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Other Budget Issues

Last Updated: 8/18/2011
Budget Issue: Additional Child Welfare Realignment Issues
Program: Child Welfare Services and Foster Care
Finding or Recommendation: In addressing the implementation of 2011 realignment, the Legislature may want to consider the following issues specific to child welfare: (1) prior state-county sharing ratios, (2) anticipated future program costs, and (3) base funding.
Further Detail

The LAO report 2011 Realignment: Addressing Issues to Promote Its Long-Term Success presents implementation issues for the Legislature to consider. In addition to those outlined in the report, the Legislature may want to consider the following child welfare issues.

  • Prior State-County Sharing Ratios. The Legislature should clarify that funding provided to counties in the Local Revenue Fund 2011 is in lieu of General Fund. Some realigned children’s programs have previously established state and county sharing ratios. The realignment legislation does not address these sharing ratios or specify that the funding provided to counties for these programs replaces state General Fund support.
  • Anticipated Future Program Costs.  When allocating revenue growth, the Legislature may want to consider directing revenues to programs that have future anticipated costs that are not funded under realignment. For example, Foster Care funding in 2011-12 does not include the costs of fully implementing Chapter 559, Statutes of 2010 (AB 12, Beall), which extends eligibility for Foster Care to youth up to age 21.
  • Base Funding. The Legislature may also want to consider programs’ base funding when allocating revenue growth. CWS, for example, has been operating $80 million below 2008-09 spending levels due to a previous Governor’s veto. Although the revenues provided to CWS in realignment do not restore that funding, separate legislation frees up county funding for AB 3632 Seriously Emotionally Disturbed children that could be redirected to child welfare.