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Child Welfare Policy Manual Updates
Modifications to the Manual

The following are questions and answers that have been modified in the manual. They are listed here strictly for historical purposes.

  • 1.2A AFCARS, Data Elements and Definitions, Adoption Specific Elements
    • 1. Question: In terms of reporting adoptions it is not clear whether States are required to submit data on adoptions for which an agency may have limited involvement, such as only performing a home study. The agency's data on these adoptions may be very limited. Does the Department want information on such adoptions submitted to AFCARS?(Updated July 5, 2002)

      Answer: The regulations encourage, but do not require, States to report data on children adopted without the types of State involvement indicated in the "Reporting Population" section in Appendix B to 45 CFR 1355. The State is required to report an adoption if : 1) the child was in foster care under the responsibility and care of the State child welfare agency and subsequently adopted; 2) the child has special needs and on whose behalf the State provided reimbursement for non-recurring expenses of adoption; or 3) an adoption service or payment is being provided by way of an arrangement with the State agency. Because a State that has performed only a home study does not fall within one of these three categories, the State is not required to report information on such a child. If the State chooses to report information on such a child, or other children adopted without State involvement as indicated above, - the appropriate response is to enter a "No" for adoption element 4 "Did the State Agency Have any Involvement in This adoption?"
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-94-01 (7/8/94); updated (5-28-02)
      • Legal and Related References: 45 CFR 1355.40; Appendix B to 45 CFR 1355


  • 1.2B.3 AFCARS, Data Elements and Definitions, Foster Care Specific Elements, Episode and removal circumstances
    • 7. Question: For a child who is in and out of the foster care system over a period of several years, what does the State report for foster care element 18 "Date of first removal from home" if it does not have the date of the first removal?(Updated July 3, 2002)

      Answer: This information is required by the regulations at appendix A to 45 CFR 1355 and should exist in the case record or a court record. As is the case for all missing data, if the date of the child's first removal from home is not available, the date should be left blank.(See: 45 CFR1355, Appendix D, Detailed Foster Care, Element Number 18.)
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-95-01 (3/8/95), updated (5-28-02)
      • Legal and Related References: 45 CFR 1355.40; Appendix A to 45 CFR 1355


  • 1.3 AFCARS, Reporting Population
    • 2. Question: Should children who are still receiving funding from the State agency be reported on in AFCARS even if they are age 18 or over?(Updated July 5, 2002)

      Answer: In general, States are to report all children in foster care and under the placement, care of supervision of the State agency to AFCARS. In the case of youth 18 years of age or over, State must report to AFCARS:
      • youth who have not yet reached the State's legal age of majority; and
      • youth who have attained 18 years of age, but not yet 19 years of age on whose behalf the State is providing title IV-E foster care maintenance payments.
      Pursuant to long-standing Departmental policy, States are instructed to exclude those youth who are considered to be adults in a State from the child protection requirements in section 422 of the Act and AFCARS reporting requirements. However, youth who receive title IV-E foster care maintenance payments must be reported to AFCARS and be provided the section 422 protections regardless of whether they have reached the legal age of majority in the State.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-95-01 (3/8/95); updated (5-28-02)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 479; 45 CFR Part 1355


  • 2.1 CAPTA, Assurances and Requirements
    • 1. Question: Must the policies that are the subject of the CAPTA assurances be embodied in State statutes?(Updated January 29, 2019)

      Answer: There are five assurances in CAPTA that require provisions in State law. Those are: 1) a law for mandatory reporting by individuals required to report child abuse and neglect (section 106(b)(2)(B)(i)); 2) provisions for immunity from civil or criminal liability under State and local laws and regulations for individuals making good faith reports of suspected or known instances of child abuse or neglect, or who otherwise provide information or assistance, including medical evaluations or consultations, in connection with a report, investigation, or legal intervention pursuant to a good faith report of child abuse or neglect; (section 106(b)(2)(B)(vii)); 3) upon implementation of provisions, procedures or mechanisms to assure that the State does not require reunification of a surviving child with a parent who has committed certain felonies, that conviction of any one of those felonies constitute grounds under State law for the termination of parental rights of the convicted parent as to the surviving children (section 106(b)(2)(B)(xvii)); 4) authority under State law for the State CPS system to pursue any legal remedies, including the authority to initiate legal proceedings in a court of competent jurisdiction, as may be necessary to prevent the withholding of medically indicated treatment from disabled infants with life-threatening conditions (section 106(b)(2)(C)(iii)); and 5) authority under State law to permit the State's CPS system to pursue any legal remedies, including the authority to initiate legal proceedings in a court of competent jurisdiction, to provide medical care or treatment for a child when such care or treatment is necessary to prevent or remedy serious harm to the child, or to prevent the withholding of medically indicated treatments from disabled infants with life-threatening conditions (section 113(b)). However, if a State has a law in effect which conflicts with the provisions in any assurance, or the State's statutory definitions of "child abuse and neglect" and "sexual abuse" do not meet the minimum standards in sections 3(2) and 111(4) of CAPTA, it must modify its statute to correspond with the CAPTA requirements.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-NCCAN-PIQ-97-01 (3/4/97); updated 12/9/11; updated 1/29/19
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - sections 3, 106, 111 and 113


      2. Question: Does the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) intend to do in-depth reviews of State statutes and policies to determine State eligibility under the CAPTA Amendments of 1996?(Updated April 17, 2006)

      Answer: CAPTA, as amended in the 1996 reauthorization, made a shift from eligibility requirements to submission of a State plan with assurances in the form of certifications by the State's Chief Executive Officer that certain provisions, procedures, or programs are in place in the State. Legislative history confirms that it was Congressional intent to simplify and streamline the administration of CAPTA at the Federal, State and local levels (Congressional Record - House, September 25, 1996, p. H11148). Accordingly, the primary responsibility for review of State statutes and policies rests with the States. If there are instances in which ACYF is presented with evidence of potential deficiencies (e.g., through the new child and family services program reviews being conducted by the Children's Bureau, or other sources), action will be taken to verify whether a problem actually exists. If a deficiency is verified, the State will be notified in writing and will be required to take corrective action within a specified timeframe. Funds will not be jeopardized unless the State fails to correct the deficiency within the specified timeframe.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-NCCAN-PIQ-97-01 (3/4/97); updated 2/3/05
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.)


  • 2.1A.1 CAPTA, Assurances and Requirements, Access to Child Abuse and Neglect Information, Confidentiality
    • 1. Question: What are the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) confidentiality requirements?(Updated September 14, 2012)

      Answer: In general, CAPTA requires that a State preserve the confidentiality of all child abuse and neglect reports and records in order to protect the rights of the child and the child's parents or guardians (section 106(b)(2)(B)(viii) of CAPTA). However, CAPTA allows the State to release information to certain individuals and entities. The State may share confidential child abuse and neglect reports and records that are made and maintained in accordance with CAPTA with any of the following:
      • Individuals who are the subject of a report (section 106(b)(2)(B)(viii)(I));
      • A grand jury or court, when necessary to determine an issue before the court or grand jury (section 106(b)(2)(B)(viii)(V)); and
      • Other entities or classes of individuals who are authorized by statute to receive information pursuant to a legitimate State purpose (section 106(b)(2)(B)(viii)(VI)).
      In addition, States have the option to allow public access to court proceedings that determine child abuse and neglect cases, so long as the State, at a minimum, can ensure the safety and well-being of the child, parents and families (see the last paragraph of section 106(b)(2) of CAPTA). The State must provide certain otherwise confidential child abuse and neglect information to the following:
      • Any Federal, State, or local government entity, or any agent of such entity, that has a need for such information in order to carry out its responsibilities under law to protect children from abuse and neglect (permitted by 106(b)(2)(B)(viii)(II) but required by section 106(b)(2)(B)(ix));
      • Child abuse citizen review panels, if such panels are established to comply with section 106(c) of CAPTA (permitted by 106(b)(2)(B)(viii)(III) but required by section 106(c)(5)(A));
      • Public disclosure of the findings or information about the case of child abuse or neglect that results in a child fatality or near fatality (required by section 106(b)(2)(B)(x)), in accordance with section 2.1A.4, Q/A #8 of the CWPM; and
      • Child fatality review panels. Although disclosure to such panels is merely permissible under the language of section 106(b)(2)(B)(viii)(IV), section 106(b)(2)(B)(x) of CAPTA requires disclosure of findings or information about the case of child abuse or neglect that results in a child fatality or near fatality. Accordingly, disclosure to a child fatality review panel is required.
      Authorized recipients of confidential child abuse and neglect information are bound by the same confidentiality restrictions as the child protective services agency. Thus, recipients of such information must use the information only for activities related to the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. Further disclosure is permitted only in accordance with the CAPTA standards. There may be other Federal confidentiality restrictions for the State to consider when implementing the confidentiality provisions under CAPTA.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-NCCAN-PIQ-97-01 (3/4/97); updated 9/27/11; updated 9/12/12
      • Legal and Related References: CAPTA section 106(b)(2)(B) and 106(c)(5)(A)


      2. Question: Would legislation that protects the identity of the reporter, but would otherwise open child abuse and neglect reports and records to the public, meet the confidentiality provisions in section 106 (b)(2)(B)(viii) of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA)?(Updated September 14, 2012)

      Answer: In general, such broad public access to child abuse and neglect reports and records is not consistent with CAPTA. States must preserve the confidentiality of all reports and records in order to protect the rights of the child and the child's parents or guardians, except in certain specified circumstances. There are two circumstances in which information contained in child abuse and neglect reports and records, which are typically kept confidential, may be shared with the public. First, a State must release findings or information to the public about a case of child abuse or neglect which results in a child's death or near fatality consistent with section 106(b)(2)(B)(x) of CAPTA and in accordance with section 2.1A.4, Q/A #8 of the CWPM. Additionally, a State may open court proceedings that determine child abuse and neglect to the public (see the last paragraph of section 106(b)(2) of CAPTA). There may be other Federal confidentiality restrictions for the State to consider when implementing the confidentiality provisions under CAPTA.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-NCCAN-PIQ-97-01 (3/4/97); updated 9/27/11; 9/12/12
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - sections 106(b)(2) and 106(b)(2)(B)


      3. Question: Do States have the authority to release otherwise confidential child abuse and neglect information to researchers for the purpose of child abuse and neglect research?(Updated September 27, 2011)

      Answer: Yes. Consistent with section 106(b)(2)(B)(viii)(II) and (VI) of CAPTA, States have authority to release information to researchers of child abuse and neglect in either of two ways: (1) the CPS agency may contract with a researcher, thereby making the researcher its "agent;" or (2) States may statutorily authorize release of such information to researchers as a legitimate State purpose, since research involving data in CPS records can provide important information that will help government officials plan programs for abused and neglected children and develop future policy directions.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-NCCAN-PIQ-97-04 (3/4/97); updated 9/27/11
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - section 106(b)(2)(B)(viii)


      4. Question: The confidentiality provision at section 106(b)(2)(B)(viii) of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) requires that States have a State law or operate a statewide program that includes methods to preserve the confidentiality of all child abuse and neglect records and reports and provides for exceptions in certain circumstances. The statutory language states that such records "shall only be made available to" a specified list of persons and entities. Are States required to disclose child abuse and neglect records to the persons and entities enumerated in subsections (I)-(VI) under section (viii)?(Updated September 27, 2011)

      Answer: In general, States are permitted, but not required, to disclose otherwise confidential information to the persons or entities in the enumerated categories in subsections (I)-(VI) under section (viii). However, the disclosure described in subsections (II), (III) and (IV), is required by subsequent provisions in CAPTA. Specifically, subsection (ix) requires disclosure to any Federal, State or local entity, or agent of such entity, that has a need for the information in order to carry out its responsibilities under law to protect children from abuse and neglect, so that disclosure as described under subsection (viii)(II) is mandatory. Likewise, in accordance with section 106(c)(5)(A), the State must provide a citizen review panel with access to information on cases that the panel needs to review if the information is necessary for the panel to carry out its functions. Further, section 106(b)(2)(B)(x) of CAPTA requires States to allow for public disclosure of the findings or information of the case of child abuse or neglect that results in a child fatality or near fatality. Thus, the disclosure described in subsection (viii)(IV) also is required. Otherwise, States are permitted, but not required, to disclose information to the persons or entities in the enumerated categories. There may be other Federal confidentiality restrictions for the State to consider when implementing the confidentiality provisions under CAPTA.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-NCCAN-PIQ-97-03 (9/26/97); updated 9/27/11
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - sections 106(b)(2)(B)(viii) and (b)(2)(B)(x)


      5. Question: Is there a prohibition against redisclosure of confidential child abuse and neglect information?(Updated April 17, 2006)

      Answer: Yes. Authorized recipients of otherwise confidential child protective services (CPS) information are bound by the same confidentiality restrictions as the CPS agency. Thus, recipients of such information must use the information only for activities related to the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. Further disclosure is permitted only in accordance with the CAPTA standards.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-NCCAN-PIQ-97-03 (9/26/97); updated 2/3/05
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - section 106


      6. Question: Will States compromise compliance with titles IV-B and IV-E of the Social Security Act if they comply with the confidentiality requirements in sections 106(b)(2)(B)(viii), (ix) and (x) of CAPTA?(Updated September 14, 2012)

      Answer: Title IV-E requires that States provide safeguards restricting the use and/or disclosure of information regarding children served by title IV-E foster care. Records maintained under both title IV-E and IV-B (both of which are subject to the Department's confidentiality provisions in 45 CFR 205.50) are to be safeguarded against unauthorized disclosure. The regulation at 45 CFR 205.50 states that the release or use of information concerning individuals applying for or receiving financial assistance is restricted to certain persons or agencies that require it for specified purposes. Such recipients of information are in turn subject to standards of confidentiality comparable to those of the agency administering the financial assistance programs. There may be instances where CPS information is subject both to disclosure requirements under CAPTA and to the confidentiality requirements under title IV-E and 45 CFR 205.50. To the extent that the CAPTA provisions require disclosure (such as in section 106(b)(2)(B)(ix) to other governmental entities and in section 106(b)(2)(B)(x) in the case of a child fatality or near fatality), the CAPTA disclosure provision would prevail in the event of a conflict since the CAPTA confidentiality provisions were most recently enacted. However, where the CAPTA provision is permissive (such as in sections 106(b)(2)(B)(viii)(I), (V) & (VI)), it allows States to disclose such information without violating CAPTA, but it does not make such disclosure permissible in other programs if it is not otherwise allowed under the other program's governing statute or regulations.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-NCCAN-PIQ-97-03 (9/26/97); updated 9/27/11; 9/12/12
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 471 (a)(8) and (c); Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - section 106; 45 CFR 205.50, 45 CFR 1355.21 (a)


      7. Question: Do the confidentiality requirements in the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act apply to the members of citizen review panels?(Updated April 17, 2006)

      Answer: Citizen review panel members are bound by the confidentiality restrictions in section 106 (c)(4)(B)(i) of CAPTA. Specifically, members and staff of a panel may not disclose identifying information about any specific child protection case to any person or government official, and may not make public other information unless authorized by State statute to do so. Further, section 106 (c)(4)(B)(ii) of CAPTA requires States to establish civil sanctions for violations of these confidentiality restrictions. States that have civil sanctions in place for breaches of confidentiality need not enact new legislation, so long as their existing provisions encompass the CAPTA requirements.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PI-98-01 (1/7/98); updated 2/3/05
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) section 106(c)


      8. Question: Is it permissible under the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) for the State to disclose to the public information in the child abuse and neglect record that does not pertain to the case of child abuse and neglect that results in a child fatality or near fatality?(Updated September 14, 2012)

      Answer: No. Except as discussed below, States must preserve the confidentiality of all child abuse and neglect reports and records in order to protect the rights of the child and family. Consistent with section 106(b)(2)(B)(viii) of CAPTA, reports and records made and maintained pursuant to the purposes of CAPTA shall be made available only to the entities and under the circumstances described in section 106(b)(2)(B)(viii)(I - VI) of CAPTA. As the question implies, a State must release findings or information to the public about a case of child abuse or neglect which results in a child's fatality or near fatality consistent with section 106(b)(2)(B)(x) of CAPTA in accordance with section 2.1A.4, Q/A #8 of the CWPM. In addition, a State may open court proceedings that determine child abuse and neglect to the public if the safety and well-being of the child, parents and families involved are protected (see the last paragraph of section 106(b)(2) of CAPTA).
      • Source/Date: updated 9/27/11; 9/12/12
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act section 106(b)(2)


  • 2.1A.2 CAPTA, Assurances and Requirements, Access to Child Abuse and Neglect Information, Expungement
    • 1. Question: How will States be able to determine whether a pattern of abuse or neglect exists if unsubstantiated records must be expunged? While the statute allows these records to be kept in casework files, if the files are not maintained in a central location, previous unsubstantiated report(s) may go undetected if a subsequent report comes into another office, or even another worker.(Updated September 27, 2011)

      Answer: The impetus behind the expungement requirement was the concern of Congress that families are negatively and sometimes unjustly affected by maintenance of public records of unsubstantiated allegations of abuse or neglect. However, it was not the intent of Congress to prevent CPS agencies from keeping information on unsubstantiated reports for use in future risk and safety assessments (Senate Report 104-117, dated July 10, 1995, p. 14). While CAPTA requires prompt expungement of records that are accessible to the general public or are used for purposes of employment or other background checks in cases determined to be unsubstantiated, it also allows CPS agencies to retain information on unsubstantiated reports in their casework files. Since the issue for Congress is disclosure of information regarding cases that are unsubstantiated or unfounded, this requirement should not adversely affect a State's ability to determine possible cumulative harm. For instance, a State could choose to implement a system which would consider an unsubstantiated case "expunged" for any purpose other than investigation of a new report. This should be possible even in States where casework files are computerized.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-NCCAN-PIQ-97-01 (3/4/97); updated 9/27/11
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - section 106(b)(2)(B)(xii)


      2. Question: How does the CAPTA expungement requirement affect States that have a three-tier system which includes a middle category that indicates a reasonable basis for concern?(Updated September 27, 2011)

      Answer: This requirement relates only to unsubstantiated or unfounded cases and would not affect retention of records for a middle category which indicates that there is reason to suspect that child abuse or neglect has occurred.
      • Source/Date: ACFY-NCCAN-PIQ-97-01 (3/4/97); updated 9/27/11
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - section 106(b)(2)(B)(xii)


  • 2.1A.3 CAPTA, Assurances and Requirements, Access to Child Abuse and Neglect Information, Open courts
    • 1. Question: Would there be a conflict with the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) confidentiality requirements if a State chooses to open proceedings relating to child abuse and neglect to the public?(Updated April 17, 2006)

      Answer: No. The 2003 amendments to CAPTA specifically give States the flexibility to determine State policies with respect to open courts, so long as such policies ensure the safety and well-being of the child, parents and families (last paragraph of section 106(b)(2)). There may be other Federal confidentiality restrictions for the State to consider when implementing this CAPTA provision.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-NCCAN-PIQ-97-01 (3/4/97); updated 3/22/06
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - section 106(b)(2); Titles IV-E and IV-B of the Social Security Act


  • 2.1A.4 CAPTA, Assurances and Requirements, Access to Child Abuse and Neglect Information, Public disclosure
    • 2. Question: The requirement for public disclosure states that "findings or information" about a case must be disclosed. Does this mean that States have the option to disclose either the findings of the case, or information which may be general in nature and address such things as practice issues rather than provide case-specific information?(Updated August 7, 2013)

      Answer: No. The intent of this provision was to assure that the public is informed about cases of child abuse or neglect which result in the death or near death of a child. As with the use of the other "or's" in this provision ("child abuse or neglect" and "child fatality or near fatality"), we understand the language to be inclusive and not limiting. Specifically, the reference to "findings or information" requires the disclosure of information about such a case even if there are no findings, in accordance with section 2.1A.4, Q/A #8 of the CWPM. Thus, when child abuse or neglect results in the death or near death of a child, the State must provide for the disclosure of the information required by section 2.1A.4, Q/A #8 of the CWPM. However, nothing in this provision should be interpreted to require disclosure of information which would fall within the specific exceptions that states are allowed to establish under section 2.1A.4, Q/A #8 of the CWPM.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-NCCAN-PIQ-97-01 (3/4/97); updated 9/27/11; updated and reissued 8/06/13
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - section 106(b)(2)(B)(x)


      3. Question: One State has child fatality review panels that are charged with the review and evaluation of child fatalities and near fatalities in the State. In this process, they evaluate the extent to which the agency is effectively discharging its child protection responsibilities. The child fatality review panels publish an annual report that includes information, findings and recommendations on each case, and this report is made public. Would this process meet the requirement in section 106(b)(2)(B)(x) for public disclosure of findings or information about cases of child abuse or neglect that result in child fatality or near fatality?(Updated September 14, 2012)

      Answer: If the minimum information that must be released per section 2.1A.4, Q/A #8 of the CWPM is included in the report, this process would meet the CAPTA requirement.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-NCCAN-PIQ-97-03 (9/26/97); updated 9/27/11; 9/12/12
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - section 106(b)(2)(B)(x)


      4. Question: Section 106(b)(2)(B)(x) of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) requires a State to provide an assurance that it will have provisions which "allow" for public disclosure when child abuse or neglect results in a child fatality or near fatality. Yet section 2.1A.1, Q/A #1 of the Child Welfare Policy Manual (CWPM) "requires" public disclosure in such cases. Can you explain the requirements for this State plan assurance?(Updated September 14, 2012)

      Answer: "Provisions which allow for public disclosure" in section 106(b)(2)(B)(x) of CAPTA means that the State must have procedures or provisions that allow the public to access information when child abuse or neglect results in a child fatality or near fatality. The State does not have discretion in whether to allow the public access to the child fatality or near fatality information; rather, the public has the discretion as to whether to access the information. In other words, the State is not required to provide the information to the public unless requested. However, once a request has been made, the State must provide the information in accordance with section 2.1A.4, Q/A #8 of the CWPM. Finally, States also should ensure that they are complying with any other relevant Federal confidentiality laws. In particular, entities that are subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) must ensure that they do not disclose confidential information in violation of HIPAA's privacy regulations. * * For more detailed information about the circumstances under which State agencies or other covered entities can disclose confidential information under HIPAA's privacy regulations, contact the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights or the State Attorney General's Office.
      • Source/Date: updated 9/27/11; 9/12/12
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) ¿ section 106; Child Welfare Policy Manual - sections 2.1A.1 Q/A #1, 2 & 4 and 2.1A.4 Q/A #2


      5. Question: Section 106(b)(2)(B)(x) of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) requires a State to have provisions that allow for public disclosure of the findings or information about the case of child abuse or neglect that results in a child's fatality or near fatality. Is the State required to turn over all of the information in the entire case record, when requested?(Updated September 14, 2012)

      Answer: No. The State is not required to release all of the information in the entire case record. Rather, the State must provide for the disclosure of findings and information in accordance with section 2.1A.4, Q/A #8 of the CWPM. As such, the State may determine its procedures in accordance with these parameters, and can release the full investigation; a summary of the investigation; or a statement of findings and information about the incident among other options. Finally, States also should ensure that they are complying with any other relevant Federal confidentiality laws. In particular, entities that are subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) must ensure that they do not disclose confidential information in violation of HIPAA's privacy regulations. * * For more detailed information about the circumstances under which State agencies or other covered entities can disclose confidential information under HIPAA's privacy regulations, contact the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights or the State Attorney General's Office.
      • Source/Date: updated 9/27/11; 9/12/12
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - section 106;


      6. Question: When child abuse or neglect results in a child fatality or near fatality, is the State required to disclose to the public personal information about the child, including name, date of birth and date of death?(Updated September 14, 2012)

      Answer: As required by CWPM section 2.1A.4 Q/A #8, the State is required to provide the child's age and gender when child abuse or neglect results in a child's death or near fatality; disclosure of the child's name, date of birth, date of death or other personal information is not a Federal requirement. However, a State is not prohibited by CAPTA from having procedures or policies that release such information. Finally, States also should ensure that they are complying with any other relevant Federal confidentiality laws. In particular, entities that are subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) must ensure that they do not disclose confidential information in violation of HIPAA's privacy regulations. * * For more detailed information about the circumstances under which State agencies or other covered entities can disclose confidential information under HIPAA's privacy regulations, contact the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights or the State Attorney General's Office.
      • Source/Date: updated 9/27/11; 9/12/12
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - section 106


      7. Question: In a case of child abuse or neglect that results in a child fatality or near fatality, is the State required to provide information on the child's siblings, or other children in the household?(Updated September 14, 2012)

      Answer: Generally no. The information about another child in the household who is not a fatality or near fatality victim is not subject to the CAPTA public disclosure requirement unless this information is pertinent to the child abuse or neglect that led to the fatality or near fatality. This information in fact may be protected by the confidentiality requirements applicable to titles IV-B/IV-E of the Social Security Act. Finally, States also should ensure that they are complying with any other relevant Federal confidentiality laws. In particular, entities that are subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) must ensure that they do not disclose confidential information in violation of HIPAA's privacy regulations. * * For more detailed information about the circumstances under which State agencies or other covered entities can disclose confidential information under HIPAA's privacy regulations, contact the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights or the State Attorney General's Office.
      • Source/Date: 10/24/2006; updated 9/12/12
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - section 106


  • 2.1B CAPTA, Assurances and Requirements, Appeals
    • 1. Question: Please explain the requirements in the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) for appealing findings of child abuse or neglect.(Updated September 27, 2011)

      Answer: States are required to have in place an appeals process by which an individual who is officially found to have committed child abuse or neglect can appeal such a finding. States have some flexibility in determining the type of appeals process that best meets their needs. For example, the appeals process can be established through the courts, through some other external appeals process, or through an internal appeals process. The appeals process, however, must meet the following minimum conditions in order to satisfy the CAPTA requirements: 1) The process must afford the individual with a finding of child abuse or neglect an opportunity for due process. 2) The office or individual(s) hearing such appeals cannot be involved in any other stage of the case. 3) The office or individual(s) established to hear such appeals must have the authority to overturn a previous finding of child abuse or neglect. 4) Individuals must be given written notification of their right to appeal, and the method by which they may appeal, at the time they are notified of the official finding of child abuse or neglect.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PI-98-08 (6/29/98); updated 9/27/11
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - section 106(b)(2)(B)(xv)


      2. Question: To whom does the appeals process under 106(b)(2)(B)(xv)(II) apply?(Updated September 27, 2011)

      Answer: CAPTA requires States to establish provisions, procedures and mechanisms by which individuals who disagree with an official finding of abuse and neglect can appeal such finding. We understand this provision to apply to the perpetrator; however, individuals with standing under State law are not precluded from participating in the appeals process should such individuals disagree with a finding of abuse or neglect.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-NCCAN-PIQ-97-03 (9/26/97); updated 9/27/11
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - section 106(b)(2)(B)(xv)(II)


      3. Question: The Department has stated that an appeals process under CAPTA should include steps to assure that individuals with appeal rights receive timely notification of the right to appeal a finding of child abuse and neglect. What is considered timely notification (e.g., at the time individuals come to the attention of the agency or after the finding of abuse and/or neglect)?(Updated September 27, 2011)

      Answer: While there is nothing in Federal statute or regulation which defines "timely notification" for this purpose, we believe that the term is directly related to an official finding of abuse or neglect. Therefore, States should implement processes and procedures to assure that individuals are notified of their right to appeal upon a final finding of abuse or neglect.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-NCCAN-PIQ-97-03 (9/26/97) ; updated 9/27/11
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - section 106(b)(2)(B)(xv)(II)


      4. Question: Must States set up an administrative appeals process if they do not maintain a central registry?(Updated September 27, 2011)

      Answer: Yes. Pursuant to section 106 (b)(2)(B)(xv)(II) of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), States must have a process to hear appeals from individuals who disagree with an official finding of child abuse or neglect. There is nothing in the statutory language or legislative history that indicates that this requirement is limited to only those States with central registries. Additionally, in order for an appeals process to be complete, it must include steps to assure that individuals with such rights receive timely notification.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-NCCAN-PIQ-97-01 (3/4/97); updated 9/27/11
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - section 106(b)(2)(B)(xv)(II)


  • 2.1C CAPTA, Assurances and Requirements, Expedited Termination of Parental Rights
    • 1. Question: The provision at section 106(b)(2)(B)(xv)(I) of CAPTA requires that States provide for expedited termination of parental rights for abandoned infants. What is considered "expedited" for this purpose?(Updated September 28, 2011)

      Answer: The intent of this provision was to assure that infants who have been abandoned by their parents do not end up in "foster care limbo" (Congressional Record - House, September 25, 1996, p. H11148). To meet this requirement, States are expected to establish procedures to assure that termination of parental rights for abandoned infants is handled more expeditiously than terminations would normally be handled in the State. One approach might be to prescribe a specific period of time by which a termination must be initiated for abandoned infants. The American Bar Association's Center on Children and the Law published a monograph in 1996 entitled, "Early Termination of Parental Rights: Developing Appropriate Statutory Grounds", which may be of assistance to States as they implement this provision of CAPTA.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-NCCAN-PIQ-97-01 (3/4/97); updated 9/27/11
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - section 106(b)(2)(B)(xv)(I)


  • 2.1D CAPTA, Assurances and Requirements, Guardian Ad Litems
    • 1. Question: What is the meaning of the requirement in section 106(b)(2)(B)(xiii) of CAPTA for guardians ad litem, including the requirement that they obtain a first-hand understanding of the situation and needs of the child?(Updated December 13, 2011)

      Answer: In order to provide States with more flexibility in appointing a guardian ad litem, the CAPTA clarifies that such guardian does not have to be an attorney, but also may be a court-appointed special advocate for the child. The Congress (in 1996) noted that, under the current system, there are more and more cases where an appointed guardian ad litem has no contact with the child and makes uninformed recommendations to the court. Therefore, language was added to clarify that the role of such individuals include obtaining a first-hand understanding of the situation in order to make an informed recommendation to the court (Congressional Record - House, September 25, 1996, p. H11149). In addition, Congress added language to this provision in 2003 via Public Law 108-36 to require that States train guardians ad litem appropriate to their role in representing children. Public law 111-320 (2010) further amended section 106(b)(2)(B)(xiii) to require that the training include early childhood, child, and adolescent development.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-NCCAN-PIQ-97-01 (3/4/97); updated 2/3/05; 12/9/11
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - section 106(b)(2)(B)(xiii)


      2. Question: The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) provision at section 106(b)(2)(B)(xiii) requires that attorneys or court-appointed special advocates who are appointed as guardians ad litem (GAL) receive training appropriate to their role. What are the minimum conditions for this requirement?(Updated December 13, 2011)

      Answer: The statute is clear that the State must have provisions and procedures in place to assure that every child who is the subject of an abuse or neglect proceeding is appointed a GAL, and that the GAL receive training appropriate to the role, including training that addresses early childhood, child, and adolescent development, prior to being appointed to represent the child in the proceeding regardless of whether the GAL is an attorney or court-appointed special advocate. The specifics of a State's plan for training its guardians ad litem may vary, depending upon individual State circumstances and needs. So long as the GAL is trained before s/he is appointed to represent a child, the CAPTA requirement will be met.
      • Source/Date: 05/02/06; updated 12/9/11
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - section 106(b)(2)(B)(ix)


  • 2.1E CAPTA, Assurances and Requirements, Reunification
    • 1. Question: If a State does not "require" reunification, in general, must it do anything further regarding the mandate in section 106(b)(2)(B)(xvi) which requires that provisions, procedures, and mechanisms be implemented to assure that the State does not require reunification with a parent who has been convicted of murder, manslaughter, felonious assault or sexual abuse of the surviving child or another child of the parent, or who is required to register with a sex offender registry?(Updated December 13, 2011)

      Answer: Yes. To comply with this section of CAPTA, States must have provisions, procedures, and mechanisms in place which address the fact that reunification is not required in the circumstances enumerated under 106(b)(2)(B)(xvi).
      • Source/Date: ACYF-NCCAN-PIQ-97-01 (3/4/97); updated 2/3/05; 12/9/11
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - section 106(b)(2)(B)(xvi)


      2. Question: Section 106(b)(B)(xvi) of CAPTA requires that provisions, procedures, and mechanisms be implemented to assure that a State does not require reunification with a parent who has been convicted of certain felonious acts, a parent who has been convicted of sexual abuse against the surviving child or another child of the parent, or a parent who is required to register with a sex offender registry. On the other hand, the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) requires that "any party seeking to effect a foster care placement of, or termination of parental rights to, an Indian child under State law shall satisfy the court that active efforts have been made to provide remedial services and rehabilitative programs designed to prevent the breakup of the Indian family and that these efforts have been unsuccessful" (25 U.S.C §1912(d)). Does a conflict exist between the two statutes?(Updated December 13, 2011)

      Answer: No. There is no conflict between the CAPTA provision and the ICWA requirement noted above. The CAPTA provision does not prohibit States from making reasonable efforts to reunify families as required under ICWA (as well as under title IV-E); it merely ensures that States not require reunification under certain circumstances. Therefore, it does not conflict with the ICWA requirement regarding efforts to prevent the breakup of Indian families.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-NCCAN-PIQ-97-03 (9/26/97); updated 2/3/05; 12/9/11
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - section 106 (b)(2)(B)(xvi); Indian Child Welfare Act (25 U.S.C §1912(d))


      3. Question: Does section 106(b)(2)(B)(xvii) of CAPTA mean that children cannot be reunified with a parent who has committed the specific crimes therein or must be registered with a sex offender registry pursuant to section 113(a) of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006?(Updated December 13, 2011)

      Answer: No. This provision is not a prohibition against reunification, but rather assures that reunification is not required in cases where the parent has committed the crimes listed in 106(b)(2)(B)(xvii) or had to register with the Adam Walsh sex offender registry. The decision as to whether to reunify or seek termination of parental rights is within the sole discretion of the State and is determined on a case-by-case basis.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-NCCAN-PIQ 97-01 (3/4/97); updated 2/3/05; 12/9/11
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - section 106(b)(2)(B)(xvii)


  • 2.1F CAPTA, Assurances and Requirements, Infants Affected by Substance Abuse
    • 1. Question: We understand section 106(b)(2)(B)(ii) of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) to mean that health care providers must notify Child Protective Services (CPS) of all infants born and identified as affected by substance abuse, withdrawal symptoms resulting from prenatal drug exposure, or a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. We do not believe that this provision requires the health care provider to refer such children and families to CPS as a report of suspected child abuse or neglect. Is this interpretation accurate?(Updated October 11, 2016)

      Answer: Yes, this interpretation is accurate. CAPTA requires that the health care provider must notify CPS of all infants born and identified as affected by substance abuse, withdrawal symptoms resulting from prenatal drug exposure, or a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Such notification need not be in the form of a report of suspected child abuse or neglect. It is ultimately the responsibility of CPS staff to assess the level of risk to the child and other children in the family and determine whether the circumstance constitutes child abuse or neglect under State law. There may be Federal confidentiality restrictions for the State to consider when implementing this CAPTA requirement.
      • Source/Date: 05/02/06; updated 12/9/11, 10/11/16
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) ¿ section 106(b)(2)(B)(ii)


      2. Question: If drug-exposure is not defined as child abuse or neglect in the State's reporting statute, are health care providers still required to "notify" child protective services under section 106(b)(2)(B)(ii) of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA)?(Updated October 11, 2016)

      Answer: Yes. The State is required to have policies and procedures to implement section 106(b)(2)(B)(ii) of CAPTA regardless of how child abuse and neglect is defined in the State. Health care providers must notify CPS of all infants born and identified as affected by substance abuse, withdrawal symptoms resulting from prenatal drug exposure, or a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. There may be Federal confidentiality restrictions for the State to consider when implementing this CAPTA provision.
      • Source/Date: 05/02/06; updated 12/9/11, 10/11/16
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - section 106(b)(2)(B)(ii).


  • 2.1F.1 CAPTA, Assurances and Requirements, Infants Affected by Substance Abuse, Plan of Safe Care
    • 1. Question: Which agency is responsible for developing the plan of safe care and what is a plan of safe care, as required by section 106(b)(2)(B)(iii) of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA)?(Updated September 27, 2011)

      Answer: The statute does not specify which agency or entity (such as hospitals or community-based organizations) must develop the plan of safe care; therefore, the State may determine which agency will develop it. The development of a plan of safe care for infants born and identified as being affected by substance abuse or withdrawal symptoms or Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder must ensure the safety and well-being of infants following the release from the care of health care providers by:
      • addressing the health and substance use disorder treatment needs of the infant and family; and
      • monitoring these plans to determine whether and how local entities are making referrals and delivering appropriate services to the infant and affected family or caregiver (in accordance with state requirements).
      The development of plans of safe care is required for infants affected by all substance abuse, not just illegal substance abuse. There may be Federal confidentiality restrictions for the State to consider when implementing this CAPTA provision.
      • Source/Date: updated 9/27/11, 10/11/16
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) ¿ section 106(b)(2)(B)(iii).


