As a result of H.B. 2292, caseload forecasting for both foster care and adoption subsidies has been consolidated under HHSC. New forecasting methodologies have been developed that are more robust and policy-driven than the prior methodologies.
Forecasts of the average number of FTE children per month in paid foster care indicate a caseload growth of 6.2% for FY 2006 and 6.7% for FY 2007. This compares to annual percentage increases of 7.3% in FY 2003, 6.9% in FY 2004, and 8.5% in FY 2005.
DFPS served an average of 14,999 FTE children per month in paid foster care in FY 2003, and is projecting to serve 16,037 in FY 2004 and 17,407 in FY 2005. The forecast for the upcoming biennium brings this number to 18,490 in FY 2006 and 19,731 in FY 2007.
Forecasts of the average number of children provided adoption subsidies per month indicate a caseload growth of 8.4% for FY 2006 and 7.4% for FY 2007, compared to annual percentage increases of 10.8% in FY 2003, 9.9% in FY 2004, and 9.9% in FY 2005.
Adoption subsidies were provided to an average of 15,240 children per month in FY 2003, and we are projecting to provide subsidies to an average of 16,745 children per month in FY 2004 and 18,407 in FY 2005. The forecast for the average number of children provided adoption subsidies per month for FY 2006 and FY 2007 is 19,961 and 21,434 respectively.
Guidance was provided by HHSC in consultation with leadership offices to maintain the projected caseload for FY 2005 in our baseline request for FY 2006-2007. In order to stay within 100% of FY 2004-2005 general revenue related funds for foster care and adoption subsidies in our base request, DFPS was required to reduce the average daily rate for foster care by 4% each year, and the average monthly adoption subsidy payment by 3% each year.
The restoration of these rate reductions to the FY 2005 level and the funding needed for the projected caseload growth are requested as exceptional items. There are no projected shifts toward higher service levels in foster care or higher adoption subsidy payments that would cause an increase in the average cost per person served for these programs.