|Answer||*The title IV-E agency, or another public agency with whom the State agency has made an agreement which is still in effect, is to be assigned the overall responsibility for placement and care of the child, although many of the activities associated with the placement and care may be performed by others. Clearly, if the court assigns the responsibility for a child to an agency or institution other than the State or local agency administering the title IV-E foster care program or to another public agency with which the title IV-E agency has no agreement, no Federal financial participation (FFP) will be allowable. |
Under title IV-E, to be eligible for FFP, section 472 (a)(2)(B) of the Social Security Act (the Act) requires that the responsibility for placement and care of the child is with the State agency administering the plan approved under section 471 of the Act, or any other public agency with whom the State agency administering or supervising the administration of the State plan approved under section 471 has made an agreement which is in effect.
A major responsibility in placement and care is the development of an individual case plan for the child, including periodic review of the appropriateness and suitability of the plan and the foster care placement, to ensure that proper care and services are provided to facilitate return to the child's own home or to make an alternative permanent placement. The case plan activities, such as assessing family strengths and needs, identifying and using community resources, and the periodic review and determination of the continued appropriateness of placement, and the efforts to finalize a permanency plan may be carried out by agencies from which services are purchased. However, the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that there is an appropriate plan of care, case review, and activities to improve the home of the child or identify and work toward a permanency plan for the child remains with the State agency identified in the State plan as having responsibility for the placement and care of the child. Thus, the State agency must actively supervise the various activities performed by the contractor or other agency. This supervision includes case plan assessment and case review functions and adherence to the requirements of the Act, Federal rules, regulations and policy interpretations in operation of the foster care maintenance program. The State is ultimately responsible for proper operation of the foster care program.
Although responsibility for placement and care generally is associated with child custody, custody of the child is not a requirement of Federal law or policy under title IV-E and the State agency need not be given custody, but must be given responsibility for placement and care of the child. Custody may be retained by the court or be given to a private nonprofit agency. However, the State agency administering the title IV-E plan or another public agency with which the title IV-E agency has a currently effective agreement can be given "responsibility for placement and care" in order to claim FFP for foster care costs under this program.