8.3A TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility1. Question: A judicial determination is made that a child should be removed from his home, and the child is placed in foster care with title IV-E foster care payments being paid on his behalf. Casework services are provided toward a goal of reuinification. At a later date, the court rules that the child should return home; however, the court retains jurisdiction and continues the county department's responsibility to supervise the home and to provide services necessary to further strengthen the family unit. Subsequent circumstances cause the court to determine that the child must return to foster care. In considering initial eligibility on the title IV-E foster care reapplication, which judicial determination removing the child from his home should be used - the first or the second?
Answer: When a child is removed from his home and placed in foster care, there must be a judicial determination to the effect that continuation in the home would be contrary to the welfare of the child and that reasonable efforts have been made to prevent or eliminate the need for removal. Such a determination is necessary at any time (or every time) that a child is removed from his home, because each situation involves different circumstances and reasons for placement. Unless the child was visiting his home on a trial basis, a return to foster care would require a new determination of eligibility based on the circumstances at that time. In the situation described, the judicial determination and eligibility factors current at the time of the most recent removal would be used to determine eligibility for title IV-E foster care.
Answer: The child must have been eligible for AFDC in either the month of the voluntary placement agreement or the removal petition. This is true whether the child was living with a specified relative at the time of the removal petition or voluntary placement agreement (section 472(a)(3)(A)(i) of the Act), or whether the child was living with an interim relative caretaker within the six months prior to the removal petition or voluntary placement agreement (section 472(a)(3)(A)(ii)(II) of the Act). In the latter situation, although the child is not in the home of the specified relative from whom the child was removed, the State must determine whether the child would have met the AFDC criteria had the child remained in the specified relative's home.
Answer: AFDC eligibility criteria, including deprivation, must be met in the month of, but prior to, the child's removal from the home. The State may not establish the child's deprivation based on household circumstances that occur after a child's removal. This is based on section 472(a)(1)(B) of the Social Security Act (the Act) which specifies that "the child, while in the home [emphasis added], would have met the AFDC eligibility requirement of [section 472(a)(3) of the Act]."
Answer: Yes. There is nothing in title IV-E that prohibits a title IV-E agency from providing title IV-E foster care to an otherwise eligible youth if the youth is married or enlisted in the military (including if the youth is in the military reserves or ROTC).
Answer: Yes, the title IV-E agency may provide title IV-E foster care only to youth who were in foster care in the State or Tribe prior to turning age 18. However, there is no federal requirement for a youth to have been in foster care prior to turning age 18 to receive title IV-E foster care at age 18 or older under section 475(8)(B).