How does your state determine rates for purchasing child welfare services and for claiming to federal revenue sources? Are those rates in line with national and regional standards and in compliance with federal policy?

Public Consulting Group (PCG) can help.

PCG Human Services, a seasoned provider of child welfare consulting services with 25 years of experience in the field, can assist child welfare agencies and provider networks in structuring and calculating payment rates and federal reimbursement rates for contracted services including foster care, child placing agencies, residential placements, and community-based services. We can also help child welfare departments successfully implement a structure to collect provider cost information and assess current rate methodologies.


PCG works with purchase of service entities, state child welfare agencies, lead agencies, and county offices to help them consider political, financial, and quality concerns in deciding how much to pay providers. PCG also helps state child welfare agencies facing legal action to validate their rate methodologies.

PCG's process to determine the preferred payment model for child welfare and other human service clients includes

  • Understanding the agency's goals and objectives;
  • Benchmarking state-specific rates to national standards and peer states;
  • Determining reasonable standards for specific areas of cost;
  • Reviewing service-specific cost drivers;
  • Comparing current rates to the cost of caring for a child;
  • Conducting a national survey of how states set payment rates; and
  • Providing national expertise to states encountering legal challenges.

Our cost reporting and rate setting expertise is grounded in a core set of principles:

  • Knowledge of OMB Circulars including Office of Management and Budget (OMB) A-87 (2 CFR Part 225) and the new Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements (2 CFR Part 200), A-110, A-122 and A-133;
  • Understanding of human service agencies and purchase of services, outcome measurement, and payment metrics;
  • Comprehensive understanding of principles of Title IV-E and Title XIX of the Social Security Act;
  • Understanding of federal OIG and DAB rulings on Title IV-E foster care rates and administrative claiming and Medicaid rate setting;
  • Tracking of national best practices in child welfare payment and contract structure and Title IV-E rate setting methodologies; and,
  • Knowledge and understanding of costs, utilization, and other elements that affect specific rate calculations.

Areas of Expertise

Foster Care

Whether your state is seeking to set rates for departmental foster care or specialized foster care, PCG can help. PCG uses both the Hitting the M.A.R.C. report published by Children's Rights and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Cost of Raising a Child to establish a baseline for your state's foster care per diem. Foster parent and provider surveys can also be used to validate results for your state.

Child Placing Agencies (CPAs)

The federal Administration of Children and Families (ACF) has established additional guidance for claiming Title IV-E maintenance and administration for CPA services. PCG can help your state establish both payment rates for CPAs and a compliant federal claiming methodology.

Residential Placements

For residential schools, group homes, and other congregate care settings, PCG can help your state establish a payment rate based on costs, outcomes, or other indicators. We will work with your agency to establish a rate structure that supports the objectives of your service delivery system. An additional component in congregate care settings is to establish compliant Title IV-E and Medicaid reimbursement rates based on allowable room and board and treatment activities. PCG helps states establish allowable time study methodologies, collect required statistics, develop cost reporting tools, identify allowable costs for federal reimbursement under an array of programs including Title IV-E, Medicaid, and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), and use other statistics to establish rates.

Community-Based Services

Increasingly, state agencies are purchasing evidence-based and community-based services to allow children and families to receive services without home removal. PCG can help establish payment rates that incentivize outcomes from contracted providers. We also can assist your state agency in identifying ways to support evidence-based practices with federal funding sources such as Medicaid.

Cost Report Collection and Validation

To assist state agencies in the collection of provider costs to set rates, PCG provides a cost report and rate setting software. The software aids agencies in streamlining rate setting efforts. Our software provides a customizable rate setting system. Benefits include

  • Electronic upload of provider costs;
  • Elimination of manual data entry;
  • Review of your current provider payment, Title IV-E, and Medicaid rate setting methodologies;
  • Streamlined rate setting functions;
  • Customizable system that maps to your methodology;
  • Automatic identification of errors;
  • Comparison of specific cost categories across geographic regions and placement types; and
  • Maintenance of historic information.

Ask us about PCG's child welfare rate setting consulting projects with

  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Children and Families
  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Youth Services
  • Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare
  • State of Florida, Department of Children and Families
  • State of Indiana, Department of Child Services
  • State of Missouri, Children's Division
  • State of Missouri, Division of Youth Services

Ask us about PCG's other human service rate setting consulting projects with

  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Early Education and Care
  • State of Illinois, Department of Rehabilitation Services - Vocational Rehabilitation
  • State of Michigan, Early Childhood Investment Cooperation
  • State of New York, Department of Health - Bureau of Early Intervention
  • State of Ohio, Rehabilitation Services Commission – Vocational Rehabilitation

More Information

For more information about PCG Human Service's Rate Setting Services please contact us at or 1-800-210-6113.