strategies with some success, stating that in “the last several years the [department] has reduced the number of children in state custody by 20 percent.” In doing so, however, Connecticut has lost $50 million in federal subsidies.

This year, as many as 10 states will be provided with waivers to help them broaden their programs, moving away from such a heavily reliance on state custody. Apparently many studies point to the relative success of in-home interventions that prevent state care. Proposals submitted by Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin have been published. Ten additional waiver opportunities will be provided in 2013, and 10 more will be available in 2014. –Ruth McCambridge