All children deserve safety, protection, and the opportunity to thrive. And all families deserve support in their efforts to provide a safe and stable environment for their children. The child welfare system is vital to protecting children—but it has disproportionately failed American Indian and Alaska Native, Black, and Latinx children and families. By prioritizing preventative services, programs, and kinship care funded by the Family First Prevention Services Act, child welfare programs can increase the safety and well-being of children and families and reduce unnecessary family separation and foster care placement. This brief highlights progress made by federal child welfare administrators and outlines additional steps they can take to reduce foster care placement through equity-focused implementation of Family First in 2024 and beyond.
All children and their families deserve resources to take care of their needs, regardless of their family structure. The child support program—which obtains and disburses financial support for millions of children and their custodial parents—should improve family economic security. Ensuring regular child support payments are directed to families and eliminating harmful enforcement measures against parents who are unable to pay would help foster child and family well-being. This brief highlights progress made by federal child support administrators and outlines additional steps they can take to build a more equitable child support program in 2024 and beyond.
This analysis finds that block grants (characterized by capped amounts of federal funding to states and other entities paired with expansive flexibility for how the funds are spent) are fundamentally ill-equipped to support basic living standards compared to other structures, especially those that meaningfully guarantee access to adequate benefits or services. Specifically, block grants struggle to respond to need, can be less accountable to program goals and to the people who participate in the program, and can exacerbate inequities–especially racial inequities.
Unworkable & Unwise: Conditioning Access to Programs that Ensure a Basic Foundation for Families on Work Requirements
This working paper outlines the ramifications of taking away Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and housing assistance from those who do not document meeting new work and community engagement requirements. The paper underscores how proposals that take away basic assistance from people who don’t meet work requirements are ill-informed, ineffective, inefficient, and inequitable, while alternative policies would produce far better outcomes.