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Annie E. Casey Foundation
HeadquartersBaltimore, MD, United States
Patrick McCarthy
Revenue (2015)
Expenses (2015)$208,727,421[1]

The Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) is a charitable foundation focused on improving the well-being of American children. The foundation's goals are to build better futures for disadvantaged children, and their families, in the United States.[2]

The AECF is one of the dominant organizations in child welfare issues in the U.S., and one of the most influential "watchdogs" for child welfare—famed for its publication of U.S. child welfare data, annually, through its KIDS COUNT Data Book—the most widely used reference on the subject.[2][3]


The AECF was started in 1948 in Seattle by UPS founder James E. Casey and his siblings George, Harry and Marguerite. Their foundation was named in honor of their mother. The foundation moved to Baltimore in 1994.[4][5]

Originally a charity, chiefly focused on providing foster care, the organization gradually shifted to a broader role in advancing child welfare through social experimentation, research and publicity—particularly gaining notoriety as a "watchdog" over child welfare conditions across the nation. Along the way, it divested its foster care operations, while increasing its focus on family-preservation research, advocacy and action.[2][5][6][7]

Through its extensive publicity efforts, the AECF has become a major independent source of information on the welfare of children in the United States,[2] and one of the dominant organizations for advancing child welfare in the U.S.[6][8][9]

Foster care and related services

The AECF has had a long connection with foster care services, owning two such agencies.

By the early 2000s, foster care was falling somewhat into disrepute, and child welfare advocates increasingly focused on family preservation initiatives; the AECF was among those organizations.[7]

Eventually, by 2012, the AECF had separated itself completely from its ownership of foster care and related operations, including:

Casey Family Programs

Main article: Casey Family Programs

In 1966, the Casey family philanthropy started a child welfare agency (foster care and related services) in the Seattle, Washington area. In 1973, When Jim Casey's company, United Parcel Service (UPS), moved its headquarters from Seattle to New York City, Jim Casey gave the agency enough funds to become officially a separate, independent entity from the AECF. The resulting organization is known today as Casey Family Programs.[5][10] Casey Family Programs today is a completely separate and distinct entity from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Casey Family Services

From 1976 to 2012, the AECF operated a direct services arm called Casey Family Services that provided foster care and family services in the northeastern United States. Starting out in Connecticut and Vermont, the program expanded throughout New England and into Maryland before its closure in 2012.[5]

Child welfare publicity and publications

Among the organization's practices is the development of "public accountability" for child welfare outcomes—through continuing publication, and publicizing, of research and comparative data that assess the health and wellness of children in the various states and communities across the nation.[2][4][6]

In keeping with this goal, the foundation is a regular contributor to public broadcasting, including National Public Radio.

Another key form of "public accountability" the foundation develops is written publications reporting the current status of children across the nation, state-by-state.

In particular, the foundation produces a detailed, annual child-welfare research report, the KIDS COUNT Data Book (also known as the Kids Count or simply the Data Book), surveying the well-being of children in the 50 US states, ranking the states on 10 core indicators, and overall—drawing heavily on documented sources and official reports. This reference book, printed every year since 1990, is considered one of the foremost reference documents—for academics, media, business and public leaders—on child health and well-being in the United States, and particularly in each of the 50 states, comparatively.[2][3][5][6][11]

In 2014, the organization also released its Race for Results Index, comparing the previous 23 years data accumulated on the well-being of America's children—intending to start a national conversation about startling disparities between racial and ethnic groups. For the first time, this index was based on indicators of success: reading and math proficiency, high school graduation rates, teen birthrates, employment futures, neighborhood poverty levels, family income and education levels. Standardized scores, indicating the children's likelihood of success in adult life, were presented for each state and racial group (where valid data was available) using data gathered between 2010 and 2013.[5][12]

The foundation also sponsors (or produces), and distributes, research reports and white papers on various topics involving child welfare and related programs and public policy issues.[13]

Child welfare development grants

The foundation works with—and makes grants to—governments (particularly states), universities and civic organizations, to improve conditions for children.[4][6][14][15]

AECF describes the grantees as the "KIDS COUNT Network" and uses them as outlets for its outreach communications and influence efforts, although it accepts that their individual priorities and goals may vary somewhat from AECF's.[16]

Juvenile justice alternatives

The Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), a project developed in 1992 by the AECF, demonstrates ways for jurisdictions to safely reduce reliance on secure confinement of children, and strengthen juvenile justice systems through interrelated reform strategies. The JDAI reports that it is now[when?] being copied in approximately "200 jurisdictions in 39 states and the District of Columbia". The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has worked directly and extensively with the AECF on these issues, as well.[6][17]

