(Harrisburg) -- New flexibility with federal funding could help keep more Dauphin County kids out of the child welfare system.
The county is one of five in Pennsylvania in a program that allows a shift in the money to support programs like truancy reduction and child abuse prevention.
State Department of Public Welfare spokeswoman Donna Morgan says it's an effort to prevent children from needing foster care.
"If we believe that the child is safe, that they can stay within their family unit, that is the goal of using this federal funding in a very unique way," Morgan explains. "We wanted and pressed for this, and we're very excited the federal government has allowed these five counties to see how they can move these federal funds and use them to be more effective at keeping families together."
Morgan says the federal funds have traditionally only supported out-of-home placement costs.
She says the change will improve interaction with at-risk families and children.
Other counties involved in the project include Allegheny, Lackawanna, Philadelphia and Venango.
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