Title IV-E Foster Care Eligibility Reviews Peer Reviewer Requirements and Responsibilities
The title IV-E Foster Care Program is authorized by title IV, Part E, of the Social Security Act, as amended. Title IV-E foster care funds enable States to provide safe and stable out-of-home care for children until the children are safely returned home, placed permanently with adoptive families or placed in other planned arrangements for permanency. The IV-E program is administered by the Children's Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The title IV-E foster care eligibility reviews (FC eligibility reviews) enable the Federal Government to validate the accuracy of State claims for reimbursement of payments made on behalf of children placed in foster family homes and institutions. To that end, the review team conducts case record reviews using the Title IV-E Foster Care Eligibility Onsite Review Instrument and Instructions.
The Child Welfare Reviews Project assists the Children's Bureau in recruiting and maintaining a national peer reviewer pool of 200 child welfare professionals who meet the established minimum education and experience requirements.
Peer reviewer participation in the IV-E reviews requires a significant commitment of time and effort. The general requirements and responsibilities of peer reviewers participating in the reviews include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Peer reviewers must be willing and available to participate in multiple reviews and to review and abide by provisions of a Peer Reviewer Agreement Form, including the nondisclosure-of-information provision. (All State-related information examined or discussed during a FC eligibility review is confidential.)
- Peer reviewers may not participate in a FC eligibility review of a State child welfare agency if they provided technical assistance or consultation to the State during a period of 1 year before the review or have participated in a lawsuit or other legal action against the State.
- Peer reviewers may not provide technical assistance to a State during the period following a review in which they participated while the State is developing and implementing a Program Improvement Plan associated with the review findings.
Review Preparation Responsibilities
- Peer reviewers are responsible for reviewing the Title IV-E Foster Care Eligibility Review Guide, the Title IV-E Foster Care Eligibility Onsite Review Instrument and Instructions, and relevant legislation in preparation for the onsite review. (These materials are available on the Children's Bureau's Web site at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/monitoring.)
- Peer reviewers must participate in a 1-day training session before they are eligible to participate in an onsite review.
Review Logistical and Planning Responsibilities
Peer reviewers must be willing to do the following in planning for participation in a FC eligibility review:
Stay in touch with the Child Welfare Reviews Project Coordinator supporting your participation in the review, and respond to all requests by the designated due date. Please contact the Child Welfare Reviews Project Coordinator if any of the following situations arises:
- You need to cancel your participation in a review or training. Please provide at least a 3-week notice of cancellations (emergencies excepted) to help facilitate the selection and confirmation of a replacement reviewer.
- There are changes to the mail or e-mail address to which you requested that the project send training or review-related materials.
- The review-related materials do not arrive at your designated address by the date anticipated.
- You are delayed in making air or hotel reservations; all hotel and air travel reservations must be made before the deadline provided to peer reviewers by the project.
- "Determine in advance of agreeing to serve as a peer reviewer, and in conjunction with your current employer, your ability to accept an honorarium.
Review Participation Responsibilities
Peer reviewers must be willing to do the following when participating in a FC eligibility review:
- Remain present at the review site for the entire week of the onsite review, and participate in all scheduled review activities.
- Conduct all assigned activities associated with the review of case records, including completion of the On-site Review Instrument for assigned cases.
- Participate in daily debriefings, as needed, and a final debriefing to discuss the strengths and areas needing improvement noted during the review.
- Perform quality control functions as requested by the Team Leader.
- Participate in the exit conference with the State.
- Remain available for telephone consultation after the review, as needed, to clarify information documented during the review.
Peer Reviewer Compensation Responsibilities
Peer Reviewers must do the following:
- Arrange to obtain the signature of the Team Leader for the review on the "Authorization To Pay Peer Reviewers Form" at the end of the review week.
- Return the completed form to the Child Welfare Reviews Project with your completed expense voucher within 30 days following each review in which you participate.
Peer Reviewer Selection for Participation in a Review
- The Children's Bureau Central and Regional Office staff select peer reviewers to participate in the FC eligibility reviews from the peer reviewer pool maintained by Child Welfare Reviews Project. If you are selected to participate in a review, the project will contact you to determine your availability and provide you with further information. The performance of peer reviewers during a review will be evaluated by their Team Leader and future participation in reviews will be dependent on successful participation in earlier reviews.
- Please note that the Children's Bureau will use a maximum of two peer reviewers in a primary review and four peer reviewers in a secondary review for the approximately 20 FC eligibility reviews conducted each year.
For more information on the FC eligibility reviews, please contact the Child Welfare Reviews Project.