This report discusses the main steps Tennessee took to complete its resource mapping project and provides key lessons learned for other states that may want to implement a similar approach. The report does not focus on the results of the Tennessee study, however; instead it provides an overview of the process.
Reasons to Consider Mapping Resources Spent on Children
Taking an inventory of state programs and funding streams dedicated to children and youth offers a unique opportunity to examine funding priorities and program results. Data generally is presented either strictly from the service and program angle— discussing the numbers served and the results achieved—or legislators hear from budget analysts about how much money a department spends. Rarely are both presented together. The Tennessee approach attempts to merge the two to provide a more complete picture. Using it can provide answers to many questions, including the following.
Do funding levels reflect the state’s priorities for children and youth? Are enough resources dedicated to these results?
Is the state spending equitably or adequately to address the needs across age groups, programs or geographic areas?
Is the state spending resources on effective programs that offer quality and cost-effective interventions?
What kind of duplication exists? Are there ways to streamline services, pool resources, and align eligibility and program requirements across departments?
Is the state taking full advantage of federal and other external resources?