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The Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) program provides funds to each state to be used at the state's discretion to pay for a wide range of social services. Day care, employment, family planning, health, housing, legal, substance abuse, and child and adult protective services are among the 29 services that can be funded by SSBG. In some states, SSBG funds are used to fill gaps in existing funding; in others, SSBG funds are used to fund services in their entirety. Since 1998, WRMA has assisted the Office of Community Services (OCS) in analyzing the impact of SSBG funding. The project is intended to build an effective SSBG database that can be used for regular, continuing analyses of SSBG service and expenditure data. The initial stages of this project included validation and verification of the electronic database developed by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) using state post-expenditure reports.
Due to problems with the original data collection instrument, WRMA staff assisted in the development and pilot testing of an improved post-expenditure reporting form that was submitted to and approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The OMB package included the new Form 83-1 and the more extensive Supporting Statement that provided a detailed explanation of the justification for the revision of the form.
During the initial stages of the SSBG project, WRMA used the database that was developed by the CRS containing the states' SSBG post-expenditure reports. However, changes resulting from the new data collection instrument and problems with the accuracy of the information that the CRS database contained resulted in the development of a new database system by WRMA in which all states' post-expenditure data are entered and validated to protect against over- or under-reporting of expenditures. In addition, a multi-year data archive is updated annually with the most recent year's data.
In 1999, WRMA staff analyzed SSBG data from 1995 through 1997 and produced a comprehensive report describing trends in the numbers of recipients and the level of expenditures for the 29 SSBG services. Additional analyses and explanations of findings were also provided to OCS as needed. In 2000, WRMA staff analyzed 1998 SSBG post-expenditure data and produced a second report on SSBG expenditures, services, and recipients. Again, WRMA staff provided additional analyses and explanations of findings as necessary on specific services or expenditures. This work resulted in the annual publication of SSBG reports for 1999 through 2005. The eighth SSBG report is currently in process. WRMA is also helping OCS improve the way it collects its data. WRMA staff members have assisted OCS with efforts to provide technical assistance to states that will improve their ability to report more accurate and useful data.
SSBG Annual Report
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Community Services. Social Services Block Grant Program Annual Report 2007. Available at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ ocs/ssbg/docs/reports.html.
The annual report for SSBG includes data tables and figures on the services and expenditures in 2007 of funds provided under the Social Services Block Grant. Multi-year trends are also examined as part of the analysis done for the report.