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Child Abuse and Neglect Cost Nation over $100 Billion per Year; Most Federal Child Welfare Funds Unavailable for Prevention Services and Programs
Date:1/29/2008

ratio of federal dollars that are restricted to use for foster care and adoption to those dollars that are unrestricted and may be used for family support, preservation and reunification is 3 to 1. In Georgia and nationally it is neglect, not abuse, which accounts for the majority of children's entries into foster care. In 2005, of the more than 10,800 Georgia children who entered foster care, 65% were removed from their families for reasons of neglect and housing problems. Conditions that lead to child neglect are preventable if addressed early within families and communities.

"Prevention of child abuse and neglect makes sense," said Doug Middleton, Prevent Child Abuse (PCA) Georgia's CEO. "Investments in programs that strengthen families and prevent abuse and neglect will decrease both the short and long-term costs to society that are associated with child abuse. Georgia has proven prevention programs in place in communities, but limited funding means that these programs are available to very few families. Instead, we must wait until a situation deteriorates and harm occurs before services begin."

States may access dollars under Title IV-E, the principal source of federal child welfare funding, only after children have been removed from their home and enter foster care. Of the $7.2 billion federal funds dedicated for child welfare in 2007, approximately 90 percent supported children in foster care placements ($4.5 billion) and children adopted from foster care ($2.0 billion).

The report recommends specific policy options to keep children safe and strengthen families:

-- Ensure a sufficient, flexible and reliable federal resource to help

support the continuum of services needed by at-risk children and

families.

-- Reward states for safely reducing the number of children in foster care

and achieving all forms of permanence.

-- Make all abused and neglected children eligible for federal foster
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SOURCE Prevent Child Abuse Georgia
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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