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8.1G TITLE IV-E, Administrative Functions/Costs, Title IV-E Agreements
1.May a court be considered a "public agency" for purposes of entering into a title IV-E agreement, or does "public agency" refer only to the executive branch of State government? Is separation of powers an issue here?
3.What is the rationale for prohibiting any body that conducts permanency hearings from being part of or under the supervision or direction of the State agency? Does this requirement extend to other public agencies with which the State agency has a title IV-E agreement?
4.Under title IV-E a State agency must be designated to administer the foster care maintenance program. Could another State agency, such as a "Youth Authority", provide program monitoring and supervision through an inter-agency contract (assuming some or all children under the "Youth Authority" will be eligible)?
5.Is a public entity that has entered into a title IV-E agreement pursuant to section 472(a)(2)(B) of the Social Security Act (the Act) with the State agency permitted to perform the title IV-E functions of an employee of the State title IV-E agency?
Answer: There is no statutory prohibition on agreements between the public agency administering the title IV-E foster care program and the court. However, legislative and program history do not provide precedent for agreements whose only purpose is to transfer the decision-making authority for placement and care from the title IV-E administering agency to the court or its affiliated citizen review panel. Rather, discussion of such agreements in the 1963 Handbook of Public Assistance Administration describes "another public agency" as a child placing agency authorized by State law to operate a program of services to children and families, with supervision by the agency administering the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program. Current ACF policy sustains this position.
Therefore, the requirements of section 472 (a)(2)(B) of the Social Security Act may be met through an agreement with a public agency (including a court) which is authorized under State law to operate as a child placing agency, and, if so authorized, is operating a child placing agency. The agreement, properly written, should be binding on both parties and should permit the State agency to have access to case records, reports or other informational materials as needed to monitor title IV-E compliance. The State must maintain a supervisory role in relation to all title IV-E eligible children and would need to monitor the provisions required under title IV-E.
However, if a court is not authorized under State law to operate and is not operating as a child placing agency, the court could not be considered "another public agency" with responsibility for placement and care of otherwise eligible children for purposes of section 472 (a)(2)(B).
Answer: The title IV-E program is a State administered program to pay the costs of foster care for AFDC eligible children removed from their homes, for whom the State or the Tribe has responsibility for placement and care. It is an entitlement program for individual children and must be available to all eligible residents of a State, including Indian children living on or off reservations.
The title IV-B child welfare services program provides Federal funds in the form of formula grants to States and Tribes consistent with the purposes in section 421 of the Act.
Some Federally recognized Tribes providing child welfare services are eligible to receive title IV-B grants directly from the Federal government. Since these are grants to States and Tribes, and are not entitlements for individual children, the States and participating Tribes have the authority to allocate the use of these funds and to set priorities for their use.
Many States and Tribes have developed State-Tribal agreements which formalize the sharing of responsibility for providing foster care maintenance and child welfare services, using title IV-E and title IV-B funds, as well as Social Services Block Grant funds and State funds.
Where neither the State nor the Tribe has resources sufficient to cover all the needs of all Indian children, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, as payor of last resort, may pay for these services.
Answer: Critical decisions that have a significant effect on the lives of children and their families are made at permanency hearings. The purpose of requiring courts to oversee permanency hearings is to ensure that these hearings are conducted by an impartial body, which includes any body appointed or approved by the court to provide this oversight in its stead. An administrative body that is part of the State agency or under its direction or supervision would not meet the test of impartiality.
The requirement does extend to other public agencies with which the State agency has an agreement. Title IV-E requirements extend to any other public agency with which the State agency enters an agreement for the performance of title IV-E administrative functions, including responsibility for placement and care of the child.
Answer: Section 472 of the Social Security Act requires that "such child's placement and care are the responsibility of the State agency administering the (title IV-E) State plan...or any other public agency with whom the State agency administering or supervising the administration of the (title IV-E) State plan...has made an agreement which is still in effect."
Assuming that a State Department of Social Services (DSS) is the title IV-E designated agency, a "Youth Authority" for example, would need to have a currently effective agreement with the DSS which covers these children and all requirements of the title IV-E law and regulations. If the agreement covered all of the requirements, then the "Youth Authority" could, for purposes of administering the title IV-E State plan, function as the DSS's surrogate. This arrangement, however, would not relieve the DSS of ultimate responsibility to supervise the "Youth Authority's" administration of the State plan for these children nor does it speak to the question of IV-E allowable costs. Moreover, the requirements of the Act under section 472, are broader than merely an agreement between two State entities covering particular items. To receive FFP for the care of "Youth Authority" supervised children, the DSS and the "Youth Authority" would have to assure that all the title IV-E State plan requirements are met for these children, not merely addressed by the interagency agreement. Assuming these arrangements are carried out properly, FFP could be available.
Answer: Yes. Entering into a section 472(a)(2)(B) agreement with the State title IV-E agency permits another public agency to have responsibility for the placement and care of title IV-E eligible children. An agency that exercises responsibility for the placement and care of a title IV-E eligible child is fulfilling the fundamental purpose of the program and is, in effect, implementing the title IV-E State plan on behalf of a specified population of children under the agreement. Thus, such public agencies are permitted to perform functions that the State agency is required to perform pursuant to 45 CFR 205.100(b), such as eligibility determinations. Public agencies that enter into section 472(a)(2)(B) agreements are subject to all applicable Federal statutory, regulatory, and policy guidance as well as State rules that implement Federal requirements.