  • 2.1G CAPTA, Assurances and Requirements, Triage
    • 1. Question: Section 106(b)(2)(B)(v) of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) requires the State to have triage procedures, including the use of differential response, for the appropriate referral of a child not at risk of imminent harm to a community organization or voluntary protective service. At what point must the State Child Protective Services (CPS) agency refer a child ¿ at the point there is a report of abuse or neglect on a child; at the point the child is screened out of CPS; or after the results of the investigation determine that there is no imminent risk of harm to the child?(Updated December 13, 2011)

      Answer: The statute does not prescribe a point in time in which a referral to a community organization must be made. Thus, the State has the flexibility to determine appropriate procedures for when and how to refer a child it determines is not at imminent risk to a community organization or voluntary protective services provider. There may be Federal confidentiality restrictions for the State to consider when implementing this CAPTA provision.
      • Source/Date: 05/02/06; updated 12/9/11
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) ¿ section 106(b)(2)(B)(v); Sections 1171 through 1179 of the Social Security Act; and 45 CFR Parts 160 and 164, Subpart E


  • 2.1H CAPTA, Assurances and Requirements, Notification of Allegations
    • 1. Question: The provision at section 106(b)(2)(B)(xviii) of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) requires the State to have provisions or procedures to advise the individual subject to a child abuse or neglect investigation of the complaints or allegations made against him or her at the time of the initial contact. Would a State be out of compliance with CAPTA if it implemented a rule to specify that "initial contact" in the CAPTA provision at section 106(b)(2)(B)(xviii) meant "face-to-face" contact only?(Updated September 27, 2011)

      Answer: Yes. The CAPTA provision requires that the State notify the individual of the complaints or allegations made against him or her at the initial time of contact regardless of how that contact is made. There may be Federal confidentiality restrictions for the State to consider when implementing this CAPTA provision.
      • Source/Date: updated 9/27/11
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) ¿ section 106(b)(2)(B)(xviii)


      2. Question: The provision at section 106(b)(2)(B)(xviii) of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) requires the State to have provisions or procedures to advise the individual subject to a child abuse or neglect investigation of the complaints or allegations made against him or her at the time of the initial contact. One State employs an alternative response system, which is a non-adversarial approach to assess low- and moderate-risk level reports of child abuse and neglect. Does the Federal requirement at section 106(b)(2)(B)(xviii) of CAPTA apply only to child maltreatment investigations or does it also apply to child maltreatment alternative response assessments?(Updated September 27, 2011)

      Answer: The State must advise the individual subject to a child abuse or neglect investigation of the complaint or allegation against him/her whether the State is investigating the complaint through a formal investigation or an alternate response system. The method by which the State assesses the complaint against a person is not the issue. There may be Federal confidentiality restrictions for the State to consider when implementing this CAPTA provision.
      • Source/Date: updated 9/27/11
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - section 106(b)(2)(B)(xviii)


      3. Question: The provision at section 106(b)(2)(B)(xviii) of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) requires the State to have provisions or procedures to advise the individual subject to a child abuse or neglect investigation of the complaints or allegations made against him or her at the time of the initial contact. Would a State be out of compliance with CAPTA if it provided notification only to parents who have an allegation of child abuse or neglect?(Updated September 27, 2011)

      Answer: Yes. The provision requires notification to "an individual subject to a child abuse or neglect investigation" and does not limit this notification to parents only.
      • Source/Date: updated 9/27/11
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) ¿ section 106(b)(2)(B)(xviii)


  • 2.1I CAPTA, Assurances and Requirements, Referrals to IDEA, Part C
    • 1. Question: Must a State refer every child under the age of three in a substantiated case of child abuse or neglect to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C agency, or may the State first screen these children to determine whether such a referral is needed?(Updated September 28, 2011)

      Answer: The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) provision at section 106(b)(2)(B)(xxi) requires that States have provisions and procedures for the referral of children under the age of three who are involved in substantiated cases of child abuse or neglect to early intervention services funded by Part C of the Individual with Disabilities Act (IDEA). Part C of the IDEA, which was reauthorized on December 3, 2004 by Public Law 108-446, contains a provision very similar to the one in CAPTA. The Conference Report accompanying the IDEA legislation indicates that the conferees did not intend the IDEA provision to require every child under the age of three who is involved in a substantiated case of child abuse or neglect to receive an evaluation. Rather, the intention was that such children be screened to determine whether a referral to early intervention services is warranted (House Report 108-779, p. 241). CAPTA does not specifically require that every child under the age of three who is involved in a substantiated case of child abuse or neglect must be referred to Part C services. Therefore, States have the discretion as to whether to refer every such child under the age of three for early intervention services, or to first employ a screening process to determine whether a referral is needed. We believe that this is consistent with the purpose of the provision, which is to assure that all children who have a substantiated case of child abuse or neglect will be given special attention to determine whether they need early intervention services and to assure referral when such services are warranted. It is up to the State to determine how children referenced in section 106(b)(2)(B)(xxi) of CAPTA will be screened and, if appropriate, referred to the Part C early intervention program in the State. The IDEA regulations at 34 CFR 303.321(d) provide procedures for use by primary referral sources for referring a child to a Part C agency for evaluation and assessment or appropriate services. Under 34 CFR 303.321(d)(3) primary referral sources include hospitals, physicians and social service agencies, which can include the Child Protective Services (CPS) agency, as well as other sources. Some State CPS agencies are using other primary referral sources to assist in screening a child (after substantiation), while other State IDEA Part C programs are working with CPS agencies and training CPS social workers to conduct appropriate screenings. Both approaches meet the CAPTA requirements. There may be Federal confidentiality restrictions for the State to consider when implementing this CAPTA provision.
      • Source/Date: updated 9/27/11
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) ¿ section 106(b)(2)(B)(xxi); Public Law 108-446; House Report 108-779, p. 241; 34 CFR 303.321(d).


      2. Question: Can the provision at section 106(b)(2)(B)(xxi) of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), which requires referral of a child under the age of three who is involved in a substantiated case of child abuse or neglect to early intervention services, be read to mean that children who are wards of the State must be so referred?(Updated September 28, 2011)

      Answer: No. The statute specifically requires the State to refer children under the age of three who are involved in substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect to early intervention services funded under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Therefore, since many children who are involved in substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect never come into foster care, we cannot narrow the requirement to children who are wards of the State. There may be Federal confidentiality restrictions for the State to consider when implementing this CAPTA provision.
      • Source/Date: updated 9/27/11
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) ¿ section 106(b)(2)(B)(xxi)


      3. Question: Does the "child" as mentioned in section 106(b)(2)(B)(xxi) of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) include only those children under the age of three who are involved in a substantiated case of child abuse or neglect or does this include any child in the family or household who is under the age of three?(Updated September 28, 2011)

      Answer: CAPTA requires the State to refer any child under the age of three who is the subject of a substantiated case of child abuse or neglect to early intervention services under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The State is not required to refer other children in the household under the CAPTA provision. However, we encourage States to refer all children who are suspected of having a disability and warranting a referral to early intervention services, taking into consideration Federal confidentiality restrictions when implementing this CAPTA provision.
      • Source/Date: updated 9/27/11
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) ¿ section 106(b)(2)(B)(xxi).


  • 2.1J CAPTA, Assurances and Requirements, Criminal Background Checks
    • 1. Question: Are fingerprints required as part of the criminal background check requirement in section 106(b)(2)(B)(xxii) of CAPTA?(Updated December 13, 2011)

      Answer: Yes. Public Law 111-320 amended section 106(b)(2)(B)(xxii) of CAPTA in 2010 to require that States have provisions and procedures that require criminal background checks for prospective foster and adoptive parents and other adults residing in the household that meet the title IV-E criminal background check requirements. The title IV-E requirements in section 471(a)(20) of the Social Security Act require fingerprint-based criminal record checks of national crime information databases.
      • Source/Date: 05/02/06; updated 12/9/11
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act ¿ section 471(a)(20); Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) ¿ section 106(b)(2)(B)(xxii)


      2. Question: Does the requirement at section 106(b)(2)(A)(xxii) of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) for criminal background checks for prospective foster and adoptive parents and other adults living in the household apply if no title IV-E foster care or adoption assistance payments are made?(Updated January 31, 2007)

      Answer: Yes. The CAPTA requirement applies to all prospective foster and adoptive parents licensed or approved under the State?s licensing authority, as well as other adults living in the home, regardless of the funding source for the child's placement.
      • Source/Date: 01/29/07
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) ¿ section 106(b)(2)(A)(xxii)


  • 2.2 CAPTA, Citizen Review Panels
    • 1. Question: How will States know how many citizen review panels they must establish to meet the requirements of section 106(c)(1)(A)-(B) since that number is dependent upon the amount of funds received by the State under the Community-Based Grants for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect Program under Title II of CAPTA?(Updated April 17, 2006)

      Answer: CAPTA requires that States establish a minimum of three citizen review panels. The only exception to this requirement is for States that receive the minimum allotment of $175,000 under Title II of CAPTA, and they are required to establish no less than one citizen review panel. The Department has notified States in writing regarding whether one or three panels will be required in each State.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-NCCAN-PIQ-97-01 (3/4/97); updated 2/3/05
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - section 106(c)(1)(A)-(B) and Title II


      2. Question: Do States have the flexibility to determine how to implement the citizen review panels requirement in section 106(b)(2)(B)(xiv) of CAPTA?(Updated September 28, 2011)

      Answer: Yes. States have the flexibility to implement the citizen review panel requirement in ways that best meet their needs, so long as the panels meet the requirements set forth under section 106 (c) of CAPTA. States should pay particular note to section 106 (c)(2) of CAPTA which specifies the requirements for membership of the panel. We encourage the States to give special attention to the qualifications of the panelists to review complex cases of child maltreatment, including a balance among children's attorneys, child advocates and CASA volunteers who are familiar with the difficulties of the child protection system.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-NCCAN-PIQ-97-01 (3/4/97); updated 9/27/11
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - sections 106(b)(2)(B)(xiv) and (c)(2)


      3. Question: What are the functions that citizen review panels must perform?(Updated April 17, 2006)

      Answer: Pursuant to sections 106(c)(4)(A)(i) and (ii) of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), each panel must evaluate the extent to which the State is fulfilling its child protection responsibilities in accordance with its CAPTA State plan by: (1) examining the policies, procedures and practices of State and local child protection agencies, and (2) reviewing specific cases, where appropriate. In addition, consistent with section 106(c)(4)(A)(iii) of CAPTA, a panel may examine other criteria that it considers important to ensure the protection of children, including the extent to which the State and local CPS system is coordinated with the title IV-E foster care and adoption assistance programs of the Social Security Act. This provision also authorizes the panels to review the child fatalities and near fatalities in the State. In order to assess the impact of current procedures and practices upon children and families in the community and fulfill the above requirements, citizen review panels must provide for public outreach and comment (section 106(c)(4)(C) of CAPTA). Finally, each panel must prepare an annual report that summarizes the activities of the panel and makes recommendations to improve the CPS system at the State and local levels, and submit it to the State and the public (section 106(c)(6) of CAPTA).
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PI-99-09 (6/2/99); updated 3/22/06
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - section 106(c)


      4. Question: Section 106 (c)(5) of CAPTA requires States to provide citizen review panels with access to information on cases that the panel wants to review "if such information is necessary for the panel to carry out its functions". Who determines what confidential information is necessary for these functions?(Updated April 17, 2006)

      Answer: The Congress intended that citizen review panels be established to evaluate the extent to which States are meeting the goals of protecting children and their responsibilities related to the State plan. In carrying out these responsibilities, it is important for the review panels to have access to confidential information, as necessary, to assist in their duties. The intent of section 106 (c)(5) was to direct States to provide the review panels with information that the panel determines is necessary to carry out these functions (Congressional Record - House, September 25, 1996, p. H11149).
      • Source/Date: ACYF-NCCAN-PIQ-97-01 (3/4/97); updated 2/3/05
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - section 106(c)(5)


      5. Question: Do the confidentiality requirements in the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act apply to the members of citizen review panels?(Updated September 28, 2011)

      Answer: Citizen review panel members are bound by the confidentiality restrictions in section 106 (c)(4)(B)(i) of CAPTA. Specifically, members and staff of a panel may not disclose identifying information about any specific child protection case to any person or government official, and may not make public other information unless authorized by State statute to do so. Further, section 106 (c)(4)(B)(ii) of CAPTA requires States to establish civil sanctions for violations of these confidentiality restrictions. States that already have civil sanctions in place for breaches of confidentiality need not enact new legislation, so long as their existing provisions encompass the CAPTA requirements.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-BC-PI-98-01 (1/7/98); updated 9/27/11
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - section 106(c)(4)(B)


  • 2.3 CAPTA, Definitions
    • 1. Question: We find the "rape" and "statutory rape" language in the definition of sexual abuse found at section 111 (4)(B) of CAPTA confusing, especially within the context of the general definition of child abuse and neglect at section 3 (2). Please clarify.(Updated September 28, 2011)

      Answer: The provision at section 3 (2) defines child abuse and neglect as "at a minimum, any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker, which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation, or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm." Section 111 (4)(B) goes on to say that the term sexual abuse includes "the rape, and in the cases of caretaker or inter-familial relationships, statutory rape, molestation, prostitution, or other form of sexual exploitation of children, or incest with children." We understand section 111 (4)(B) to define the circumstances in which a parent or caretaker, although not the perpetrator, is chargeable with child abuse and neglect because of sexual acts committed by a third party. For the purposes of CAPTA, child abuse and neglect, by definition, is limited to a recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker. Thus, if a child is raped due to a failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker, such failure to act would be considered child abuse by the parent or caretaker under CAPTA, regardless of the identity of the perpetrator. In addition, the definition at section 111 (4)(B) means that action or failure to act by a parent or caretaker that results in statutory rape by another caretaker or family member is considered to be sexual abuse.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-NCCAN-PIQ-97-03 (9/26/97); updated 9/27/11
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - sections 3 and 111


      2. Question: Definitions are found in sections 106(b)(4), as well as in sections 3 and 111. What is the difference between the definitions found in these sections?(Updated December 13, 2011)

      Answer: The differences in the definitions found in these sections is in what they govern. The definitions of "near fatality" and "serious bodily injury" in sections 106 (b)(4) of CAPTA refer to those specific terms as used in subsection (b) of section 106 of CAPTA. For instance, whenever the terms "near fatality" or "serious bodily injury" are used in subsection (b), the definitions found in section 106(b)(4) would apply. Section 111, on the other hand, provides the broader definitions of "sexual abuse" and "infant or toddler with a disability," which are used for all other purposes of Title I of CAPTA. The definitions in section 3 provide still broader definitions such as "child abuse and neglect" and "child with a disability," which are used throughout all of CAPTA.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-NCCAN-PIQ-97-01 (3/4/97); updated 2/3/05; 12/9/11
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - sections 3, 106(b) and 111


      3. Question: Section 106(b)(2)(B)(x) of CAPTA requires a State to provide for the public disclosure of findings or information about a case of child abuse or neglect which results in a child fatality or near fatality. For the purposes of this requirement, what is considered a "near fatality"?(Updated September 28, 2011)

      Answer: A "near fatality" is defined under section 106 (b)(4)(A) as "an act that, as certified by a physician, places the child in serious or critical condition." For example, if hospital records reflect that the child's condition is "serious" or "critical," this would be considered a "near fatality" under CAPTA.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-NCCAN-PIQ-97-01 (3/4/97); updated 9/27/11
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - sections 106(b)(2)(B)(x) and (b)(4(A)


  • 3. INDEPENDENT LIVING
    • 1. Question: Does title IV-E preclude a State agency from passing on to the child title IV-E funds for his use for his maintenance in an independent living program?(Updated July 24, 2006)

      Answer: Title IV-E precludes payments made directly to the child or turned over to him by another agency for the purpose of meeting independent living costs. The eligibility of a child for title IV-E is based in part on the fact that he is placed in a family foster home or child care institution as a result of a court determination or voluntary agreement (section 472 (a)(2) of the Social Security Act (the Act)). Federal financial participation is limited to foster care maintenance payments made on behalf of a child described in section 472 (a) of the Act who is in a foster family home or in a child care institution (section 472 (b)). Both "foster family home" and "child care institution" are defined in section 472 (c). Title IV-E does not include "independent living" in these definitions, and it is not considered foster care within the meaning of the Act. Title IV-B may be an alternative source of funding for these independent living programs. Since independent living is not considered foster care, the limitations found in section 423 (c)(1)(B) of title IV-B to foster care payments would not apply.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-83-05 (10/19/83)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 423 and 472; 45 CFR 1355.20


  • 3.1A Certifications and Requirements, Youth Participation
    • 1. Question: Is there a Federal requirement for the State/Tribe to formulate a life skills assessment or enter into a personal responsibility contract with each youth receiving services under the Chafee Program?(Updated March 28, 2019)

      Answer: No. The certification at section 477(b)(3)(H) of the Act requires the State/Tribe to ensure that youth participate directly in designing their own program activities "and accept personal responsibility for living up to their part of the program." There is no specific requirement for States/Tribes to utilize life skills assessments or personal responsibility contracts to comply with this certification. However, various assessment tools and personal responsibility contracts are currently used by some States to assist youth to make the transition to adulthood and we believe that this is a good approach to determining needs and developing appropriate services.
      • Source/Date: 7/25/02; (3/28/2019)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 477(b)(3)(H) and (j)


  • 3.1C INDEPENDENT LIVING, Certifications and Requirements, Coordination
    • 1. Question: What is specifically being asked of the State/Tribe regarding the coordination requirement at 477(b)(3)(F) of the Social Security Act?(Updated March 28, 2019)

      Answer: The law requires each State/Tribe to coordinate its Independent Living Program and services with other agencies and providers that serve youth. Programs listed in the legislation (transitional living programs, abstinence education programs, local housing programs, programs for disabled youth and school-to-work programs) must be included in the State's/Tribe's coordination effort; however, we encourage States/Tribes to coordinate with an even broader range of youth-oriented agencies and programs such as health-related programs, local job training and employment programs, community colleges and youth shelters. Regulations at 45 CFR 1357 offer guidance on how to consult and coordinate with other public/private entities for the title IV-B program that might be useful in implementing the Chafee Program.
      • Source/Date: Questions and Answers on the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program; (3/28/2019)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 477(b)(3)(F) and (j); 45 CFR 1357


  • 3.1F INDEPENDENT LIVING, Certifications and Requirements, Objective Eligibility Criteria
    • 1. Question: What are the program eligibility requirements for programs and services provided by the State/Tribe?(Updated March 28, 2019)

      Answer: The State/Tribe determines, within the purposes defined in the statute at section 477(a) of the Social Security Act (the Act), the assistance and services that will be made available to all youth whom the State/Tribe defines as eligible for the program. In defining the program eligibility requirements, the State/Tribe is required: 1) to ensure that the programs serve youth of various ages and at various stages of achieving independence (section 477(b)(2)(C) of the Act); 2) to use objective criteria for determining eligibility for benefits and services under the programs (section 477(b)(2)(E) of the Act); and 3) to ensure fair and equitable treatment of benefit recipients (section 477(b)(2)(E) of the Act). The Department supports positive youth development, which values youth and an individual youth's involvement in planning his/her activities and goals. Furthermore, we view independent living as part of the developmental process critical to the well-being of all children and youth. States/Tribes are expected to develop or locate services and training that are appropriate to the individual's age, circumstances and developmental needs.
      • Source/Date: Questions and Answers on the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program; (3/28/2019)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 477(a), (b), and (j)


      2. Question: If a foster care youth is placed in another State, which State is responsible for providing the funding for Chafee Program services?(Updated March 28, 2019)

      Answer: The sending State is responsible for foster care maintenance payments, case planning, including a written description of the programs and services which will help a child 14 or over prepare for the transition from foster care to independence, as required by section 475(1)(D) of the Social Security Act (the Act) and a case review system as required by section 475(5)(C) of the Act. The sending State must also fund the identified independent living services for foster care youth ages 14-18 because the sending state has placement and care responsibility for the youth.
      • Source/Date: 7/25/02; (3/28/2019)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 475 and 477


      3. Question: If a former foster care youth moves from the State in which he or she aged out of foster care to another State, which State is responsible for providing Chafee Program services?(Updated March 28, 2019)

      Answer: Section 477(b)(3)(A) requires States to certify that they will provide assistance and federally-funded Chafee Program services to youth who have aged out of foster care and have not attained 21 years of age (or 23 as applicable). It is irrelevant where the youth "aged out" of foster care. The State in which the youth resides is responsible for services if the State provides the services needed by the youth.
      • Source/Date: 7/25/02; (3/28/2019)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 477(b)(3)(A)


      4. Question: Does marriage have any impact on a youth's eligibility for Chafee Program services?(Updated March 28, 2019)

      Answer: Section 477(b)(2)(E) of the Act requires the State/Tribe to use objective criteria for determining eligibility for the Chafee Program. The State/Tribe may decide that marriage will be considered in determining a youth's eligibility for the Chafee Program. Once the eligibility criteria are set, all youth must be treated equitably.
      • Source/Date: 7/25/02; (3/28/2019)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 477(b)(2)(E) and (j)


      5. Question: Can former foster care youth be required by the court to participate in the Chafee Program?(Updated March 28, 2019)

      Answer: The court may order a youth to participate in independent living services, however, the youth must meet the State's/Tribe's eligibility requirements to be eligible for services. Additionally, section 477(b)(3)(H) requires the State/Tribe to ensure that youth participate directly in designing their own program activities that prepare them for independent living and that the youth accept personal responsibility for living up to their part of the program. If a youth is unwilling to participate or accept personal responsibility, he/she cannot receive services.
      • Source/Date: 7/25/02; (3/28/2019)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 477(b)(3)(H) and (j)


  • 3.1G INDEPENDENT LIVING, Certifications and Requirements, Room or Board
    • 1. Question: What is meant by "room or board" as used in section 477(b)(3)(B) of the Social Security Act? Is it intended to cover all cost items included in the title IV-E foster care maintenance payment definition? Would it also include such costs as rental deposits, rent, utilities, and household start-up purchases?(Updated March 28, 2019)

      Answer: "Room or board" has no statutory definition, but typically includes shelter and food. These are the most expensive and essential items that youth over age 18 may not be able to cover with their own incomes. The term does not include all items covered by the title IV-E foster care maintenance payment definition. States/Tribes may set a reasonable definition of room or board that may include rent deposits, utilities and other household start-up purchases. In setting the definition, States/Tribes should be cautioned that the number of items that are covered in the definition of "room or board" may impact the number of youth the State/Tribe can actually assist.
      • Source/Date: Questions and Answers on the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program; (3/28/2019)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 477(b)(3)(B) and (j)


      2. Question: Does the law at 477 (b)(3)(A) and (B) of the Social Security Act (the Act) allow "room or board" payments for youth over 18 years of age who are in a higher education situation?(Updated March 28, 2019)

      Answer: Yes. The law allows it, but does not mandate it. Section 477(b)(3)(A) and (B) of the Act provide that no more than 30 percent of Federal funds from the allotted amount can be used for room or board for youth 18-21 (or 23 years of age, as applicable in a State/Tribe) who have aged out of foster care States/Tribes may set criteria for the use of these funds that may or may not include college attendance.
      • Source/Date: Questions and Answers on the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program; (3/28/2019)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 477(b)(3) and (j)


      3. Question: Can a State/Tribe provide Chafee Program funds to an organization for the purpose of acquiring real property under the statutory provision that permits limited room or board expenditures for former foster care youth between the ages of 18 and 21 (or 23 as applicable)?(Updated March 28, 2019)

      Answer: Federal funds are generally unavailable for the acquisition of real property in the absence of express statutory authority and there is no such authority in legislation. Accordingly, neither States/Tribes themselves nor the organizations they fund may purchase real property with Chafee Program funds. Additionally, States/Tribes may not use purchased property to qualify for the match to Chafee Program funds.
      • Source/Date: Questions and Answers on the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program; (3/28/2019)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 477; 42 Comptroller General 480 (1963)


      4. Question: May a State/Tribe use Chafee Program funds to provide room or board for youth (between the ages of 18-21) who voluntarily remain in foster care?(Updated March 28, 2019)

      Answer: Allowing room or board for these youth in foster care accords with the statutory purposes identified in sections 477(a)(1-5) of the Act. Therefore, it is permissible to expend Chafee Program funds for youth between the ages of 18-21 who voluntarily remain in foster care including room or board services. However, a State/Tribe may not require youth to remain in foster care over the age 18 in order to receive Chafee Program services. The certification at section 477(b)(3)(A) stipulates that the State/Tribe will serve youth who have left foster care because they aged out of foster care at age 18, 19 or 20. Requiring a youth to remain in foster care to receive services contravenes this certification. The State/Tribe must also meet the Federal non-supplantation requirement 477(d)(2) for youth over age 18. Federal funds spent for room or board for youth over age 18 both in and out of foster care, are subject to the 30 percent expenditure limitation found at section 477(b)(3)(B).
      • Source/Date: 7/25/02; (3/28/2019)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 477


  • 3.1H INDEPENDENT LIVING, Certifications and Requirements, Training
    • 1. Question: What funds under section 477(b)(3)(D) of the Social Security Act (the Act) will be used for training the individuals listed there and whose responsibility is it to train them?(Updated March 28, 2019)

      Answer: The certification at section 477(b)(3)(D) of the Act requires the State or Tribe receiving Chafee funds to train the categories of people enumerated therein and to utilize the funds that are available for this purpose. The funds specified at section 474(a)(3) of the Act are the administrative dollars which can be claimed for such training. Under that section of the Act, the cost of training certain individuals is reimbursable from title IV-E administrative funds at the rate of up to 75 percent Federal Financial Participation (FFP). If the State/Tribe with an approved title IV-E plan contracts with private entities to perform case management functions, it may claim the percent reimbursement permitted by statute for training the contractor's staff to perform the contracted functions. The certification for training in the Chafee Program simply adds independent living training to the pool of allowable title IV-E training activities; it has no general impact on the FFP match for training costs. In addition, regulations at 45 CFR 1356.60(b)(2) require that all training activities and costs funded under title IV-E shall be included in the title IV-E agency's training plan for title IV-B.
      • Source/Date: Questions and Answers on the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program; revised 08/31/09; (3/28/2019)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 474(a)(3), 477(b)(3)(D), and (j); 45 CFR 1356.60(b)(2)


      2. Question: Does the law permit training to be directly charged to title IV-E or must the training costs be cost allocated?(Updated September 1, 2009)

      Answer: States and Tribes receiving Chafee funds should treat independent living training for foster parents, adoptive parents, case managers and workers in group homes on independent living issues like any other training costs under title IV-E and allocate appropriately.
      • Source/Date: Questions and Answers on the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program; revised 08/31/09
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 477 and 474; 45 CFR 235, 45 CFR 1356.60


      3. Question: May States claim the costs of training foster parents under their Chafee Program funds?(Updated March 28, 2019)

      Answer: No.The certification at 477(b)(3)(D) specifies that States "will use training funds provided under the program of Federal payments for foster care and adoption assistance" to provide training including training on youth development to help foster parents, adoptive parents, workers in group homes, and case managers understand and address issues confronting youth preparing for a successful transition to adulthood and making a permanent connection with a caring adult. Since the statute expressly directs that title IV-E administrative funds be used for training, Chafee funds are not permitted for this use.
      • Source/Date: 7/25/02; (3/28/2019)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 477(b)(3)(D)


  • 3.1I INDEPENDENT LIVING, Certifications and Requirements, Tribal
    • 3. Question: How will the State document its compliance with the requirements to consult and coordinate with the Tribes?(Updated March 28, 2019)

      Answer: Section 477(b)(3)(G) of the Social Security Act requires the CEO of the State to certify that the State has consulted with every Tribe within the State and provide any additional information that the Secretary may require.
      • Source/Date: Questions and Answers on the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program; (3/28/2019)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 477(b)(3)(G)


  • 3.3B INDEPENDENT LIVING, Fiscal, Allocations
    • 1. Question: Will the Department allow reallocation of State unspent funds to other States that could match the additional amount?(Updated July 31, 2002)

      Answer: Section 477(d)(4) of the statute, enacted by the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Act, provides for the reallocation of CFCIP funds for which States have not applied. If a State does not apply for its entire CFCIP allocation in a given year, the funds will be reallocated to other States. The Department will give further guidance and instructions in its yearly program instruction regarding funding and State plan updates.
      • Source/Date: 7/25/02
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act 477; Public Law 107-133


  • 3.3C INDEPENDENT LIVING, Fiscal, Match
    • 2. Question: Can in-kind expenditures related to room and board for qualified youth be used as State match just like any other in-kind expenditure or will there be limitations on in-kind expenditures for room and board?(Updated November 2, 2016)

      Answer: The current Chafee Foster Care Independence Program follows the regulations at 45 CFR Part 75, Uniform Administrative Requirements ...for HHS Awards. These regulations define in-kind match, its uses and its prohibitions. When "room and board" was not allowed, those expenditures could not to be used for matching purposes. Now that "room and board" is allowed, such expenditures may be used as a match. Note: This answer previously referenced 45 CFR Part 92. 45 CFR Part 75 supersedes 45 CFR Part 92 effective December 26, 2014 (79 FR 75871 , Dec. 19, 2014).
      • Source/Date: Questions and Answers on the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (updated 11/2/2016)
      • Legal and Related References: 45 CFR Part 75; 79 FR 75871, Dec. 19, 2014; 81 FR 3022, Jan. 20, 2016


      4. Question: Private agencies have stepped forward to offer CFCIP training at no cost to the State. Can the State use private agency provided training as its State match?(Updated November 2, 2016)

      Answer: There are two types of training offered pursuant to Chafee, each with different match requirements. Section 477(b)(3)(D) requires training for foster and adoptive parents, case managers and workers in group homes on topics and issues confronting adolescents preparing for independent living to conform to section 474(a)(3)(A) and (B) of the Social Security Act. Longstanding Federal policy prohibits third party, in-kind contributions from qualifying as the State share under Federal matching requirements for the title IV-E program. The second category of training under CFCIP is for youth who are participating in the program. Training provided to these youth is a service within the purposes of section 477 of the Act. The match requirements for section 477 are codified at 45 CFR 75.306 and permit the use of third party, in- kind contributions. Note: This answer previously referenced 45 CFR Part 92. 45 CFR Part 75 supersedes 45 CFR Part 92 effective December 26, 2014 (79 FR 75871, Dec. 19, 2014).
      • Source/Date: 7/25/02 (revised 11/2/2016)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 477(b)(3)(D), section 474 of the Social Security Act, 45 CFR Part 9275, 79 FR 75871, Dec. 19, 2014; 81 FR 3022, Jan. 20, 2016; Child Welfare Policy Manual, Section 8.1F


  • 3.4 INDEPENDENT LIVING, Related Foster Care Requirements
    • 2. Question: What is the definition of "foster care" to be used in connection with the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program?(Updated July 31, 2002)

      Answer: In general, the definition of foster care at 45 CFR 1355.20 applies. It defines foster care as "24 hour substitute care for all children placed away from their parents or guardians and for whom the State agency has placement and care responsibility..." However, in light of the requirement from the Social Security Act in section 477(b)(3)(G) that States make benefits and services available to Indian children on the same basis as other children in the State, children in Tribal or BIA placements who are otherwise eligible are considered to have been "in foster care" for purposes of this program.
      • Source/Date: 7/25/02
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 477(b)(3)(G), 45 CFR 1355.20


  • 3.5E Independent Living, Educational and Training Vouchers, Match
    • 1. Question: Can non-State funds (e.g., private dollars, in-kind) be used to match the voucher funds?(Updated November 2, 2016)

      Answer: Yes. States may use third-party, in-kind sources to match Chafee funds consistent with 45 CFR Part 75.306. Note: This answer previously referenced 45 CFR Part 92. 45 CFR Part 75 supersedes 45 CFR Part 92 effective December 26, 2014 (79 FR 75871, Dec. 19, 2014).
      • Source/Date: 4/4/05 (revised 11/2/2016)
      • Legal and Related References: 45 CFR Part 75; 79 FR 75871, Dec. 19, 201492; 81 FR 3022, Jan. 20, 2016


      2. Question: Must State or in-kind funds used to match the voucher program follow the same program rules as the Federal dollars?(Updated November 2, 2016)

      Answer: Yes. States may not use matching funds for unallowable costs of the voucher program or to otherwise serve youth who are ineligible for the vouchers in accordance with 45 CFR 75.306. Note: This answer previously referenced 45 CFR Part 92. 45 CFR Part 75 supersedes 45 CFR Part 92 effective December 26, 2014 (79 FR 75871, Dec. 19, 2014).
      • Source/Date: 4/4/05 (revised 11/2/2016)
      • Legal and Related References: 45 CFR Part 75; 79 FR 75871, Dec. 19, 2014; 81 FR 3022, Jan. 20, 2016


  • 4.1 MEPA/IEAP, Diligent Recruitment
    • 1. Question: Can you give us some guidance with respect to satisfying the diligent recruitment requirements of the Multiethnic Placement Act (MEPA)?(Updated July 27, 2010)

      Answer: As recognized in the MEPA, in order to achieve timely and appropriate placement of all children, placement agencies need an adequate pool of families capable of promoting each child's development and case goals. This requires that each agency's recruitment process focuses on developing a pool of potential foster and adoptive parents willing and able to foster or adopt the children needing placement. The failure to conduct recruitment in a manner that seeks to provide all children with the opportunity for placement, and all qualified members of the community an opportunity to adopt is inconsistent with the goals of MEPA and could create circumstances which would constitute a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and section 471(a)(18) of the Social Security Act. An adequate recruitment process has a number of features. Recruitment efforts should be designed to provide to potential foster and adoptive parents throughout the community information about the characteristics and needs of the available children, the nature of the foster care and adoption processes, and the supports available to foster and adoptive families. Both general and targeted recruiting are important. Reaching all members of the community requires use of general media--radio, television, and print. In addition, information should be disseminated to targeted communities through community organizations, such as religious institutions and neighborhood centers. The dissemination of information is strengthened when agencies develop partnerships with groups from the communities from which children come, to help identify and support potential foster and adoptive families and to conduct activities which made the waiting children more visible. To meet MEPA's diligent efforts requirements, an agency should have a comprehensive recruitment plan that includes: 1) a description of the characteristics of waiting children; 2) specific strategies to reach all parts of the community; 3) diverse methods of disseminating both general and child specific information; 4) strategies for assuring that all prospective parents have access to the home study process, including location and hours of services that facilitate access by all members of the community; 5) strategies for training staff to work with diverse cultural, racial, and economic communities; 6) strategies for dealing with linguistic barriers; 7) non-discriminatory fee structures, and 8) procedures for a timely search for prospective parents for a waiting child, including the use of exchanges and other interagency efforts, provided that such procedures must insure that placement of a child in an appropriate household is not delayed by the search for a same race or ethnic placement. Agencies receiving Federal funds may not use standards related to income, age, education, family structure, and size or ownership of housing, which include groups of prospective parents on the basis of race, color, or national origin, where those standards are arbitrary or unnecessary or where less exclusionary standards are available.
      • Source/Date:
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - Section 471(a)(18); The Multiethnic Placement Act (MEPA) of 1994 (PL 103-382); Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; The Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-188).


