Child Welfare Policy Manual

August 01, 2014

7.1  TITLE IV-B, Citizenship/Alienage Requirements

1. Question: It is our understanding that qualified aliens, regardless of whether they entered the United States before or after the date of enactment of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) August 22, 1996, are eligible for Federal foster care maintenance and adoption assistance payments (including those funded through title IV-B). Is this a correct interpretation?

Answer: Not entirely. If the child is a qualified alien who is placed with a qualified alien or United States citizen, the date the child entered the United States is irrelevant. However, if the child is a qualified alien who entered the United States on or after August 22, 1996 and is placed with an unqualified alien, the child would be subject to the five-year residency requirement for Federal means-tested public benefits at section 403 (a) of the PRWORA unless the child is in one of the excepted groups identified at section 403 (b) of that Act. As a general matter, we do not expect these situations to arise very often. In the event such situations do arise, State or local funds may be used to support these children.

2. Question: Are States required to verify the citizenship or immigration status of individuals receiving child welfare services funded under title IV-B?

Answer: States are not required to verify the citizenship or immigration status of individuals receiving child welfare services funded under title IV-B, subparts 1 and 2, because those services do not meet the Federal definition of Federal public benefit (see 63 Fed. Reg. 41657 (August 4, 1998)). Therefore, child welfare services are not subject to the verification requirements at section 432 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA).