Fund foster careChild Abuse & Neglect
By Bruce Lesley
It’s encouraging that Wisconsin is making progress on child abuse (“Annual report finds fewer Wisconsin child abuse deaths in 2013,” Jan. 5). But accelerating progress requires action in Washington as well as Madison.
The biggest federal child abuse and neglect funding source is restricted to offsetting states’ foster care costs. That shrinking funding stream covers less than half of foster children today, and it’s projected to drop 45% by 2024. States tap other social services funding to cover the shortfall, but that just shifts resources from one set of kids and families to another. Worse yet, today’s federal funding system shortchanges prevention efforts that help parents manage mental health, substance abuse, financial distress and other factors that contribute to abuse and neglect…