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Our Work

Cost Estimation and Modeling

Photo credit: First Steps Kent
At Children’s Funding Project, we understand the power of being able to put a price tag on your goals for children and youth. To do so, we partner with communities and states to develop cost models and cost estimates that clarify the resources needed to achieve the goals and desired impacts for children and youth with quality and at scale.

Cost models offer an in-depth look at the true cost of equitably implementing, maintaining, or expanding a program or service for kids. They examine costs related to program requirements, staffing needs, employee wages and benefits, facility rent and utilities, number of expected participants, supplies, and other factors that influence costs to estimate how much money a state or community will need.

Cost estimations provide an approximate cost figure based on available data to define a momentary funding need to achieve a goal. Cost estimations can provide a general dollar amount to initiate a child and youth investment campaign plan, specify a starting point for an approved local ballot measure about how to allocate funds, or help price the multiple elements of a strategic plan for children and youth.

To reach more communities with these techniques, we established a cost modeling cohort to build local capacity to create cost models using our tested methodology. This initiative aims to provide valuable insights and data-driven recommendations to optimize funding strategies and support the well-being of children and youth nationwide.

Explore the resources on this page to learn more about cost models and their part in strategic public financing.

How children's funding project helps


We work with local leaders to estimate how much money they need to achieve their goals.


We identify the true cost of the programs and services a community’s children and youth need.


We coach community and state leaders to have the skills, knowledge, and resources needed to grow and sustain expertise in cost modeling.


We believe that cost modeling or cost estimation should always be part of a comprehensive and integrated system of funding programs and services for children and youth.


We strive to expand cost modeling to all programs and services that support child and youth development from cradle to career.

Featured Resources

Contact us to find out how we can help in your community.