      2. Question: Is it permissible under the Multiethnic Placement Act (MEPA) to target minority families that are representative of the children in foster care in our recruitment of potential foster and adoptive parents?(Updated July 30, 2010)

      Answer: To comply with the "diligent recruitment" provision, MEPA allows for targeted recruitment to increase the number of minority families in the pool of families available to provide adoptive or foster family homes. A title IV-E agency may conduct targeted recruitment activities for a special population itself and/or it may utilize the services of a private recruitment agency based on that agency's understanding of the needs of a specific community. However, targeted recruitment activities cannot be the only vehicle used by a title IV-E agency for identifying families for minority children. The overall recruitment program of the title IV-E agency must be open to all qualified families regardless of race, color, or national origin.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PI-95-23 (10/11/95) (revised 07/14/10)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 422(b)(9); The Multiethnic Placement Act (MEPA) of 1994 (PL 103-382); The Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996 (PL104-188)


  • 4.2 MEPA/IEAP, Enforcement of Section 471 (a)(18) of the SSA
    • 1. Question: What criteria will be used to determine if a violation of section 471(a)(18) of the Act has occurred?(Updated July 30, 2010)

      Answer: We have not developed any specific "criteria" for determining if a violation of section 471(a)(18) of the Social Security Act (the Act) has occurred. We will determine on a case-by-case basis whether the title IV-E agency has delayed or denied a child's adoptive or foster care placement or denied a person the opportunity to become an adoptive or foster parent based on race, color, or national origin. It is impossible to define every situation and circumstance that would result in a civil rights violation. Thus, the ACF Regional office will review the specific facts of each case to determine if a title IV-E agency or entity is in violation of section 471(a)(18) or if a policy or practice is consistent with previously issued guidance.
      • Source/Date: Preamble to the Final Rule (65 FR 4020) (1/25/00) (revised 07/14/10)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 471 (a)(18); 45 CFR 1355.38


      2. Question: Section 474(a) of the Social Security Act restricts the application of penalties for MEPA violations to one fiscal year. By what authority can ACF continue a penalty into the next fiscal year?(Updated July 30, 2010)

      Answer: The regulations do not provide for a continuation of a penalty into the subsequent fiscal year if a title IV-E agency fails to come into compliance. ACF may and has the authority to initiate a full or partial review in a subsequent fiscal year for those title IV-E agencies that are in violation of section 471(a)(18) of the Act and have failed to complete corrective action to come into compliance. Thus, any statute, regulation, policy, procedure or practice that remains uncorrected from a previous fiscal year may result in a new finding of a violation of noncompliance with section 471(a)(18) of the Act. We will not disregard an uncorrected violation simply because a fiscal year has ended. It is part of the Department's oversight responsibility to ensure that all title IV-E agencies are in compliance with section 471(a)(18) of the Act at any given time and any uncorrected violation may be subject to a review at the beginning of a new fiscal year.
      • Source/Date: Preamble to the Final Rule (65 FR 4020) (1/25/00) (revised 07/14/10)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 471 (a)(18); 45 CFR 1355.38


      3. Question: Does section 471(a)(18) of the Social Security Act (the Act) apply to a private international adoption agency that receives Federal funds, but not title IV-E funds?(Updated July 30, 2010)

      Answer: No. Section 471(a)(18) of the Act is a title IV-E plan requirement. Therefore, private agencies that do not receive title IV-E funds are not subject to the title IV-E plan provisions, even if such agencies receive Federal funds from a source other than title IV-E and are involved in adoption or foster care placements of any type. However, these private agencies still must ensure that they do not violate Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI) by delaying or denying a foster care or adoption placement decision on the basis of race, color or national origin (Section 1808(c) of Public Law 104-188). Title IV-E agencies should note that all entities, both public and private, that receive any Federal funds, regardless of the source, and regardless of whether those funds are used for child welfare purposes, must comply with title VI. Title VI broadly prohibits all federally funded entities from discriminating, denying benefits or excluding an individual from participating in an activity or program on the basis of race, color, or national origin. The U.S. Department for Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces title VI. For more information on Title VI, please refer to the OCR Title VI fact sheet: https://archive.hhs.gov/ocr/title6.html.
      • Source/Date: 12/31/07 (revised 07/14/10)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act section 471(a)(18); P.L. 104-188 section 1808(c)


  • 4.3 MEPA/IEAP, Guidance for Compliance
    • 7. Question: May public agencies decline to transracially place any child with a foster/adoptive parent who has unsatisfactory cultural competency skills?(Updated December 30, 2002)

      Answer: Good practice requires an assessment of the capacity of potential foster/adoptive parents to accommodate all the needs of a particular child. It is conceivable that in a particular instance race, color or national origin would be a necessary consideration to achieve the best interests of the child. However, any placement decision must take place in a framework that assesses the strengths and weaknesses of prospective parents to meet all of a child's needs so as to provide for the child's best interests. Prospective parents should be offered, typically through training provided by an agency, information sufficient to confirm or broaden their understanding of what types of children for whom they might most appropriately provide a home.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-IM-98-03 (5/11/98)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - Titles IV-B and IV-E; The Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996 (PL104-188); The Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994 (PL 103-382)


      8. Question: How can public agencies assure themselves that they have identified an appropriate placement for a child for whom racial, national origin, ethnic and/or cultural needs have been documented?(Updated July 30, 2010)

      Answer: Adoption agencies must consider all factors that may contribute to a good placement decision for a child, and that may affect whether a particular placement is in the best interests of the child. Such agencies may assure themselves of the fitness of their work in a number of ways, including case review conferences with supervisors, peer reviews, judicial oversight, and quality control measures employed by title IV-E agencies and licensing authorities. In some instances it is conceivable that, for a particular child, race, color or national origin would be such a factor. Permanency being the sine qua non of adoptive placements, monitoring the rates of disruption or dissolution of adoptions would also be appropriate. Where it has been established that considerations of race, color or national origin are necessary to achieve the best interests of a child, such factor(s) should be included in the agency's decision-making, and would appropriately be included in reviews and quality control measures such as those described above.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-IM-98-03 (5/11/98)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - Titles IV-B and IV-E; The Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996 (PL104-188); The Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994 (PL 103-382)


      9. Question: May a home finding agency that contracts with a public agency, but that does not place children, recommend only homes that match the race of the foster or adoptive parent to that of a child in need of placement?(Updated July 30, 2010)

      Answer: No. A public agency may contract with a home finding agency to assist with overall recruitment efforts. Some home finding agencies may be used because of their special knowledge and/or understanding of a specific community and may even be included in a public agency's targeted recruitment efforts. Targeted recruitment cannot be the only vehicle used by a title IV-E agency to identify families for children in care, or any subset of children in care, e.g., older or minority children. Additionally, a home finding agency must consider and include any interested person who responds to its recruitment efforts.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-IM-98-03 (5/11/98) (revised 07/14/10)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - Titles IV-B and IV-E; The Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996 (PL104-188); The Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994 (PL 103-382)


      13. Question: Please provide examples of what is meant by delay and denial of placement in foster care, excluding situations involving adoption.(Updated July 30, 2010)

      Answer: Following are some examples of delay or denial in foster care placements: 1) A white newborn baby's foster placement is delayed because the social worker is unable to find a white foster home; the infant is kept in the hospital longer than would otherwise be necessary and is ultimately placed in a group home rather than being placed in a foster home with a minority family. 2) A minority relative with guardianship over four black children expressly requests that the children be allowed to remain in the care of a white neighbor in whose care the children are left. The title IV-E agency denies the white neighbor a restricted foster care license, which will enable her to care for the children. The agency's license denial is based on its decision that the best interests of the children require a same-race placement, which will delay the permanent foster care placement. There was no individualized assessment or evaluation indicating that a same-race placement is actually in the best interests of the children. 3) Six minority children require foster placement, preferably in a family foster home. Only one minority foster home is available; it is only licensed to care for two children. The children remain in emergency shelter until the agency can recertify and license the home to care for the six children. The children remain in an emergency shelter even though a white foster home with capacity and a license to care for six children is available. 4) Different standards may be applied in licensing white versus minority households resulting in delay or denial of the opportunity to be foster parents. 5) Foster parent applicants are discouraged from applying because they are informed that waiting children are of a different race. 6) There are placement delays and denials when title IV-E agencies expend time seeking to honor the requests of biological parents that foster parents be of the same race as the child.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-IM-98-03 (5/11/98) (revised 07/14/10)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - Titles IV-B and IV-E; The Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996 (PL104-188); The Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994 (PL 103-382)


  • 5.2 MONITORING, Title IV-E Eligibility Reviews
    • 2. Question: Since only States, and not tribes, are reviewed, how do we assure that title IV-E eligibility requirements are met for children served by the tribes in foster care?(Updated January 25, 2006)

      Answer: States and tribes that enter into agreements whereby the tribes access title IV-E foster care maintenance payments for children must determine between themselves how the roles and responsibilities for meeting title IV-E requirements will be shared. While tribes that enter into such agreements with States have the latitude to develop their own procedures for satisfying title IV-E requirements, the State child welfare agency is ultimately responsible for the proper administration of the title IV-E program and for assuring compliance. Children served by tribes who are receiving title IV-E foster care maintenance payments as part of a State/tribal agreement will be included in the sample of cases reviewed.
      • Source/Date: Questions and Answers on the Final Rule (65 FR 4020) (1/25/00)
      • Legal and Related References: 45 CFR 1356.71


  • 6.3A Federal data
    • 1. Question: What federal data are required to be maintained in CCWIS per paragraph 1355.52(b)?(Updated January 11, 2017)

      Answer: The federal data required to be maintained in CCWIS are described in federal child welfare laws and policies. Because the required federal data may change as laws and policies change, paragraph 1355.52(b) lists categories of data from these laws and policies rather than specify a comprehensive set of federal data. ACF will use the federal laws, regulations, and policies effective at the time of a CCWIS review to determine compliance with paragraph 1355.52(b). Below are examples of required federal data, based on laws and policies in effect at the time the CCWIS final rule was published. Examples of federal data required to be maintained in CCWIS for ongoing federal child welfare reports include:
      • All AFCARS data;
      • For state title IV-E agencies, NYTD case management data must be maintained in CCWIS, although NYTD outcomes information collected from periodic surveys may be maintained in external systems;
      • Financial information for the CB-496, such as training costs, demonstration project costs, and administrative costs may be maintained in a separate financial system that exchanges data with CCWIS per paragraph 1355.52 (e)(1)(i). Other data, such as the average monthly number of children receiving title IV-E Foster Care maintenance assistance payments, may be derived from CCWIS case management and placement records.
      Examples of federal data required for title IV-E eligibility determinations, authorizations of services, and expenditures under titles IV-B and IV-E include:
      • Data necessary for title IV-E eligibility determinations includes data such as the factors used to demonstrate the child would qualify for AFDC under the 1996 plan, placement licensing and background check information, and court findings.
      • Data required for authorizations of services and other expenditures under titles IV-B and IV-E includes data such as documentation of services authorized, records that the services were delivered, payments processed, and payment status, including whether the payment will be allocated to one or more federal, state, or tribal programs for reimbursement, and the payment amount allocated.
      • Financial information may be maintained in a financial system exchanging data with CCWIS.
      Examples of federal data documenting interactions with and on behalf of clients that the title IV-E agency determines is needed to support federal child welfare laws, regulations, and policies include:
      • case management information,
      • recommended services,
      • placement data, and
      • licensing information on foster care providers.
      Examples of federal case management data collected in the course of casework with clients that may be needed for a Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) includes:
      • abuse and neglect reports,
      • case plans, and
      • placement histories.

      • Source/Date: 10/27/2016
      • Legal and Related References: Section 474(a)(3)(C)(i) of the Social Security Act; 45 CFR 1355.52(b); 81 FR 35450 at35454 - 35455 (issued June 2, 2016); 80 FR 48200 at 48206 - 48207 (issued August 11, 2016); ACYF-CB-PI-10-04 (issued April 2, 2010)


  • 6.6D External child welfare systems
    • 3. Question: If a title IV-E agency operating a CCWIS wants to exchange data with the National Electronic Interstate Compact Enterprise (NEICE) Case Management System (CMS) is a bidirectional data exchange required, per paragraph 1355.52(e)(1)(iv)?(Updated February 12, 2018)

      Answer: Yes. A bi-directional data exchange is required because the NEICE CMS is considered an external system to CCWIS, per paragraph 1355.52(e)(1)(iv).
      • Source/Date: 11/07/16
      • Legal and Related References: 45 CFR 1355.52(e)(1)(iv); 81 FR 35450 at 35463 - 35464 (June 2, 2016); 80 FR 48200 at 48212 (issued August 11, 2016)


      4. Question: Would a web-portal external to CCWIS that is used to enter information that is then sent to the National Electronic Interstate Compact Enterprise (NEICE) Clearinghouse comply with the CCWIS bi-directional data exchange requirements?(Updated February 12, 2018)

      Answer: No. CCWIS bi-direction data exchanges must be capable of both sending data to, and receiving data from the other system. A web-portal used by child welfare workers only to access the NEICE Clearinghouse does not meet the automation requirements for CCWIS data exchanges.
      • Source/Date: 11/07/16
      • Legal and Related References: 45 CFR 1355.52(e)(1)(iv); 81 FR 35450 at 35463 - 35464 (June 2, 2016); 80 FR 48200 at 48211 - 48212 (issued August 11, 2016); Action Transmittal ACF-OSS-05 (issued August 21, 1998)


      5. Question: If a county has a contract with a child welfare contributing agency (CWCA), may the required bi-directional data exchange with CCWIS "go through" a county system?(Updated February 12, 2018)

      Answer: Yes, with ACF approval.This question and answer is repeated in the child welfare contributing agencies section.
      • Source/Date: 4/24/2017
      • Legal and Related References: 45 CFR 1355.52(e)(1)(ii), (iv); 81 FR 35450 at 35463 - 35464 (issued June 2, 2016); 80 FR 48200 at 48212 (issued August 11, 2015); CWPM 6.1 #3 and 6.6D #1 and #2.


  • 6.15 Transition Period
    • 24. Question: If ACF approves a title IV-E agency'''s plan to transition an existing system to CCWIS prior to July 31, 2018, must all development work done after ACF''s approval comply with the CCWIS design requirements of 1355.53(a)?(Updated December 5, 2018)

      Answer: No. A title IV-E agency?s compliance with CCWIS design requirements is based on the transition period end date of July 31, 2018, not the date of ACF?s approval of the plan to transition an existing system to CCWIS. Development work completed on a transitioning system on or before July 31, 2018 is exempt from the CCWIS design requirements of paragraph 1355.53(a). Development work performed on a transitioning system after July 31, 2018 must meet the CCWIS design requirements unless exempted by 1355.52(b)(2), pursuant to paragraph 1355.57(a). This question and answer is repeated in the automated function requirements section.nts section.
      • Source/Date: 02/12/2018
      • Legal and Related References: 45 CFR 1355.52(i)(1); 45 CFR 1355.53; 45 CFR 1355.57(a); 81 FR 35450 at 35467 ? 35471 and 35473 ? 35474 (issued June 2, 2016); 80 FR 48200 at 48216 ? 48218 and 48220 ? 48221 (issued August 11, 2015)


  • 7.2 TITLE IV-B, Confidentiality
    • 1. Question: What are the title IV-B confidentiality requirements?(Updated September 28, 2011)

      Answer: In accordance with 45 CFR 1355.30 (p)(3) records maintained under title IV-B of the Act are subject to the confidentiality provisions in 45 CFR 205.50. Among other things, 45 CFR 205.50 restricts the release or use of information concerning individuals receiving financial assistance under the programs governed by this provision to certain persons or agencies that require the information for specified purposes. The authorized recipients of this information are in turn subject to the same confidentiality standards as the agencies administering those programs. To the extent that the records of the title IV-B agency contain information regarding child abuse and neglect reports and records, such information is subject to the confidentiality requirements at section 106 of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA).
      • Source/Date: ACYF-NCCAN-PIQ-97-03 (9/27/97); ACYF-CB-PIQ-98-01 (6/29/98); updated 9/27/11
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 471 (a)(8); 45 CFR 205.50Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - sections 106 (b)(2)(B) (viii), (ix), and (x) and 106(c)(4)(B)


      5. Question: Will States compromise compliance with title IV-B of the Social Security Act if they comply with the confidentiality requirements in sections 106 (b)(2)(B)(viii), (ix), and (x) of CAPTA?(Updated September 28, 2011)

      Answer: Records maintained under title IV-B (which is subject to the Department's confidentiality provisions in 45 CFR 205.50) are to be safeguarded against unauthorized disclosure. The regulation at 45 CFR 205.50 states that the release or use of information concerning individuals applying for or receiving financial assistance is restricted to certain persons or agencies that require it for specified purposes. Such recipients of information are in turn subject to standards of confidentiality comparable to those of the agency administering the financial assistance programs. There may be instances where CPS information is subject both to disclosure requirements under CAPTA and to the confidentiality requirements under 45 CFR 205.50. To the extent that the CAPTA provisions require disclosure (such as in section 106 (b)(2)(B)(ix), the CAPTA disclosure provision would prevail in the event of a conflict since the CAPTA confidentiality provisions were most recently enacted. Whereas the CAPTA provision is permissive (such as in sections 106 (b)(2)(B)(viii)(I)-(VI)), it allows States to disclose such information without violating CAPTA, but it does not make such disclosure permissible in other programs if it is not otherwise allowed under the other program's governing statute or regulations.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-NCCAN-PIQ-97-03 (9/26/97); updated 9/27/11
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - section 106


      6. Question: Some States have enacted laws that allow open courts for juvenile protection proceedings, including child in need of protection or services hearings, termination of parental rights hearings, long-term foster care hearings and in courts where dependency petitions are heard. Questions have arisen about whether courts that are open to the public and allow a verbal exchange of confidential information meet the confidentiality requirements under title IV-B. Do the confidentiality provisions for title IV-B restrict the information that can be discussed in open court?(Updated June 19, 2008)

      Answer: No. Section 471(c) of the Social Security Act allows States to set their own policies relating to public access to court proceedings to determine child abuse and neglect or other court hearings held pursuant to titles IV-B or IV-E. Such policies must, at a minimum, ensure the safety and well-being of the child, his or her parents and family.
      • Source/Date: 06/19/08
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 471 (a)(8) and (c)


  • 7.3 TITLE IV-B, Programmatic Requirements
    • 1. Question: For what population of children must the section 422 protections be provided?(Updated February 16, 2009)

      Answer: Section 422 of the Social Security Act requires that all of the protections set forth therein be provided to all children in foster care. "Foster care" is defined at 45 CFR 1355.20 as: "24 hour substitute care for all children placed away from their parents or guardians and for whom the State agency has placement and care responsibility. This includes but is not limited to foster family homes, foster homes of relatives, group homes, emergency shelters, residential facilities, child-care institutions, and pre-adoptive homes regardless of whether the foster care facility is licensed and whether payments are made by the State or local agency for the care of the child or whether there is Federal matching of any payments that are made." Situations exist in which a child who, while s/he may have been removed from her/his home and placed in 24 hour substitute care, is not considered to be in "foster care" because of the nature of the facility in which s/he is placed. In accordance with the statute, we have not considered detention facilities, forestry camps, training schools, facilities that are primarily for the detention of children who are adjudicated delinquent, and facilities like medical or psychiatric hospitals as foster care placements. Therefore, children placed in facilities of the type described here are not, by definition, in foster care and the State is not required to provide the protections to them while they are placed in such facilities.
      • Source/Date: Questions and Answers on the Final Rule (65 FR 4020) (1/25/00)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 422 (22); 45 CFR 1355.20


      3. Question: Will States jeopardize their title IV-B funding if they choose not to apply for the CAPTA Basic State Grant (BSG)?(Updated September 28, 2011)

      Answer: No. A State's IV-B funding will not be affected if it does not apply for a CAPTA BSG. In order to receive CAPTA BSG funds, States must provide an assurance in their CAPTA Plans that the child abuse and neglect projects the State is funding under title IV-B comply with the CAPTA Plan (section 106 (b)(2)(E)). If a State does not apply for the CAPTA BSG, there would not be a CAPTA Plan, nor any such assurance.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-NCCAN-PIQ-97-01 (3/4/97) updated 9/27/11
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - section 106


  • 7.4 TITLE IV-B, Use of Funds
    • 1. Question: May States use title IV-B funds to pay for adoptive parents to attend adoption conferences?(Updated February 22, 2007)

      Answer: States may utilize title IV-B funds for purposes consistent with those specified in section 421 of the Social Security Act. This may include paying for the costs of adoptive parents' attendance at conferences which have training components or which include discussions of significant issues covering adoption and the needs of children. Costs for adoptive parents to attend such conferences under title IV-B would be reimbursable at the 75% matching rate (section 424(a)). The placement of children in adoptive homes when they cannot return to their biological family is an essential child welfare service. Today's emphasis on placing children with special needs in adoption poses many problems and needs for adoptive parents. By attending and participating in conferences which have training components related to adoption and discussions of adoption issues, adoptive parents may better learn how to deal with special problems and enhance their parenting skills by sharing experiences with others in similar circumstances. Active participation of adoptive parents in such conferences may result in improved adoption planning and policy development through their advisory relationships with public agencies, and thereby assist in extending and strengthening adoption services to children and adoptive parents.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-82-03 (10/14/82)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 421 and 424(a).


      2. Question: Is foster parent insurance allowable as an administrative cost under title IV-B?(Updated February 22, 2007)

      Answer: This cost may be claimed under title IV-B, but is included in the limitation on maintenance expenditures described in section 424(c)of the Act because "liability insurance" is not considered to be a service and is primarily related to foster care maintenance. However, States may select Insurance protection for foster parents as an activity to be funded under the Social Services Block Grant (amended title XX). The State chooses the title of the Social Security Act under which it will claim Federal financial participation (FFP) in the costs of insurance. Some States include payment for insurance coverage in the monthly foster care payment to foster parents; others provide the protection through a group insurance policy or through the State's self-insuring procedures. Using self-insurance, the State may be able to provide broad coverage at low cost.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-82-04 (1/29/82)
      • Legal and Related References: : Social Security Act - sections 424(a) and (c), 475 (4)


      3. Question: There appears to be no agreement between insurers on the meaning of "liability insurance". Is the interpretation to include coverage of damages to the home or property of the foster parents as well as coverage for harm done by the child to another party, or accidental harm done by the foster parents to the child?(Updated February 22, 2007)

      Answer: The terminology may be misleading, because foster parents are interested in more than "liability insurance". The correct interpretation includes coverage of damages to the home or property of the foster parents, as well as liability for harm done by the child to another party. In addition, protection against suit for possible malpractice or situations such as alienation of affection are often realistic concerns of persons who care for the children of others. Several States have responded to these concerns by providing coverage for foster parents under a "pooled" liability program which provides in effect a self-insurance for departments of State government. Other States have legislated or otherwise defined foster parents as employees or as persons acting on behalf of the State, thus providing protection to those persons for claims made against them as agents of the State. Some States have purchased insurance coverage for foster parents, although the policies available often do not cover all of the risks incurred.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-82-04 (1/29/82)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 424(a)


  • 8.1 TITLE IV-E, Administrative Functions/Costs
    • 1. Question: Is the cost of conducting criminal records checks for prospective foster and adoptive parents an allowable administrative cost under title IV-E?(Updated February 25, 2009)

      Answer: The regulations at section 1356.60 (c)(2) allow States to claim costs associated with recruitment and licensing as administrative costs under title IV-E. Since the criminal records check provision is a condition of licensure or approval in States that do not opt out of the provision, costs associated with criminal records checks for prospective foster and adoptive parents are allowable under title IV-E when claimed pursuant to an approved cost allocation plan.
      • Source/Date: Preamble to the Final Rule (65 FR 4020) (6/14/90)
      • Legal and Related References: 45 CFR 1356.30 and 1356.60 (ACYF-CB-PA-90-01)


      7. Question: May a title IV-E agency claim title IV-E foster care administrative costs for the identification of sex trafficking and for associated case management as administration in accordance with sections 471(a)(9) and (34) of the Social Security Act (Act)?(Updated January 13, 2016)

      Answer: Yes. Allowable costs for title IV-E administration under sections 471(a)(9) and (34) of the Act may be claimed on behalf of any child or youth in the placement, care or supervision of the title IV-E agency who is at-risk of becoming a sex trafficking victim or who is determined as a sex trafficking victim in accordance with section 471(a)(9) of the Act. This includes those individuals not removed from home; those who have run away from foster care and are under age 18 or such higher age elected under section 475(8) of the Act; and youth not in foster care who are receiving services under the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP), and at the option of the agency, youth under age 26 who were or were never in foster care. In general, the title IV-E administrative costs that are allowable for this population of children and youth to implement these provisions are those necessary for the title IV-E agency to administer the title IV-E plan requirements in sections 471(a)(9) and 471(a)(34) of the Act. This consists of the following activities (or those closely related) that are title IV-E allowable as administration related to victims of sex trafficking beginning in federal fiscal year (FFY) 2015: • Developing and implementing policies and procedures to identify, document in agency records, and determine appropriate services for victims of sex trafficking; • Conducting sex trafficking screenings and documenting victims of sex trafficking in agency files; • Determining appropriate services for individuals identified as such victims, including referrals to services; and • Completing reports required for law enforcement and ACF of children or youth who the agency identifies as being a sex trafficking victim. Title IV-E agencies may also claim allowable title IV-E administrative costs on behalf of any child missing from foster care for the purpose of administering section 471(a)(35) of the Act. This would include developing and implementing protocols to locate and assess children missing from foster care, including screening the child to identify if the child is a possible sex trafficking victim. Since the title IV-E agency is not limited to performing the activities described above on behalf of individuals meeting title IV-E eligibility requirements, there is no need to apply a title IV-E foster care participation rate in allocating allowable administrative costs to the title IV-E foster care program. Title IV-E funding may not be claimed for the costs of conducting investigations of allegations of sex trafficking or other forms of child abuse or neglect or for providing social services, such as counseling or treatment, to victims of sex trafficking or other children or youth.
      • Source/Date: 8/26/15
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - Sections 471(a)(9) and (34)


  • 8.1B TITLE IV-E, Administrative Functions/Costs, Allowable Costs - Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program
    • 1. Question: Please clarify those pre-placement administrative activities that are considered a service and, therefore, not claimable under title IV-E from those that are allowable administrative functions.(Updated July 24, 2006)

      Answer: A State may claim for any allowable title IV-E administrative cost that comports with or is closely related to one of the listed activities at 45 CFR 1356.60(c)(2). Allowable costs related to pre-placement activities may include the determination of eligibility, preparation for placement, placement and referral costs before the child is placed in foster care. The administrative costs of referral to service providers (45 CFR 1356.60 (c)(2)(i)) are only for those referrals specifically designed to further the statutory goal of reasonable efforts to prevent removal in section 471(a)(15)(B)(i) of the Social Security Act. Referral to services is limited to the activities of the caseworker and the caseworker's supervisor and does not include investigations or physical or mental examinations or evaluations. The costs of services related to the prevention of placement are not foster care administrative costs and are therefore not reimbursable. A State's cost allocation plan must identify the costs that are allocated and claimed under the program. Costs that are not reimbursable (under 45 CFR 1356.60 (c)(3)) include those for social services which provide counseling or other treatment to the child, his family, or foster family to remedy home conditions, personal problems or behaviors. Examples of non-reimbursable services include counseling, homemaker or housing services and assisting in reuniting families. These services are not reimbursable regardless of the credentials or training of the provider, e.g., these services provided by a caseworker are unallowable. Further, they are not reimbursable regardless of whether they are provided on a single occasion or as part of a series. Allowable costs associated with preparation for and participation in judicial determinations (45 CFR 1356.60 (c)(2)(ii)) are limited to the preparation of reports to the court and participation in court proceedings by State or local agency personnel.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-85-01 (11/18/85); ACYF-CB-PA-87-05 (10/22/87); 7/7/2006
      • Legal and Related References: 45 CFR Part 1356.60


      5. Question: Is it permissible for a State title IV-B/IV-E agency (State agency) to identify court activities related to title IV-E eligible children and claim title IV-E reimbursement on behalf of the court? Such activities might include docketing of the cases, the time of court staff assigned to review "reasonable efforts" made by the State agency, clerical support, the time spent by referees with title IV-E cases, and expenses such as supplies, space and utilities.(Updated July 24, 2006)

      Answer: No. Section 474 (a)(3) of the Social Security Act (the Act) provides for Federal matching for State administrative expenditures; section 471(a)(2) of the Act specifies that the responsible State agency shall administer the State plan. Accordingly, a State agency may not claim reimbursement for administrative costs under title IV-E for activities being performed by the court. With respect to the activities described in the question, docketing of cases is a required court activity, not a State agency function. The time of court staff assigned to review "reasonable efforts" made by the State agency is likewise a required court activity, and not a State agency function. In this regard, the State agency is required by section 471(a)(15) of the Act to provide "reasonable efforts" prior to the placement of a child in foster care to eliminate the need for removal of the child from his home and, when removal is necessary, to provide "reasonable efforts" to make it possible for the child to return home or to make and finalize an alternate permanent living arrangement for the child. The court is required by section 472 (a)(2)(A)(ii) of the Act to determine if the State, in fact, has made "reasonable efforts" to keep the child in his home. Thus, activity related to the "reasonable efforts" determination to be made by the court would not be considered an administrative cost that is reimbursable by the State agency on behalf of the court. Associated clerical and overhead expenses are similarly unallowable.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-92-03 (7/17/92)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 471, 472 and 474


      7. Question: If foster parent insurance is an administrative cost when purchased by the State agency, then the State receives a 50% match rather than FMAP. Doesn't this provide a disincentive for the State to take responsibility for insurance of foster parents and encourage the State to have the foster parents obtain their own insurance?(Updated February 22, 2007)

      Answer: Although, under title IV-E, Federal match may be lower for administrative costs than for maintenance costs, there is advantage to the State in assuming the overall responsibility for the protection for foster parents caring for children under the State's custody as a recruitment incentive. If the State chooses to use its self-insuring procedures, it may be able to provide a broad scope of coverage at relatively low cost. Foster parents are valuable resources to the agency, and the provision of protection against possible risks they face in providing care is a strong inducement to participate in the program.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-82-04 (1/29/82)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 424(a) and (c), 475 (4)


      8. Question: There appears to be no agreement between insurers on the meaning of "liability insurance". Is the interpretation to include coverage of damages to the home or property of the foster parents as well as coverage for harm done by the child to another party, or accidental harm done by the foster parents to the child?(Updated February 22, 2007)

      Answer: The terminology may be misleading, because foster parents are interested in more than "liability insurance". The correct interpretation includes coverage of damages to the home or property of the foster parents, as well as liability for harm done by the child to another party. In addition, protection against suit for possible malpractice or situations such as alienation of affection are often realistic concerns of persons who care for the children of others. Several States have responded to these concerns by providing coverage for foster parents under a "pooled" liability program which provides in effect a self-insurance for departments of State government. Other States have legislated or otherwise defined foster parents as employees or as persons acting on behalf of the State, thus providing protection to those persons for claims made against them as agents of the State. Some States have purchased insurance coverage for foster parents, although the policies available often do not cover all of the risks incurred.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-82-04 (1/29/82)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 424(a) and (c), 475 (4)


      10. Question: Please provide some guidance with respect to the allowable costs for candidates for foster care.(Updated July 12, 2006)

      Answer: Pursuant to section 472(i) of the Social Security Act (the Act) a State may make claims for candidates for foster care for any allowable title IV-E administrative cost that comports with or is closely related to the activities listed at 45 CFR 1356.60(c)(2). Consistent with the law, existing policy and DAB decisions (see DAB Decision Nos. 844 and 1428), pre-placement administrative functions for which States wish to claim FFP must be "closely related" to the administrative cost items specified at 45 CFR 1356.60. Further, the administrative costs of referral to service providers (45 CFR 1356.60(c)(2)(i) are for those referrals specifically designed to further the statutory goal of section 471(a)(15)(B)(i) of the Act (reasonable efforts to prevent removal) and are limited to the activities of agency staff in the referral process only. Allowable costs of preparation for and participation in judicial determinations (45 CFR 1356.60(c)(2)(ii) are limited to those costs related to preparation of reports to the court and participation in court proceedings by State or local title IV-E agency personnel. Title IV-E administrative costs claimed on behalf of foster care candidates are subject to the same limitations that are in place when such cost items are claimed for children in foster care. For example, investigating claims of child abuse/neglect, physical/mental examinations or evaluations, and completing case progress notes with regard to the delivery of services are not allowable title IV-E administrative functions. Nor do the actual services delivered to foster care candidates in compliance with the reasonable efforts requirements qualify as title IV-E administrative costs.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-87-05 (10/22/87); ACYF-CB-PA-01-02 (7/3/01); 7/7/2006
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 472(i)(2); 45 CFR 1356.60; Departmental Appeals Board Decision Nos. 844 and 1428; ACYF-CB-IM-06-02


      11. Question: 1 May the State claim Federal financial participation (FFP) for the administrative costs of an otherwise title IV-E eligible child who is placed in an unlicensed or unapproved foster family home?(Updated August 31, 2010)

      Answer: Under certain circumstances, yes. The State may claim administrative costs on behalf of an otherwise eligible child placed in an unlicensed or unapproved relative home for 12 months or the average length of time it takes the State to license or approve a foster family home, whichever is less. During this time, an application for licensure or approval of the relative home as a foster family home must be pending (section 472(i)(1)(A) of the Social Security Act). The State is prohibited from claiming administrative costs for a child placed in an unlicensed or unapproved foster family home that is not related to the child. For the purposes of this provision, a relative is defined by section 406(a) of the Social Security Act as in effect on July 16, 1996, and implemented in 45 CFR 233.90(v). 1 This question was originally deleted from the manual. The answer is new.
      • Source/Date: 8/7/2006
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act ¿ section 472(i)(1)(A), 45 CFR 233.90(v)(c)(1)


      12. Question: May we claim Federal financial participation (FFP) for the administrative costs of otherwise title IV-E eligible children who are placed in public child care institutions that accommodate more than 25 children?(Updated July 20, 2006)

      Answer: In general, no. Section 472(c)(2) of the Social Security Act specifically excludes public child care institutions that accommodate more than 25 children from the definition of "child care institution" therein, making such facilities unallowable under title IV-E. Therefore, a child placed in a public child care institution that accommodates more than 25 children is not eligible for title IV-E, and thus the State may not claim administrative costs on his/her behalf. Nor may the State consider such child to be a candidate for the purpose of claiming title IV-E administrative costs because such child has been removed from the home. However, a State may claim administrative costs on behalf of an otherwise eligible child for the calendar month prior to the month the child moves from an unlicensed or unapproved foster family home or child care institution into one which is licensed or approved (see section 472(i)(1)(B) of the Social Security Act and section 8.1 of the Child Welfare Policy Manual). The State must claim any such administrative costs consistent with an approved cost allocation plan.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-01-02 (7/3/01); 7/17/2006
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 472(c)(2) and 472(i)(1)(B); Section 8.1 of the Child Welfare Policy Manual


      14. Question: May a State claim title IV-E administrative funds for the cost of conducting child and family services (CFS) reviews and title IV-E eligibility reviews?(Updated November 2, 2016)

      Answer: Yes, however, a State that seeks to charge the allowable portion of the costs of conducting a CFS review to title IV-E must first amend its cost allocation plan to include CFS review activities. The State must, pursuant to 45 CFR Part 75 Subpart E cost principles, allocate the costs of the CFS review across benefiting programs and may then charge the portion claimable under title IV-E at the 50 percent rate for Federal financial participation (FFP). Conducting a child and family services review includes preparation for and completion of the statewide assessment, preparation for and the execution of the on-site portion of the review, and developing and implementing a program improvement plan. All costs for a State to prepare and conduct a title IV-E eligibility review, as well as any required PIP development costs, are 100 percent allocable to title IV-E administration. The costs associated with approved PIP activities are also eligible for 100 percent allocation to title IV-E administration. A State should, however, separately allocate costs qualifying as title IV-E training (in accordance with all applicable regulations) for claiming at the 75 percent rate of FFP. Note: This answer previously referenced OMB Circular A-87. 45 CFR Part 75 supersedes OMB Circular A-87 effective December 26, 2014 (79 FR 75871, Dec. 19, 2014).
      • Source/Date: August 16, 2002 (revised 11/2/2016)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act  section 474(a)(3); 45 CFR Part 75; 45 CFR 1355.20, 33, and 35; 79 FR 75871, Dec. 19, 2014; 81 FR 3022, Jan. 20, 2016.


      16. Question: Are administrative costs allowable when a child has run away from a foster care placement?(Updated July 11, 2003)

      Answer: Yes, administrative costs are allowable when a child has run away from a foster care placement. The manual states, in section 8.3c.2, Question 3, that if a State retains placement and care responsibility for a child who has run away from a foster care placement, the State must continue to perform title IV-E activities on behalf of such a child, including holding six-month periodic reviews and permanency hearings.
      • Source/Date: 6/23/03
      • Legal and Related References: Section 474 of the Act; 45 CFR 1356.60; Child Welfare Policy Manual Section 8.3c.2


      17. Question: Can a case assessment be considered an allowable administrative cost?(Updated July 11, 2003)

      Answer: Yes, a case assessment is an allowable administrative cost in the context of case planning. Section 471(a)(16) of the Social Security Act (the Act) requires the State to develop a case plan as defined at section 475(1) of the Act. The development of and ongoing updates to the case plan are allowable costs pursuant to 45 CFR 1356.60(c)(2)(iv). A critical component of case planning is the worker's assessment of the child and family. A case assessment might consider information regarding psychological, developmental, behavioral and educational factors; explore underlying or disguised issues such as family violence or substance abuse; examine the child and the family?s needs, strengths, resources and existing support systems; and explore whether it is safe for the child to remain in or return to the home. Furthermore, it could include information on the child's past history, current adjustment, direct observations, and family history. Specialized assessments such as psychiatric, medical or educational assessments are medical or educational services, respectively, and are not, therefore, allowable under title IV-E (45 CFR 1356.60(c) and Child Welfare Policy Manual Section 8.1B). Time spent analyzing specialized assessments to inform the case plan, however, is allowable.
      • Source/Date: 6/23/03
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 471(a)(16), section 475(1) and (5); 45 CFR 1356.60(c); Child Welfare Policy Manual Section 8.1B


  • 8.1C TITLE IV-E, Administrative Functions/Costs, Calculating Claims
    • 5. Question: When May Federal financial participation (FFP) begin for candidates for foster care?(Updated July 12, 2006)

      Answer: States may claim FFP for administrative costs for allowable administrative functions performed on behalf of foster care candidates in the month in which the child's candidacy is determined consistent with section 472(i)(2) of the Social Security Act (the Act). States may not claim FFP for title IV-E administrative functions performed prior to the month of candidacy because a child is not a candidate for foster care until the State has determined that the child is at imminent risk of removal from the home and reasonable efforts are being made to prevent removal, or if necessary, to pursue removal from the home. A State must document that it has determined that a child is a candidate for foster care pursuant to one of three acceptable methods: a case plan that identifies foster care as the goal absent preventative services; an eligibility form used to document the child's eligibility for title IV-E; or evidence of court proceedings related to the child's removal from the home.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-01-02 (7/3/01); 7/7/2006
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 472(i)(2)); 45 CFR 1356.60; Departmental Appeals Board Decision No. 844; ACYF-CB-IM-06-02


      8. Question: Which children should be included in the numerator and which in the denominator to determine a title IV-E foster care participation rate for purposes of claiming title IV-E Foster Care program administrative costs under section 474(a)(3) of the Social Security Act (the Act)?(Updated November 2, 2016)

      Answer: A title IV-E agency that uses a title IV-E foster care participation rate (sometimes called the eligibility, penetration or discount rate) as a cost allocation methodology must determine this rate by dividing the number of title IV-E foster care eligible children by the total number of children in foster care pursuant to the definition of foster care in 45 CFR 1355.20. The numerator is comprised of the total number of children in foster care determined to meet all title IV-E eligibility requirements. A title IV-E agency may also include in the numerator otherwise eligible children placed with relatives pending foster family home approval or licensure (for the lesser of the average time it takes to license a foster home or 12 months) and children moving from a facility that is not licensed to one that is for up to one month pursuant to section 472(i)(1) of the Act. The denominator is comprised of the total number children who are in foster care, including those that are title IV-E eligible and those that are not or have not yet been determined title IV-E eligible. Any methodology for claiming administrative costs, including the calculation of the participation rate described above, must be a part of the State's approved cost allocation plan or a Tribe's approved cost allocation methodology in accordance with 45 CFR 95.507(b)(4) and 45 CFR Part 75 Subpart E cost principles. Note: This answer previously referenced 2 CFR Part 225. 45 CFR Part 75 supersedes 2 CFR Part 225 effective December 26, 2014 (79 FR 75871, Dec. 19, 2014).
      • Source/Date: 04/20/12 (revised 11/2/2016)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act sections 472(i) and 474(a)(3); 45 CFR Part 75, 45 CFR 95.507(b)(4), 45 CFR 1355.20, 79 FR 75871, Dec. 19, 2014, ; 81 FR 3022, Jan. 20, 2016; and Child Welfare Policy Manual section 8.1C Q/A#3


  • 8.1D Candidates for title IV-E foster care
    • 1. Question: May we claim Federal financial participation (FFP) for the administrative costs associated with foster care candidates even for children who never enter foster care?(Updated July 12, 2006)

      Answer: Yes. Federal financial participation for administrative costs listed at 45 CFR l356.60(c) may be claimed regardless of whether the child is actually placed in foster care and becomes a recipient of title IV-E foster care benefits. However, reimbursement is limited to those individuals the State reasonably views as candidates for foster care maintenance payments consistent with section 472(i)(2) of the Social Security Act. The three acceptable methods of documentation indicating that a child is a candidate for foster care benefits are: (l) A defined case plan which clearly indicates that, absent effective preventive services, foster care is the planned arrangement for the child, (2) an eligibility determination form which has been completed to establish the child's eligibility under title IV-E, or (3) evidence of court proceedings in relation to the removal of the child from the home, in the form of a petition to the court, a court order or a transcript of the court's proceedings. Should the State determine that the child is no longer a candidate for foster care at any point prior to the removal of the child from his home, subsequent activities will not be allowable for reimbursement of costs under title IV-E.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-87-05 (10/22/87); 7/7/2006
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 471 (a)(15) and 472(i)(2); DHHS Grant Appeals Board Decision No. 844; ACYF-CB-IM-06-02


      3. Question: Can children on trial home visits be considered candidates for foster care?(Updated July 12, 2006)

      Answer: Yes. A State often will provide supportive services to a child and family during the course of a trial home visit to facilitate the success of such visit. We believe that the services and supports provided to a child on a trial home visit can be considered reasonable efforts to prevent the child's removal from the home and return to foster care in accordance with section 471(a)(15) of the Act. If the State determines that the child on a trial home visit meets the other criteria in section 472(i)(2) of the Social Security Act (the Act), the State, may claim Federal reimbursement for the allowable title IV-E administrative costs associated therewith. However, a child may not be simultaneously both in foster care and a candidate for foster care. In addition, the State must document the child's candidacy for foster care pursuant to one of the approved methods. For example, the State may document in the child's case plan its intent for the child to return to foster care if the services provided during the course of the trial home visit prove unsuccessful.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-01-02 (7/3/01); 7/7/2006
      • Legal and Related References: The Social Security Act ¿ section 472(i)(2); 45 CFR 1356.21(e) and 1356.60; ACYF-CB-IM-06-02


