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8.3A.13  TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, Voluntary placement agreements

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Question 1.  
If a State fails to obtain the necessary judicial determination within the first 180 days of a voluntary placement, can the case be reopened when a judicial hearing is convened or does the child lose all further benefits of the title IV-E program during that period of placement?

Question 2.  
In the event that a court hearing date has been set within the first 180 days of a voluntary placement, but no determination made, may a pre-approved continuance hearing date deem the child eligible up to the continuance date?

Question 3.  
A State places a child into foster care pursuant to a voluntary placement agreement but does not have the voluntary placement provision in its State Plan and, thus, does not claim Federal financial participation (FFP) for the child. Can this placement later be considered a judicial removal and FFP be claimed from that time forward if there is a petition to the court within six months of the time the child had last been living with the parent(s) and subsequent judicial determinations are made regarding "contrary to the welfare" and "reasonable efforts"?

Question 4.  
If a State, which is claiming Federal financial participation (FFP) for voluntarily placed children, misses the requirement for a judicial determination within 180 days of placement that such placement is in the best interests of the child, but petitions the court within the six-month timeframe set forth in section 472(a)(3)(A)(ii)(II) of the Social Security Act, can the State consider this a judicial removal, once determinations are made concerning "contrary to the welfare" and "reasonable efforts"?

Question 5.  
May a State develop a voluntary placement agreement that would allow a parent to retain custody of his or her child and allow the State to claim Federal financial participation under the title IV-E foster care maintenance payments program on behalf of an otherwise eligible child?

Question 6.  
When a child is initially placed into foster care through a voluntary placement agreement, and the State subsequently issues a court order regarding the child's removal and/or the State's placement and care responsibility, what criteria must be met for the child to be eligible for title IV-E foster care maintenance payments?

Question 7.  
Section 472(e) of the Social Security Act (the Act) requires a State to obtain a judicial determination during the first 180 days of the voluntary placement to the effect that the placement is in the child's best interest to continue title IV-E payments beyond that time. When does this 180-day clock begin?



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