According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services,
for Children and Families, children are placed into the foster care system primarily because of abuse,
neglect, uncontrollable behavior or dependence. Foster care is intended to be a temporary service, with
a goal of reunifying children with their parents whenever possible. However, an increasing proportion of
children who enter the foster care system do not achieve reunification with their parents, and live in foster
care until they reach the age of majority, which in most states is 18 years of age.
In June of 2007, the
State of Tennessee has accounted for more
than 8,000 children in custody with the Department of Children's Services (DCS). More than 50% are over
the age of 13 years old and will most likely “age-out” of the system and not be reunited with their birth
family or adopted. The child welfare care is expected to continue its historical upward trend, reaching
the State of Tennessee’s spending $205M in Custody Services by itself, or $29k per person not to mention
the many other areas of expenditure that the State incurs.
Of the 4,000 youth in custody eligible to be fostered in an independent living program, only 5 (.01%) are actively
participating and successful in completion. The need for integrating independently living programs skills is
surmountable to the success of these young lives as well as the investment of our State’s future. In the DCS
2007 Annual Report it outlines the expenditures for the year.
In FY 2007, the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services managed a total of $660,145,900 in
budgeted resources. Some of those expenditures are as follows:
Administrative Services $56,286,300 (8.6%)
These expenditures cover DCS services provided by Central Office
Administrative and Training, Protection and Prevention, and Juvenile Justice Divisions as well as administrative
functions of the Offices for Communications, General Counsel, Performance and Quality Improvement, and a Blue Ribbon
Team, all of which serve at the pleasure of the Commissioner, Deputy Commissioners, and Executive Directors.
Family Support Services $49,460,200 (6.0%)
These expenditures cover DCS services provided by Cent
Family Support Services include purchase of non-custodial
intervention/prevention services, family preservation services, family resource centers; regional family
support services networks, community intervention grants, child abuse and sexual abuse prevention and counseling
services, and juvenile justice prevention and intervention services.
Custody Services $205,529,400 (33.9%)
These expenditures cover residential contract cost $49M/yr. contract services, individual resource home
care and other custody support services, primarily to meet treatment needs and enhance reunification efforts.
Needs Assessment $6,125,000 (.7%)
Needs Assessment expenditures represent payments for services directed to the child in custody or in danger of
coming into custody due to dependency, neglect, or abuse.
Adoption Services $60,748,700 (9.0%)
Adoption Services expenditures represent payments for special needs adoption assistance, adoption recruitment
and placement services, and pre and post adoption support services.
Child & Family Case Management $220,360,900 (32.6%)
This category primarily represents expenditures for the twelve (12) DCS regional offices and field staff
providing case management services to custodial children, adoption services, non-custodial case management,
and child protective services investigations.
These are all expenses just for the State of Tennessee. You can find National averages and costs broken down by State on
the following resource web sites: