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Section 475(4)(B) of the Act requires that foster care maintenance payments for a minor parent in foster care cover a child of such parent if the child is placed with the minor parent. Neither the statute nor regulations require the State to have placement and care responsibility for the child in order for such costs to be included in the minor parent?s foster care maintenance payment. Good social work practice suggests that the minor parent?s case plan include the needs of the child and that the child?s needs and interests be addressed during the six-month periodic reviews and permanency hearings held on behalf of the minor parent. However, the State is not required to satisfy these requirements independently on behalf of the child because s/he is not under the State?s responsibility for placement and care and, therefore, pursuant to Federal law and regulations, is not in foster care.
In cases where the State has placement and care responsibility for both the minor parent and the child, title IV-E eligibility would have to be determined individually for each. Likewise, if a minor parent leaves the foster home and does not take the child, the child?s eligibility for foster care then would be based upon his or her individual circumstances. In addition, the State would have to obtain responsibility for placement and care of the child through either a voluntary placement agreement or a court order with the required judicial determinations. Once the child of a minor parent is in foster care, the requirements of the case review system at section 475(5) of the Act apply.
When a child is placed with his/her minor parent without placement and care responsibility by the State, no administrative costs may be claimed on her/his behalf because s/he is not eligible for nor a recipient of title IV-E foster care maintenance payments. The State is merely increasing the amount of the title IV-E foster care maintenance payment made on behalf of the eligible minor parent to accommodate the board and care of the child. In situations where the eligibility of the minor parent and his/her infant are determined separately and both are placed in foster care, the State may claim administrative costs for the child because s/he is eligible for and receiving title IV-E maintenance payments in her/his own right.
Section 472(h) of the Act makes clear that a child whose costs are covered by the title IV-E payment made with respect to the minor parent is a child with respect to whom foster care maintenance payments are made under title IV-E and is thus eligible for medical assistance and social services under titles XIX and XX.
Section 475 (4)(B) of the Social Security Act requires States to include in the foster care maintenance payment for a minor parent an amount necessary to cover the costs of maintenance of the son or daughter living in the same foster home or institution with such minor parent. Eligibility of the son or daughter under title IV-E is not a condition of the increased maintenance payment on behalf of the minor parent. Rather, it is the title IV-E eligibility of the minor parent that allows the increased payment to include an amount to meet the son's or daughter's needs in that home.
If a teen mother and her child are both in the same foster family home and each has been determined to be eligible for title IV-E, the State can claim FFP under title IV-E foster care for both the teen mother and her child. This includes foster care maintenance payments and administrative costs. In this situation, both the child and mother have been determined eligible for title IV-E foster care, and placed in a licensed foster family home. The fact that the teen mother and her child are in the same foster home does not mean that they have been ?reunified? in the statutory sense, as the foster parent and not the teen parent, is responsible for the day-to-day care and supervision of the child.
If reunification of the child with the teen mother has occurred and the child is no longer under the responsibility of the State for placement and care, the child is no longer eligible for a title IV-E payment. (We use the term ?reunification? here to refer to situations in which a child is returned to the parent?s control and is no longer under the care or supervision of the State.) In such situations, the State must include amounts necessary to cover the costs incurred on behalf of the child in the teen mother?s title IV-E payment. (See Section 475(4)(B)(ii) of the Act, 45 CFR 1356.21(j), and CWPM 8.3.A.5) However, once the child is no longer under the responsibility of the State for placement and care, the State cannot continue to claim administrative costs on his or her behalf since s/he is not eligible for, nor a recipient of, title IV-E foster care maintenance payments.
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