Policy & Practice | Spring 2023

access to ECS, you can reduce risk for child welfare involvement due to both neglect and physical abuse. This pro tective impact is particularly strong for families with young children. Conversely, several studies show a rela tionship between decreased access to ECS and increased hospital admissions for abusive head trauma among children younger than age five. I think we can all see how preventing devasting injury in the earliest years reduces life course economic burden and increases return on investment for the policy decisions toward which the evidence points us.

States in the AFEM learning com munity were intrigued to see, in the Puls study, that each additional 13 percent that states invested annually in public benefit programs, which is equivalent to spending an additional $1,000 per person living in poverty, was estimated to have upfront costs but save up to $153 billion in the long term due to reduced maltreatment related costs. Investing in families will likely save an enormous amount of money over time and result in reduced trauma, family separation, and decreased disproportionate rep resentation of children and families of color in child welfare.

Clare: We make decisions to resource out-of-home foster placement, which costs tens of thousands of dollars a year for each child. Even a portion of those dollars provided to families to meet their basic needs would have a return on investment that allows children to stay at home, in their com munities, and create a context in which it’s possible to thrive. We have the potential to unlock untapped human capital and generate broad societal benefits in addition to fiscal savings. Yasmin: Another thing that really stood out to the learning community from the research we shared is that by resourcing families and increasing

See Economic Supports on page 33


Spring 2023 Policy & Practice

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