Voices’ Blog

A Comparative Analysis of House and Senate Proposed Budgets for Child Welfare: A Closer Look at Key Allocations

Posted:  -  By: Allison Gilbreath

Virginia State Capitol in Richmond, Virginia, USA.

As Virginia grapples with the multifaceted challenges of child welfare, members of the money committees play a crucial role in shaping policies and providing funding to support vulnerable children and families. In this blog post, we will dissect the proposed budgets from both the House and Senate, focusing on key allocations aimed at improving foster care, adoption, and child welfare services. 

Included in House and Senate Proposed Budget: 

  1. Foster Care & Adoption COLA – $7 million (7%): The House’s commitment to a 7% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for foster care and adoption services underscores a dedication to enhancing the well-being of children in the system.
  2. Nongeneral Funds for Local Staff and Operations – $85.2 million NGF: Allocating substantial non-general funds to local staff and operations ensures that resources are available at the grassroots level, where they are needed the most.
  3.  Child Welfare Forecast – $3.2 million: By dedicating funds to forecasting child welfare needs, the House aims to create a more proactive and responsive system, better equipped to address emerging challenges.
  4.  Kinship as Prevention Program Bill – $16 million: Recognizing the importance of kinship care in preventing children from entering the foster care system, the House allocates a significant budget to support this preventive measure.
  5.  Training Academy – $8.2 million (House) $3 Million (Senate): Investing in the training and development of social services employees demonstrates a commitment to enhancing the skills and knowledge of those on the front lines of child welfare.
  6. Transfer Funding for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care – $1.3 million: Shifting funds from the Department of Housing & Community Development to the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) reflects a strategic move to streamline support for youth transitioning out of foster care.
  7. Drivers License for Foster Youth – $620,000 (House) $500,000 (Senate): The allocation for a driver’s license program for foster youth acknowledges the importance of empowering them with essential life skills and independence.
  8. Support Foster Youth in Great Expectations Program – $1.3 million (House) $1 million (Senate): This funding emphasizes the commitment to providing support for foster youth pursuing higher education through the Great Expectations Program. 


House Proposal Only 

  1. Kin First Consultants – $504,154: Supporting kinship caregivers through consultants emphasizes a holistic approach to child welfare, recognizing the pivotal role played by extended family members. 
  2. OES Staff Support for Child Dependency Cases (HB 893) – $989,000: Supporting staff involved in Child Dependency Cases ensures a robust and efficient system for addressing complex legal and social challenges. 3.
  3. Child Dependency Cases: Court-Appointed Attorneys – $7,310,000: Adequate funding for court-appointed attorneys demonstrates a commitment to fair representation and due process in child dependency cases. 


Over the next two weeks, negotiators will work out key differences in the two budgets. Send an email to legislators today telling them to fully support investments in child welfare.  As the legislative process unfolds, Voices will closely monitor how these budgetary decisions translate into impactful changes on the ground. 

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