      4. Question: Can children in aftercare be considered candidates for foster care?(Updated July 12, 2006)

      Answer: Yes. During aftercare, the services or supports provided to the newly reunited family can be considered the State agency's reasonable efforts to prevent the child's removal from the home and re-entry into foster care in accordance with section 471(a)(15) of the Act. If the State determines that the child in aftercare meets the other criteria in section 472(i)(2) of the Social Security Act (the Act), the State may claim Federal reimbursement for the allowable title IV-E administrative costs associated therewith. However, in order to consider a child who is newly reunited with his/her family a candidate for foster care, the State must document the child's candidacy pursuant to one of the approved methods. The State may, for example, develop a case plan that demonstrates its intent to remove the child from home and return him/her to foster care if the aftercare services prove unsuccessful.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-01-02 (7/3/01); 7/7/2006
      • Legal and Related References: The Social Security Act ¿ section 472(i)(2); Departmental Appeals Board Decision No. 844; ACYF-CB-IM-06-02


      8. Question: What constitutes a case plan for the purposes of documenting a child's candidacy for foster care?(Updated July 12, 2006)

      Answer: The development of a case plan in compliance with sections 471(a)(16) of the Social Security Act (the Act) is an allowable title IV-E function performed on behalf of candidates for foster care. The requirements for case plans developed pursuant to section 471(a)(16) of the Act are set forth in regulation at 45 CFR 1356.21(g). The provisions at 45 CFR 1356.21(g) are, therefore, to the extent that they are applicable to pre-placement, controlling with respect to case plans used to document candidacy for foster care. Specifically, the provisions at 45 CFR 1356.21(g)(1) and (4) apply. The case plan used to document a child's candidacy for foster care must be a written document that is developed jointly with the parent(s) or guardian of the child and include a description of the services offered and provided to prevent removal of the child from the home. In addition, the State must document, in said plan, that the goal for the child is foster care if the services described in the plan are not effective. Adherences to the regulatory case plan provisions increase the likelihood that the plan will be effective, either in preventing or pursuing the removal of the child from the home. Nonetheless, State claims for administrative costs on behalf of candidates for foster care are not based on the completeness of the case plan. While we expect the case plan requirements that apply to a candidate to be met, the State may claim administrative costs in the month that it determines and documents a child is a candidate for foster care consistent with section 472(i)(2) of the Act (see Section 8.1C QA #5 of the Child Welfare Policy Manual).
      • Source/Date: 8/16/02; 7/7/2006
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act -- Sections 471(a)(16) and 475(1) 45 CFR 1356.21(g); Departmental Appeals Board Decision No. 844 ; Child Welfare Policy Manual Section 8.1C QA #5; ACYF-CB-IM-06-02


  • 8.1E TITLE IV-E, Administrative Functions/Costs, Contracting
    • 4. Question: May title IV-E foster care maintenance payments flow through a for-profit entity to the foster care provider?(Updated March 14, 2007)

      Answer: Yes. The Fair Access Foster Care Act of 2005 (Public Law 109-113), which took effect on November 22, 2005, amended section 472(b) of the Social Security Act to eliminate the prohibition against making foster care maintenance payments through a for-profit entity.
      • Source/Date: 01/29/07
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act, section 472; Public Law 109-113


  • 8.1G TITLE IV-E, Administrative Functions/Costs, Title IV-E Agreements
    • 1. Question: May a court be considered a "public agency" for purposes of entering into a title IV-E agreement, or does "public agency" refer only to the executive branch of State government? Is separation of powers an issue here?(Updated July 24, 2006)

      Answer: There is no statutory prohibition on agreements between the public agency administering the title IV-E foster care program and the court. However, legislative and program history do not provide precedent for agreements whose only purpose is to transfer the decision-making authority for placement and care from the title IV-E administering agency to the court or its affiliated citizen review panel. Rather, discussion of such agreements in the 1963 Handbook of Public Assistance Administration describes "another public agency" as a child placing agency authorized by State law to operate a program of services to children and families, with supervision by the agency administering the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program. Current ACF policy sustains this position. Therefore, the requirements of section 472 (a)(2)(B) of the Social Security Act may be met through an agreement with a public agency (including a court) which is authorized under State law to operate as a child placing agency, and, if so authorized, is operating a child placing agency. The agreement, properly written, should be binding on both parties and should permit the State agency to have access to case records, reports or other informational materials as needed to monitor title IV-E compliance. The State must maintain a supervisory role in relation to all title IV-E eligible children and would need to monitor the provisions required under title IV-E. However, if a court is not authorized under State law to operate and is not operating as a child placing agency, the court could not be considered "another public agency" with responsibility for placement and care of otherwise eligible children for purposes of section 472 (a)(2)(B).
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-85-02 (3/13/85)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 472 (a)(2)(B); Handbook of Public Assistance Administration, Part IV, Department of Health, Education and Welfare 7/24/63


      2. Question: Which agency (State or Tribal) has responsibility for providing foster care payments and child welfare services to Indian children?(Updated February 22, 2007)

      Answer: The title IV-E program is a State administered program to pay the costs of foster care for AFDC eligible children removed from their homes, for whom the State or the Tribe has responsibility for placement and care. It is an entitlement program for individual children and must be available to all eligible residents of a State, including Indian children living on or off reservations. The title IV-B child welfare services program provides Federal funds in the form of formula grants to States and Tribes consistent with the purposes in section 421 of the Act. Some Federally recognized Tribes providing child welfare services are eligible to receive title IV-B grants directly from the Federal government. Since these are grants to States and Tribes, and are not entitlements for individual children, the States and participating Tribes have the authority to allocate the use of these funds and to set priorities for their use. Many States and Tribes have developed State-Tribal agreements which formalize the sharing of responsibility for providing foster care maintenance and child welfare services, using title IV-E and title IV-B funds, as well as Social Services Block Grant funds and State funds. Where neither the State nor the Tribe has resources sufficient to cover all the needs of all Indian children, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, as payor of last resort, may pay for these services.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-88-02 (1/27/88)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 421, 422, 428 and 472; 25 CFR 20.3


      5. Question: Is a public entity that has entered into a title IV-E agreement pursuant to section 472(a)(2)(B) of the Social Security Act (the Act) with the State agency permitted to perform the title IV-E functions of an employee of the State title IV-E agency?(Updated July 24, 2006)

      Answer: Yes. Entering into a section 472(a)(2)(B) agreement with the State title IV-E agency permits another public agency to have responsibility for the placement and care of title IV-E eligible children. An agency that exercises responsibility for the placement and care of a title IV-E eligible child is fulfilling the fundamental purpose of the program and is, in effect, implementing the title IV-E State plan on behalf of a specified population of children under the agreement. Thus, such public agencies are permitted to perform functions that the State agency is required to perform pursuant to 45 CFR 205.100(b), such as eligibility determinations. Public agencies that enter into section 472(a)(2)(B) agreements are subject to all applicable Federal statutory, regulatory, and policy guidance as well as State rules that implement Federal requirements.
      • Source/Date: 06/09/04
      • Legal and Related References: Section 472(a)(2)(B) of the Social Security Act, 45 CFR 205.100.


  • 8.1H TITLE IV-E, Administrative Functions/Costs, Training
    • 1. Question: What costs can the title IV-E agency claim for Federal financial participation (FFP) to train title IV-E agency employees, foster parents, adoptive parents, relative guardians, employees of private child placing and child care agencies, and the other individuals listed in section 474(a)(3)(B) of the Social Security Act (the Act)?(Updated November 2, 2016)

      Answer: Section 474(a)(3)(A) of the Social Security Act (the Act) provides that States and Tribes with plans approved under title IV-E shall be entitled to Federal matching funds for the proper and efficient administration of the plan in the following proportions of total amounts expended: 75 percent for the training (including both short-term training and long-term training at educational institutions, through grants to the institutions or by direct financial assistance to students enrolled in such institutions) of personnel employed or preparing for employment by the title IV-E agency or by the local agency administering the title IV-E plan; and 474 (a)(3)(B) of the Act provides for the short-term training of current or prospective foster or adoptive parents or relative guardians, the members of the staff of State or Tribal-licensed or approved child care institutions providing care to foster and adopted children receiving assistance under this part and members of the staff of abuse and neglect courts, agency attorneys, attorneys representing children or parents, guardians ad litem, or other court-appointed special advocates representing children in proceedings of such courts, in ways that increase the ability of such current or prospective parents, guardians, staff members, institutions, attorneys and advocates to provide support and assistance to foster and adopted children, and children living with relative guardians whether incurred directly by the State or by contract.* The regulations at 45 CFR 1356.60(b) and (c) specify what is considered a training cost and what is considered an administrative expense under title IV-E. Section 1356.60(c) explains that the State's cost allocation plan shall identify which costs are allocated and claimed under title IV-E. Tribal title IV-E agencies must identify which costs are allocated and claimed under title IV-E in the Tribe's cost allocation methodology (CAM) (see ACYF-CB-PI-10-13). With regard to costs of educational programs (approved by the title IV-E agency) leading to a baccalaureate or graduate degree, the regulations clearly indicate that training to prepare persons who are employed or about to be employed by the title IV-E agency administering the title IV-E plan can include such long-term training. Grants to the institution or to the person attending the institution are reimbursable at a Federal matching rate of 75 percent. (See 45 CFR 1356.60 (b)(1)(i), 235.63 (c) and 235.64 (c) for further clarification.) Costs matchable as training expenditures at 75% FFP under this provision may include: (1) salaries, fringe benefits, travel, per diem, tuition, books and registration fees for title IV-E agency trainees in allowable short-term or long-term training (regardless of the duration of the training) for the time period the employee is actually participating in training; (2) salaries, fringe benefits, travel and per diem for staff development personnel assigned to training functions to the extent time is spent performing such functions; (3) salaries, fringe benefits, travel and per diem for experts outside the agency engaged to develop or conduct training programs; (4) travel, per diem, tuition, books and registration fees for foster parents and other persons identified under section 474(a)(3)(B) of the Act in short-term training; and (5) costs of space, postage, training supplies, and purchase or development of training material. Federal regulations at 45 CFR 1356.60 (b)(2) require that all training activities and costs funded under title IV-E must be included in the title IV-E agency's training plan for title IV-B. Title IV-E agencies will be reimbursed under title IV-E for such costs only if the activities and costs are described and included in the jointly developed and approved title IV-B plan. All training costs must be allocated to the benefiting title IV-E foster care, adoption assistance or guardianship assistance program and other State/Tribal/Federal programs consistent with the State's CAP or Tribe's CAM and in such a manner as to ensure that the cost is charged to the program in accordance with the relative benefits that the program receives from the training. Title IV-E agencies may determine the manner in which they allocate costs but must do so in accordance with the cost principles delineated at 45 CFR Part 75 Subpart E. * Beginning October 1, 2008, section 474(a)(3)(B) of the Act was expanded to authorize FFP for the short-term training of additional trainees. The additional trainees are: relative guardians (if the title IV-E agency has opted per section 471(a)(28) to offer a guardianship assistance program), members of licensed or approved child welfare agencies providing services to children receiving assistance under title IV-E, members of the staff of abuse and neglect courts, agency attorneys, attorneys representing children or parents, guardians ad litem, or other court-appointed special advocates representing children in the proceedings of such courts in ways that increase their ability to provide support and assistance to title IV-E eligible children. FFP is available for the additional categories of trainees in increasing rates rising to 75% in FY 2013. The specific rates of FFP are 55% in FY 2009, 60% on FY 2010, 65% in FY 2011, 70% in FY 2012 and 75% each FY thereafter. Note: This answer previously referenced OMB Circular A-87 and 2 CFR Part 225. 45 CFR Part 75 supersedes OMB Circular A-87 and 2 CFR Part 225 effective December 26, 2014 (79 FR 75871, Dec. 19, 2014).
      • Source/Date: 07/23/07 [Revised 12/02/13; 11/2/2016]
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 474 (a)(3)(A) and (B); Public Law 110-351 section 203(b); 45 CFR Part 75; 45 CFR 1356.60 (b) and (c), 235.64(c); ACYF-CB-PA-90-01, ACYF-CB-PI-10-11; 79 FR 75871, Dec. 19, 2014; 81 FR 3022, Jan. 20, 2016


      8. Question: What are the title IV-E training topics that the State may claim at the enhanced Federal financial participation rate under section 474 (a)(3)(A) and (B) of the Social Security Act and 45 CFR 1356.60(b)?(Updated August 6, 2013)

      Answer: In general, the training topics must be closely related to one of the examples cited in 45 CFR 1356.60(c)(1) and (2) as allowable administrative activities under the title IV-E program. The regulatory examples of allowable activities include:
      • Eligibility determinations and re-determinations
      • Fair hearings and appeals
      • Rate setting
      • Referral to services
      • Preparation for and participation in judicial determinations
      • Placement of the child
      • Development of the case plan
      • Case reviews
      • Case management and supervision
      • Recruitment and licensing of foster homes and institutions
      Additional examples of allowable administrative activities specifically applicable to the title IV-E adoption assistance program include, but are not limited to:
      • Grievance procedures
      • Negotiation and review of adoption assistance agreements
      • Post-placement management of subsidy payments
      • Home studies
      • A proportionate share of the development and use of adoption exchanges
      There are many training topics that are closely related to these title IV-E allowable activities that the State may train its workers on and claim at the 75 percent rate. The following are some examples:
      • Social work practice, such as family centered practice and social work methods including interviewing and assessment.
      • Cultural competency related to children and families.
      • Title IV-E policies and procedures.
      • Child abuse and neglect issues, such as the impact of child abuse and neglect on a child, and general overviews of the issues involved in child abuse and neglect investigations, if the training is not related to how to conduct an investigation of child abuse and neglect.
      • Permanency planning including using kinship care as a resource for children involved with the child welfare system.
      • General substance abuse, domestic violence, and mental health issues related to children and families in the child welfare system, if the training is not related to providing treatment or services.
      • Effects of separation, grief and loss, child development, and visitation.
      • Communication skills required to work with children and families.
      • Activities designed to preserve, strengthen, and reunify the family, if the training is not related to providing treatment or services.
      • Assessments to determine whether a situation requires a child?s removal from the home, if the training is not related directly to conducting a child abuse and neglect investigation. Training on how to conduct specialized assessments such as psychiatric, medical or educational assessments are not permitted.
      • Ethics training associated with a title IV-E State plan requirement, such as the confidentiality requirements in section 471(a)(8) of the Act.
      • Contract negotiation, monitoring or voucher processing related to the IV-E program.
      • Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS) or other child welfare automated system functionality that is closely related to allowable administrative activities in accordance with 45 CFR 1356.60(d) that the State has chosen to claim as title IV-E training rather than as SACWIS developmental or operational costs (see AT-ACF-OISM-001).
      • Independent living and the issues confronting adolescents preparing for independent living consistent with section 477(b)(3)(D) of the Act and the Child Welfare Policy Manual (CWPM), Section 3.1H, Q/A #1.
      • Foster care candidate determinations and pre-placement activities directed toward reasonable efforts in 471(a)(15), if the training is not related to providing a service.
      • Training on referrals to services, not how to perform the service.

      • Source/Date: 4/10/07 [revised 08/12/09]
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act ¿ Sections 471(a)(8), 471(a)(15), 474 (a)(3)(A) and (B) and 477(b)(3)(D); 45 CFR 1356.60(b), (c) and (d); 235.64(a)(1) and (2); CWPM, Section 3.1H, Q/A #1; AT-ACF-OISM-001


      10. Question: May the State claim title IV-E administrative expenses at the 50 percent match on training topics not allowable at the 75 percent match rate?(Updated April 10, 2007)

      Answer: It depends. The State may claim title IV-E administrative costs for training staff on any topic areas that are necessary for the proper and efficient administration of the State?s title IV-E program. These would include topics that address general skills or knowledge required for overall job performance. Some examples of general training topics that the State may claim as a title IV-E administrative cost at the 50 percent match rate include, but are not limited to:
      • State agency personnel policies and procedures
      • Job performance enhancement skills (e.g., writing, basic computer skills, time management)
      • First aid, CPR, or facility security training
      • General supervisory skills or other generic skills needed to perform specific jobs
      • Ethics unrelated to the title IV-E State plan
      • Team building and stress management training
      • Safe driving
      • Worker retention and worker safety

      • Source/Date: 4/10/07
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act ¿ Section 474(a)(3)(E); 45 CFR 1356.60(c)


      16. Question: The regulations at 45 CFR 235.61(a) define initial in-service training as a period of intensive, task-oriented training to prepare new employees to assume job responsibilities. What is meant by "intensive?" Are there any circumstances whereby an employee can be considered to be participating in initial in-service training while maintaining a full caseload?(Updated November 2, 2016)

      Answer: Intensive training is training that is highly concentrated and intended to significantly strengthen and increase the employee's knowledge. Given these parameters, an employee could not participate in intensive training while maintaining a full caseload. There is not enough time in a regular work week to accommodate both maintaining a full caseload and participating in intensive training, whether classroom or on-the-job training is provided. The majority of the employee's time during intensive training is dedicated to training activities. An intensive training program may encompass an on-the-job component in which an employee maintains a partial caseload provided in a structured learning environment with a higher degree of supervision than a regular employee would experience. As specified in the regulations at 45 CFR 235.64, Federal financial participation is available at 75% for employees in initial in-service training for at least one week for salaries, fringe benefits, travel and per diem to the extent that the training is related to the examples of allowable administrative costs necessary for the administration of the foster care program at 45 CFR 1356.60(c)(2). Each State's title IV-B training plan must accord with the definition of in-service training at 45 CFR 235.61(a). In addition, course descriptions, activities and costs must be described in the State's approved training plan for title IV-B. Training that benefits the overall administration of a State's foster care or adoption assistance program, and not only children eligible under title IV-E, must be allocated to all benefiting Federal and State programs in accordance with 45 CFR Part 75 Subpart E cost principles and an approved cost allocation plan.
      • Source/Date: 09/05/07 (revised 11/2/2016)
      • Legal and Related References: 45 CFR Part 75, 235.64, 235.61(a) and 1356.60(c)(2); 79 FR 75871, Dec. 19, 2014.; 81 FR 3022, Jan. 20, 2016


  • 8.2 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program
    • 1. Question: May a title IV-E agency suspend or reduce a title IV-E adoption assistance subsidy solely because the adoptive parents fail to renew or recertify the adoption assistance agreement?(Updated February 14, 2018)

      Answer: No. It is incumbent upon adoptive parents to keep the title IV-E agency informed of material changes that might impact the parent?s support, but a title IV-E agency cannot reduce or suspend adoption assistance solely because the adoptive parents fail to reply to the its request for information, renewal or recertification of the agreement. Once an eligible child is receiving title IV-E adoption assistance pursuant to an agreement, adoption assistance continues until either the adoptive parents concur to a change or one of the statutory conditions are met for termination of the assistance (section 473(a)(4) of the Social Security Act and Child Welfare Policy Manual Section 8.2B.9 Q/A #2). Therefore, suspensions or reductions in a title IV-E adoption assistance payment are not permitted without the concurrence of the adoptive parents under section 473(a)(3) of the Act unless the agency suspends the payment in accordance with Child Welfare Policy Manual Section 8.2A and 8.2D.
      • Source/Date: 12/31/07
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 473(a)(3) and (4); Child Welfare Policy Manual section 8.2B.9 Q/A #2


  • 8.2A.2 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Agreements, Means test
    • 1. Question: May a title IV-E agency employ a means test when negotiating adoption assistance agreements?(Updated October 25, 2017)

      Answer: The use of a means test is prohibited in the process of selecting a suitable adoptive family, or in negotiating an adoption assistance agreement, including the amount of the adoption assistance payment. Once a child has been determined eligible under section 473 of the Act, adoptive parents cannot be rejected for adoption assistance or have payments reduced without their agreement because of their income or other resources. In addition, the title IV-E agency cannot arbitrarily reject a request for an increase in the amount of subsidy (up to the amount the child would have received in foster care) in cases where the adoptive parents make life choices such as resigning one's job to stay at home with the adopted child or to return to school. Adoptive parents can request a fair hearing if the title IV-E agency rejects such requests. The circumstances of the adopting parents must be considered together with the needs of the child when negotiating the adoption assistance agreement. Consideration of the circumstances of the adopting parents has been interpreted by the Department to pertain to the adopting family's capacity to incorporate the child into their household in relation to their lifestyle, standard of living and future plans, as well as their overall capacity to meet the immediate and future needs (including educational) of the child. This means considering the overall ability of the family to incorporate an individual child into their household. Families with the same incomes or in similar circumstances will not necessarily agree on identical types or amounts of assistance. The uniqueness of each child/family situation may result in different amounts of payment.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-01-01 (1/23/01)
      • Legal and Related References: 45 CFR 1356.40 (c)


  • 8.2B TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Eligibility
    • 1. Question: Please explain who is eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance for a child who is not an "applicable child".(Updated September 13, 2016)

      Answer: A State is required to enter into an adoption assistance agreement with the adoptive parents of a child with special needs (as defined in section 473(c) of the Social Security Act (the Act)) and provide adoption assistance if the child meets specific requirements. There are four ways that a child can be eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance: 1. Child is eligible for Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and meets the definition of a child with special needs - Adoption assistance eligibility that is based on a child's AFDC eligibility (in accordance with the program rules in effect on July 16, 1996) is predicated on a child meeting the criteria for such at the time of removal. In addition, the State must determine that the child meets the definition of a child with special needs prior to finalization of the adoption. The method of removal has the following implications for the AFDC-eligible child's eligibility for title IV-E adoption assistance: If the child is removed from the home pursuant to a judicial determination, such determination must indicate that it was contrary to the child's welfare to remain in the home; or if the child is removed from the home pursuant to a voluntary placement agreement, that child must actually receive title IV-E foster care payments to be eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance. Children placed pursuant to a voluntary placement agreement under which a title IV-E foster care maintenance payment is not made are not eligible to receive title IV-E adoption assistance. 2. Child is eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and meets the definition of a child with special needs - A child is eligible for adoption assistance if the child meets the requirements for title XVI SSI benefits and is determined by the State to be a child with special needs prior to the finalization of the adoption. There are no additional criteria that a child must meet to be eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance when eligibility is based on a special needs child meeting SSI requirements. Specifically, how a child is removed from his or her home or whether the State has responsibility for the child's placement and care is irrelevant in this situation. Unlike AFDC eligibility that is determined by the State child welfare agency, only a designated Social Security Administration claims representative can determine SSI eligibility and provide the appropriate eligibility documentation to the State. 3. Child is eligible as a child of a minor parent and meets the definition of a child with special needs - A child is eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance in this circumstance if: prior to the finalization of the adoption, the child's parent was in foster care and received a title IV-E foster care maintenance payment that covered both the minor parent and the child of the minor parent and is determined by the State to meet the definition of a child with special needs. There are no additional criteria that must be met in order for a child to be eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance if the child's eligibility is based on his or her minor parent's receipt of a foster care maintenance payment while placed with the minor parent in foster care. As with SSI, there is no requirement that a child must have been removed from home pursuant to a voluntary placement agreement or as a result of a judicial determination. 4. Child is eligible due to prior title IV-E adoption assistance eligibility and meets the definition of a child with special needs - In the situation where a child is adopted and receives title IV-E adoption assistance, but the adoption later dissolves or the adoptive parents die, a child may continue to be eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance in a subsequent adoption. The only determination that must be made by the State prior to the finalization of the subsequent adoption is whether the child is a child with special needs, consistent with the requirements in section 473(c) of the Act. Need and eligibility factors in section 473(a)(2)(A) of the Act must not be redetermined when such a child is subsequently adopted because the child is to be treated as though his or her circumstances are the same as those prior to his or her previous adoption. Since title IV-E adoption assistance eligibility need not be re-established in such subsequent adoptions, the manner of a child's removal from the adoptive home, including whether the child is voluntarily relinquished to an individual or private agency, is irrelevant.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-01-01 (1/23/01); 7/17/2006
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 473(a)(2) and 473(c) ; The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005


      2. Question: Does a child who is not an "applicable child" need to be continuously eligible for Aid to Families for Dependent Children (AFDC) during the period s/he is in foster care in order to be eligible for adoption assistance after the termination of parental rights?(Updated September 13, 2016)

      Answer: No. A child who is not an "applicable child" for whom eligibility for title IV-E adoption assistance payments is being established need not have been continuously eligible for AFDC during his or her tenure in foster care. The statute requires that the child be eligible for AFDC only at the time of the child's removal from the home (section 473(a)(2)(A)(i)(I)(bb) of the Social Security Act). Please see the Child Welfare Policy Manual at 8.2B for an explanation of all the eligibility criteria for the adoption assistance payments program.
      • Source/Date: 03/14/07
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 473


      3. Question: Are children whose legal guardianships disrupt eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance?(Updated July 20, 2006)

      Answer: If a child who had been receiving title IV-E foster care maintenance payments prior to a legal guardianship returns to foster care or is placed in an adoptive home after disruption of the legal guardianship, the factors below must be considered in determining the child's eligibility for title IV-E adoption assistance: 1) Title IV-E Demonstration Waiver States - In States that have an approved title IV-E demonstration waiver from the Department to operate a subsidized legal guardianship program, the title IV-E terms and conditions allow reinstatement of the child's title IV-E eligibility status that was in place prior to the establishment of the guardianship in situations where the guardianship disrupts. Therefore, if a guardianship disrupts and the child returns to foster care or is placed for adoption, the State would apply the eligibility criteria in section 473 of the Social Security Act (the Act) for the child as if the legal guardianship had never occurred. 2) Non-Demonstration Waiver States - In States that do not have an approved title IV-E demonstration waiver from the Department, the eligibility requirements in section 473 of the Act must be applied to the child's current situation. Therefore, in a situation where the child has returned to foster care from the home of a non-related legal guardian, the child would not be eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance since the child was not removed from the home of a specified relative. If, however, the child has been removed from the home of a related legal guardian, an otherwise eligible child could be eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance. In either situation, however, if a child meets the eligibility criteria for Supplemental Security Income and meets the definition of special needs prior to the finalization of the adoption, the child would be eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance. If a child meets these criteria, no further eligibility criteria must be met.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-01-01 (1/23/01); 7/17/2006
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 473; The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005


      6. Question: The Adoption Assistance eligibility criteria for an ¿applicable child¿ includes one pathway to title IV-E adoption assistance eligibility which requires that the child must be in the ¿care¿ of a public or licensed private child placement agency by way of a voluntary placement, voluntary relinquishment or a court-ordered removal with a judicial determination that remaining at home would be contrary to the child¿s welfare. Does ¿care¿ mean that that a public or private agency must have placement and care responsibility for the child?(Updated May 5, 2011)

      Answer: No. Although the term "care" as it is used in 473(a)(2)(A)(ii)(I)(aa) of the Social Security Act (the Act) may imply that a public or private agency has placement and care responsibility for the child, it is not explicit. Therefore, in situations where any sort of care is being provided for an applicable child by a public or licensed private child placement agency or Indian tribal organization at the time the adoption proceedings are initiated, the requirements in section 473(a)(2)(A)(ii)(I)(aa) of the Act will be met.
      • Source/Date: 5/04/11
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act ¿ section 473(a)(2)(A)(ii)(I)(aa)


      7. Question: The Adoption Assistance eligibility criteria for an ¿applicable child¿ includes one pathway to title IV-E adoption assistance eligibility which requires that the child must be in the care of a public or licensed private child placement agency by way of a voluntary placement, voluntary relinquishment or a court-ordered removal with a judicial determination that remaining at home would be contrary to the child¿s welfare. When referring to a ¿licensed¿ private child placement agency, does this mean that the agency must be licensed by the State or Tribe entering into the adoption assistance agreement? Or is it required that the title IV-E agency provide a payment to an eligible child even if the agency was not licensed in the State or Tribe that is entering into the agreement?(Updated May 5, 2011)

      Answer: Section 473(a)(2)(A)(ii)(I)(aa) prescribes only that the child be in the care of "...a licensed private child placement agency or Indian tribal organization." So long as the child placement agency is licensed for title IV-E eligibility purposes it does not matter who licenses the agency.
      • Source/Date: 5/04/11
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act ¿ section 473(a)(2)(A)(ii)(I)(aa)


  • 8.2B.1 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Eligibility, Biological parents
    • 1. Question: Can a biological parent whose parental rights have been terminated and who later adopts his or her biological child receive title IV-E adoption assistance?(Updated October 25, 2017)

      Answer: No. The purpose of the title IV-E adoption assistance program is to provide assistance to adoptive families who adopt special needs children in need of alternative permanent homes. A child cannot be considered a child with special needs unless, among other things, "the State has determined that the child cannot or should not be returned to the home of his parents" (section 473(c) of the Act). While the termination of parental rights (TPR) would verify that this determination had previously been made, the placement of the child back into the biological home would nullify such a determination. While the IV-E agency may continue to recognize that the legal ties have been severed, the biological ties remain. In this situation, the child would be returned to the home of the biological parent. Thus, a determining factor for title IV-E eligibility in section 473(c) of the Act would not be present. The adoption by the biological parent in these circumstances, would be undertaken as a means of restoring the legal relationship between the parent and child, rather than for purposes of providing the child with new parents or a substitute for the original home.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-89-04 (8/8/89)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 472 (a)(2)(A) and (C), 473 (a)(2)(A)(ii) and 473 (c)


  • 8.2B.2 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Eligibility, Children in foster care
    • 1. Question: Would adoptive parents continue to be eligible to receive title IV-E adoption assistance payments on behalf of a child who has been placed in a psychiatric facility under the care and responsibility of the title IV-E agency through a voluntary placement agreement?(Updated October 25, 2017)

      Answer: Yes. Title IV-E, section 473 (a)(4)(A) of the Social Security Act indicates that no payment may be made to parents with respect to any child if the State determines that the parents are no longer legally responsible for the support of the child who has not attained 18 years of age or if the State determines that the child is no longer receiving any support from such parents. Other than the age of the child, these two conditions are the only basis in the Act for terminating adoption assistance payments on behalf of a child unless requested by or agreed to by the adoptive parents. On the other hand, there is nothing to prevent the State agency or the court from requesting or ordering the parents to contribute toward the cost of the child's care in the psychiatric facility, in the same manner as any other parents would be asked in similar situations.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-85-12 (11/25/85)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 473 (a)(4)(A)


  • 8.2B.3 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Eligibility, Child of a minor parent
    • 1. Question: Is the child of a minor parent eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance as a child who is not an "applicable child"?(Updated September 13, 2016)

      Answer: Section 473 (a)(2)(A)(i)(III) of the Social Security Act provides that the child whose costs in a foster family home or child-care institution are covered by the title IV-E foster care payment made with respect to the parent is eligible for adoption assistance under title IV-E, if determined by the State to be a child with special needs under section 473 (c).
      • Source/Date: Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-88-01 (7/6/88); Questions and Answers on the Final Rule (65 FR 4020 (1/25/00)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 473 (a)(2)(A)(i)(III)


      2. Question: In reference to a child who is not an "applicable child", when must the child of a minor parent meet the title IV-E adoption assistance eligibility criteria?(Updated September 13, 2016)

      Answer: Effective October 1, 2005, the child of a minor parent must meet the title IV-E adoption assistance eligibility criteria prior to finalization of the adoption.
      • Source/Date: 8/7/2006
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - Section 473(a)(2)(A)(bb)(III); Public Law 109-171, The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005


      3. Question: When does an applicable child of a minor parent have to live in a foster family home or child care institution with the minor parent to meet the requirements in section 473(a)(2)(A)(ii)(I)(cc) of the Social Security Act (the Act)?(Updated May 5, 2011)

      Answer: The statute at 473(a)(2)(A)(ii)(I)(cc) requires that the applicable child of the minor parent lived with his or her minor parent in a foster family home or child care institution and does not specify a timeframe. Therefore, the applicable child of a minor parent may reside with his or her minor parent at any point prior to the finalization of the child's adoption.
      • Source/Date: 05/04/11
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act ¿ section 473(a)(2)(A)(ii)(I)(cc)


  • 8.2B.4 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Eligibility, Deceased adoptive parents/dissolved adoptions
    • 1. Question: Please explain the requirements regarding a child's eligibility for title IV-E adoption assistance when the adoptive parents die or the adoption is dissolved.(Updated October 25, 2017)

      Answer: In the situation where a child is adopted and receives title IV-E adoption assistance, but the adoption later dissolves or the adoptive parents die, a child may continue to be eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance in a subsequent adoption. The only determination that must be made by the title IV-E agency prior to the finalization of the subsequent adoption is whether the child is a child with special needs, consistent with the requirements in section 473(c) of the Act. Eligibility factors in sections 473(a)(2)(A) of the Act must not be redetermined when such a child is subsequently adopted because the child is to be treated as though his or her circumstances are the same as those prior to his or her previous adoption. Since title IV-E adoption assistance eligibility need not be re-established in such subsequent adoptions, the manner of a child's removal from the adoptive home, including whether the child is voluntarily relinquished to an individual or private agency, is irrelevant.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-01-01 (1/23/01)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 473(a)(2)(A) and (C) and 473(c)


  • 8.2B.5 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Independent Adoptions
    • 1. Question: Is a child who is the subject of an independent adoption eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance if the child is not an "applicable child"?(Updated September 13, 2016)

      Answer: We consider an independent adoption one in which the child is not under the responsibility of a public or private adoption agency. It is highly improbable that a child who is adopted through an independent adoption will be eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance if the child is not an "applicable child" since many of these children are voluntarily relinquished at birth directly to an adoptive family. Children who are voluntarily relinquished are eligible only in certain limited circumstances and only when they are relinquished to the State child welfare agency or another public agency (including Tribes) with which the State agency has a title IV-E agreement. The only exceptions are: (1) a child who meets the eligibility criteria for Supplemental Security Income, and (2) a child in a subsequent adoption, under specific circumstances, if s/he received title IV-E adoption assistance in a previous adoption. If the State determines that such child is a child with special needs, consistent with section 473(c) of the Act, the State may not apply any further requirements or restrictions to the child's eligibility for title IV-E adoption assistance.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-01-01 (1/23/01); 7/17/2006
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 473(a)(2) and 473(c); The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005


  • 8.2B.6 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, International Adoptions
    • 1. Question: Is a child who is the subject of an international adoption eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance if the child is not an "applicable child"?(Updated September 13, 2016)

      Answer: The Federal adoption assistance program under title IV-E was intended to provide permanency for children with special needs in public foster care by assisting States in providing ongoing financial and medical assistance to the families who adopt them. As a result, the statutory requirements for title IV-E adoption assistance eligibility are geared to needy children in public child welfare systems and are difficult, if not impossible, to apply to children who are adopted from abroad. Therefore, although the statute does not categorically exclude these children from participation in the title IV-E adoption assistance program, it is highly improbable that children who are adopted abroad by U.S. citizens, or are brought into the U.S. from another country for the purpose of adoption, will meet the criteria in section 473 of the Social Security Act (the Act) for title IV-E adoption assistance eligibility. In addition to meeting the three-part criteria for special needs in section 473(c) of the Act, to be eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance, a child also must be eligible in one of the following manners: 1) Eligible for Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) at the time of the voluntary placement agreement or court removal petition; 2) Eligible for Supplemental Security Income; or, 3) foster care costs of the child are being covered by title IV-E foster care maintenance payments being made for his or her minor parent in foster care. Children who are adopted abroad, or are brought into the U.S. from other countries for the purpose of adoption, are not: 1) AFDC-eligible in their own homes (AFDC was a domestic program and therefore not available on behalf of children in their own homes in another country); 2) SSI-eligible (SSI cannot be established since a child who is adopted from another country cannot meet either the Social Security Administration's alien eligibility requirement or its "presence in the U.S." rule (requiring that an individual who has been outside the U.S. for 30 consecutive days must be present in the U.S. for 30 consecutive days to be eligible for SSI). The Child Citizenship Act of 2000, Public Law 106-395, impacts neither the SSI eligibility for children who are adopted from abroad nor the title IV-E adoption assistance eligibility for these children); or 3) eligible as a result of their minor parent's receipt of title IV-E foster care maintenance payments. The above cited reasons, as well as the criteria that the child must meet in order to determine whether a child meets the definition of special needs make it highly improbable, if not virtually impossible, that a child adopted through an intercountry adoption will be eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance. Although it is highly improbable that children adopted through an intercountry adoption will meet the title IV-E adoption assistance requirements, States cannot in policy categorically exclude these children from consideration since the statute does not authorize such an exclusion. In the case of reimbursement of nonrecurring expenses of adoption, the State need only to determine that the child is a child with special needs, consistent with section 473(c) of the Act. Accordingly, if a child who is adopted from abroad meets the three criteria for special needs, the State must pay for the nonrecurring adoption expenses for these children, consistent with 45 CFR 1356.41, if requested by the parents prior to the finalization of the adoption.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-01-01 (1/23/01); 7/17/2006
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 473(a) and (c); The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005; 45 CFR 1356.41


  • 8.2B.7 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Eligibility, Judicial determinations
    • 2. Question: Do the "contrary to the welfare" requirements at 45 CFR 1356.21(c) and (d) apply to the adoption assistance program?(Updated October 25, 2017)

      Answer: Yes. To fulfill the eligibility criteria in section 473 (a)(2)(A) of the Social Security Act when a child's removal from the home is the result of court action, there must be a judicial determination to the effect that to remain in the home would be contrary to the child's welfare. Since a child's removal from the home must occur as a result of such a judicial determination, the determination must be made in the first court ruling that sanctions (even temporarily) the removal of a child from the home. If the determination is not made in the first court ruling pertaining to removal from the home, the child is not eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance pursuant to an involuntary removal. The contrary to the welfare finding must be explicit and made on a case-by-case basis. Items such as nunc pro tunc orders, affidavits, and bench notes are not acceptable substitutes for a court order. Only an official transcript is sufficient evidence of the judicial determination. A judicial determination regarding reasonable efforts to prevent removal or reunify the family, although required for title IV-E foster care, is not a requirement for title IV-E adoption assistance eligibility.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-01-01 (1/23/01)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 473 (a)(2)(A); 45 CFR 1356.21(c) and (d)


  • 8.2B.8 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Eligibility, Medicaid
    • 1. Question: Is Title XIX coverage required under title IV-E Adoption Assistance?(Updated October 25, 2017)

      Answer: Yes. Section 473 (b) of the Social Security Act clearly establishes that a child receiving foster care maintenance payments or for whom an adoption assistance agreement is in effect is treated as a child who is a recipient of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). In addition, section 2171 of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981 (P.L. 97-35) subsequently amended section 1902 (a)(10)(A) to specifically require eligibility for title XIX (Medicaid) services for "all individuals receiving aid or assistance under any plan of the State approved under...part A or part E of title IV". Consequently, to the extent that the State has a title XIX program, children covered by title IV-E are statutorily eligible.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-82-16 (6/21/82)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 471, 473 and 1902; Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981 (P.L. 97-35)


  • 8.2B.9 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Eligibility, Redeterminations
    • 1. Question: What are the requirements for redeterminations of title IV-E adoption assistance eligibility?(Updated October 25, 2017)

