TRIBAL DEAR COLLEAGUE LETTER
DATE: September 24, 2010
TO: Tribal IV-D Directors
RE: Staffing Standards
Dear Tribal IV-D Director:
In fiscal year 2008, the Division of Mandatory Grants (DMG), with the concurrence of the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE), proposed changes to budgetary guidelines for tribal grantees, including new staffing guidelines. These changes were discussed with tribal child support directors at various meetings. On August 28, 2009, DMG issued a memorandum that contained proposed fiscal year 2010 changes for tribal budget requests. That memorandum addressed personnel changes and outlined staffing guidelines based on caseload as well as other budget review standards. The memorandum also solicited comments on the proposed changes. On October 2, 2009, DMG issued another memorandum that extended the comment period to December 1, 2009.
On January 27, 2010, OCSE, with the concurrence of DMG, issued a letter to tribal leaders that indicated that any new staffing guidelines would not go into effect until October 1, 2011, to allow me to give full consideration to numerous comments submitted by tribal leaders.
Based on those comments, I have determined that it is appropriate to consult with tribal leaders on these significant budgetary issues.
DMG will continue to review tribal budget requests under the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) standards. Funding is available as needed in order to pay reasonable and necessary costs to operate tribal child support programs. OMB Circular A-87 defines reasonable as follows: “A cost is reasonable if, in its nature and amount, it does not exceed that which would be incurred by a prudent person under the circumstances prevailing at the time the decision was made to incur the cost. The question of reasonableness is particularly important when governmental units or components are predominately federally funded.” To view OMB Circular A-87 in its entirety, go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars_a087_2004.
As the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and the Tribal-Federal Workgroup continue the important work of developing an ACF-level consultation policy that will apply to OCSE and other ACF programs, OCSE also has been reaching out to tribal governments to develop more effective communication and consultation approaches. The September 29, 2010 ACF Tribal Consultation Session will allow OCSE to continue conversations about how best to consult with tribes on child support issues, and which issues require consultation. For more information about the ACF Tribal Consultation, go to https://www.acf.hhs.gov/tribal/docs/ACF_TCP_Final.pdf
Working with tribal leaders and program directors in an environment that nurtures effective communication, respects tribal sovereignty through formal consultation and cultivates trust is a high priority for me. OCSE will continue to consult and partner with tribal governments to improve the lives of children and families.
Office of Child Support Enforcement
cc: Tribal Leaders
ACF OCSE Regional Program Managers