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Counties will have a say in foster care spending

California has entered into a historic agreement with the federal government. It will allow counties, not just the state, to spend money earmarked for foster youth. Children are placed in foster care to keep them safe from abusive or neglectful parents. KPBS reporter Beth Ford Roth has more.

Prior to the agreement, only states could spend federal child welfare funds. But now twenty counties in California will be able to spend that money, and not just on children already in the foster care system.

Social Services Department spokeswoman Shirley Washington says the money can go towards programs that actually reduce the likelihood they'll be placed in foster care.

Washington: "Counseling programs to give them the best tools necessary to help keep the family intact, so there are a lot of intervention and prevention programs, strategies that would be available to families and children that are at risk of being placed into foster care."

So far, only LA county has signed on to be part of the five year agreement. Beth Ford Roth, KPBS news.

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