      Answer: The title IV-E adoption assistance program does not require redeterminations of a child's eligibility. Although the title XIX Medicaid program and the program that, in part, may qualify a child initially for adoption assistance, such as Supplemental Security Income, require redeterminations, they are unnecessary for the purpose of maintaining a child's eligibility for title IV-E adoption assistance. Once a child has been determined eligible and is receiving adoption assistance, a title IV-E agency may terminate the assistance only under the circumstances specified at section 473(a)(4) of the Social Security Act.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-01-01 (1/23/01)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 473


      2. Question: Does title IV-E require the agency to perform annual renewals or continued eligibility determinations for adoption assistance?(Updated February 14, 2018)

      Answer: No. Title IV-E does not require the title IV-E agency to perform annual renewals, recertifications or eligibility re-determinations for title IV-E adoption assistance. Parents who receive adoption assistance payments, however, have a responsibility to keep the agency informed of circumstances that would make them ineligible for title IV-E adoption assistance payments, or eligible for assistance payments in a different amount. See Section 473 (a)(4)(B) of the Social Security Act. Once a child is determined eligible to receive title IV-E adoption assistance, he or she remains eligible until: (1) the age of 18 or such higher age up to age 21 as the State may elect under section 475(8)(B)(iii)(if the child meets applicable employment/education conditions), or age 21 (if the agency determines that the child has a mental or physical disability that warrants the continuation of assistance (2) the agency determines that the parent is no longer legally responsible for the support of the child under 18, or; (3) the agency determines the child is no longer receiving any support from the parents.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-98-02 (9/03/98)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 473(a)(4)(A); section 475(8)(B)(iii)


  • 8.2B.10 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Eligibility, Responsibility for placement and care
    • 1. Question: In reference to a child who is not an "applicable child" must the State have responsibility for placement and care of a child for that child to be eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance?(Updated September 13, 2016)

      Answer: The eligibility requirements for adoption assistance in section 473 (a)(2) of the Act do not specify that the State title IV-E agency must have placement and care responsibility for a child to qualify for adoption assistance. There are some situations, however, in which the criteria dictate that a child who is not an applicable child be under the placement and care responsibility of the State agency or that of another public agency (including Tribes) with whom the State has a title IV-E agreement in order to be eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance. These are: 1) a child who is placed pursuant to a voluntary placement agreement and who must have had a title IV-E foster care maintenance payment paid on his or her behalf under the agreement, consistent with section 472(a)(2)(B) and 473(a)(2)(A)(i)(I) of the Act; and 2) a child who is eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance based upon his or her minor parent's eligibility for title IV-E foster care while in the custody of the State agency, consistent with section 473(a)(2)(A)(i)(III) of the Act.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-IM-01-01 (11-6-01)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 473 (a)(2)


  • 8.2B.11 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Eligibility, Special needs
    • 1. Question: Please explain the requirements for special needs determinations for a child who is not an "applicable" child.(Updated September 13, 2016)

      Answer: An integral part of establishing adoption assistance eligibility requires the State to determine that the child is a child with special needs in accordance with all three criteria defined in section 473 (c) of the Social Security Act (the Act): 1) The State must determine that the child cannot or should not be returned to the home of his or her parents (section 473 (c)(1) of the Act); and 2) The State must determine that there exists a specific factor or condition because of which it is reasonable to conclude that the child cannot be placed with adoptive parents without providing title IV-E adoption assistance or title XIX medical assistance. Such a factor or condition may include (but is not limited to) ethnic background, age or membership in a minority or sibling group, the presence of a medical condition, or physical, mental or emotional disabilities. For example, in some States ethnic background alone may inhibit the ability of a child to be adopted, while in other States a combination of factors, such as minority status and age, may be factors. It is important to note that in each case the State must conclude that, because of a specified factor or factors, the particular child cannot be placed with adoptive parents without providing assistance; and 3) Finally, the State must determine that in each case a reasonable, but unsuccessful, effort to place the child with appropriate parents without providing adoption assistance has been made. Such an effort might include the use of adoption exchanges, referral to appropriate specialized adoption agencies, or other such activities. The only exception to this requirement is when it would not be in the best interests of the child because of such factors as the existence of significant emotional ties with prospective adoptive parents while in the care of those parents as a foster child. The exception also extends to other circumstances that are not in the child's best interest, as well as adoption by a relative, in keeping with the statutory emphasis on the placement of children with relatives. The State must document in each child's case record the specific factor(s) that make the child difficult to place and describe the efforts to place the child for adoption without providing assistance. In an effort to find an appropriate adoptive home for a child, and meet the requirement that a reasonable, but unsuccessful, effort be made to place the child without adoption assistance, it is not necessary for the agency to "shop" for a family while the child remains in foster care. Once the agency has determined that placement with a certain family is in the child's best interest, the agency should make full disclosure about the child's background, as well as known or potential problems. If the agency has determined that the child cannot or should not return home and the child meets the statutory definition of special needs with regard to specific factors or conditions, then the agency can pose the question of whether the prospective adoptive parents are willing to adopt without assistance. If they say they cannot adopt the child without adoption assistance, the requirement in section 473 (c)(2)(B) for a reasonable, but unsuccessful, effort to place the child without providing adoption assistance will be met.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-01-01 (1/23/01)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 471(a)(19) and 473 (c)


      2. Question: In establishing title IV-E eligibility for adoption assistance, is termination of parental rights the only mechanism for demonstrating that a child cannot or should not be returned home?(Updated October 25, 2017)

      Answer: One of the criteria for establishing that a child has special needs is a determination by the title IV-E agency that the child cannot or should not be returned to the home of his or her parents. Previous guidance stated that this means that the title IV-E agency must have reached that decision based on evidence by an order from a court of competent jurisdiction terminating parental rights, the existence of a petition for a termination of parental rights (TPR), or a signed relinquishment by the parents. It has been brought to our attention that there are situations in which adoptions are legal without a TPR. Specifically, in some Tribes adoption is legal without a TPR or a relinquishment from the biological parent(s), and there is at least one State that allows relatives who have cared for a related child for a period of time to adopt without first obtaining a TPR. After consideration, we believe that our earlier policy is an unduly narrow interpretation of the statute. Consequently, if a child can be adopted in accordance with State or Tribal law without a TPR or relinquishment, the requirement of section 473 (c) of the Act will be satisfied, so long as the State or Tribe has documented the valid reason why the child cannot or should not be returned to the home of his or her parents.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-01-01 (1/23/01)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 473 (c)


  • 8.2B.12 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Eligibility, SSI
    • 1. Question: In reference to a child who is not an "applicable child" is there a prohibition under title IV-E against claiming Federal financial participation (FFP) for adoption assistance for a child who receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?(Updated September 13, 2016)

      Answer: There is no prohibition under title IV-E against claiming FFP for adoption assistance for a child who receives benefits from SSI. Section 473 of title IV-E created an adoption assistance program which permits Federal matching funds for the costs of adoption assistance for the purpose of encouraging the placement of eligible children in adoptive homes. Under title IV-E adoption assistance (section 473), the scope of eligibility specifically includes children with special needs who are eligible to receive SSI (473 (a)(2)(A)(i)(II)) as well as those eligible for AFDC (473 (a)(2)(A)(i)(I)) and title IV-E foster care (473 (a)(2)(A)(i)(III)). Title XVI (SSI) is a needs based program and, as such, requires a test of income and resources of the adoptive parents in determining the amount of the SSI benefit to which a child with a disability(ies) may be entitled. If (or when) the parental resources and income exceed a maximum level determined by the SSI program, the child is no longer eligible for SSI payments. If the adoptive parents decide to decline adoption assistance and choose to receive only SSI for the child, and if they have not executed an adoption assistance agreement before the adoption is finalized, they may not later receive title IV-E adoption assistance payments, as the child would no longer meet all of the eligibility requirements as a child with special needs (section 473 (c)(2)). It may be prudent for the decision maker (parent, guardian, custodian, caretaker relative) to arrange for an adoption assistance agreement which does not provide for payment, but which does provide for title XVI and title XIX coverage, and which may at some future date, upon review, be renegotiated to provide for payment of adoption assistance funds. The adoptive parents of a child eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance and SSI benefits may make application for both programs and the child, if eligible, may benefit from both programs simultaneously. In cases where the child is eligible for both SSI and title IV-E and there is concurrent receipt of payments from both programs, "the child's SSI payment will be reduced dollar for dollar without application of any exclusion", thus decreasing the SSI benefit by the amount of the title IV-E payment (SSI Program Operations Manual). To reiterate, concurrent receipt is subject to the SSI rule that the SSI payment will be reduced by the amount of the foster care payment.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-94-02 (2/4/94)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 473; 20 CFR 416.1100ff; Program Operations Manual System, Part 5, Supplemental Security Income Chapter 008 - Income, Subchapter 30 - Unearned Income


      2. Question: Section 473(a)(2)(A)(bb)(II) of the Social Security Act (the Act) indicates that a child who meets all of the requirements of title XVI of the Act with respect to eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits may be eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance. When must a child be eligible for SSI for the purposes of meeting the title IV-E adoption assistance eligibility criteria for a child who is not an "applicable child"?(Updated September 13, 2016)

      Answer: As of October 1, 2005, the child's eligibility for SSI benefits must be established prior to finalization of the adoption.
      • Source/Date: 8/7/2006
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - Section 473(a)(2)(A)(bb)(II); Public Law 109-171, The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005


  • 8.2B.13 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Eligibility, Voluntary relinquishments
    • 1. Question: Is a child who is voluntarily relinquished to a private, nonprofit agency eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance as a child who is not an "applicable child"?(Updated September 13, 2016)

      Answer: As authorized by section 473(a)(2)(A)(i)(I) of the Act, a child is eligible for title IVE adoption assistance if s/he is removed from the home by way of a voluntary placement agreement with respect to which title IV-E foster care payments are provided, or as the result of a judicial determination that to remain in the home would be contrary to the child's welfare. However, a child who is voluntarily relinquished to either a public or private, nonprofit agency will be considered judicially removed in the following circumstances: (1) the child is voluntarily relinquished either to the State agency (or another public agency (including Tribes) with whom the State has a title IV-E agreement), or to a private, nonprofit agency; and (2) there is a petition to the court to remove the child from home within six months of the time the child lived with a specified relative; and (3) there is a subsequent judicial determination to the effect that remaining in the home would be contrary to the child's welfare. Under these circumstances, the AFDC-eligible child will be treated as though s/he was judicially removed rather than voluntarily relinquished. If the State agency subsequently determines that the child also meets the three criteria in the definition of a child with special needs in section 473(c) of the Act, the child is eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance. If, however, there is no petition to remove the child from the home or no subsequent judicial determination, the child cannot be considered judicially removed for the purpose of title IV-E adoption assistance eligibility. Furthermore, if the court merely sanctions the voluntary relinquishment without making a determination that it is contrary to the child's welfare to remain in the home, the child is not eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-IM-01-08 (11-6-01)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act -section 473(a)(2)(A)(i)(I) and (c)


  • 8.2D TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Payments
    • 2. Question: Must a title IV-E agency discontinue title IV-E adoption assistance payments provided per 475(8)(B) of the Act for a youth who is age 18 or older if the title IV-E agency determines that the youth is no longer meeting the education or employment criteria or is no longer incapable of meeting any of these criteria due to a medical condition, as elected by the title IV-E agency?(Updated July 17, 2013)

      Answer: Yes. A title IV-E agency must ensure that a youth receiving a title IV-E adoption assistance payment under section 475(8)(B) of the Act meets the education and employment criteria or is incapable of meeting any of these criteria due to a medical condition, as elected by the title IV-E agency. Once a title IV-E agency determines that a youth no longer meets the criteria, the agency must discontinue title IV-E adoption assistance payments for the youth. However, if the youth meets the criteria at a later time, the title IV-E agency may resume payments to the youth.
      • Source/Date: 05/06/2013
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act ¿ section 475(8)(B); ACYF-CB-PI-10-11


  • 8.2D.1 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Payments, Allowable costs
    • 1. Question: Are there restrictions for how title IV-E adoption assistance funds may be spent?(Updated October 25, 2017)

      Answer: Once the adoption assistance agreement is signed and the child is adopted, the adoptive parents are free to make decisions about expenditures on behalf of the child without further agency approval or oversight. Hence, once an adoption assistance agreement is in effect, the parents can spend the subsidy in any way they see fit to incorporate the child into their lives. Since there is no itemized list of approved expenditures for adoption assistance, the title IV-E agency cannot require an accounting for the expenditures. The amount of the assistance may be adjusted periodically if the family's or child's circumstances change, but only with the concurrence of the adoptive family.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-01-01 (1/23/01)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 473


  • 8.2D.2 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Payments, Duration
    • 1. Question: May a title IV-E agency limit the duration of payments pursuant to an adoption assistance agreement?(Updated October 25, 2017)

      Answer: Title IV-E agencies may limit the duration of payments under an adoption assistance agreement for individual eligible children to a period which may end prior to the child's eighteenth birthday, if the decision is made on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the provisions of section 473 (a)(2) of the Social Security Act. Title IV-E agencies may not have a blanket policy which limits the duration of all adoption assistance payments to a date earlier than the eighteenth birthday of eligible children, although a time limit may be set in individual cases with the concurrence of the adopting parents, depending on the needs of the child and the circumstances of the parents.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-81-02 (12/8/81)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 473


  • 8.2D.3 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Payments, Non-recurring expenses
    • 1. Question: Please summarize the requirements for the nonrecurring expenses of adoption.(Updated October 25, 2017)

      Answer: The title IV-E agency must enter into an adoption assistance agreement prior to the finalization of the adoption and reimburse (up to $2000, or at title IV-E agency option a lower limit) the nonrecurring adoption expenses incurred by any parent who adopts a child with special needs. The only eligibility criterion to be applied for reimbursement of the nonrecurring expenses of adoption is that the title IV-E agency determine that the child meets the definition of special needs, in accordance with section 473 (c) of the Act. A child does not have to be eligible for Aid to Families with Dependent Children, title IV-E foster care, or Supplemental Security Income in order for the adoptive parents to receive reimbursement for their nonrecurring adoption expenses. Nor does the child have to be under the responsibility for placement and care of the title IV-E agency in order for the adoptive parents to be reimbursed for the nonrecurring expenses of adoption. The term "nonrecurring adoption expenses" is defined as the reasonable and necessary adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees and other expenses which are directly related to the legal adoption of a child with special needs, which are not incurred in violation of State/Tribal or Federal law, and which have not been reimbursed from other sources or funds. Federal financial participation is available at the matching rate of 50 percent for title IV-E agency expenditures up to $2000 for each adoptive placement.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-01-01 (1/23/01)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 473(a)(6); 473(a)(1)(B)(i); 45 CFR 1356.41


      2. Question: Is it possible for the title IV-E agency to set maximum amounts on specific items within the category of nonrecurring expenses for which they will reimburse adoptive parents?(Updated October 25, 2017)

      Answer: No. The Tax Reform Act of 1986 (Public Law 99-514) amended title IV-E of the Act to require payments for the nonrecurring adoption expenses incurred by adopting parents in connection with the adoption of children with special needs. The only discretion is the flexibility to set a reasonable lower maximum than the $2000 for which Federal reimbursement is available at a 50% matching rate.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-89-02 (5/23/89)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 473; The Tax Reform Act of 1986 (P.L. 99-514)


      3. Question: Title IV-E agencies are required to reimburse up to $2,000, or such lower amount as set by the title IV-E agency, for the non-recurring adoption expenses of parents who adopt children with special needs. The regulations define "non-recurring adoption expenses" as reasonable and necessary adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees and other expenses which are directly related to the legal adoption of a child with special needs. "Other expenses" were defined as the costs of adoption incurred by or on behalf of the parents and for which parents carry the burden of payment, such as the adoption study, including health and psychological examinations, supervision of the placement prior to adoption, transportation and the reasonable costs of lodging and food for the child and/or the adoptive parents when necessary to complete the adoption process. Would it be possible for a title IV-E agency to further limit the reimbursable areas within the allowable expense category? For instance, could reimbursement be limited to attorney fees only? Or, could a title IV-E agency elect not to reimburse adoption study fees and transportation costs?(Updated October 25, 2017)

      Answer: No. A title IV-E agency may not limit reimbursement for nonrecurring adoption expenses by category. Adoptive parents who apply for reimbursement of the non-recurring expenses of adoption must be reimbursed for any of the non-recurring adoption expenses described at 45 CFR 1356.41 (i) when they adopt a child with special needs as set forth in section 473 (c) of the Social Security Act.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-89-02 (5/23/89)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 473


      5. Question: Does the nonrecurring adoption expenses limit of $2,000 (or lower at title IV-E agency option) apply per adoption episode or is it a lifetime limit?(Updated October 25, 2017)

      Answer: The nonrecurring adoption expenses limit is applied per adoption episode.
      • Source/Date: 7/6/05
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act -- Section 473(a)(1)(B)(i), 45 CFR 1356.41


  • 8.2D.4 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Payments, Rates
    • 1. Question: Please explain how the title IV-E agency should set rates for title IV-E adoption assistance payments.(Updated October 25, 2017)

      Answer: The amount of the adoption assistance payment cannot exceed the amount the child would have received if s/he had been in a foster family home, but otherwise must be determined through agreement between the adoptive parents and the title IV-E agency. Unlike other public assistance programs in the Social Security Act, the title IV-E adoption assistance program is intended to encourage an action that will be a lifelong social benefit to certain children and not to meet short-term monetary needs during a crisis. Further, the adoptive parents' income is not relevant to the child's eligibility for the program. Title IV-E adoption assistance is not based upon a standard schedule of itemized needs and countable income. Instead, the amount of the adoption assistance payment is determined through the discussion and negotiation process between the adoptive parents and a representative of the title IV-E agency based upon the needs of the child and the circumstances of the family. The payment that is agreed upon should combine with the parents' resources to cover the ordinary and special needs of the child projected over an extended period of time and should cover anticipated needs, e.g., child care. Anticipation and discussion of these needs are part of the negotiation of the amount of the adoption assistance payment.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-01-01 (1/23/01)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 473 (a)(3)


      2. Question: A title IV-E agency wants to include a list of specific circumstances in the adoption assistance agreement that would lead to an automatic reduction in the adoption subsidy amount if the title IV-E agency determines the circumstances occur. These circumstances could include an improvement in the condition of the child or the financial circumstances of the parent, the child's eligibility for other forms of assistance, or the child's re-entry into foster care. Is this practice allowable?(Updated October 25, 2017)

      Answer: No. Once a child is adopted and determined to be eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance, the adoption assistance payments may not be automatically adjusted without the agreement of the adoptive parents for any reason other than an across-the-board reduction or increase in foster care maintenance rates. The statute requires that the adoption assistance payment "take into consideration the circumstances of the adopting parents and the needs of the child being adopted, and may be readjusted periodically, with the concurrence of the adopting parents depending upon changes in such circumstances (section 473(a)(3) of the Social Security Act)." A title IV-E agency would not be considering the unique circumstances of the child and parents by automatically adjusting the subsidy. The title IV-E agency may describe in the agreement specific circumstances such as those articulated in the question, that may warrant a future re-negotiation and adjustment of the payment. Agreements that are not negotiated to the specific needs of the adoptive child and the circumstances of the family, however, are not permissible.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-98-02 (9/03/98)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 473 (a)(3)


      4. Question: Is it permissible to adjust the amount of the adoption assistance payment after the adoption assistance agreement is signed?(Updated October 25, 2017)

      Answer: Adoption assistance payments made on behalf of a child cannot exceed the amount the child would have received if s/he had been in a foster family home. Accordingly, a title IV-E agency may negotiate an adoption assistance agreement that automatically allows for adjustments to the adoption assistance payment when there is an increase in the foster care board rate. Alternatively, a title IV-E agency may renegotiate an adoption assistance agreement if the adoptive parents request an increase in payment due to a change in their circumstance and a higher foster care rate would have been paid on behalf of the child if the child had still been in foster care. As an example, a child is adopted and the adoption assistance agreement is negotiated for $250 a month, the same amount the child had been receiving in foster care. If, two years later, the title IV-E agency's monthly foster care board rate is increased to $400, the family can request that the adoption assistance agreement be renegotiated and receive up to $400 for the child, since this is the amount the child would have received each month if s/he had continued to be in foster care.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-01-01 (1/23/01)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 473 (a)(3)


      5. Question: Some title IV-E agency's foster care rate structures are based on levels of care. How would such a structure impact the adoption assistance rates?(Updated October 25, 2017)

      Answer: If a title IV-E agency's foster care payment schedule includes higher level-of-care rates that are paid across-the-board for certain children, the title IV-E agency may pay up to that amount in adoption assistance if that specific child would have received the higher level-of-care rate in foster care. In addition, if a title IV-E agency's foster care payment standard includes across-the-board higher foster care rates for working foster parents to pay for child care, or includes provisions for periodic across-the-board increases for such items as seasonal clothing, the adoption assistance agreement may include the higher rate. However, special allowances that may be made on behalf of an individual child in certain situations in foster care, such as child care or clothing allowances, are not permitted as an allowable additional reimbursement in the adoption assistance program. Special allowances for individual children that are over and above the title IV-E agency's foster care payment standard cannot be included in the amount negotiated in the adoption assistance agreement since the adoption assistance payment cannot exceed the foster care maintenance payment rate for the child.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-01-01 (1/23/01)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 473 (a)(3)


      7. Question: May a State's policy limit the maximum adoption assistance payment for any family at a level lower than the maximum foster care maintenance payment a child would have received in a foster family home?(Updated October 17, 2006)

      Answer: Federal law and regulations do not prohibit a State from having a law or policy that limits the maximum adoption assistance payments to a level lower than the maintenance payment a child would have received in a foster family home. The law only prescribes that the adoption assistance payment can be no more than the foster care maintenance payment that the child would have received in a foster family home during the same time period (see section 473(a)(3) of the Social Security Act). Within these parameters, however, the State must negotiate the amount of the adoption assistance payment with the adoptive family taking into consideration the needs of the child and the circumstances of the family. Furthermore, from a practice standpoint establishing a lower ceiling within which the State and family may negotiate an adoption assistance payment may reduce the pool of adoptive parents available to provide permanent homes for children with special needs.
      • Source/Date: 7/7/2006
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act ¿ section 473(a)(3)


  • 8.2D.5 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Payments, Termination
    • 1. Question: Under what circumstances may the title IV-E agency terminate an adoption assistance agreement?(Updated October 25, 2017)

      Answer: Title IV-E adoption assistance is available on behalf of a child if s/he meets all of the eligibility criteria and the title IV-E agency enters into an adoption assistance agreement with the prospective adoptive parent(s) prior to the finalization of the adoption. The agreement must be signed by all parties to the agreement (namely, the adoptive parents and the title IV-E agency representative) in order to meet the requirements for an adoption assistance agreement. Once an adoption assistance agreement is signed and in effect, it can be terminated under the following circumstances only. Namely, (1) the child has attained the age of 18 or such greater age that the State or Tribe may elect under section 475(8)(B)(iii) of the Act; (2) the child has attained age of 21 if the title IV-E agency has determined that the child has a mental or physical disability which would warrant continuation of assistance); (3) the title IV-E agency determines that the adoptive parents are no longer legally responsible for support of the child who has not attained 18 years of age; or (4) the title IV-E agency determines that the adoptive parents are no longer providing any support to the child.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-01-01 (1/23/01)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 473(a)(4) and 475(8)(B)(iii); 45 CFR 1356.40(b)


      2. Question: Section 473(a)(4)(A) of the Social Security Act states that no adoption assistance payment can be made to parents if the title IV-E agency determines that the parents are no longer legally responsible for the support of a child who has not attained 18 years of age, or if the title IV-E agency determines that a child is no longer receiving any support from the parents. When is a parent considered to be "no longer legally responsible for support" or not providing "any support" for the child?(Updated October 25, 2017)

      Answer: A parent is considered no longer legally responsible for the support of a child when parental rights have been terminated or when the child becomes an emancipated minor, marries, or enlists in the military. "Any support" includes various forms of financial support. The title IV-E agency may determine that payments for family therapy, tuition, clothing, maintenance of special equipment in the home, or services for the child's special needs, are acceptable forms of financial support. Consequently, the title IV-E agency may continue the adoption assistance subsidy, if it determines that the parent is, in fact, providing some form of financial support to the child.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-98-02 (9/03/98)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 473(a)(4)(A)


  • 8.3A TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility
    • 1. Question: A judicial determination is made that a child should be removed from his home, and the child is placed in foster care with title IV-E foster care payments being paid on his behalf. Casework services are provided toward a goal of reunification. At a later date, the court rules that the child should return home; however, the court retains jurisdiction and continues the county department's responsibility to supervise the home and to provide services necessary to further strengthen the family unit. Subsequent circumstances cause the court to determine that the child must return to foster care. In considering initial eligibility on the title IV-E foster care reapplication, which judicial determination removing the child from his home should be used - the first or the second?(Updated October 23, 2019)

      Answer: When a child is removed from his home and placed in foster care, there must be a judicial determination to the effect that continuation in the home would be contrary to the welfare of the child and that reasonable efforts have been made to prevent or eliminate the need for removal. Such a determination is necessary at any time (or every time) that a child is removed from his home, because each situation involves different circumstances and reasons for placement. Unless the child was visiting his home on a trial basis, a return to foster care would require a new determination of eligibility based on the circumstances at that time. In the situation described, the judicial determination and eligibility factors current at the time of the most recent removal would be used to determine eligibility for title IV-E foster care.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-86-03 (5/9/86)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 472


      2. Question: The statute refers to a child being eligible for AFDC "in or for such month" in sections 472(a)(3)(A)(i) and (ii) of the Social Security Act (the Act). Please clarify the month in which the child must have met the AFDC eligibility criteria?(Updated October 23, 2019)

      Answer: The child must have been eligible for AFDC in either the month of the voluntary placement agreement or the removal petition. This is true whether the child was living with a specified relative at the time of the removal petition or voluntary placement agreement (section 472(a)(3)(A)(i) of the Act), or whether the child was living with an interim relative caretaker within the six months prior to the removal petition or voluntary placement agreement (section 472(a)(3)(A)(ii)(II) of the Act). In the latter situation, although the child is not in the home of the specified relative from whom the child was removed, the title IV-E agency must determine whether the child would have met the AFDC criteria had the child remained in the specified relative's home.
      • Source/Date: 7/7/2006; 10/23/2019
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 472(a)(3)(A)(i) and (ii) and 479B; 45 CFR 1356.21(l)


      3. Question: In determining a child's Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) eligibility, should the title IV-E agency examine the household circumstances when the child was removed from home, or should the title IV-E agency examine the whole month in which the removal petition was initiated or the voluntary placement agreement was signed?(Updated October 23, 2019)

      Answer: The title IV-E agency must determine a child's AFDC eligibility in or for the month in which the court proceedings were initiated or the voluntary placement agreement was signed. State title IV-E agencies must use the state's title IV-A plan (as it was in effect on July 16, 1996) to determine if a child would have been eligible for AFDC. Tribal title IV-E agencies must use the title IV-A state plan (as it was in effect on July 16, 1996) in the state in which the child resides when the child was removed from the home to determine if a child would have been eligible for AFDC.
      • Source/Date: December 2, 2016; October 23, 2019
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 472(a)(3) and 479B


      4. Question: May a youth age 18 or older who is married or enlisted in the military be eligible for title IV-E foster care?(Updated October 23, 2019)

      Answer: Yes. There is nothing in title IV-E that prohibits a title IV-E agency from providing title IV-E foster care to an otherwise eligible youth if the youth is married or enlisted in the military (including if the youth is in the military reserves or ROTC).
      • Source/Date: 05/06/2013
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 475(8)(B); ACYF-CB-PI-10-11


      5. Question: May a title IV-E agency require a youth age 18 or older to have been in foster care in the State or Tribe prior to turning age 18 in order to receive title IV-E foster care at age 18 or older under section 475(8)(B)?(Updated October 23, 2019)

      Answer: Yes, the title IV-E agency may provide title IV-E foster care only to youth who were in foster care in the State or Tribe prior to turning age 18. However, there is no federal requirement for a youth to have been in foster care prior to turning age 18 to receive title IV-E foster care at age 18 or older under section 475(8)(B).
      • Source/Date: 05/06/2013
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 475(8)(B); ACYF-CB-PI-10-11


  • 8.3A.1 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, Adjudicated delinquents
    • 1. Question: Are adjudicated delinquents eligible for title IV-E foster care maintenance payments?(Updated October 23, 2019)

      Answer: The question of eligibility for Federal reimbursement in the case of adjudicated delinquents rests on two factors: (1) eligibility of the child, and (2) the type of facility in which the child is placed. Any child for whom title IV-E foster care maintenance payments are claimed must meet the eligibility criteria described in section 472 (a) of the Social Security Act (the Act). These general requirements are: (a) The child must be a "dependent child" as defined in section 406 (a) or 407 of the Act (as in effect on July 16, 1996) and the applicable regulation, 45 CFR 233.90 (c)(1), but for his or her removal from the home of a specified relative; (b) That the child was eligible for Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) in the month described in section 472 (a)(3)(A)(i) of the Act and consistent with the contingencies explained in section 472 (a)(3)(A)(ii) of the Act; (c) The child must be removed from the home of a relative pursuant to a voluntary placement agreement or as the result of a judicial determination to the effect that continuation in the home would be contrary to the welfare of the child and that reasonable efforts were made prior to placement to prevent the need for removal of the child from his home; and (d) The child's placement and care must be the responsibility of the title IV-E agency or another public agency with whom the title IV-E agency has a currently effective agreement. If the child meets the title IV-E eligibility requirements, FFP may be claimed for foster care costs in licensed or approved facilities as described in sections 472 (b) and (c) of the Act. Such facilities, however, may not include "detention facilities, forestry camps, training schools, or any other facility operated primarily for the detention of children who are determined to be delinquent."
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-82-10 (8/11/82); ACYF-CB-PIQ-88-03 (4/11/88); 10/23/2019
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 406 (a) and 407 (as in effect on July 16, 1996) 472 and 479B; 45 CFR 1355.20 and 233.90 (c)(1)


      2. Question: If a temporary detention order states that the child is to be detained until sentencing because there is reason to believe he would run away, would this satisfy the requirement for a determination regarding "contrary to the welfare?"(Updated July 24, 2006)

      Answer: No. This language could not be construed to mean that to continue in the home would be "contrary to the (child's) welfare." It is important to remember that the judicial determinations required for title IV-E eligibility were intended to ensure that children were not removed from their homes unnecessarily. In juvenile justice procedures, where children are removed for correctional purposes, the courts must determine that continuation in the home would be contrary to the child's welfare if title IV-E eligibility is to be established.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-91-03 (4/3/91)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 472 (a)(2)(A)(ii)


      3. Question: Court orders that sentence a child to a juvenile detention facility often include language which differs from that in a dependency order resulting in a foster care placement. Does language in a detention order indicating that the child is a "threat to himself or the community" meet the requirement in section 472 of the Social Security Act regarding "contrary to the welfare?"(Updated July 24, 2006)

      Answer: A court order indicating that the child is a threat to himself satisfies the requirement of a determination that remaining in the home would be contrary to the child's welfare. However, if the court order indicates only that the child is a threat to the community, such language would not satisfy the requirement for a determination that continuation in the home would be contrary to the child's welfare.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-91-03 (4/3/91)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 472 (a)(2)(A)(ii)


  • 8.3A.3 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, Biological parents
    • 1. Question: Since adoption assistance is not available for children adopted by biological parents, would Federal financial participation (FFP) under title IV-E foster care be available in those homes if the parents do not adopt and the agency retains guardianship and responsibility for placement and care?(Updated July 24, 2006)

      Answer: No. Title IV-E foster care maintenance payments are available for AFDC-eligible children who have been removed from their own homes and placed in a foster family home or child care institution. By definition, foster care is provided by someone other than a biological parent. While a termination of parental rights severs the legal ties between the parent and the child, it does not change the biological relationship with the child. A child living with his parents would not be considered to be living in a foster home and, thus, would not be eligible for title IV-E foster care maintenance payments.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-89-04 (8/8/89)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 472 (a)(2)(A) and (C), 472 (b)


      2. Question: When a child is removed from the custodial parent and placed by the title IV-E agency for a temporary period of time with the non-custodial parent under the placement and care responsibility of the title IV-E agency, and then the title IV-E agency subsequently moves the child to a licensed foster family home, must the title IV-E agency obtain another removal order in order to claim title IV-E?(Updated October 23, 2019)

      Answer: No. The child is not eligible for title IV-E while placed with the non-custodial parent (see Child Welfare Policy Manual Section 8.3A.3 Q/A #1). However, the child's placement with the title IV-E agency non-custodial parent has no bearing on whether the title IV-E agency may claim title IV-E reimbursement for the child when s/he is later placed in a licensed foster family home, so long as the title IV-E agency maintains placement and care responsibility and the child otherwise meets the criteria in sections 472(a)(2)(A) and (B) and 472(a)(3) of the Act. Presuming the title IV-E agency has already obtained a contrary to the welfare finding in relation to the custodial parent, it remains valid for title IV-E purposes unless the title IV-E agency's placement and care responsibility ends and the child is removed again pursuant to a court order or voluntary placement agreement.
      • Source/Date: 12/6/2007; 10/23/2019
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 472(a)(2)(A) and (B), and 479B; 45 CFR 1355.20


      3. Question: May a title IV-E agency consider a youth age 18 or older who is residing in the same home as his/her parent or guardian to be in an allowable title IV-E supervised independent living setting if paired with title IV-E agency supervision?(Updated October 23, 2019)

      Answer: Yes. A title IV-E agency may develop a range of supervised independent living settings as long as those settings can be reasonably interpreted as consistent with the law at section 472(c)(2). It is within the title IV-E agency's discretion to determine that residing with a parent or guardian is an allowable supervised independent setting provided that the title IV-E agency is providing supervision. In this arrangement, the parent or guardian is not the foster care provider for the youth, nor has the agency returned the youth home to live under the care of his/her parent or legal guardian. For example, the title IV-E agency may consider a youth who normally resides in a dorm during college who then lives in a room in the home of his/her parent during breaks from college, or a youth who takes classes and rents a basement room from his/her guardian to be in allowable supervised independent living settings when paired with agency supervision. Ultimately, it is up to the title IV-E agency to consider the circumstances of the youth and the supervised independent living arrangement to determine whether it would be an appropriate and allowable independent living setting.
      • Source/Date: 05/06/2013
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 472(c)(2); ACYF-CB-PI-10-11


  • 8.3A.4 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, Child in facility outside scope of foster care
    • 1. Question: How is a child's IV-E eligibility impacted by an interruption in a foster care episode, for example, a temporary placement in a detention facility or psychiatric hospital?(Updated October 23, 2019)

      Answer: As long as the original court order pertaining to the child's removal is still in effect, the title IV-E agency may claim title IV-E funds when the child returns to a foster care setting. Federal financial participation is not available while the child is placed in a facility that is considered outside the scope of "foster care."
      • Source/Date: Questions and Answers on the Final Rule (65 FR 4020) (1/25/00); April 6, 2010
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 472 (a); 45 CFR 1355.20


      2. Question: How should the title IV-E agency establish title IV-E eligibility for a child who is temporarily placed in a facility that is considered outside the scope of "foster care," such as a detention facility or psychiatric hospital, prior to his/her placement in foster care? When may the title IV-E agency begin to claim for such child if s/he is placed in foster care?(Updated October 23, 2019)

      Answer: The title IV-E agency must comply with the title IV-E eligibility criteria as set forth in the statute at section 472 (a) of the Social Security Act (the Act) and the implementing regulations at 45 CFR 1356.21(b), (c), and (d). The title IV-E agency must establish the child's eligibility at removal (which includes meeting the Aid to Families with Dependent Children eligibility requirements as in effect on July 16, 1996 and judicial determinations to the effect that it is contrary to the child's welfare to remain in the home and that reasonable efforts were made to prevent such removal) even for children who are not initially placed in a foster care setting. Title IV-E is an entitlement program and, as such, no flexibility exists with respect to satisfying the requisite eligibility criteria. If such eligibility criteria are not satisfied within the time frames prescribed in the regulation, the child is ineligible for title IV-E funds. When the child is transferred to a facility that meets the requirements of section 472 (c) of the Act, Federal financial participation is available from the first day of placement in the month in which all title IV-E eligibility requirements are met.
      • Source/Date: Questions and Answers on the Final Rule (65 FR 4020) (1/25/00); ACYF-CB-PIQ 88-03 (4/11/88); 10/23/2019
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 472 and 479B; 45 CFR 1356.21


      3. Question: When a child is removed from the custodial parent and placed by the title IV-E agency for a temporary period of time with the non-custodial parent under the placement and care responsibility of the title IV-E agency, and then the title IV-E agency subsequently moves the child to a licensed foster family home, must the title IV-E agency obtain another removal order in order to claim title IV-E?(Updated October 23, 2019)

      Answer: No. The child is not eligible for title IV-E while placed with the non-custodial parent (see Child Welfare Policy Manual Section 8.3A.3 Q/A #1). However, the child's placement with the non-custodial parent has no bearing on whether the title IV-E agency may claim title IV-E reimbursement for the child when s/he is later placed in a licensed foster family home, so long as the title IV-E agency maintains placement and care responsibility and the child otherwise meets the criteria in sections 472(a)(2)(A) and (B) and 472(a)(3) of the Act. Presuming the title IV-E agency has already obtained a contrary to the welfare finding in relation to the custodial parent, it remains valid for title IV-E purposes unless the title IV-E agency's placement and care responsibility ends and the child is removed again pursuant to a court order or voluntary placement agreement.
      • Source/Date: 12/6/2007; 10/23/2019
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 472(a)(2)(A) and (B), and 479B; 45 CFR 1355.20


  • 8.3A.5 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, Child of a minor parent
    • 1. Question: Please explain the requirements with respect to title IV-E eligibility and the case review system at section 475(5) of the Social Security Act (the Act) for a child and his/her minor parent in foster care. Specifically: Must the title IV-E agency have placement and care responsibility of both? Is the child considered to be in foster care even if the title IV-E agency does not have placement and care responsibility? May the child continue to receive IV-E if the minor parent runs away? May the title IV-E agency claim administrative costs for the child? Is the child eligible for medical assistance under title XIX and social services under title XX?(Updated October 23, 2019)

      Answer: Section 475(4)(B) of the Act requires that foster care maintenance payments for a minor parent in foster care cover a child of such parent if the child is placed with the minor parent. Neither the statute nor regulations require the title IV-E agency to have placement and care responsibility for the child in order for such costs to be included in the minor parent's foster care maintenance payment. Good social work practice suggests that the minor parent's case plan include the needs of the child and that the child's needs and interests be addressed during the six-month periodic reviews and permanency hearings held on behalf of the minor parent. However, the title IV-E agency is not required to satisfy these requirements independently on behalf of the child because s/he is not under the title IV-E agency's responsibility for placement and care and, therefore, pursuant to Federal law and regulations, is not in foster care. In cases where the title IV-E agency has placement and care responsibility for both the minor parent and the child, title IV-E eligibility would have to be determined individually for each. Likewise, if a minor parent leaves the foster home and does not take the child, the child's eligibility for foster care then would be based upon his or her individual circumstances. In addition, the title IV-E agency would have to obtain responsibility for placement and care of the child through either a voluntary placement agreement or a court order with the required judicial determinations. Once the child of a minor parent is in foster care, the requirements of the case review system at section 475(5) of the Act apply. When a child is placed with his/her minor parent without placement and care responsibility by the title IV-E agency, no administrative costs may be claimed on her/his behalf because s/he is not eligible for nor a recipient of title IV-E foster care maintenance payments. The title IV-E agency is merely increasing the amount of the title IV-E foster care maintenance payment made on behalf of the eligible minor parent to accommodate the board and care of the child. In situations where the eligibility of the minor parent and his/her infant are determined separately and both are placed in foster care, the title IV-E agency may claim administrative costs for the child because s/he is eligible for and receiving title IV-E maintenance payments in her/his own right. Section 472(h) of the Act makes clear that a child whose costs are covered by the title IV-E payment made with respect to the minor parent is a child with respect to whom foster care maintenance payments are made under title IV-E and is thus eligible for medical assistance and social services under titles XIX and XX.
      • Source/Date: 06/09/04; 10/23/19
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 472, 475, and 479B; Titles XIX and XX; 45 CFR 1356.21


      2. Question: If the child of a minor parent, who is a title IV-E recipient, has resources, such as survivor benefits, how would the resources of the infant affect his/her minor parent's eligibility for title IV-E foster care maintenance payments?(Updated October 23, 2019)

      Answer: Section 475 (4)(B) of the Social Security Act requires title IV-E agencies to include in the foster care maintenance payment for a minor parent an amount necessary to cover the costs of maintenance of the son or daughter living in the same foster home or institution with such minor parent. Eligibility of the son or daughter under title IV-E is not a condition of the increased maintenance payment on behalf of the minor parent. Rather, it is the title IV-E eligibility of the minor parent that allows the increased payment to include an amount to meet the son's or daughter's needs in that home.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-91-02 (4/2/91); 10/23/2019
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 472 (h), 475 (4)(B), and 479B


      3. Question: Are both a teen mother and her child eligible for Federal financial participation under title IV-E if both are under the placement and care responsibility of the title IV-E agency and have been placed in the same foster family home? If so, would the minor child continue to be eligible for title IV-E if the court orders that the child be reunited with the teen mother?(Updated October 23, 2019)

      Answer: If a teen mother and her child are both in the same foster family home and each has been determined to be eligible for title IV-E, the title IV-E agency can claim FFP under title IV-E foster care for both the teen mother and her child. This includes foster care maintenance payments and administrative costs. In this situation, both the child and mother have been determined eligible for title IV-E foster care, and placed in a licensed foster family home. The fact that the teen mother and her child are in the same foster home does not mean that they have been "reunified" in the statutory sense, as the foster parent and not the teen parent, is responsible for the day-to-day care and supervision of the child. If reunification of the child with the teen mother has occurred and the child is no longer under the responsibility of the title IV-E agency for placement and care, the child is no longer eligible for a title IV-E payment. (We use the term "reunification" here to refer to situations in which a child is returned to the parent's control and is no longer under the care or supervision of the title IV-E agency.) In such situations, the title IV-E agency must include amounts necessary to cover the costs incurred on behalf of the child in the teen mother's title IV-E payment. (See Section 475(4)(B)(ii) of the Act, 45 CFR 1356.21(j), and CWPM 8.3.A.5) However, once the child is no longer under the responsibility of the title IV-E agency for placement and care, the title IV-E agency cannot continue to claim administrative costs on his or her behalf since s/he is not eligible for, nor a recipient of, title IV-E foster care maintenance payments.
      • Source/Date: 06/09/04; 10/23/19
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 472, 475, and 479B; 45 CFR 1356.21.


