Compliance with Equal Treatment Regulations
DEAR COLLEAGUE LETTER
ATTACHMENT: Basic Features of the Equal Treatment Regulations
DATE: January 19, 2006
TO: ALL STATE AND TRIBAL IV-D DIRECTORS AND CHILD ACCESS AND VISITATION DIRECTORS
RE: Compliance with Equal Treatment Regulations (Equal Protection of the Laws for Faith-Based and Community Organizations - Executive Order 13279)
Since President George W. Bush signed Executive Order 13279 on December 12, 2002, there has been a government-wide effort to provide community- and faith-based organizations the opportunity to compete for federal funds. Within the context of programs administered by the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE), this effort has led to revised grant announcements and terms and conditions that enable community- and faith-based organizations to compete directly by applying for funds through OCSE’s Special Improvement Project (SIP) discretionary grant program and indirectly as sub-grantees and contractors to states under the IV-D section 1115 discretionary grant program and the Child Access and Visitation program.
To ensure a full understanding of how community- and faith-based organizations may compete for the federal IV-D funds that you administer, please review the text of the Equal Treatment Regulations (69 FR 42586) at this Department of Health and Human Services web site: http://www.hhs.gov/fbci/
These regulations are intended to ensure that your program's policies and processes reflect the Equal Treatment Regulations, including:
Non-discrimination against religious organizations;
Ability of religious organizations to maintain their religious character; and
Prohibition against religious organizations’ use of Federal funds to finance inherently religious activities.
A summary of the basic features of the Equal Treatment Regulations is attached for your convenience.
We also recommend that you clarify with your State Legal Counsel as to how the regulations apply to your programs and interact with your State laws and constitution, if necessary. If you have questions about the implementation of these provisions, please contact your Regional Office.
Office of Child Support Enforcement
cc: Regional Administrators, Administration for Children and Families
Regional Office Child Support Enforcement Program Managers