As a reform strategy, many State and local public child welfare agencies have contracted with private agencies for some of their services. Some child welfare systems have implemented performance contracting, in which contracted agencies are paid based on their achievements of agreed-to outcomes. The following resources address privatization efforts in the child welfare system and examine evaluations of State and local agencies' efforts to privatize services for children and families.
Annual Privatization Report 2019: State Government
Presents a report that details the efforts by States to privatize services, including, beginning on page 25 of the report, challenges faced by child welfare organizations attempting to privatize services in Kansas, Texas, and West Virginia.
CW360: Child Welfare Reform (PDF - 5,703 KB)
University of Minnesota, Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (2016)
Focuses on child welfare reform over three sections. The overview section explores the evolution of child welfare reform in the United States and discusses catalysts for change, key legislation, and how data is used to drive reform. The practice section includes articles on evidence-based and promising practices for reforming child welfare. The perspectives section showcases articles from child welfare stakeholders and leaders on experiences and lessons learned.
Privatization in Child Welfare (PDF - 429 KB)
National Conference of State Legislatures (2018)
Offers an overview of State privatization efforts and describes programs in Texas, Kansas, Florida, Michigan, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, and Tennessee. Legislation and foster care system redesigns are discussed along with funding efforts.
Youth in Privatized Foster Care: What You as an Advocate Need to Know
American Bar Association
Discusses the results of a report on privatization of foster care and what child welfare advocates should take away from the investigation. The resource links to a summary of the report as well as the full report.
Evaluating privatization efforts
An Assessment of Child Welfare Privatization in Nebraska: Final Report (PDF - 906 KB)
Hornby Zeller Associates, Inc. (2014)
Offers an evaluation of an attempt to privatize child welfare in Nebraska and examines outcomes. The report also provides cost comparisons.
Foster Care Privatization: How an Increasingly Popular Public Policy Leads to Increased Levels of Abuse and Neglect
Sigma: Journal of Political and International Studies, 34
Evaluates how different foster care privatization policies may influence the quality of care received by children in the system. The study specifically focused on levels of child abuse and neglect.
House Bill 1 Study Group: Privatization of Child Welfare Services Recommendations (PDF - 1,198 KB)
Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago (2019)
Contains recommendations and observations related to privatization of foster care services in Kentucky after an evaluation of the viability of privatization of the State's child welfare system.