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3.1I INDEPENDENT LIVING, Certifications and Requirements, Tribal
1.Must the Tribes participate in the title IV-E program in order to access Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP) funds and services? Is their participation in the title IV-E program a prerequisite for soliciting their input?
5.Some Tribal representatives feel the wording for the assurance at 477(b)(3)(G) should indicate that "benefits and services under the programs will be made available to Indian youth in the State on "an equal basis" rather than on "the same basis" as to other youth in the State. Is the change in wording allowable?
Answer: The answer to both of these questions is "no." Section 477(b)(3)(G) of the Social Security Act requires each State to consult with each Indian Tribe within the State. States must certify that each Indian Tribe in the State has been consulted on the programs to be carried out under the State plan, that the State made efforts to coordinate programs with the Tribes and that benefits and services under the programs will be made available to Indian children in the State on the same basis as to other children in the State. Whether or not a Tribe has a title IV-E agreement with the State is immaterial.
Answer: Yes. Any Indian Tribal Organization that is federally recognized is included.
Answer: Section 477 (b)(3)(G) of the Social Security Act requires the CEO of the State to certify that the State has consulted with every Tribe within the State. The certification form (Attachment B of ACYF-CB-PI-01-02) also requires the State to provide the dates of consultations with the Tribes.
Answer: The original bill, HR 1802, which required States to inform Tribes about the enhanced independent living program, was strengthened in the final law to require consultation with the Tribes about the programs to be carried out under the State plan. Included in the Congressional Record of the House, dated June 25, 1999 are remarks from one representative concerning the upgrading of this provision. "Tribes are in the best position to know the needs of Indian children and of possible local resources available for assistance, and this amendment is a first step in recognizing the level of communication and coordination that is necessary for the provision of independent living services." The Department expects that consultation with Tribes will take place as explicitly required, that there have been efforts to coordinate the programs with such Tribes, and that benefits and services will be made available to Tribal youth as specified at section 477(b)(3)(G) of the Social Security Act.
Answer: No. The certifications are taken directly from the law. "On the same basis" means that the State will provide program services equitably to both State and Indian children who meet the State's eligibility criteria. This is further supported by section 477(b)(2)(E) of the Act with the requirement that States must ensure fair and equitable treatment of benefit recipients.
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