  • 8.3A.6 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, Contrary to the welfare
    • 2. Question: For purposes of meeting the section 472 (a)(2)(A)(ii) eligibility requirement, must a temporary detention order include "contrary to the welfare" language or is it possible to consider a later delinquency adjudication order or dependency adjudication order as the removal order?(Updated July 24, 2006)

      Answer: The statute requires that the "removal" from the home must occur as the result of a judicial determination to the effect that continuation therein would be contrary to the child's welfare. Therefore, such a determination must be made in the order that results in the removal of the child from the home. Since the child has already been removed from his home and is in detention as the result of a temporary detention order, the later hearing order only sanctions that removal. A child would remain ineligible during the entire foster care placement if the "contrary to the welfare" determination is not made at the time of the temporary detention order.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-91-03 (4/3/91)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 472 (a)(2)(A)


      3. Question: A child is ineligible for an entire foster care episode for failure to satisfy the contrary to the welfare requirements. Please explain the rationale for this position.(Updated October 23, 2019)

      Answer: The contrary to the welfare determination is a critical statutory protection and a criterion for establishing title IV-E eligibility. Once a child is removed from home, the title IV-E agency cannot go back and "fix" an inappropriate removal. If a child's removal from home is not based on a judicial determination that it was contrary to the child's welfare to remain in the home, the child is ineligible for title IV-E funding for the entire foster care episode subsequent to that removal because there is no opportunity to satisfy this eligibility criterion at a later date. The same does not hold true for all other eligibility criteria. For example, judicial determinations regarding reasonable efforts to finalize a permanency plan, placement in a licensed foster family home or child care institution, and title IV-E agency responsibility for placement and care are all title IV-E eligibility criteria that can be reestablished if lost or established at a later time if missing at the beginning of a foster care episode. This is not the case with the contrary to the welfare determination.
      • Source/Date: Preamble to the Final Rule (65 FR 4020) (1/25/00); 10/23/19
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 479B; 45 CFR 1356.21 (c)


      4. Question: Court orders that sentence a child to a juvenile detention facility often include language which differs from that in a dependency order resulting in a foster care placement. Does language in a detention order indicating that the child is a "threat to himself or the community" meet the requirement in section 472(a)(2)(A)(ii) regarding "contrary to the welfare?"(Updated July 24, 2006)

      Answer: A court order indicating that the child is a threat to himself satisfies the requirement of a determination that remaining in the home would be contrary to the child's welfare. However, if the court order indicates only that the child is a threat to the community, such language would not satisfy the requirement for a determination that continuation in the home would be contrary to the child's welfare.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-91-03 (4/3/91)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 472 (a)(2)(A)(ii)


      5. Question: If a temporary detention order states that the child is to be detained until sentencing because there is reason to believe he would run away, would this satisfy the requirement for a determination regarding "contrary to the welfare?"(Updated July 24, 2006)

      Answer: No. This language could not be construed to mean that to continue in the home would be "contrary to the (child's) welfare." It is important to remember that the judicial determinations required for title IV-E eligibility were intended to ensure that children were not removed from their homes unnecessarily. In juvenile justice procedures, where children are removed for correctional purposes, the courts must determine that continuation in the home would be contrary to the child's welfare if title IV-E eligibility is to be established.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-91-03 (4/3/91)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 472 (a)(2)(A)(ii)


      6. Question: Our State presently petitions the court for protective supervision of a child (not legal custody) with the right to place the child. The petition is based on the child's being within the jurisdiction of the court on the basis that the child is abused, neglected, or is beyond the control of the parents. If the State is given protective supervision with the right to place, it is based on that petition. If placement becomes necessary, placement is made without the State needing to return to court for an amended order. In some situations, the child is already in placement under an immediate physical custody order of the court. Is the granting of a State's petition for protective supervision with the right to place and the subsequent placement of the child sufficient to make an otherwise eligible child qualify for foster care payments under title IV-E?(Updated October 23, 2019)

      Answer: No. The Social Security Act, at section 472 (a)(2)(A), requires that the removal of a child from the home be the result of a voluntary placement agreement or a judicial determination to the effect that continuation therein would be contrary to the welfare of the child. If the court grants protective supervision responsibility to the title IV-E agency and leaves to that agency the option to remove the child from the home at a later time, the requirement in section 472 (a)(2)(A)(ii) for a judicial determination has not been met. Although there are no Federal requirements as to the exact language of court orders, the Act requires a judicial determination to the effect that continuation in the child's home would be contrary to his welfare. The granting of a petition for protective supervision with the right to place the child is not sufficient to meet this requirement. At the time of removal, if a judicial determination is made that amends the earlier order granting protective supervision that sanctions the removal and satisfies the requirements in section 472 (a)(2)(A)(ii), the otherwise eligible child would then become eligible for title IV-E.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-84-05 (7/5/84); ACYF-CB-PIQ-85-07 (6/25/85); 10/23/19
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 472(a)(2)(A) and 479B


      7. Question: After a dependency petition is filed, the court finds reasonable grounds to believe a child is dependent and would be endangered in his or her home and enters a temporary shelter order causing the child to be taken in to custody. The child is then placed in foster care by the title IV-E agency. Does this temporary shelter order constitute a "judicial determination" as required for a title IV-E agency to receive Federal financial participation (FFP) in the costs of the child's foster care maintenance under the title IV-E program? May FFP begin from the date of the shelter order, if the order is not rescinded or otherwise revised so that it no longer supports the removal of the child from the home?(Updated October 23, 2019)

      Answer: A temporary shelter care order that meets the requirements of a "judicial determination" would permit the authorization of FFP as of the date of the shelter care order, provided all other eligibility requirements are met. As to the requirements of a "judicial determination," the essential element is that the court order (temporary or dispositional) for removal of the child from the home is based on a determination that continuation therein would be contrary to the welfare of the child. It is correct that FFP would have to be discontinued if at a subsequent hearing the court order was rescinded or revised so that it no longer supported the removal of the child from the home. It is also correct that the date the judicial proceedings are initiated is not the date the judicial determination is made, if the initiated action is only a petition or summons, unless the judicial determination is made on the same date. A title IV-E agency may claim Federal matching for costs of children placed involuntarily in foster care only after judicial determinations are made (1) that continuation in the home would be contrary to the welfare of the child and (2) that reasonable efforts had been made to prevent the removal of the child from the home. Once the court order is issued (either a temporary or dispositional order), FFP may be claimed only from the first day the child is in the foster home; provided all other title IV-E eligibility criteria are satisfied.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-82-03 (1/29/82); 10/23/19
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 472 and 479B


      8. Question: Once a court order is issued with a judicial determination that remaining in the home is contrary to the child's welfare, does the State/Tribe have to actually remove the child at that time and place the child in foster care?(Updated October 23, 2019)

      Answer: Yes. Section 472(a)(2) of the Social Security Act predicates a child's receipt of title IV-E funds on the child's removal from home as the result of either a voluntary placement agreement or a judicial determination that to remain at home is contrary to the child's welfare. The judicial determination that results in the child's removal must coincide with (i.e., occur at the same time as) the agency's action to physically or constructively remove the child, unless the court order specifies an alternative timeframe for removal, as allowed for in the Departmental Appeals Board (DAB) decision # 2017. If a court makes a judicial determination that it is contrary to the child's welfare to remain at home (without specifying an alternative timeframe) and the child does, in fact, remain at home and no removal occurs, the requirement for removal is not met and the child is ineligible for title IV-E. If the child's safety is not at risk and a title IV-E agency chooses to offer support services to the family in-home to prevent having to remove the child, it should do so. States/Tribes cannot issue "blanket" removal orders, however, in an attempt to guarantee title IV-E eligibility in the event that the child has to be removed from home at some point in the future.
      • Source/Date: 1/29/2007; 10/23/19
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 472(a)(2) and 479B


  • 8.3A.7 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, Documentation of judicial determinations
    • 1. Question: Please explain the rationale for the policy of requiring judicial determinations to be explicit, made on a case-by-case basis, and so stated in the court order and provide guidance on how to satisfy this requirement.(Updated October 23, 2019)

      Answer: The basis for this policy can be found in the legislative history of the Federal foster care program. The Senate report on the bill that became Public Law 96-272 characterized the required judicial determinations as "... important safeguard[s] against inappropriate agency action..." and made clear that such requirements were not to become "... a mere pro forma exercise in paper shuffling to obtain Federal funding..." (S. Rept. No. 336, 96th Cong., 2d Sess. 16 (1980)). We concluded, based on our review of States' documentation of judicial determinations over the past years, that, in many instances, these important safeguards had become precisely what Congress was concerned that they not become. Title IV-E agencies have a great deal of flexibility in satisfying this requirement. For example, the court order may reference the facts of a court report, related psychiatric or psycho-social report, or sustained petition as a mechanism for demonstrating that judicial determinations are made on a case-by-case basis. If the Title IV-E agency can demonstrate that such determinations are made on a case-by-case basis through a checklist then that is acceptable also.
      • Source/Date: Preamble to the Final Rule (65 FR 4020) (1/25/00); 10/23/19
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 479B; 45 CFR 1356.21 (d); S. Rept. No. 336, 96th Congress, 2nd Session 16 (1980)


      3. Question: Please clarify whether a judicial determination to satisfy title IV-E eligibility criteria must use the exact terminology of "contrary to the welfare," "reasonable efforts to prevent removal" or "reasonable efforts to finalize a permanency plan."(Updated October 23, 2019)

      Answer: Judicial determinations do not need to contain the exact language in the statute at section 472(a)(2)(A)(ii) of the Social Security Act (the Act) or regulations at 45 CFR 1356.21(b) and (c) to satisfy the title IV-E eligibility requirements. As specified in the preamble to the final rule published on January 25, 2000 (65 FR 4056), the judicial determinations must convey that the court has determined that the requisite findings have been made. If the judicial determination is not made in a court order, a transcript of the proceedings that indicates that the judicial determination was made is the only other acceptable documentation.
      • Source/Date: 12/6/2007
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - 472(a)(2)(A)(ii); 45 CFR 1356.21; 65 FR 4056


  • 8.3A.8a TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, Facilities requirements, child-care institution
    • 3. Question: What is the operative definition of the term "primarily" when used to describe a facility for the detention of children?(Updated October 25, 2016)

      Answer: Section 472 (c)(2) of the Social Security Act (the Act) defines "child-care institution". The word "primarily" is used to modify the use of the facility for detention purposes. The following questions are asked when determining the "primarily" issue: (a) Who operates the facility? (b) For what purposes does it exist? (c) Is it licensed or approved? If so, for what use and by whom? (d) From whom does it receive its major financial resources? (e) What type of children are residents? (f) Would it be viable without the need to house children adjudicated delinquent? (g) Is the facility physically restrictive? In addition to these questions, the Department would look to the specific facts of a given situation. However, it is important to keep in mind that separation of serious juvenile offenders from foster care children (including status offenders) is a most significant practice issue.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-82-10 (8/11/82); ACYF-CB-PIQ-88-03 (4/11/88); 10/25/16
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 472; 45 CFR 1355.20


      4. Question: Is Federal financial participation available for children placed in for-profit child-care institutions?(Updated July 14, 2004)

      Answer: Formerly, title IV-E foster care maintenance payments for placements in child-care institutions were restricted to public or private nonprofit institutions. Effective August 22, 1996 with the enactment of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, title IV-E reimbursement became available for State foster care maintenance expenditures incurred through placements made in eligible private "for-profit" child-care institutions.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-97-01 (7/25/97)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 472 (c)(2).


      5. Question: If an otherwise eligible title IV-E child is placed in a child care institution that has locked living units for the child's benefit or safety, does this render the facility "physically restrictive," such that the child is ineligible for title IV-E?(Updated July 15, 2005)

      Answer: Not necessarily. A facility that has locked living units may meet the Federal definition of a child care institution enabling the State to claim title IV-E on behalf of a child. The statute at section 472 (c)(2) of the Social Security Act requires the State to place the child in a child care institution that meets certain statutory and regulatory requirements. The law stipulates that a child care institution shall not include detention facilities "or any other facility operated primarily for the detention of children who are determined to be delinquent". The definition of child care institution in Federal regulations at 45 CFR 1355.20 states that: [A] Detention facility in the context of the definition of child care institution in section 472 (c)(2) of the [Social Security] Act means a physically restricting facility for the care of children who require secure custody pending court adjudication, court disposition, execution of a court order or after commitment. It is clear that States may not claim title IV-E for a child if the facility is "physically restrictive" in that it is used primarily to detain children who require secure custody. If a facility is not used primarily for this purpose, but the facility has some restrictions for the benefit or safety of the child, then the State may make title IV-E claims on behalf of an otherwise eligible child placed there. While the State may claim title IV-E for a child placed in a child care institution that is secured for his or her benefit or safety, we want to note one caveat. The Departmental Appeals Board (California Department of Social Services Decision No. 960) noted in its decision that "a mixture of detention and treatment is common in juvenile law." Adding a treatment component to a facility that is used primarily to secure delinquent children does not render the child care institution consistent with the strictures of title IV-E.
      • Source/Date: 6/23/03
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - Section 472 (c)(2); 45 CFR 1355.20; Departmental Appeals Board California Department of Social Services Decision No. 960.


  • 8.3A.8c TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, Facilities requirements, licensing
    • 20. Question: Are title IV-E agencies required to include the reasonable and prudent parent standard in foster care licensing standards (as defined in section 475(10) of the Social Security Act (the Act) and referenced in section 471(a)(10) of the Act regarding the licensing standards)? And are foster parents and designated officials for a child care institution then required to apply it?(Updated July 17, 2015)

      Answer: Yes to both questions. Section 471(a)(10) of the Act requires title IV-E agencies to amend their standards for foster care to permit caretakers to use the reasonable and prudent parenting standard, and foster parents and designated officials for a child care institution must apply the standard as described in law at section 475(10)(A) of the Act. Specifically, the Act defines "reasonable and prudent parent standard" to mean "the standard characterized by careful and sensible parental decisions that maintain the health, safety, and best interests of a child while at the same time encouraging the emotional and developmental growth of the child, that a caregiver shall use when determining whether to allow a child in foster care...to participate in extracurricular, enrichment, cultural, and social activities."
      • Source/Date: 6/5/2015
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act ? sections 471(a)(10), 475(10)


  • 8.3A.9 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Reasonable efforts
    • 1. Question: What is the statutory basis for treating a judicial determination that the State made reasonable efforts to prevent the child's removal from his/her home, to reunify the child and family, and to make and finalize an alternate permanent placement when the child and family cannot be reunited as title IV-E eligibility criteria?(Updated July 20, 2006)

      Answer: Section 472 (a)(2)(A)(ii) of the Social Security Act (the Act) contains two eligibility criteria. The first pertains to the child's removal from home. Such removal must be based on a judicial determination that it was contrary to the child's welfare to remain at home. The second eligibility criterion requires a judicial determination that the State made reasonable efforts of the type described in section 471(a)(15) of the Act. Section 471(a)(15) of the Act requires the State agency to make reasonable efforts to prevent the child's removal from his/her home, to reunify the child and family, and to make and finalize an alternate permanent placement when the child and family cannot be reunited. The requirements for judicial determinations regarding reasonable efforts are title IV-E eligibility criteria. If the eligibility criteria are not satisfied, the child is not eligible for title IV-E funding.
      • Source/Date: Preamble to the Final Rule (65 FR 4020) (1/25/00); 7/17/2006
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 471 (a)(15) and 472 (a)(2)(A)(ii); 45 CFR 1356.21 (b) and (d)


  • 8.3A.9a TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, Reasonable Efforts to Finalize a Permanency Plan
    • 1. Question: We understand that the timing for obtaining the initial judicial determination related to making reasonable efforts to finalize/achieve a permanency plan is based on the date the child is considered to have entered foster care. Are subsequent judicial determinations to be obtained based on the date the child is considered to have entered foster care or within 12 months of the date the judicial determination actually was obtained?(Updated July 14, 2004)

      Answer: The statute requires that the judicial determination of reasonable efforts to finalize/achieve a permanency plan be obtained no later than 12 months from the date the child is considered to have entered foster care and at least once every 12 months thereafter while the child is in foster care. Accordingly, States must use the date of the last judicial determination for a child to determine the date the next one is due. In no circumstance may the interval between these judicial determinations exceed 12 months. If a judicial determination regarding reasonable efforts to finalize a permanency plan is not made within the time frame prescribed above, the child becomes ineligible under title IV-E at the end of the month in which the judicial determination was required to have been made and remains ineligible until such a determination is made. Although the permanency hearing may serve as the mechanism for obtaining the judicial determination of reasonable efforts to finalize/achieve a permanency plan, there is no requirement that the judicial determination be made at a permanency hearing. The court may make such a judicial determination, based upon evidence presented to it by the State, without a formal hearing.
      • Source/Date: 06/09/04
      • Legal and Related References: Section 471(a)(15)(B) of the Social Security Act, 45 CFR 1355.20 and 1356.21(b)(2).


  • 8.3A.9b TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Reasonable efforts, to prevent a removal
    • 1. Question: Does the initial "reasonable efforts to prevent removal" determination affect the child's initial eligibility for title IV-E foster care payments, or does this determination constitute FFP criteria for claiming foster care maintenance payments?(Updated July 24, 2006)

      Answer: Pursuant to the regulations at section 1356.21(b) (1) (ii), judicial determinations regarding reasonable efforts to prevent removal must be made in accordance with the criteria and time frames specified therein, or the child is not eligible under the title IV-E foster care maintenance payments program for the duration of that stay in foster care.
      • Source/Date: Questions and Answers on the Final Rule (65 FR 4020) (1/25/00)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 472 (a)(2)(A)(ii); 45 CFR 1356.21 (b)


  • 8.3A.9c TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Reasonable Efforts, Qualifying Language in Court Orders
    • 1. Question: Some States have begun to use qualifying language in court orders, which restricts the purpose of the reasonable efforts findings to title IV-E funding purposes only. For example, in one State, the court annotates its orders with the phrase "for Federal funding purposes only" in order to address parental concerns that the order is entered without prejudice. Another State proposes adding language to the court order that "the title IV-E judicial determination shall not be given any effect in subsequent court proceedings." Is the use of qualifiers to the judicial determination of reasonable efforts allowable under title IV-E?(Updated July 24, 2006)

      Answer: No. It is not permissible for a State to use such restrictive language in making the required judicial findings. When a judicial determination is qualified by language stating or implying that it has been made for the purpose of Federal funding only or that it has no precedential effect, then a bona fide judicial determination has not been made. An official notation that a finding is for a limited purpose only suggests that it must be "re-made" in order for it to become valid. This policy is consistent with legislative history and was addressed in the preamble to the 2000 regulations, which quote S. Rep. No. 336, 96th Cong., 2d Sess. 16 (1980) and make the point that the required judicial determinations should not become "...a mere pro forma exercise in paper shuffling to obtain Federal funding..." (pg. 4056, 65 Fed. Reg.). Court orders containing judicial determinations qualified by restrictive language such as that described above will not satisfy title IV-E eligibility requirements for Federal financial participation (FFP).
      • Source/Date: 7/6/05
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act -- Sections 471(a)(15)(B) and 472(a)(2)(A)(ii)


  • 8.3A.10 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, Redeterminations
    • 2. Question: How does a title IV-E agency determine when it must re-establish a child¿s eligibility for foster care? What is required after a break in a foster care placement in those cases where there is no new court ordered removal from the home and no break in title IV-E agency responsibility for placement and care? Examples of situations are as follows: (a) A child in foster care goes to the State training school and then back to foster care; (b) A child in foster care goes to live with a relative (not parent) under title IV-E agency supervision, and then back to foster care; (c) A child in foster care goes home under title IV-E agency supervision without a change in court order and then returns to foster care.(Updated April 27, 2010)

      Answer: The criteria to be used in determining whether re-establishing a child's eligibility for foster care maintenance payments under title IV-E would be required hinges on whether the child is continuously in foster care status and remains under the responsibility of the title IV-E agency for placement and care. In making this determination, the agency would ask: (1) Is the child in foster care? (2) Is the original court order or voluntary placement agreement still in effect in relation to removal of the child from his home? (3) Is the child still under the responsibility of the title IV-E agency for placement and care? If all of these conditions are in effect, even though there has been a temporary interruption of the foster care placement, the child?s title IV-E eligibility does not need to be re-established. If the child is discharged from foster care and returned to his own home (the home from which he was removed), he could not be considered to be in foster care status, even if the agency maintains a supervisory role with the child and family. If the child leaves foster care to live with a relative, the agency would need to determine whether the child remained in foster care status or whether the home of the relative was now considered to be the child's own home. Short trial visits to a child's home would not be considered interruptions in foster care status. In the event the child returns home (for what is expected to be a permanent period), but is later returned to foster care, a new determination of eligibility based on circumstances at the time of that placement would be required. If the child leaves the foster home and is placed in the State training school for a temporary period, and the court order of removal is still in effect, he may retain his foster care status during the training school placement. Of course, Federal financial participation is allowed only during the time the child is in a licensed or approved foster care facility.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-85-06 (6/5/85); April 6, 2010
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 472


  • 8.3A.11 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, Removal from the home/living with
    • 1. Question: We are confused by the term "constructive removal"? Please explain the term and its implications for the title IV-E program.(Updated July 24, 2006)

      Answer: To be eligible for title IV-E funding, a child must, among other things, be removed from the home of a relative as the result of a voluntary placement agreement or a judicial determination that continuation in the home would be contrary to the child's welfare. The statute allows a six-month period of time during which the child can live with an interim caretaker, relative or non-relative, and still be eligible for title IV-E. Under prior policy, we interpreted the term "removal" to mean a physical removal. As a result, if the interim caretaker was a relative, and the State intended to remove custody from the parent but let the child remain with that interim caretaker relative, the child could not be eligible for title IV-E funding because the child was not physically removed from the home of a relative. This policy created a disincentive for relative placements. To remove this inequity between relative and non-relative caregivers, we now permit the removal of the child from the home, in this circumstance, to be a "constructive" (i.e., nonphysical, paper, or legal) removal. We offer a summary of examples to clarify when a child would be eligible for title IV-E foster care pursuant to a constructive removal. These examples presume that the child is eligible for Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) in the home of the parent or other specified relative: The child lived with either a related or non-related interim caretaker for less than six months prior to the State's petition to the court for removal of the child. The State licenses the home as a foster family home and the child continues to reside in that home in foster care. The child is eligible for title IV-E foster care since s/he lived with the parent within six months of the State's petition to the court, and was constructively removed from the parent (i.e., there was a paper removal of custody). The child lived with either a related or non-related interim caretaker for more than six months prior to the State's petition to the court. The State licenses the home as a foster family home and the child remains in that home in foster care. The child is ineligible for title IV-E foster care since s/he had not lived with the parent within six months of the State's petition to the court, and was not removed from the home of a relative. (Although constructively removed, the child is ineligible for title IV-E because it had been more than six months since the child lived with the parent.) The child lives with a related interim caretaker for seven months before the caretaker contacts the State to remove the child from his/her home. The agency petitions the court and the court removes the custody from the parents and physically removes the child from the home of the interim related caretaker. The child would not be eligible for title IV-E foster care since s/he had not lived with the parent or other specified relative from whom there was a constructive removal within six months of the initiation of court proceedings. (Although the child was physically removed from the home of the related interim caretaker, that removal cannot be used to determine title IV-E eligibility since the removal was not the result of a voluntary placement agreement or judicial determination, as required in section 472 (a)(2)(A) of the Act. Moreover, the child is ineligible for title IV-E because it had been more than six months since the child lived with the parent from whom s/he was removed.) The child lived with a non-related interim caretaker for seven months before the caretaker asks the State to remove the child from his/her home and place in foster care. The child is ineligible for title IV-E foster care because s/he had not lived with a parent or specified relative within six months of the petition. The child is in a three-generation household in which the mother leaves the home. The grandmother contacts the State agency four months later and the agency petitions the court within six months of the date the child lived with the mother in the home. The State licenses the grandmother's home as a foster family home and the child continues to reside in the home in foster care. The child is eligible for title IV-E foster care since s/he lived with the parent within six months of the State's petition to the court, and was constructively removed from the parent's custody.
      • Source/Date: Preamble to the Final Rule (65 FR 4020) (1/25/00)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 472 (a)(2)(A); 45 CFR 1356.21 (k) and (l)


      2. Question: Can a child be considered "constructively" removed from a legal guardian who is not a specified relative?(Updated July 24, 2006)

      Answer: No. The statute at section 472 (a)(3)(A) of the Social Security Act requires, among other things, that a child be living with and removed from the home of a specified relative at the time of the voluntary placement agreement or initiation of court proceedings. The provisions for "constructive" removal do not alter the requirement that the removal be from the home of a parent or specified relative.
      • Source/Date: Preamble to the Final Rule (65 FR 4020) (1/25/00)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 406 (a) and 407 (as in effect on July 16, 1996) and 472(a)(3)(A); 45 CFR 1356.21 (k)


      3. Question: May a child born to a woman while she is a prison inmate or patient in a state hospital be considered eligible for foster care payments if all other title IV-E foster care requirements are met? It has been our interpretation that since the child could not return home with the mother and live with her because of her prisoner or patient status, the child would not be eligible to receive AFDC. Hence, such a child could not meet title IV-E foster care eligibility requirements.(Updated July 20, 2006)

      Answer: An otherwise eligible child born to a woman who is a prison inmate or a patient in a hospital, and deprived of the support of an absent father, would be eligible for the title IV-E foster care program if removed from the "home of a relative" and placed in foster care in accordance with section 472 of the Social Security Act (the Act). This is true when the child is placed in foster care awaiting the mother's release or when parental rights are terminated directly after birth. The inability of the child to return to the mother during her prisoner or patient status (or for any other reason) has no bearing on the child's eligibility for title IV-E foster care. Eligibility for the title IV-E foster care maintenance payments program as defined in section 472(a) of the Act states that a State shall make foster care maintenance payment on behalf of each child who has been removed from the home of a relative specified in section 406(a) (as in effect on July 16, 1996)" if, among other things, the child was AFDC eligible in the home of the specified relative from whom the child was legally removed. The child born to a mother who was a hospital patient or a prison inmate would be considered to be living with the mother at the time of birth, and if placed in foster care would be removed from the home of the relative (the mother) in accordance with section 472 (a). The definition of "home" at 45 CFR 233.90 (c)(1)(v)(B) is applicable to the hospital or prison setting.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-86-03 (5/9/86); 7/17/2006
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 406 (a) and 407 (as in effect on July 16, 1996) and 472(a); 45 CFR 233.90 (c)(1)(v)(B) and 45 CFR 1356.21 (k)


  • 8.3A.12 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, Responsibility for placement and care
    • 1. Question: What does "responsibility for placement and care" mean? Are there certain activities which cannot be delegated? If so, which activities? Can the "case plan" be delegated while the child is under the care of the nonprofit agency? Does "responsibility for placement and care" mean that the State agency must have custody of the child or can the court give custody to a private nonprofit agency? We think "responsibility for placement and care" follows custody.(Updated July 24, 2006)

      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.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-82-07 (8/25/82)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 471 and 472


      2. Question: Can foster care payments under title IV-E be made on behalf of a child initially placed under the care of another public agency (and no inter-agency agreement exists), when and if the responsibility for the placement and care of the child is later transferred to the State title IV-E agency?(Updated July 24, 2006)

      Answer: Yes. Section 472 (a)(2)(B) of the Social Security Act (the Act) does not require that the child's placement and care be the initial responsibility of the State title IV-E agency, nor does it conversely prohibit a subsequent transfer from another public (or private) agency to the State agency from triggering eligibility for foster care payments for an otherwise eligible child. When all eligibility criteria in section 472(a) are met, a State may claim FFP from the first day of placement in the month in which all eligibility criteria have been met. FFP may not be retroactive to the time of removal. Once the responsibility for placement and care has been given to the State agency, all of the State plan requirements in sections 471(a)(15) and (16) of the Act are applicable, including the title IV-E case plan and case review requirements.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-87-03 (6/1/87)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 471 and 472


      4. Question: Does responsibility for placement and care of the child as used in section 472(a)(2)(B) of title IV-E of the Social Security Act (the Act) equate with custody?(Updated July 24, 2006)

      Answer: Not necessarily. The title IV-E foster care program requires, as a condition of eligibility, that a child's placement and care responsibility be vested either with the State agency or another public agency with which the State has a bona fide agreement pursuant to section 472(a)(2)(B)(ii) of the Act. The term placement and care means that the State agency is legally accountable for the day-to-day care and protection of the child who has come into foster care through either a court order or a voluntary placement agreement. Sometimes this responsibility translates to "custody" or "care and control" of the child via a court order, but custody is not a title IV-E requirement. Placement and care responsibility allows the State agency to make placement decisions about the child, such as where the child is placed and the type of placement most appropriate for the child. It also ensures that the State provides the child with the mandated statutory and regulatory protections, including case plans, administrative reviews, permanency hearings, and updated health and education records.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-82-07 (8/25/82); 6/23/03
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 471 and 472


  • 8.3A.13 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, Voluntary placement agreements
    • 4. Question: If a State, which is claiming Federal financial participation (FFP) for voluntarily placed children, misses the requirement for a judicial determination within 180 days of placement that such placement is in the best interests of the child, but petitions the court within the six-month timeframe set forth in section 472(a)(3)(A)(ii)(II) of the Social Security Act, can the State consider this a judicial removal, once determinations are made concerning "contrary to the welfare" and "reasonable efforts"?(Updated July 24, 2006)

      Answer: No. The State has been claiming FFP under the Federal voluntary placement program for 180 days. In this case, the State has failed to meet the requirement for continuing FFP that there must be a judicial determination within 180 days to the effect that the placement is in the best interests of the child. The fact that the State petitioned the court within six months of the time the child last resided with a relative and later obtained the judicial determinations required for judicial removals would not change the nature of that removal from voluntary to judicial.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-89-03 (7/24/89)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 472(a)(3)(A)(ii)(II); 45 CFR 1356.22


      5. Question: May a State develop a voluntary placement agreement that would allow a parent to retain custody of his or her child and allow the State to claim Federal financial participation under the title IV-E foster care maintenance payments program on behalf of an otherwise eligible child?(Updated July 24, 2006)

      Answer: Yes. As long as the State retains placement and care responsibility for the child, the fact that the voluntary placement agreement allows the parent to retain custody of the child does not impair the child's eligibility for title IV-E foster care maintenance payments. Placement and care responsibility means that the State agency is legally accountable for the day-to-day care and protection of the child in foster care. Responsibility for placement and care allows the State agency to make placement decisions about the child, such as where the child is placed and the type of placement most appropriate for the child. The State's placement and care responsibilities under section 472(a)(2)(B) of the Social Security Act must be unencumbered in order to claim Federal financial participation for title IV-E foster care costs. To the extent that a States definition of custody contradicts or in any manner limits the agency's placement and care discretion, such children would not be eligible for title IV-E foster care maintenance payments.
      • Source/Date: 06/09/04
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act- sections 472(a)(2)(B) and (f), CWPM section 8.3A.12.


