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8.3B.1 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Payments, Allowable costs

Items with a star (*) and gray background have been modified from previous record.

Question Number 2:
09/01/2009 - Current
Question*In child care institutions, are costs that are normally associated with family activities such as going to a baseball game, picnics, etc., allowable for Federal financial participation (FFP) in the title IV-E Foster Care Maintenance Payment Program? What about staff time for supervision, transportation, tickets, etc.?
Answer*Reimbursement of recreation costs per se is not permitted under title IV-E (see the definition of "foster care maintenance payments" under section 475(4) of the Social Security Act). Since section 475(4) includes "a child's personal incidentals," however, the reasonable and occasional cost of such items as tickets or other admission fees for sporting, entertainment or cultural events or dues for clubs are reimbursable under title IV-E Foster Care as a part of the maintenance payment.

The costs of staff necessary to provide supervision to insure the well being and safety of children on or off campus are allowable even if the event has recreational components. The costs of staff merely accompanying the children but not necessary for their supervision are not allowable.

Transportation as a separate item of expense is not allowable except for reasonable travel to the child's home for visitation and reasonable travel for the child to remain in the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement.

Source/Date*ACYF-CB-PIQ-87-02 revised 08/31/09
Legal and Related ReferencesSocial Security Act - sections 472, 474 and 475 (4)

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09/15/2000 - 09/01/2009 (Original Record)
QuestionIn child care institutions, are costs that are normally associated with family activities such as going to a baseball game, picnics, etc., allowable for Federal financial participation (FFP) in the title IV-E Foster Care Maintenance Payment Program? What about staff time for supervision, transportation, tickets, etc.?
AnswerLocal travel associated with providing the items listed in the first sentence of section 475 (4)(A) of the Social Security Act (the Act): food; clothing; shelter; daily supervision; school supplies; and a child''s personal incidentals is an allowable expenditure for title IV-E foster care reimbursement.

The cost of local transportation associated with the items listed at section 475(4)(A) is presumably included in the basic title IV-E foster care maintenance payment. Transportation as a separate item of expense is not allowable except for reasonable travel to the child''s home for visitation. The items enumerated in the question were assessed based on these criteria.

(1) The foster parent''s involvement in/attendance at administrative case/judicial reviews, case conferences/team meetings, school conferences, and foster parent training: these items do not coincide with the definition at section 475 (4)(A). Therefore, transportation associated with them is not an allowable title IV-E foster care maintenance expenditure. However, section 474 (a) of the Act states that each State shall be entitled to a payment "... for the proper and efficient administration of the State plan...." Transportation to provide for a foster parent''s attendance at administrative case/judicial reviews and mandatory case conferences/team meetings is an allowable title IV-E administrative expenditure because these activities provide for the proper and efficient administration of the title IV-E State plan. Additionally, section 474(3)(B) of the Act states that each State shall be entitled to Federal financial participation for "... expenditures (including travel and per diem expenses) as are for the short-term training of current or prospective foster or adoptive parents..." Transportation to provide for foster parent''s attendance at mandatory foster parent training is an allowable title IV-E training expenditure.

(2) The travel of a child in foster care to/from the following activities:

a. allowable day care: transportation as a separate item of expense is not allowable except for reasonable travel to the child''s home for visitation. However, the costs of transporting a child in foster care to and from child care that substitutes for daily supervision are allowable and presumed to be included in the basic foster care maintenance payment;

b. school attendance and extracurricular activities: the primary function of school is to provide education. Since education is not in the definition found at section 475(4)(A), transportation to and from school is not an allowable title IV-E foster care maintenance expenditure. However, transportation associated with the child''s attendance at his/her school of origin is an allowable administrative cost under title IV-E because such transportation is related to case management and therefore necessary for the proper and efficient administration of the title IV-E State plan (see Child Welfare Policy Manual section 8.1B and 45 CFR 1356.60(c)(2)). The cost of transportation to and from extracurricular activities that substitute for daily supervision is allowable and presumed to be included in the basic title IV-E foster care maintenance payment;

c. pre-placement visits: this activity does not fall under the definition at section 475(4)(A). Therefore, transportation to and from pre-placement visits is not an allowable foster care maintenance expenditure. However, regulations at 45 CFR 1356.60(c)(2) list "placement of the child" as an example of an allowable administrative cost;

d. foster family trips: transportation for foster family trips is not an allowable expenditure under title IV-E because these trips do not coincide with the items described at section 475(4)(A) of the Act. Transportation as a separate item of expense is not allowable except for reasonable travel to the child''s home for visitation;

e. sports and cultural events: the reimbursement of recreation costs per se is not permitted under title IV-E. Since section 475(4) includes "a child''s personal incidentals" the reasonable and occasional cost of such items as tickets or other admission fees for sporting, entertainment or cultural events are reimbursable under title IV-E Foster Care as a part of the maintenance payment. Transportation to and from these events is presumed to be included in the basic foster care maintenance payment;

f. administrative case/judicial reviews: transportation costs associated with the child''s attendance at administrative case/judicial reviews are not allowable expenditures under title IV-E foster care maintenance because these activities do not coincide with the items described at section 475(4)(A). However, transportation costs associated with the child''s attendance at administrative case/judicial reviews are allowable administrative costs under title IV-E because they provide for the proper and efficient administration of the title IV-E State plan;

g. visitation at other locations, e.g., in the child welfare office: the statute provides for "reasonable travel to a child''s home for visitation," however, in many circumstances, it is not possible or appropriate for visitation to occur at the child''s home. Therefore, reasonable transportation costs for visits at locations other than the child''s home, e.g., at the child welfare office or other location deemed appropriate by the agency, are allowable as separate expenditures under title IV-E foster care maintenance. Transportation costs for visitation are only reimbursable for the child and not for the costs of a biological parent or other relative visiting with the child. States may use title XX or title IV-B funds for that purpose; or

h. visitation with siblings, other relatives, or other caretakers: since section 475(4)(A) does not specify with whom visits must occur, reasonable travel for visits with siblings, relatives, or other caretakers is an allowable separate title IV-E foster care maintenance expenditure. Again, transportation costs for visitation are only reimbursable for the child and not for the costs of a relative visiting with the child. States may use title XX or title IV-B funds for that purpose.

Source/DateACYF-CB-PIQ-87-02 (5/18/87)
Legal and Related ReferencesSocial Security Act - sections 472, 474 and 475 (4)

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