The JDAI Helpdesk[18] is an online information tool for juvenile justice advocates, practitioners, policymakers, and other parties seeking to improve juvenile justice systems, sharing the juvenile justice "best practices", research and materials produced by JDAI jurisdictions. Featured materials include strategies and tools documented to safely reduce secure confinements, while improving public safety, avoiding costs and doing "what works for youth" to develop them into "healthy, productive adults". The materials are cataloged and available for downloading and sharing, and the Helpdesk responds to questions for additional information.[6][17]

The JDAI Helpdesk is operated—in partnership with the AECF—by the Pretrial Justice Institute.[17]

One prominent[19] success story is the Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center near Richmond, Virginia. AECF provided technical expertise to assist the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice in significantly reducing juvenile prison populations.[20]

Financial affairs

A detailed review of AECF financial history and current finances, in a Stanford University case study[21] is available online, partially as a web page, but completely as a downloadable PDF file.[4]

Senior executives


  1. ^ a b "Annie E. Casey Foundation" (PDF). Foundation Center. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Political Memo; Using 'Kids' to Push Fight on Poverty Obscure the Issues, Critics Say," March 29, 1993, The New York Times, retrieved December 28, 2019
  3. ^ a b 2015 KIDS COUNT Data Book
  4. ^ a b c d Arrillaga-Andreessen, Laura and Victoria Chang, "The Annie E. Casey Foundation", Social Innovation, 2006, Case No.SI74, Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, retrieved 2015-08-05
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h "Our History", "About" section, official website, Annie E. Casey Foundation, retrieved 2015-08-05.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Holder, Eric, Attorney General of the United States, "Remarks by Attorney General Eric Holder at the Annie E. Casey Foundation's KIDS COUNT 25th Anniversary Reception Dinner", Baltimore, MD, October 01, 2014, as posted on United States Dept. of Justice website, retrieved 2015-08-02
  7. ^ a b Kelly, John, "Flexible Federal Funding for Child Welfare: 'How' Is the Hard Part", July 15, 2013, The Chronicle of Social Change, retrieved 2015-08-05
  8. ^ a b Tolchinsky, Amy, press release: "Philanthropic Leader Douglas Nelson Named Chair of CDC Foundation Board", 2014-10-16, CDC Foundation Congressionally chartered affiliate of the CDC—Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  9. ^ "Opportunity Youth Network" Archived 2015-08-17 at the Wayback Machine, The Aspen Forum for Community Solutions, retrieved 2015-08-05
  10. ^ "About Casey Family Programs", Casey Family Programs official website. Retrieved 2015-08-05.
  11. ^ Clinton, William J., President of the United States "Statement on the Annie E. Casey Foundation Report on Child Care,", May 5, 1998, the White House, Washington, D.C., as archived online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project, University of California at Santa Barbara, California.
  12. ^ "Race for Results: Opportunity and Success for All of Our Nation's Children", April 7, 2014, Georgia State University
  13. ^ "Resources Produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Family to Family (Pacific Region)", Family to Family (Pacific Region), State of California.
  14. ^ "Kids Count". Annie E. Casey Foundation. Archived from the original on 28 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-16.
  15. ^ "Tag Archives: Annie E. Casey Foundation"[permanent dead link], Humanities and Social Sciences News, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, North Carolina State University.
  16. ^ Gienapp, A., Reisman, J., Langley, K., Cohen, C., Cipollone, T., Kelly, T., Crary, D., & Lin Chong, S. (2010). "Strategic Communications for Influence: Lessons From the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Its KIDS COUNT Initiative. The Foundation Review, 1(4). [1] (PDF at [2]
  17. ^ a b c Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative Archived 2015-08-04 at the Wayback Machine, JDAI Helpdesk official website, retrieved 2015-08-02
  18. ^ JDAI Helpdesk
  19. ^ Pollock, Nicolas. "The Last Kids Locked Up in Virginia". The Atlantic. Retrieved 22 April 2019. The state's juvenile-detention system has been shrinking for years. Now, there's just one facility left: Bon Air.
  20. ^ "Data Tells How Virginia's Youth Justice System is Headed Toward a Better Future". The Annie E. Casey Foundation. Retrieved 22 April 2019. The state's five-pronged reform strategy, which the Annie E. Casey Foundation has supported with technical expertise, has realized some clear gains.
  21. ^ "The Annie E. Casey Foundation" Social Innovation, 2006, Case No. SI74, Stanford Graduate School of Business
  22. ^ Interview: [Dr. Patrick McCarthy, President, Annie E. Casey Foundation], 2013-10-22, the Tavis Smiley" program, Public Broadcasting System
  23. ^ Karoff, H. Peter; Maddox, Jane (2007). The World We Want: New Dimensions in Philanthropy and Social Change. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press. p. 55. ISBN 978-0759110472. OCLC 70775613.