  • 8.3A.14 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, Voluntary relinquishments
    • 1. Question: May voluntary relinquishments from biological parents be treated as voluntary placement agreements for the purpose of establishing title IV-E eligibility? What if the relinquishment is approved by a court?(Updated July 24, 2006)

      Answer: A child who is voluntarily relinquished to the State agency does not meet the requirements of section 472 of the Social Security Act for the receipt of foster care maintenance payments. Voluntary relinquishment means the voluntary relinquishing by parents of their parental rights to the department of social services, without court involvement. A voluntary relinquishment does not meet the definition of a voluntary placement under section 472 nor is it a placement resulting from a judicial determination as provided by section 472. Thus, Federal financial participation (FFP) would not be available for voluntarily relinquished children. In order for a child to qualify for foster care maintenance payments, section 472 (a)(2) provides that removal from the home must occur by either of two ways: (1) pursuant to a voluntary placement agreement entered into by the child's parent or legal guardian or (2) be the result of a judicial determination to the effect that continuation therein would be contrary to the welfare of such child and that reasonable efforts have been made (A) prior to the placement of a child in foster care to prevent or eliminate the need for removal of the child from his home, (B) to make it possible for the child to return home, and (C) to finalize an alternate permanency plan if the child cannot be returned home. The term "voluntary placement" as provided at section 472 (f)(1) means: an out-of-home placement of a minor by or with participation of a State agency, after the parents or guardians of the minor have requested the assistance of the agency and signed a voluntary placement agreement. The term "voluntary placement agreement" as provided by section 472 (f)(2) means: a written agreement, binding on the parties to the agreement between the State agency, any other agency acting on its behalf, and the parents or guardians of a minor child which specifies, at a minimum, the legal status of the child and the rights and obligations of the parents or guardians, the child, and the agency while the child is in placement. It is clear from section 472, specifically sections 472 (a)(2)(A) and (f) that voluntary placement recognizes an agreement between parents (or legal guardians) and the State. The agreement, as provided by section 472 (f) must specify the "legal status of the child and the rights and obligations of the parents or guardians, the child, and the agency while the child is in placement." Parents cannot be a party to such an agreement while abandoning their basic legal status as parents. Further, if at any time after the signing of the agreement, the parents or legal guardians no longer have the legal status as such, then the agreement is no longer effective, and the placement is no longer the voluntary placement stipulated in the agreement. The language of section 472 (g) suggests that a voluntary placement is a temporary state of affairs with parents or guardians having the capacity and right to revoke such agreement unless a court determines that return to the home would be contrary to the best interest of the child. Even in this latter situation, such a determination prevents a return of the child to its parental home but does not deprive the parents of their parental rights. Finally, with regard to non-voluntary placement under section 472, it is clear that Federal foster care payments can be made only if the removal from the home of the parents was the result of a judicial determination (including the "reasonable efforts" determination) as required by section 472 (a)(2)(A)(ii). Thus, even though a voluntary relinquishment is later accepted or approved in court, such an approval does not change the nature of the action from a voluntary relinquishment to a removal which results from a judicial determination as provided by section 472 (a)(2)(A)(ii).
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-85-03 (3/19/85)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 472 (a)(2)(A), (f) and (g)


      2. Question: How may a child who is voluntarily relinquished by his/her parents to the State title IV-E agency become eligible for title IV-E foster care maintenance payments?(Updated July 24, 2006)

      Answer: If the child had last been living with the parent(s) within six months of the date court proceedings were initiated leading to a judicial determination that remaining in the home would be contrary to the welfare of such child, the removal from the home will be considered a "judicial removal." In addition, the "reasonable efforts" determination must be made in relation to removal of the child from the home. Such judicial determinations will prevail as the critical factor related to removal and any prior voluntary relinquishment action will not be relevant for purposes of title IV-E eligibility (sections 472(a)(2)(A)(ii) and 472(a)(3)(A)of the Social Security Act). However, if the court merely sanctions the relinquishment without making the findings specified in section 472(a)(2)(A)(ii), the child cannot be considered to be "judicially removed" in accordance with that section, and foster care maintenance payments may not be claimed under title IV-E.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-89-01 (2/9/89)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 472 (a)(2) and (3)


  • 8.3B TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Payments
    • 1. Question: Under title IV-E, how is the term "foster care maintenance payments" defined?(Updated September 1, 2009)

      Answer: Under title IV-E, the term "foster care maintenance payments" is defined (in section 475(4) of the Social Security Act) as: "...payments to cover the cost of (and the cost of providing) food, clothing, shelter, daily supervision, school supplies, a child's personal incidentals, liability insurance with respect to a child and 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. In the case of institutional care, such term shall include the reasonable costs of administration and operation of such institution as are necessarily required to provide the items described in the preceding sentence." The cost items listed in the first sentence apply equally to family foster care and institutional foster care. The costs of providing the items may include costs such as local transportation necessary for either a foster parent or institution to provide the items. However, allowable costs do not include reimbursement in the nature of salary for the exercise by the foster family of ordinary parental duties. The second sentence applies only to institutional foster care. The reasonable costs of administration and operation necessary to provide the items only for children served under title IV-E foster care are allowable elements in payments to child care institutions. Since these costs are limited types of activities and apply only to title IV-E children, the costs of foster care in institutions will have to be allocated along two lines: (1) the allocation of costs, for purposes of Federal financial participation (FFP), based on allowable cost items and activities; and (2) the allocation of costs based on the proportion of children in the institution receiving foster care under title IV-E for those allowable elements compared to children whose care is paid under other programs. The establishment of a cost allocation system for institutions, as well as for the title IV-E agency itself, is a title IV-E agency-responsibility and is a necessary precursor to the title IV-E agency?s ability to claim FFP for allowable institutional foster care costs.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-82-01 (4/30/82) revised 08/31/09
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 472, 474 and 475 (4)


      2. Question: Does title IV-E preclude a State agency from passing on to the child title IV-E funds for his use for his maintenance in an independent living program?(Updated February 22, 2007)

      Answer: Title IV-E precludes payments made directly to the child or turned over to him by another agency for the purpose of meeting independent living costs. The eligibility of a child for title IV-E is based in part on the fact that he is placed in a family foster home or child care institution as a result of a court determination or voluntary agreement (section 472 (a)(2)(A) and (C) of the Social Security Act (the Act)). Federal financial participation is limited to foster care maintenance payments made on behalf of a child described in section 472 (a) of the Act who is in a foster family home or in a child care institution (section 472 (b)). Both "foster family home" and "child care institution" are defined in section 472 (c). Title IV-E does not include "independent living" in these definitions, and it is not considered foster care within the meaning of the Act. Title IV-B may be an alternative source of funding for these independent living programs. Since independent living is not considered foster care, the limitations found in section 424(c) of title IV-B to foster care payments would not apply.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-83-05 (10/19/83)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 424 and 472; 45 CFR 1355.20


      3. Question: Please clarify how funds may be disbursed for allowable child care.(Updated November 7, 2019)

      Answer: Title IV-E agencies may include the cost of allowable child care in the basic foster care maintenance payment or may make a separate maintenance payment directly to the licensed provider. For example, if, in a particular foster family, both parents work, the title IV-E agency may include the cost of child care in the maintenance payment made to that family or may pay the licensed provider directly. Regardless of the payment method chosen, the title IV-E agency must be able to provide documentation to verify allowable expenditures.
      • Source/Date: Preamble to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (63 FR 50058) (9/18/98); (11/07/19)
      • Legal and Related References: 45 CFR 1355.20


      4. Question: Federal policy allows a title IV-E agency to include child care for working foster parents in the title IV-E foster care maintenance payment. Are there any Federal requirements that prohibit a title IV-E agency from providing child care for working foster parents in some but not all "political subdivisions" or jurisdictions?(Updated November 7, 2019)

      Answer: No. Nothing in statute or regulation prohibits a title IV-E agency from providing child care for working parents in some but not all jurisdictions. Daily supervision is one of the components of a foster care maintenance payment, and licensed child care is an allowable element of daily supervision in certain circumstances (see the definition of foster care maintenance payments in 45 CFR 1355.20). A title IV-E agency has the discretion to choose the way in which it will provide daily supervision, including whether or not to provide child care in the title IV-E foster care maintenance payment for some or all working foster parents.
      • Source/Date: March 1, 2005; November 7, 2019
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 475(4)(A) and 479B; 45 CFR 1355.20


      5. Question: May title IV-E foster care maintenance payments flow through a for-profit entity to the foster care provider?(Updated January 31, 2007)

      Answer: Yes. The Fair Access Foster Care Act of 2005 (Public Law 109-113), which took effect on November 22, 2005, amended section 472(b) of the Social Security Act to eliminate the prohibition against making foster care maintenance payments through a for-profit entity.
      • Source/Date: 01/29/07
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act, section 472; Public Law 109-113


      7. Question: May the title IV-E agency claim a title IV-E foster care maintenance payment for an allowable provider that covers the entire month if a child is temporarily absent for a portion of the month? For example, the child has run away, goes on a weekend home visit, or is hospitalized for medical treatment during some part of the month.(Updated November 7, 2019)

      Answer: Yes. The title IV-E agency may provide a full month's title IV-E foster care maintenance payment to the licensed provider if the brief absence does not exceed 14 days and the child's placement continues with the same provider. Otherwise, the title IV-E agency must prorate its claims if the child is absent from the placement for more than a reasonable brief period.
      • Source/Date: 1/29/2007; 11/07/2019
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 472, 479B


  • 8.3B.1 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Payments, Allowable costs
    • 1. Question: What are the elements of costs for foster care maintenance payments under section 475 (4) of the Social Security Act (the Act)?(Updated November 2, 2016)

      Answer: There are three groups of costs: (1) Items of Cost: Clearly, all items of cost specifically enumerated in the Act are allowable. In addition, questions may arise about the interpretation of items, listed in the Act, particularly, "daily supervision." (a) "Daily supervision" in family foster care - "Daily supervision" in family foster care may include such an item as child care. A foster family parent who is working while a foster child is not in school will have to arrange for some form of alternate care, such as day care, for the daily supervision of the child. However, as was stated in the legislative history of P.L. 96-272, "payments for the costs of providing care to foster children are not intended to include reimbursement in the nature of a salary for the exercise by the foster family parent of ordinary parental duties." (p. 50, House of Representatives, Report No. 96-900, April 23, 1980.) (b) "Daily supervision" in institutional foster care - "Daily supervision" in institutions is a limited function. It includes routine day-to-day direction and supervision. It does not include social services. (c) Social services under family foster care or institutional foster care - As with all items of care and for costs of administration and operation, the critical factor is the activity being performed and not the title or position of the performer. "Social services" are not allowable cost items as title IV-E maintenance payments under any circumstances, regardless of what type of person provides them. Examples of unallowable "social services" are: counseling and therapy to help with a child's adjustment at the institution; counseling and therapy to help a child resolve the problem(s) for which he or she was placed; counseling and therapy with the child and his or her biological family to resolve the difficulties that led to the need for placement; counseling and therapy to plan for the return of the child to the community; and psychological or educational testing, evaluation, and assessment. These costs may be claimed under other programs, e.g., title IV-B or title XX (Social Services Block Grant Program) of the Act or a State-funded program. (d) Other items in family or institutional foster care - Questions have been raised regarding some other specific items. "Recreation" is not enumerated in the Act and cannot be regarded as an element of these costs except where it clearly substitutes for otherwise necessary daily supervision, e.g., day care, as discussed in (a) above. In such a case, only the minimal costs for the eligible child and caretaker may be included. (2) Costs of providing: In both family and institutional foster care, the costs of providing the items listed in section 475 (4) may be included in payments. This is a limited added cost. However, recreation generally is not a "cost of providing". When it is a form of daily supervision, as stated in paragraph (1)(d) above, it is allowable. In an institution, the cost of providing the items might include the costs of activities performed by cottage parents or other persons filling such a role in their daily supervision of eligible children. The key is the activity being performed rather than the occupation or profession of the individual. And, to reiterate, only the proportion of costs related to providing allowable items to title IV-E children is eligible for payment. Inquiry has also been made regarding two other functions and performers. The costs of providing daily supervision of eligible children in an institution by a social worker is allowable; however, the costs of a social worker providing counseling and guidance related to a child's development, as contrasted with routine supervision, would not be an allowable cost. Further, only the proportion of costs attributable to title IV-E children would be allowable. Another question relates to the costs of (1) dispensing over the counter medicines, (2) supervising the administration of prescribed medicines, (3) administering first aid and (4) diagnosing illnesses. The activities performed under numbers (1) and (2) and routine activities under (3) would be allowable. The activity described under (4) is more specialized and is not a cost of providing daily supervision. It is unlike an activity which a family foster parent would be expected to be able to perform in the course of providing "daily supervision." Again, only the proportion of costs of providing allowable items to title IV-E children are eligible for Federal financial participation (FFP). (3) Reasonable costs of administration and operation in an eligible institution: Section 475 (4) also permits payment on behalf of eligible children in institutions to include "the reasonable costs of administration and operation of such institution as are necessarily required to provide the items [described in the same paragraph]." Factors related to the allowability of costs therefore include: (a) The institution must meet the definition of a "child-care institution" in section 472 (c)(2) of the Act. Costs borne by child placing agencies are not eligible for FFP. (b) The costs of administration and operation must be "necessarily required to provide the items described in [paragraph 475 (4)]." Thus, the proportional cost of a bookkeeper, food workers, and supervisor of cottage parents for the institution would be allowable. The costs of providing counseling or diagnosis of illness by a social worker or nurse or costs of the staff of a parent agency not employed by the institution would not be allowable. (c) The costs must be "reasonable", that is, no more than the customary costs for performing similar functions in similar institutions, e.g., in size, and type of children, such as handicapped children. (d) The costs must be allocated for title IV-E children on whose behalf payments are made. (e) The costs must be allowable under 45 CFR Part 75. (Note: This answer previously referenced 45 CFR Part 92. 45 CFR Part 75 supersedes 45 CFR Part 92 effective December 26, 2014 (79 FR 75871, Dec. 19, 2014).) Given these factors, the issue of cost allocation is important. Various cost allocation methods, e.g., random moment studies or actual counts, may be used by institutions in developing their cost allocation plans. The State agency must approve the plan as a part of its approval of rates.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-82-01 (4/30/82) (revised 11/2/2016)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 472, 474 and 475 (4); 45 CFR Part 75; 79 FR 75871, Dec. 19, 2014; 81 FR 3022, Jan. 20, 2016


      2. 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.?(Updated September 1, 2009)

      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 References: Social Security Act - sections 472, 474 and 475 (4)


      3. Question: Are all costs for day care/baby-sitting services provided to title IV-E eligible children reimbursable as a title IV-E foster care maintenance cost? If not, for which of the following purpose(s) may daycare/babysitting services be claimed for reimbursement: (1) illness of the foster parent; (2) respite care; (3) foster parent attendance at: administrative case review/judicial reviews, case conferences/team meetings, school conferences/ET (Pupil Evaluation Team), or foster parent training; (4) foster parent visits with a child who is temporarily out of the home, e.g. child hospitalized or at camp; (5) enhancement of a foster child's social skills/peer relationships/socialization; or, (6) special needs of foster child best met in a day care setting.(Updated November 7, 2019)

      Answer: The legislative history of Public Law 96-272 (p. 5, House of Representatives, Report No. 96-900, April 23, 1980) states that "payments for the costs of providing care to foster children are not intended to include reimbursement in the nature of a salary for the exercise by the foster family parent of ordinary parental duties." Since foster care maintenance payments are not salaries, foster parents must often work outside the home. Therefore, child care that provides daily supervision during a foster parent's working hours when the child is not in school is an allowable expenditure under title IV-E. Child care costs which facilitate the foster parent's attendance at activities which are beyond the scope of "ordinary parental duties" are allowable expenditures as well. Child care provided to a foster child to facilitate a foster parent's participation in activities that are within the realm of "ordinary parental duties" or child care activities which are deemed a social service are not reimbursable under title IV-E. The items enumerated in the question were assessed based on these criteria. (1) Illness of a foster parent: ensuring supervision for one's children during one's illness is an ordinary parental duty. Therefore, child care provided to a child in foster care due to the illness of the foster parent is not an allowable expenditure under title IV-E foster care maintenance. (2) Respite care: respite care is defined in federal regulation as an allowable title IV-B child welfare service and is not an allowable expenditure under title IV-E foster care maintenance. States may use title XX to fund respite care services. (3) Foster parent attendance at: a. administrative case/judicial reviews: this activity is not an ordinary parental duty. Therefore, child care is an allowable expenditure under title IV-E foster care maintenance when the foster parent(s) is required to attend administrative case/judicial reviews without the foster child; b. case conferences/team meetings: when the foster parent is mandated by the court or the agency to attend case conferences or team meetings without the foster child, child care is an allowable expenditure under title IV-E foster care maintenance because this activity is beyond the scope of ordinary parental duties; c. school conferences/ET (Pupil Evaluation Team): this activity is an ordinary parental duty and the cost of child care to provide for the foster parent's attendance at such is not an allowable expenditure under title IV-E foster care maintenance; or, d. foster parent training: foster parent training required by the title IV-E agency is an activity beyond the scope of ordinary parental duties. Therefore, the cost of child care to provide for the foster parent's attendance at mandatory foster parent training is an allowable expenditure under title IV-E foster care maintenance. (4) Foster parent visits with a child who is temporarily out of the home, e.g. child hospitalized or at camp: this is an ordinary parental duty. Child care provided to facilitate such is not an allowable expenditure under title IV-E foster care maintenance. (5) Enhancement of a foster child's social skills/ peer relationships/socialization: child care that serves to enhance a child's social skills is typically a social service and/or recreational activity and, as such, is not reimbursable under title IV-E foster care maintenance. However, when recreational activities clearly substitute for otherwise necessary daily supervision, e.g., child care during the foster parent's working hours, they are allowable expenditures under title IV-E foster care maintenance. (6) Special needs of a foster child best met in a day care setting: therapeutic child care is a social service and is not an allowable expenditure under title IV-E foster care maintenance. Child care services for children in foster care must be rendered by a provider that is licensed, certified, or has some other formal status under State, Tribal, or local regulations in order for the title IV-E agency to claim reimbursement under title IV-E. This interpretation is consistent with the statute at section 472(c) which requires title IV-E agencies to make placements in licensed or approved foster family homes and/or child care institutions. Since foster parents must be licensed or approved, child care providers that provide a foster child daily supervision in the foster parent's stead must also be licensed or approved in order for the title IV-E agency to claim reimbursement under title IV-E foster care maintenance. Informal, episodic child care need not have such status and is presumably included in the basic title IV-E foster care maintenance payment.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-97-01 (3/4/97); (11/7/19)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 472, 474, 475, and 479B; 45 CFR 1356.60


      4. Question: For which of the following purpose(s) may transportation services be claimed for reimbursement as a foster care maintenance payment: (1) the foster parent's involvement in/attendance at administrative case/judicial reviews, case conferences/team meetings, school conferences, and foster parent training; (2) the travel of a child in foster care to/from the following activities: (a) allowable day care, (b) school attendance and extracurricular activities, (c) pre-placement visits, (d) foster family trips, (e) sports and cultural events, (f) administrative case/judicial reviews, (g) visitation at other locations, e.g., in the child welfare office, or, (h) visitation with siblings, other relatives, or other caretakers?(Updated November 7, 2019)

      Answer: Local 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) of the Act 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 and for the child to remain in the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement. The items enumerated in the question were assessed based on these criteria. (1) a. The foster parent's involvement in/attendance at administrative case/judicial reviews, case conferences/team meetings, and foster parent training: these items do not coincide with the definition at section 475 (4)(A) of the Act. Therefore, transportation associated with them is not an allowable title IV-E foster care maintenance expenditure. However, section 474 (a)(3) of the Act states that each title IV-E agency shall be entitled to a payment "... for the proper and efficient administration of the [title IV-E] 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 plan. Additionally, section 474(3)(B) of the Act states that each title IV-E agency 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 and per diem to provide for foster parent's attendance at mandatory foster parent training is an allowable title IV-E training expenditure. b. The cost of a foster parent traveling to attend school conferences in the school in which the child was enrolled at the time of placement would be an allowable foster care maintenance expenditure because section 475(4) of the Act includes the cost of reasonable travel for the child to remain in that school. (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: Section 475(4) of the Act includes the cost of reasonable travel for the child to remain in the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement in foster care as allowable as a title IV-E foster care maintenance expenditure. Additionally, other 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 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 also 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) of the Act. 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) of the Act 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) of the Act. 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 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 agencies may use title IV-B funds for that purpose; or h. visitation with siblings, other relatives, or other caretakers: since section 475(4)(A) of the Act 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 agencies may use title IV-B funds for that purpose.
      • Source/Date: 12/31/07 revised 08/31/09; 11/07/19
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 472, 474, 475, and 479B; 45 CFR 1356.60


      5. Question: What is an acceptable profit margin for a for-profit child-care institution that services title IV-E eligible children?(Updated November 7, 2019)

      Answer: When contracting for goods or services with a profit-making enterprise, there is a presumption that a certain amount of profit is included in the price offered. While there are no Federal guidelines limiting the amount or percentage of profit that may be included in such a contracted price, title IV-E agencies are required to obtain the most beneficial pricing by adhering to the "Procurements by states" mandated by 45 CFR 75.326 and the cost principles at 45 CFR Part 75.403, that "...(t)o be allowable under Federal awards, costs must ... (a)Be necessary and reasonable for the performance of the Federal award and be allocable thereto under these principles." In defining "reasonable costs", 45 CFR Part 75.404 provides the following guidance: "... 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 ...In determining reasonableness of a given cost, consideration shall be given to: Whether the cost is of a type generally recognized as ordinary and necessary for the operation of the governmental unit or the performance of the Federal award; The restraints or requirements imposed by such factors as - sound business practices, arm's-length bargaining, Federal, State and other laws and regulations, and, terms and conditions of the Federal award; Market prices for comparable goods or services for the geographic area; Whether the individuals concerned acted with prudence in the circumstances considering their responsibilities to the non-Federal entity, its employees, where applicable its students or membership, the public at large, and the Federal Government; Whether the non-Federal entity significantly deviates from the established practices and policies regarding the incurrence of costs, which may unjustifiably increase the Federal award's cost." Accordingly, when title IV-E agencies are awarding contracts to for-profit child-care institutions under title IV-E, it is whether the price itself is reasonable under the 45 CFR Part 75 Subpart E cost principle standards that will be used to determine the allowability of that cost, not the amount of profit which a contractor may be making under that contract. Note: This answer previously referenced 45 CFR Part 92 and OMB Circular A-87. 45 CFR Part 75 supersedes 45 CFR Part 92 and OMB Circular A-87 effective December 26, 2014 (79 FR 75871, Dec. 19, 2014).
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-97-01 (7/25/97) (revised 11/2/2016); (revised 11/7/2019)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 472, 473, and 479B; PL 104-193; 45 CFR Part 75; 79 FR 75871, Dec. 19, 2014. ; 81 FR 3022, Jan. 20, 2016


      6. Question: Routine medical-related expenses are covered under our title IV-E agencies uniform foster care rate. However, when unexpected, expensive medical costs are incurred which are not covered by title XIX, can other Federal funds be utilized? May prescription drugs which are not covered by Medicaid or any other program be allowed as a personal incidental cost within the definition in section 475 (4) of the Social Security Act (the Act)? If so, would there be any special conditions which would have to be met (e.g. cost limits, documentation)? If not, is there any provision within title IV-E which would permit reimbursement of the costs of prescription drugs for children in foster care for which no other funding source is available?(Updated November 7, 2019)

      Answer: Federal medical payments on behalf of title IV-E eligible children in foster care are provided under the State's title XIX, Medicaid program, in accordance with title XIX, Medicaid Program, and with section 472 (h) of the Act. The definition of "foster care maintenance payments" in section 475 (4) of the Act does not include medical expenses as an allowable cost in title IV-E. A title IV-E agency may not include in the title IV-E foster care maintenance payment a specific allowance for medical care - nor may a title IV-E agency be reimbursed under title IV-E for direct expenditures of the types described in the questions. The "personal incidentals" item in the foster care maintenance payment under title IV-E, as provided by section 475 (4), may be used to meet incidental needs - and foster parents are not generally required to provide an accounting of specific expenditures, as long as the basic needs of the child are met and the maintenance payment is used for those needs.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-84-01 (2/10/84); (11/7/19)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 472 (h), 475 (4), and 479B; Title XIX


      7. Question: How should the costs of foster parent insurance be claimed, as maintenance payments or as administrative expenditures subject to reimbursement? What types of insurance costs are allowable? Is liability insurance sometimes considered a service? What should be included in the definition of "liability insurance"?(Updated November 7, 2019)

      Answer: Section 475 (4) of the Social Security Act, by including "liability insurance with respect to a child" in the definition of foster care maintenance payments, gives title IV-E agencies the option of considering insurance for foster parents as a direct foster care maintenance cost or as an administrative cost of the foster care maintenance program under title IV-E. Some title IV-E agencies include payment for insurance coverage in the monthly foster care payment to foster parents; others provide the protection through a group insurance policy or through the self-insuring procedures. Using self-insurance, the title IV-E agency may be able to provide broad coverage at low cost. Foster parent insurance should include coverage of damages by a foster child to the home or property of the foster parents and of harm done by a foster child to another party.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-82-04 (1/29/82); (11/7/19)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 475 (4) and 479B


      8. Question: An individual is both a foster care provider and a child care provider for the same child. Is it permissible under title IV-E for the title IV-E agency to provide a title IV-E foster care maintenance payment and a Federal child care payment (title IV-A or child care development fund) to the same provider?(Updated November 7, 2019)

      Answer: There is nothing in title IV-E that prohibits a title IV-E agency from providing a title IV-E foster care maintenance payment and a title IV-A or child care development fund payment to the same provider for the same child. Under these circumstances, however, the title IV-E agency may not include any payment for child care in its title IV-E foster care maintenance payment for the child.
      • Source/Date: 06/09/04; 11/07/19
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act, sections 472, 474, 475(4), and 479B


      9. Question: The definition of "foster care maintenance payments" at 475(4)(A) of the Social Security Act includes payments to cover the cost of (and the cost of providing) a child's "personal incidentals." For title IV-E purposes, what does the term "personal incidentals" include?(Updated November 7, 2019)

      Answer: The Social Security Act requires that the title IV-E foster care maintenance payment is to cover the cost of (and the cost of providing), among other things, the personal incidentals of the child in foster care. These items are typically purchased for the child on an occasional, as-needed basis and may include a variety of items. Specifically, we consider the following categories of expenditures examples of "personal incidentals": items related to personal hygiene; cosmetics; over-the-counter medications and special dietary foods; infant and toddler supplies, including high chairs and diapers; fees related to activities, such as Boy/Girl Scouts; special lessons, including horseback riding; graduation fees; funeral expenses; and miscellaneous items such as stamps, envelopes, writing paper, film and the cost of film development for a personal camera. Further, as stated in section 8.3B.1 of the Child Welfare Policy Manual (CWPM), the "reasonable and occasional" costs of such items as tickets or other admission fees for sporting, entertainment or cultural events or dues for clubs are reimbursable under the foster care maintenance payment as personal incidentals. The title IV-E agency may provide for these costs in the basic foster care maintenance payment or a separate payment to the foster parent.
      • Source/Date: 7/6/05; 11/7/19
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act -- Section 475(4)(A) and 479B; CWPM Section 8.3B.1


      10. Question: In some jurisdictions, foster parents provide "respite" for a short period of time for a child in foster care who is placed with another foster parent. May the title IV-E agency claim title IV-E foster care maintenance payments for the child who goes temporarily to stay with another foster parent for respite purposes?(Updated November 7, 2019)

      Answer: Yes. A title IV-E agency may claim allowable title IV-E foster care maintenance payments on behalf of a child who is title IV-E eligible and is placed with a licensed foster care provider only temporarily, as a respite placement. The foster parent is not being paid to provide respite care, rather the allowable costs of an eligible child are continuing to be paid. Title IV-E foster care maintenance payments may be claimed because the child is eligible and with a licensed provider. However, foster care maintenance payments may not be made to both providers for the same period in this situation.
      • Source/Date: September 29, 2005; November 7, 2019
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - Section 475 (4) and 479B


  • 8.3B.2 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Payments, Rates
    • 1. Question: What are the restrictions for rate setting with respect to for-profit child-care institutions?(Updated November 7, 2019)

      Answer: States used non-Federal dollars when contracting with for-profit child-care institutions prior to the amendments to section 472 (c) of Social Security Act (the Act) which provide Federal financial participation (FFP) for children placed in for-profit child-care institutions. The availability of FFP should have little or no impact on title IV-E agency's rate setting practices for for-profit child-care institutions if a single set of standards has been utilized for facilities regardless of title IV-E eligibility. The approved rates should, however, clearly identify and separate payments for foster care maintenance, as defined at section 475 (4)(A) of the Act, from those for tuition, treatment, social services, and other expenditures not reimbursable under title IV-E foster care maintenance.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-97-01 (7/25/97); (11/07/19)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 472, 475, and 479B; the Personal Responsibility Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) (PL 104-193)


      2. Question: In our State, we pay four different rates for foster care maintenance. A basic rate to all foster parents covers food, clothing, shelter, and personal incidentals. In addition, there are three levels of supplements which are paid to foster parents who care for children with varying degrees of physical or emotional handicaps. The higher rates in these cases relate to the increased supervision required for children with special needs and are considered a part of the foster care maintenance payment. Are these supplemental payments to foster parents allowable for reimbursement under title IV-E foster care as a maintenance cost?(Updated November 7, 2019)

      Answer: Yes. These costs are allowable for Federal financial participation under the title IV-E foster care program. Certain categories of children, including those with physical or emotional disabilities, may require more day-to-day supervision and attention than those without such conditions. Although Congress did not intend that salaries be paid under title IV-E to foster parents for ordinary parental duties, "daily supervision" is one of the items included in the definition of "foster care maintenance payments" in section 475(4) of the Social Security Act. A supplement to the basic maintenance payment for a particular child is justified when the child has greater than usual needs for the items included in the definition, as determined by the title IV-E agency.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-86-04 (8/20/86); (11/7/19)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 475 (4) and 479B


  • 8.3C.1 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, State Plan/Procedural Requirements, Case plans
    • 5. Question: Section 475(1)(C) of the Social Security Act states that the case plan must include "the most recent information available" regarding the health and education records of the child. How can a State meet the requirements in order to continue eligibility for Federal financial participation (FFP) if the records are not available?(Updated January 31, 2007)

      Answer: States are required under this provision to include the child's most recent available health and educational records in the child's case plan. If the information is unavailable as a result of Federal or State confidentiality restrictions or for any other reason, the State should explain this in the case plan and describe the steps being taken to obtain such records. Including recent health and education records in a case plan is a State plan requirement, rather than a title IV-E eligibility criterion upon which FFP is conditioned. Therefore, we may determine whether the State is in substantial compliance with this requirement through a Child and Family Services Review or a partial review (45 CFR 1355.32 and 1355.34).
      • Source/Date: 01/29/07
      • Legal and Related References: The Safe and Timely Interstate Placement of Foster Children Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-239); 475(5)(C) of the Social Security Act


  • 8.3C.2b TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, State Plan/Procedural Requirements, Case review system, notice and right to be heard
    • 2. Question: Do the notice requirements in section 475(G) of the Social Security Act apply to all court hearings? Do they apply to shelter care, emergency removal, adjudication and disposition hearings? Do they apply to procedural hearings, such as pretrial hearings or hearings on motions for discovery?(Updated January 31, 2007)

      Answer: The revised statutory language confers a "right" to be heard instead of an "opportunity," as well as changes such right to be heard to a "proceeding" instead of "review or hearing" as in the previous language. Thus, we are interpreting this change to mean that in having a "right" to any "proceeding" to be held with respect to the child, the foster parents, pre-adoptive parents or relatives providing care for a child must, at a minimum, be provided with notice of their right to be heard in all permanency hearings, as well as six-month reviews, if held by the court.
      • Source/Date: 01/29/07
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act ¿ section 475(5)(G), 45 CFR 1356.21(o)


  • 8.3C.2c TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, State Plan/Procedural Requirements, Case review system, permanency hearings
    • 4. Question: In what way can a State meet the requirement for the court holding a permanency hearing to conduct age-appropriate consultation with the child in section 475(5)(C)(iii) of the Social Security Act (the Act)?(Updated May 7, 2007)

      Answer: Any action that permits the court to obtain the views of the child in the context of the permanency hearing could meet the requirement. Section 475(5)(C)(iii) of the Act tasks the State with applying procedural safeguards to ensure that the consultation occurs. However, the statute does not prescribe a particular manner in which the consultation with the child must be achieved which provides the State with some discretion in determining how it will comply with the requirement. We do not interpret the term "consult" to require a court representative to pose a literal question to a child or require the physical presence of the child at a permanency hearing. However, the child's views on the child's permanency or transition plan must be obtained by the court for consideration during the hearing. For example, a report to the court in preparation for a permanency hearing that clearly identifies the child's views regarding the proposed permanency or transition plan for the child could meet the requirement. Also, an attorney, caseworker, or guardian ad litem who verbally reports the child's views to the court could also meet the requirement. Information that is provided to the court regarding the child's best interests alone are not sufficient to meet this requirement. Ultimately, if the court is not satisfied that it has obtained the views of the child through these or any other mechanism, it could request that the child be in the courtroom, or make other arrangements to obtain the child's views on his/her permanency or transition plan.
      • Source/Date: 06/22/07
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - 475(5)(C)(iii)


  • 8.3C.2e TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, State Plan/Procedural Requirements, Case review system, termination of parental rights
    • 5. Question: Please explain how the termination of parental rights (TPR) requirement applies to Indian tribes and it's relationship to Indian Child Welfare Act requirements.(Updated February 22, 2007)

      Answer: The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA), Public Law 95-608, was passed in response to concerns about the large number of Indian children who were being removed from their families and tribes and the failure of States to recognize the culture and tribal relations of Indian people. ICWA, in part, creates procedural protections and imposes substantive standards on the removal, placement, termination of parental rights and consent to adoption of children who are members of or are eligible for membership in an Indian tribe. The addition of the requirement in section 475 (5)(E) of the Social Security Act (the Act) to file a petition for TPR for certain children in no way diminishes the requirements of ICWA for the State to protect the best interests of Indian children. Furthermore, States are required to comply with the ICWA requirements and develop plans that specify how they will comply with ICWA in section 422 (b)(9) of the Act. The requirement in section 475 (5)(E) of the Act applies to Indian tribal children as it applies to any other child under the placement and care responsibility of a State or tribal agency receiving title IV-B or IV-E funds. While we recognize that termination of parental rights and adoption may not be a part of an Indian tribe's traditional belief system or legal code, there is no statutory authority to provide a general exemption for Indian tribal children from the requirement to file a petition for TPR. If an Indian tribe that receives title IV-B or IV-E funds has placement and care responsibility for an Indian child, the Indian tribe must file a petition for TPR or, if appropriate, document the reason for an exception to the requirement in the case plan, on a case-by-case basis.
      • Source/Date: Preamble to the Final Rule (65 FR 4020) (1/25/00)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 422 (b)(9) and 475 (5)(E); 45 CFR 1356.21 (i); The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (PL 95-608)


  • 8.4 TITLE IV-E, General Title IV-E Requirements
    • 1. Question: What is the definition of "unemployed parent" for purposes of completing the AFDC portion of a title IV-E eligibility determination?(Updated December 16, 2004)

      Answer: The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) amended the definition of ?unemployed parent? at 45 CFR 233.101(a)(1) in 1998 in response to the replacement of the former AFDC program with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Each State was required to establish a ?reasonable standard? for measuring unemployment in order to determine whether an individual qualified for benefits under TANF or Medicaid and whether a child met the AFDC portion of title IV-E eligibility. The amended regulation specifically permits States to consider hours of work, dollar amounts earned, and family size in establishing the reasonable standard of unemployment. At a minimum, States are required to include as an ?unemployed parent? an individual who is employed less than 100 hours per month, or exceeds that standard for a particular month if the work is intermittent and the excess work is temporary. Such work may be considered temporary if the unemployed parent worked fewer than 100 hours in the preceding two months and is expected to work fewer than 100 hours in the following month (see 45 CFR 233.101(a)(1)). States are constrained by this definition in order to preserve Medicaid and title IV-E eligibility for any individuals who would have been eligible under the AFDC rules previously in effect (see 63 FR 42270 - 42272, August 7, 1998). States are not required to establish a broader definition of ?unemployed parent? but may do so.
      • Source/Date: 6/23/03
      • Legal and Related References: Public Law 104-193; 45 CFR 233.101(a)(1); 63 FR 42270-42275, August 7, 1998.


  • 8.4A TITLE IV-E, General Title IV-E Requirements, AFDC Eligibility
    • 1. Question: Section 108 (d) of the Personal Responsibility Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) (as amended by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, P.L. 105-33) links eligibility for Federal foster care and adoption assistance to the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program as it was in effect on July 16, 1996. Section 401(a) of PRWORA limits Federal public benefits to "qualified aliens." The term "qualified alien" was not defined or in use on July 16, 1996. How are title IV-E agencies to apply these two provisions?(Updated June 7, 2013)

      Answer: Alien children must be eligible for AFDC under a State's July 16, 1996 plan and must also meet the PRWORA definition of "qualified alien" to be eligible for Federal foster care maintenance or adoption assistance (except that children receiving adoption assistance pursuant to agreements signed before August 22, 1996 may continue to receive such assistance).
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-99-01 (1/14/99) (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 472(a)(4) and 473(a)(2)(B); the Personal Responsibility Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PL 104-193); Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (PL 105-33)


      5. Question: Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) eligibility requires the counting of a step-parent's income. Is this requirement applicable to title IV-E?(Updated June 7, 2013)

      Answer: If the State deems step-parent income available to the child pursuant to its July 16, 1996 AFDC State plan, step-parent income must be counted in determining title IV-E eligibility (45 CFR 233.30 (a)(3)(xiv)).
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-85-07 (6/25/85) (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: 45 CFR 233.30


      6. Question: Under the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) regulations, certain work expense deductions and disregards are allowable in determining eligibility. In determining the amount of a child's earnings, is the AFDC budgeting procedure to be followed or are title IV-E agencies allowed to establish a separate set of budgeting procedures for title IV-E?(Updated June 7, 2013)

      Answer: The AFDC regulations and procedures (45 CFR 233.20) are applicable in the title IV-E foster care maintenance payments program.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-85-07 (6/25/85) (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: 45 CFR 233.20


      10. Question: For the purpose of determining a child's AFDC eligibility at the time of the child's removal from his or her home, the child must have been living with and removed from the home of a specified relative. Who is considered a "specified relative" for this purpose?(Updated June 13, 2013)

      Answer: A specified relative is defined as any relation by blood, marriage or adoption who is within the fifth degree of kinship to the dependent child. This includes great-great-great grandparents and first cousins once removed (children of first cousins). Accordingly, for the purpose of determining title IV-E eligibility, any otherwise eligible child under age 18 who is removed from the home of a relative who is within the fifth degree of kinship to the child will be eligible for assistance under title IV-E. Also see Q7 in section 8.3A11 for the specified relative requirements for youth over age 18.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-IM-92-04 (2/24/92) (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 406 (a) (as in effect on July 16, 1996); 45 CFR 233.90(c)(1)(v)


      11. Question: How does the title IV-E agency determine need and deprivation to establish a child's eligibility for title IV-E adoption assistance?(Updated June 7, 2013)

      Answer: If a child's eligibility for title IV-E adoption assistance is based upon his or her eligibility for Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) as a dependent child, the title IV-E agency must determine that the child would have been AFDC-eligible in the home from which s/he was removed. To meet the AFDC criteria, the child must be both a needy child and a child who is deprived of parental support or whose principal wage earner parent is unemployed. Need exists in the child's home if the resources available to the family are below $10,000 and meets the income test (see section 8.4A Q/A #18 of the Child Welfare Policy Manual). Deprivation exists in the home in situations where there is death of a parent, an absent parent, or a parent with a mental or physical incapacity to the extent that the parent cannot support or care for the child. At the point of the removal of a child from his or her home, a termination of parental rights (TPR) alone is not proof that deprivation exists. The factors noted here must be established based on the circumstances in that home. If the child meets these AFDC criteria at removal, no further AFDC eligibility determination is needed for adoption assistance.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-01-01 (1/23/01); 7/17/2006 (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 473 (a)(2); section 8.4B Q/A #18 of the Child Welfare Policy Manual).


      12. Question: Pursuant to the provisions of the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999, Section 472(a) of the Social Security Act was amended to permit an increase in the value of resources allowable for title IV-E eligibility to $10,000. What is the effective date of this amendment?(Updated July 20, 2006)

      Answer: The effective date of the amendment to section 472(a) of the Social Security Act (the Act) made by the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 is December 14, 1999. (Note: The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 located the resource value provision for the foster care program at section 472(a)(3)(B) and for the adoption assistance program at section 473(a)(2)(A)(i)(I)(bb) of the Act).
      • Source/Date: Questions and Answers on the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program; 7/17/2006
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 472(a)(3)(B) and 473(a)(2)(A)(i)(I)(bb); The Foster Care Independence Act of 1999; the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005


      13. Question: Should a title IV-E agency include Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) payments as unearned income when determining whether a child meets the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) requirements in effect on July 16, 1996 for title IV-E eligibility purposes?(Updated June 7, 2013)

      Answer: No. As the title IV-A program, TANF should not be counted as income in determining title IV-E eligibility.
      • Source/Date: 06/09/04 (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Section 472 of the Social Security Act.


      14. Question: What is the definition of unemployed parent for purposes of completing the AFDC portion of a title IV-E eligibility determination?(Updated November 29, 2004)

      Answer: The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) amended the definition of unemployed parent at 45 CFR 233.101(a)(1) in 1998 in response to the replacement of the former AFDC program with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Each State was required to establish a reasonable standard for measuring unemployment in order to determine whether an individual qualified for benefits under TANF or Medicaid and whether a child met the AFDC portion of title IV-E eligibility. The amended regulation specifically permits States to consider hours of work, dollar amounts earned, and family size in establishing the reasonable standard of unemployment.
      • Source/Date: 6/23/03
      • Legal and Related References: Public Law 104-193; 45 CFR 233.101(a)(1); 63 FR 42270-42275, August 7, 1998.


