Drug enforcement is an example of cooperative federalism, holding both federal and state governments responsible in upholding drug laws using federal agents and local police. The education system employs similar cooperative federalism, with the federal government funding schools while allowing school boards to choose their own curriculum and teacher qualifications.
The concept of cooperative federalism is one where federal, state and local governments are able to cooperate to solve common problems. Cooperative federalism emphasizes that the responsibilities of federal and state governments overlap, making no clear distinction between the two.
The theory first came about during the New Deal - a series of domestic programs enacted in the United States between 1933 and 1938 due to the growth in power of the federal government in response to the Great Depression. In order to implement the policies of the New Deal, the federal government was forced to work alongside state and local governments, giving equal standing to city and state legislatures.
The Aid to Families with Dependent Children program is another example of cooperative federalism, originally established by the Social Security Act of 1935 and passed as part of the New Deal. The program is mostly funded by the federal government and provides financial assistance to families in need. The states are responsible for managing the program and determining how benefits are distributed according to the state’s own established guidelines based on income and resource limits within federal limitations.