      15. Question: How is the $10,000 resource limit to be applied in determining eligibility for title IV-E?(Updated June 7, 2013)

      Answer: The Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 amended section 472(a) of the Social Security Act to authorize an increase in the value of resources allowable for title IV-E eligibility to $10,000. The $10,000 resource limit applies to the resources of the child and family for the purposes of determining AFDC/title IV-E eligibility. A State may not opt to set the combined value of resources at less than $10,000. (Note: The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 located the resource value provision for the foster care program at section 472(a)(3)(B) and for the adoption assistance program at section 473(a)(2)(A)(i)(I)(aa)(BB) of the Social Security Act).
      • Source/Date: 7/6/05; 7/17/2006 (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act -- Sections 472(a)(3) and 473(a)(2)(A)(i)(I)(aa)(BB); The Foster Care Independence Act of 1999; The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005


      17. Question: May a title IV-E agency determine a child's title IV-E eligibility based on the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program instead of the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) Program?(Updated June 7, 2013)

      Answer: No. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) retained the connection between the title IV-E program and the AFDC program and established an AFDC "look-back date" of July 16, 1996. As such, TANF eligibility may not be substituted for an AFDC eligibility determination. States must use the title IV-A State plan that was in effect on July 16, 1996, to determine a child's AFDC eligibility. Tribal title IV-E agencies must use the title IV-A State plan that was in effect on July 16, 1996, in the State in which the child resides at the time of removal from the home to determine a child's AFDC eligibility.
      • Source/Date: September 29, 2005 (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (P.L.104-193)


      18. Question: Question: One of the title IV-E eligibility requirements under section 472(a) of the Social Security Act (Act) is that a child must have been eligible for the former Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program. As such, the title IV-E agency must determine that the child is a dependent child based on the State title IV-A plan in effect as of July 16, 1996. What process must agencies use to determine whether a child is a "needy child" under the former AFDC program, as described in former section 406(a) of the Act?(Updated June 7, 2013)

      Answer: The AFDC program required that a child meet eligibility requirements related to both financial need (i.e., a "needy child") and deprivation of parental support. In response to the specific question, this answer addresses only the requirements for establishing that a child meets the requirements related to financial need under AFDC. For AFDC eligibility determinations, the title IV-E agency must apply the former AFDC program's two-step income test to establish whether a child would have been considered a "needy child" under the State's title IV-A plan in effect on July 16, 1996. In addition to the income test, the agency must apply a test of resources. Both the two-step income and resources tests must be applied, in accordance with 45 CFR 233.20. 1 Prior to the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, each State set its own AFDC need standard to use in determining eligibility for the program. The term "AFDC need standard" refers to the amount of money a State determined that a particular size family needed to subsist. For title IV-E purposes, the State's need standard as of July 16, 1996, (disregarding any Section 1115(a) waivers that may have been in effect on that date) is the amount that provides the basis for both steps in the income test portion of the AFDC eligibility determination process. The two-step income test to determine financial need under AFDC to be conducted in accord with Federal requirements and the State plan as in effect on July 16, 1996, is as follows (see 45 CFR 233.20(a)(3)(xiii) and 45 CFR 233.20(a)(3)(ii)(F)): Step One of the Income Test-Gross Income Limitation: The title IV-E agency determines if the family's gross income is less than 185 percent of the State's AFDC need standard, after applying appropriate disregards. 2 If the family's gross income is more than 185 percent of the State's AFDC need standard, the child would have been ineligible for the program and, thus, is not eligible for title IV-E. If the family's gross income does not exceed 185 percent of the State's AFDC need standard, the title IV-E agency proceeds to the second step to continue the process of determining if a child is a needy child and would have been eligible for AFDC. Step Two of the Income Test-Determination of Need: For this second step, the title IV-E agency compares the family's income, after applying further appropriate disregards, to 100 percent of the State's AFDC need standard, the same need standard used in step one. If the family's income is in excess of 100 percent of the State's need standard, the child would not have been eligible for AFDC and, thus, is not eligible for title IV-E. If the family's income does not exceed 100 percent of the need standard, the child would have met the AFDC income test for eligibility. In addition to applying the two-step income test to determine if a child would have been considered a "needy child" under AFDC, the title IV-E agency must determine whether the child's family has resources under $10,000 in value, after appropriate disregards.3 Both the income and resources tests must be applied to the child and family in the removal home to determine eligibility for AFDC. Once the child has been determined to be eligible for AFDC, the child remains eligible for AFDC as long as the court order that sanctioned the child?s removal from the home remains in effect. 1 The two-step process has been in place since 1981. See the 1994 Green Book, 14th Edition, July 15, 1994, Section 10 for more details on the two-step process. 2 The gross income limitation -the first step of the process- was increased from 150 percent to 185 percent of the need standard by the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 (Public Law 98-369) and implemented through regulation at 45 CFR 233.20(a)(3)(xiii). 3 Public Law 106-169 increased the resource limit to $10,000. See the Child Welfare Policy Manual at 8.4A #15 for more information.
      • Source/Date: April 6, 2010 (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act ¿ Section 472(a), Sections 406(a) and 407 (as in effect on July 16, 1996); 45 CFR 233.20(a)(3)(xiii); 45 CFR 233.20(a)(3)(ii)(F); 45 CFR 233.20(a)(2); 45 CFR 233.20(a)(2)(v)


      19. Question: How does a title IV-E agency determine title IV-E eligibility for an abandoned child whose parents are unknown?(Updated June 7, 2013)

      Answer: It is unlikely that a title IV-E agency would be able to determine title IV-E eligibility for an abandoned child whose parents are unknown. This situation differs from one in which a parent leaves a child with a friend or relative and is unreachable, but the identity of the parent is known. In either scenario, all of the title IV-E eligibility requirements must be met for a child on whose behalf title IV-E foster care or adoption assistance is claimed. This includes the requirement that the child meet the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) eligibility requirements as outlined at section 472(a)(3) and 473(a)(2)(A)(i)(I)(aa)(BB) of the Social Security Act. As such, the title IV-E agency must be able to establish and verify financial need and deprivation of parental support based on the home from which the child was removed. Determining a child's financial need requires a title IV-E agency to examine the parents' income and resources. In the case in which the identity of the parents is unknown, including when a child has been abandoned, the title IV-E agency will not have any financial information on which to make an AFDC eligibility determination. A title IV-E agency must document that a child meets all AFDC eligibility requirements; a title IV-E agency cannot presume that a child would meet the eligibility requirements simply because the child has been abandoned.
      • Source/Date: April 6, 2006 (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 472(a)(3), 473(a)(2) and 479B(b)


      20. Question: If a child is removed from a specified relative who is the child's legal guardian, must the title IV-E agency determine whether the child meets the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) criteria of deprivation based on the legal guardian or the parent?(Updated June 7, 2013)

      Answer: A determination of deprivation is always made in relation to the child's parent for AFDC eligibility purposes. Under no circumstances does the title IV-E agency look to the legal guardian to determine deprivation. Consistent with the provision in 45 CFR 233.90(c)(1)(i), "[t]he determination whether a child has been deprived of parental support or care is made in relation to the child's natural parent or, as appropriate, the adoptive parent or stepparent described in paragraph (a) of this section." Even when parental rights have been terminated and the child is removed from a relative legal guardian, the title IV-E agency must look to the situation of the parents to determine deprivation. When determining deprivation with respect to a child who is living with a relative legal guardian, a positive determination regarding deprivation can be made based upon the fact that the child is deprived of parental support due to continued absence. Although deprivation must be based on the child?s parent, this does not alter the requirement to determine whether the child would have met the AFDC criteria of financial need while living in the home of the specified relative from whom the child was removed (section 472(a)(3) of the Social Security Act and 45 CFR 1356.21(l)).
      • Source/Date: 04/24/07 (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 472(a)(3) and 479B(c)(1)(C)(ii)(II); 45 CFR 233.90(c)(1)(i) and 1356.21(l)


      21. Question: In determining a child's Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) eligibility, should the state examine the household circumstances when the child was removed from home, or should the state examine the whole month in which the removal petition was initiated or the voluntary placement agreement was signed?(Updated December 2, 2016)

      Answer: The state must determine a child's AFDC eligibility in or for the month in which the court proceedings were initiated or the voluntary placement agreement was signed. State title IV-E agencies must use the state's title IV-A plan (as it was in effect on July 16, 1996) to determine if a child would have been eligible for AFDC. Tribal title IV-E agencies must use the title IV-A state plan (as it was in effect on July 16, 1996) in the state in which the child resides when the child was removed from the home to determine if a child would have been eligible for AFDC.
      • Source/Date: December 2, 2016
      • Legal and Related References: 472(a)(3) of the Social Security Act


      23. Question: How should the title IV-E agency determine financial need for Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program eligibility purposes when the child is removed from a specified relative other than a parent? Must the title IV-E agency consider the relative's income and resources?(Updated June 13, 2013)

      Answer: If a child is removed from the non-parental specified relative through a contrary to the welfare judicial determination, or a valid voluntary placement agreement, the title IV-E agency determines financial need based on the financial situation of the child only. However, if the State's July 16, 1996 AFDC State plan required the title IV-E agency to consider non-parental relative income or resources, then the title IV-E agency must consider the relative's income and resources.
      • Source/Date: 12/31/07 (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: 45 CFR 233.20


  • 8.4B TITLE IV-E, General Title IV-E Requirements, Aliens/Immigrants
    • 2. Question: Are unaccompanied minor refugee children eligible for title IV-E payments for foster care?(Updated June 11, 2013)

      Answer: In order to be eligible for foster care payments under title IV-E any child must meet the requirements of section 406(a) or of section 407 of the Social Security Act (the Act) (as such sections were in effect on July 16, 1996) except for his removal from the home of a relative (specified in section 406(a)), in addition to meeting the other requirements found in section 472(a) of the Act. If a title IV-E agency is able to document that the child meets the requirements found in the Act, the unaccompanied minor refugee child is eligible for title IV-E payment, provided he/she is a qualified alien. One of the major problems, however, is that because the child is unaccompanied, documentation is not ordinarily available to substantiate the child's age, financial need, and deprivation of parental support or care by reason of death of a parent, continued absence of the parent from the home, or physical or mental incapacity of a parent (45 CFR 233.90(c)). In addition, the child must meet the requirements of section 472 (a) of the Act. These requirements include, for example, the existence of a voluntary placement agreement entered into by the child's parent or legal guardian or a judicial determination that continuation of the child in his home would be contrary to his welfare. Another requirement is that the child either received aid under section 402 of the Act (as in effect on July 16, 1996) in the month in which the agreement or judicial determination was made, or would have received aid in or for that month if an application had been made and the child had been living with a specified relative within six months prior to the month in which the agreement was made or the judicial proceeding was initiated. Therefore, although the unaccompanied minor refugee child may clearly be in need of foster care upon his arrival in this country, he must also meet the eligibility requirements of title IV-E (section 472(a)) if Federal financial participation is claimed by the title IV-E agency. If it can be documented that he meets the requirements, then he would be eligible for title IV-E payments. The circumstances of a refugee child who comes into the country with his family are different from the unaccompanied child in that the first child is "living with" his family. Assuming the degree of kinship is that cited in section 406(a) of the Act, this accompanied child could later become eligible for title IV-E foster care payments, if all criteria in section 472(a) are met and the documentation of age, need and deprivation can be reviewed in relation to the home (in the U.S.) from which he is removed.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-83-07 (10/24/83); ACYF-CB-PIQ-99-01 (1/14/99) (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 406 (a), 407 (as in effect on July 16, 1996) and 472; 45 CFR 233.90


      3. Question: It is our understanding that qualified aliens, regardless of whether they entered the United States before or after the date of enactment of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), August 22, 1996, are eligible for Federal foster care maintenance and adoption assistance payments. Is this a correct interpretation?(Updated June 11, 2013)

      Answer: Not entirely. If the child is a qualified alien who is placed with a qualified alien or United States citizen, the date the child entered the United States is irrelevant. However, if the child is a qualified alien who entered the United States on or after August 22, 1996 and is placed with an unqualified alien, the child would be subject to the five-year residency requirement for Federal means-tested public benefits at section 403(a) of PRWORA unless the child is in one of the excepted groups identified at section 403(b). As a general matter, we do not expect these situations to arise very often. In the event such situations do arise, State, Tribal or local funds may be used to support these children.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-99-01 (1/14/99) (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act- sections 472(a)(4) and 473(a)(2)(B); The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PL 104-193)


      4. Question: Does the welfare reform legislation concerning benefits for immigrants/aliens have any impact on title IV-E eligibility for legal aliens, persons permanently residing under color of law (PRUCOL), etc.?(Updated June 11, 2013)

      Answer: Yes. Alien children must be qualified aliens in order to be eligible for title IV-E payments and independent living services. Not all legal aliens or aliens with PRUCOL status necessarily meet the criteria for qualified alien status.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-99-01 (1/14/99) (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act- sections 472(a)(4), 473(a)(2)(B) and 473(d); The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PL 104-193)


      5. Question: Does title IV of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) supersede the provision in section 472(a) of the Social Security Act (the Act) which affords title IV-E eligibility to certain alien children who would be otherwise eligible for title IV-E but for their disqualification for the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program due to their alien status?(Updated June 11, 2013)

      Answer: Yes. Title IV-E agencies must follow the rule in PRWORA section 401(a) that: "(n)otwithstanding any other provision of law ... an alien who is not a qualified alien ... is not eligible for any Federal public benefit..."
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-99-01 (1/14/99) (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 472 (a); tThe Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PL 104-193)


      6. Question: Section 108 (d) of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) (as amended by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, P.L. 105-33) links eligibility for Federal foster care and adoption assistance to the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program as it was in effect on July 16, 1996. Section 401(a) of PRWORA limits Federal public benefits to "qualified aliens." The term "qualified alien" was not defined or in use on July 16, 1996. How are title IV-E agencies to apply these two provisions?(Updated June 11, 2013)

      Answer: Alien children must be eligible for AFDC under a State's July 16, 1996 plan and must also meet the PRWORA definition of "qualified alien" to be eligible for Federal foster care maintenance or adoption assistance (except that children receiving adoption assistance pursuant to agreements signed before August 22, 1996 may continue to receive such assistance).
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-99-01 (1/14/99) (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - Title IV-E; The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PL 104-193)


      9. Question: Are title IV-E agencies required to verify the citizenship or immigration status of individuals receiving services or payments under title IV-E?(Updated June 14, 2013)

      Answer: Title IV-E agencies are required to verify the citizenship or immigration status of all children receiving Federal foster care maintenance payments, adoption assistance payments, or independent living services. Title IV-E agencies are not required to verify the citizenship or alien status of foster or adoptive parents, with one exception. Title IV-E agencies must verify the citizenship or immigrant status of potential foster or adoptive parents when placing a qualified alien child who entered the United States on or after 8/22/96 and has been in the United States as a qualified alien for less than five years. In order to be exempt from the five year residency requirement imposed at section 403 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, a qualified alien child must be placed with a citizen or a qualified alien; hence, citizenship/alien status of prospective foster or adoptive parents must be verified in such circumstances.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-99-01 (1/14/99) (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - Title IV-E; The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PL 104-193)


      10. Question: Can you explain section 472(a)(4) of the Social Security Act (the Act) and how it applies to Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) eligibility under title IV-E?(Updated June 11, 2013)

      Answer: Section 472(a)(4) of the Act is no longer applicable to the title IV-E program. This provision essentially "deemed" certain alien children who were "temporary" legal residents as eligible for AFDC, thereby granting them access to the title IV-E program if other eligibility requirements were met. This provision was made obsolete by title IV of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 (Public Law 104-193). Under PRWORA, a child must be a qualified alien or a citizen in order to receive title IV-E payments. (See Child Welfare Policy Manual section 8.4B Q&A5 and 6).
      • Source/Date: 12/31/07 (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act ¿ section 472(a)(4), Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-193) ¿ section 401(a), Child Welfare Policy Manual section 8.4B Q&A5 and 6


      12. Question: Section 471(a)(27) of the Social Security Act (the Act) requires title IV-E agencies to have in effect procedures for verifying the United States (U.S.) citizenship or immigration status of any child in foster care under the responsibility of the State or Tribe. When determining U.S. citizenship for a child in title IV-E foster care under the responsibility of the Tribe, may Federally recognized Tribes use Tribal enrollment cards to verify U.S. citizenship?(Updated May 5, 2011)

      Answer: No. A Tribal enrollment card alone is not sufficient to meet the citizenship verification requirement of section 471(a)(27) of the Act. As a general rule, Tribal membership itself does not speak to the citizenship of the individual. The "Interim Guidance on Verification of Citizenship, Qualified Alien Status ad Eligibility Under Title IV of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996" published in the Federal Register on November 17, 1997 (62 FR 61344) by the Department of Justice should be used as guidance for verifying citizenship.
      • Source/Date: 05/04/11
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act ¿ section 471(a)(27); 62 FR 61344


  • 8.4C TITLE IV-E, General Title IV-E Requirements, Child support
    • 1. Question: As part of the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) requirements for eligibility, the parents must sign a child support assignment form. Does this provision apply to title IV-E?(Updated June 13, 2013)

      Answer: When Public Law 96-272 established title IV-E in 1980, it made no provision for the assignment of support rights as a condition of eligibility. Early developmental policy stated that under title IV-E the assignment of support rights was optional; however, section 471(a)(17) of the Social Security Act (as amended by Public Law 98-378, (effective October 1, 1984)) requires title IV-E agencies to take steps to secure an assignment of support rights on behalf of each child receiving title IV-E foster care maintenance payments. However, a child is not ineligible under title IV-E because the parent fails to comply with certain AFDC requirements in regard to child support assignment. According to the regulations, "a child may not be denied AFDC either initially or subsequently because a parent or other caretaker relative fails to cooperate with the child support agency..." (45 CFR 233.90 (b)(4)(i)).
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-85-07 (6/25/85) (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: 45 CFR 233.90


      2. Question: A child for whom title IV-E adoption assistance payments are made re-enters foster care and becomes eligible for title IV-E foster care maintenance payments. Must the title IV-E agency refer the child to the title IV-D agency to establish and collect child support?(Updated June 13, 2013)

      Answer: Title IV-E agencies are required to refer children receiving title IV-E foster care to title IV-D for child support enforcement, but are afforded some degree of flexibility by title IV-E in determining which cases are appropriate for referral. The title IV-E plan must provide that, "where appropriate all steps will be taken, including cooperative efforts with the State agencies administering the plans approved under parts A and D, to secure an assignment to the State of any rights to support on behalf of each child receiving foster care maintenance payments under this part" (Section 471(a)(17) of the Social Security Act). To determine if a case is "appropriate" to refer to the title IV-D agency, the title IV-E agency should evaluate it on an individual basis, considering the best interests of the child and the circumstances of the family. For example, is the parent working towards reunification with the child, consistent with the case plan? Would the referral impede the parent's ability to reunify with the child? Has the parent agreed to pay for the costs of out-of-home care or to temporarily accept a reduction in the adoption assistance payment? Questions of this nature should guide the agency's decision making regarding whether or not the referral should be made to the title IV-D agency.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-98-02 (9/03/98) (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 471(a)(17)


  • 8.4D TITLE IV-E, General Title IV-E Requirements, Concurrent Receipt of Federal Benefits
    • 1. Question: What is the Department's policy, under title IV-E, on concurrent receipt of benefits under title IV-E and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?(Updated June 11, 2013)

      Answer: There is no prohibition in title IV-E against claiming Federal financial participation (FFP) for foster care maintenance payments or adoption assistance payments made on behalf of a child who is receiving SSI benefits. Foster Care: Although eligibility for title IV-E foster care is tied to eligibility for Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) as was in effect on July 16, 1996 and AFDC precluded concurrent eligibility for payments from AFDC and title XVI (section 402 (a)(24) of the Social Security Act), this preclusion rule is not transferable to title IV-E for the purposes of foster care maintenance payment eligibility determinations. A child, if eligible, may receive benefits from both programs simultaneously. Adoption Assistance: In the Adoption Assistance program, the applicant may choose to apply for either or both SSI and adoption assistance. Concurrent receipt of benefits from the adoption assistance program and SSI is not prohibited under title IV-E (section 473). The adoptive parents of the child eligible to receive title IV-E adoption assistance payments and SSI benefits may make application for both programs and the child, if eligible, may receive benefits from both programs. In considering the most appropriate choice of programs and deciding whether to make application for one or both, the adoptive parents should be aware of the differences between SSI and the Adoption Assistance Program. In the Adoption Assistance Program, the amount of the adoption assistance payment is determined after taking into consideration the circumstances of the adopting parents and the needs of the child being adopted. While the child's SSI benefit would be a consideration in the negotiation of the amount of the adoption assistance payment as part of the determination of the needs of the child being adopted, this income would not generate an automatic reduction in any standardized payment amount. The amount agreed upon by the adoptive parents and the administering agency is limited, however, to the amount of the foster care maintenance payment which would have been paid if the child had been in a foster family home (section 473 (a)(3)). Because there are many complexities and financial implications for the States and Tribes as well as the adoptive families, it is important for all parties to discuss all aspects of a combination of SSI and adoption assistance at the time the adoption assistance agreement is negotiated. Such discussions could include, in addition to the adoptive parents, representatives from title IV-E and title XVI programs. With full knowledge of the SSI and Adoption Assistance programs, the adoptive parents can then make an informed decision about application for or receipt of benefits from either or both programs for which they or the child are eligible. They should be advised, however, that if they decline title IV-E adoption assistance and choose to receive only SSI for the child, and if they do not execute an adoption assistance agreement before the adoption is finalized and do not receive adoption assistance payments pursuant to such an agreement, they may not later receive title IV-E adoption assistance payments, as the child would no longer meet all of the eligibility requirements as a child with special needs (section 473 (c)(2)).
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-94-02 (2/4/94) (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 402 (a)(24), 406 (a) and 407 (as in effect on July 16, 1996) and 472 (a), 473 (a) and (c)(2);


      2. Question: How should the decision to apply for SSI or title IV-E benefits be made?(Updated June 11, 2013)

      Answer: The difference between title XVI (SSI) and title IV-E should be considered carefully by the decision maker when choosing whether to apply for either or both title IV-E or SSI benefits on behalf of the child. Information regarding the benefits available under each program should be made available by the title IV-E agency so that an informed choice can be made in the child's best interest. To achieve this goal, title IV-E agencies should exchange information regarding eligibility requirements and benefits with local Social Security district offices and establish formal procedures to refer clients and their representatives to the local Social Security district office for consultation and/or application when appropriate.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-94-02 (2/4/94) (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - titles IV-E and XVI


      3. Question: May we claim title IV-E administrative costs for eligible children who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?(Updated June 11, 2013)

      Answer: Yes. An August 17, 1993 memorandum from the Acting Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families to the Administration for Children and Families Regional Administrators allowed a State to include children who are eligible for title IV-E but who are receiving SSI in lieu of title IV-E foster care maintenance payments when determining its administrative cost ratio. This practice was conceptualized by considering these children candidates for foster care. While the policy itself is sound, a child who is in foster care is not a candidate because s/he has already been removed from home. If a child is fully eligible for title IV-E a title IV-E agency's choice to fund that child's board and care through SSI rather than title IV-E does not negate that child's eligibility for title IV-E. The agency may, therefore, claim Federal financial participation under title IV-E for title IV-E administrative functions performed on behalf of that child.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-01-02 (7/3/01) (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 471 and 474


      4. Question: Are Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits under Title XVI made to a child in foster care, including those funds conserved for the child in dedicated accounts, counted as a resource when determining eligibility for title IV-E?(Updated June 11, 2013)

      Answer: No. The child must have been eligible for Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) as it was in effect on July 16, 1996 (section 472(a) of the Social Security Act) to receive title IV-E foster care maintenance payments. The AFDC regulations at 45 CFR 233.20(a)(1)(ii) and 45 CFR 233.20 (a) (3)(x) exclude the needs, income and resources of individuals receiving benefits under title XVI in determining the need and amount of payment of an AFDC assistance unit. Thus, these exclusions apply to SSI-eligible children who are under the care and responsibility of the title IV-E agency and otherwise eligible for title IV-E.
      • Source/Date: 11/14/07 (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - titles IV-E and XVI; 45 CFR 233.20(a)(1)(ii) and 233.20(a)(3)(x)


  • 8.4E TITLE IV-E, General Title IV-E Requirements, Confidentiality
    • 2. Question: Who can release information? In particular, can parties other than the title IV-E agency (such as the court) release information?(Updated June 11, 2013)

      Answer: The release of information which was obtained from the child welfare agency by any party (including the court), except in the same circumstances as identified in 45 CFR 205.50(a)(1)(i), would result in violation of the title IV-E Plan requirements.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-95-02 (6/7/95) (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 471 (a)(8); 45 CFR 205.50


      3. Question: Is any information contained in the child welfare record protected from redisclosure by a court in accordance with title IV-E confidentiality requirements?(Updated June 11, 2013)

      Answer: No. The prohibition covers information that is gained from the child welfare agency. The provisions of confidentiality of information cannot be extended to information that the court has gained from sources other than the child welfare agency. For example, if the police, school officials, or some other party refers a child to the child welfare agency, the child welfare agency must treat information about the referral as confidential. If the child welfare agency informed the court about this referral, court redisclosure of this information would result in the agency's violation of the plan requirements under title IV-E. If the police, the school official, or some other party went to the court directly, then the confidentiality provisions would not apply. If the court became aware of the police, the school, or other party involvement through a source other than the child welfare agency, the confidentiality provisions in Section 471(a)(8) of the Social Security Act and 45 CFR 205.50 would not apply.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-95-02 (6/7/95) (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 471 (a)(8); 45 CFR 205.50


      4. Question: Under what authority may the Department review closed or sealed foster care records, particularly for those children who have been adopted?(Updated June 13, 2013)

      Answer: Section 471(a)(8) of the Social Security Act requires a title IV-E plan to provide safeguards restricting use and disclosure of information concerning individuals assisted by the title IV-E programs. It also indicates that a title IV-E plan must provide: Safeguards which restrict the use of information concerning individuals assisted under the Plan to purposes directly connected with... (C) the administration of any other federal or federally assisted program which provides assistance, in cash or in kind, or services, directly to individuals on the basis of need, and (D) any audit or similar activity conducted in connection with the administration of any such plan or program by any governmental agency which is authorized by law to conduct such audit or activity; and the safeguards so provided shall prohibit disclosure, to any committee or legislative body (other than an agency referred to in (D), with respect to any activity referred to in such clause), of any information which identifies by name or address any such applicant or recipients except that nothing contained herein shall preclude a State or Tribe from providing standards which restrict disclosures to purposes more limited than those specified herein, or which in the case of adoptions, prevent disclosure entirely. While the language of section 471(a) (8) (D) provides that States and Tribes may restrict disclosure entirely of adoption assistance records, that subsection, read in its entirety and in harmony with other sections of the Act, indicates that Congress did not intend to restrict access to federal auditors of information essential for audits under the title IV-E programs. In particular, section 471(a) (8) (D) itself provides for disclosure of information concerning individuals assisted by the title IV-E programs for purposes directly connected with audits conducted by the Federal Government and otherwise authorized by law. The authority for Federal audits of the title IV-E programs is expressly provided for under section 471 (a)(6). That section requires that a Plan, in order to qualify for FFP for title IV-E, provide that the appropriate agency will make such reports, in such form and containing such information as the Secretary may from time to time find necessary to assure the correctness and verification of such reports. The legislative history of section 471(a)(8) also reveals that while Congress was concerned about providing safeguards which limited access to information on individuals assisted by the title IV-E programs, it did not intend to hinder the essential function of Federal audits. Thus, while Congress extended to States and Tribes the option of imposing restrictions broader than those imposed in the past on the disclosure of information for the protection of the confidentiality of recipients of adoption assistance, it did not impede essential auditing functions by those authorized to conduct such audits. Accordingly, in the case of reviews of the eligibility of foster care and adoption assistance claims, the title IV-E agency must make available foster care and adoption records (including sealed foster care and adoption records) in order to document the eligibility of the beneficiaries (children) and related costs of administration. If the requested records cannot or are not made available, all payments made on behalf of the children whose records have not been made available for review and associated costs will be disallowed.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-PA-85-02 (12/19/85) (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 471 (a)(6) and (8) and 479Bb; H.R. Rep. Conf. No. 96-900, 96th Congress 2nd Session 44 (1980)


      5. Question: What are the title IV-E confidentiality requirements?(Updated June 11, 2013)

      Answer: Title IV-E of the Social Security Act requires that title IV-E agencies provide safeguards to restrict the use and/or disclosure of information regarding children receiving title IV-E assistance. In addition, in accordance with 45 CFR 1355.30 (p)(3), records maintained under title IV-E of the Act are subject to the confidentiality provisions in 45 CFR 205.50. Among other things, 45 CFR 205.50 restricts the release or use of information concerning individuals receiving financial assistance under the programs governed by this provision to certain persons or agencies that require the information for specified purposes. The authorized recipients of this information are in turn subject to the same confidentiality standards as the agencies administering those programs. To the extent that the records of the State title IV-E agency contain information regarding child abuse and neglect reports and records, such information is subject to the confidentiality requirements at section 106 of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA).
      • Source/Date: ACYF-NCCAN-PIQ-97-03 (9/26/97); ACYF-CB-PIQ-98-01 (6/29/98 updated 9/27/11) (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 471 (a)(8); 45 CFR 205.50; 45 CFR 1355.30; Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - sections 106 (b)(2)(B)(viii), (ix), and (x)


      6. Question: Will States compromise compliance with title IV-E of the Social Security Act if they comply with the confidentiality requirements in sections 106 (b)(2)(B)(viii), (ix), and (x) of CAPTA?(Updated September 28, 2011)

      Answer: Title IV-E requires that States provide safeguards restricting the use and/or disclosure of information regarding children served by title IV-E foster care. Records maintained under title IV-E are to be safeguarded against unauthorized disclosure. The regulation at 45 CFR 205.50 states that the release or use of information concerning individuals applying for or receiving financial assistance is restricted to certain persons or agencies that require it for specified purposes. Such recipients of information are in turn subject to standards of confidentiality comparable to those of the agency administering the financial assistance programs. There may be instances where CPS information is subject both to disclosure requirements under CAPTA and to the confidentiality requirements under title IV-E and 45 CFR 205.50. To the extent that the CAPTA provisions require disclosure (such as in section 106 (b)(2)(B)(ix), the CAPTA disclosure provision would prevail in the event of a conflict since the CAPTA confidentiality provisions were most recently enacted. Where the CAPTA provision is permissive (such as in sections 106 (b)(2)(B)(viii)(I)-(VI)), it allows States to disclose such information without violating CAPTA, but it does not make such disclosure permissible in other programs if it is not otherwise allowed under the other program's governing statute or regulations.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-NCCAN-PIQ-97-03 (9/26/97); updated 9/27/11
      • Legal and Related References: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) - sections 106; 45 CFR 205.50


      7. Question: Some States have enacted laws that allow open courts for juvenile protection proceedings, including child in need of protection or services hearings, termination of parental rights hearings, long-term foster care hearings and in courts where dependency petitions are heard. Questions have arisen about whether courts that are open to the public and allow a verbal exchange of confidential information meet the confidentiality requirements under title IV-E. Do the confidentiality provisions in title IV-E restrict the information that can be discussed in open court?(Updated June 11, 2013)

      Answer: No. Section 471(c) of the Social Security Act allows title IV-E agencies to set their own policies relating to public access to court proceedings to determine child abuse and neglect or other court hearings held pursuant to titles IV-B or IV-E. Such policies must, at a minimum, ensure the safety and well-being of the child, his or her parents and family.
      • Source/Date: 06/19/08 (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 471 (a)(8) and (c)


      8. Question: Is it permissible under title IV-B or IV-E of the Social Security Act (the Act) for the title IV-E agency to disclose to the public information contained in a title IV-B/IV-E agency's records regarding a deceased foster child?(Updated June 11, 2013)

      Answer: Yes. Section 471(a)(8) of the Act and section 45 CFR 205.50 require the title IV-B or IV-E agency to provide safeguards which restrict the disclosure of information concerning individuals assisted under the title IV-B or IV-E plan. Upon the child's death, he/she is no longer a recipient of these programs. However, information concerning other family members is still protected if they are recipients and care must be exercised to not release information on such other family members.
      • Source/Date: 09/05/07 (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act ¿ section 471, 45 CFR 205.50


  • 8.4F TITLE IV-E, General Title IV-E Requirements, Criminal Record and Registry Checks
    • 6. Question: May an Indian tribe elect not to conduct or require criminal records checks on foster or adoptive parents if it obtains an approved resolution from the governing body of the Indian tribe?(Updated September 20, 2007)

      Answer: No. Tribes may only receive title IV-E funds pursuant to a title IV-E agreement with a State. A Tribe that enters into such an agreement must comport with section 471 (a)(20) of the Social Security Act (the Act) and section 1356.30 in accordance with the State plan in order to receive title IV-E funding on behalf of children placed in the homes it licenses. Agreements between the State child welfare agency and other public agencies or Tribes permit those entities to have placement and care responsibility for a particular group of the foster care population under the approved State plan. Such agreements do not permit other public agencies or tribes to develop a distinct title IV-E program separate from that operated under the approved State plan.
      • Source/Date: Preamble to the Final Rule (65 FR 4020) (1/25/00)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 471(a)(20); 45 CFR 1356.30


      12. Question: May a State develop alternative procedures for background checks that do not include a fingerprint-based check of the national crime information databases (NCID) or a check of all State-maintained child abuse and neglect registries in which a prospective foster or adoptive parent and other adults living in the house have resided in the past five years?(Updated July 2, 2007)

      Answer: A State's general procedures for criminal background checks of prospective foster and adoptive parents prior to licensing or approval as specified in section 471(a)(20) of the Social Security Act, must include conducting fingerprint-based checks of the NCID. The State must also check its own State-maintained child abuse and neglect registry, if it has one, and other State-maintained registries in which adult members of the prospective foster or adoptive parent's home have resided in the last five years. See the Child Welfare Policy Manual (CWPM) Section 8.4F Q/A #29 for case-by-case situations in which States may use an alternative method to obtain fingerprint-based checks of the NCID.
      • Source/Date: 07/02/07
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 471(a)(20); CWPM Section 8.4F #29


      13. Question: If a foster parent decides to become an adoptive parent, would the background check provisions of section 471(a)(20) of the Social Security Act (the Act) apply if the foster parent had already undergone the checks to be licensed as a foster parent?(Updated April 8, 2008)

      Answer: It depends. Some prospective parents are "dually licensed" to be a foster parent and/or an adoptive parent and therefore do not need a separate license or approval once initially licensed or approved. In this circumstance, the parent providing foster care does not become a "prospective" adoptive parent and the State would not be required by Federal law to conduct the background checks in section 471(a)(20) of the Act again. However, if a State has separate licenses or approvals for foster and adoptive parents, then the State must comply with section 471(a)(20) of the Act prior to licensing or approving the foster parent as an adoptive parent. Consistent with the Child Welfare Policy Manual 8.4F Q/A #14, if the State has established an appropriate timeframe that a background check remains valid and such timeframe has not expired for the foster parent seeking approval as an adoptive parent, the State can consider the requirement of section 471(a)(20) of the Act met without conducting a new background check.
      • Source/Date: April 7, 2008
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 471(a)(20)


      26. Question: Do States have to request information from a child abuse and neglect registry of an Indian tribe in which a prospective foster or adoptive parent has resided within the last five years in accordance with section 471(a)(20)(C)(i) of the Social Security Act (the Act)? Do Indian tribes have to comply with such a request from a State according to section 471(a)(20)(C)(ii) of the Act?(Updated September 20, 2007)

      Answer: No to both questions. The references to a "State"-maintained child abuse and neglect registry in section 471(a)(20)(C)(i) and (ii) of the Act do not include an Indian tribe, as an Indian tribe is not considered a "State" for title IV-E pursuant to 45 CFR 1355.20.
      • Source/Date: April 13, 2007
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 471(a)(20)(C)


  • 8.4G TITLE IV-E, General Title IV-E Requirements, Fair Hearings
    • 1. Question: Do the regulations at 45 CFR 205.10 require fair hearings for appeals related to services as well as financial claims?(Updated June 14, 2013)

      Answer: Yes. The regulations at 1355.30 (p)(2) provide that the procedures for hearings found in 45 CFR 205.10 shall apply to all programs funded under titles IV-B and IV-E of the Social Security Act. Fair hearings in relation to services as well as financial claims are therefore covered under this regulation. The process for fair hearings under section 205.10 is essentially the same for services hearings as for financial hearings. However, because the substantive portion of the regulations provides no examples of service issues, the title IV-E agency has the option of modifying the context of the hearing to accommodate services program complaints. The hearing process under either situation requires that recipients be advised of their right to a hearing, that they may be represented by an authorized representative, and that there be a timely notice of the date and place of the hearing. The following paragraphs, excerpted from the now obsolete section 1392.11, may be used as guidance for the hearings related to services issues. The title IV-E agency "must have a provision for a fair hearing, under which applicants and recipients may appeal denial of or exclusion from a service program, failure to take account of recipient choice of service or a determination that the individuals must participate in the service program. The results of appeals must be formally recorded and all applicants and recipients must be advised of their right to appeal and the procedures for such appeal. There must be a system through which recipients may present grievances about the operation of the service program." Examples of service issues in title IV-E that might result in a grievance or request for a hearing include: Agency failure to offer or provide appropriate pre-placement preventive services or reunification services; Agency may not have placed child in the most family-like setting in close proximity to his parents; Parents were not informed of their rights to participate in periodic administrative reviews; Agency failed to provide services agreed to in case plan; A request for a specific service is denied or not acted upon; and Agency failure to carry out terms of adoption assistance agreements.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-83-04 (10/26/83) (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: 45 CFR 1355.30 (k), and (p), 205.10 and 1392.11


      2. Question: Please explain the circumstances in which adoptive parents have the right to a fair hearing.(Updated June 13, 2013)

      Answer: Federal regulations at 45 CFR 1356.40(b)(1) require that the adoption assistance agreement be signed and in effect at the time of, or prior to, the final decree of adoption. However, if the adoptive parents feel they wrongly have been denied benefits on behalf of an adoptive child, they have the right to a fair hearing. Some allegations that constitute grounds for a fair hearing include: relevant facts regarding the child were known by the title IV-E agency or child-placing agency and not presented to the adoptive parents prior to the finalization of the adoption; denial of assistance based upon a means test of the adoptive family; adoptive family disagrees with the determination by the title-IV-E agency that a child is ineligible for adoption assistance; failure by the agency to advise potential adoptive parents about the availability of adoption assistance for children in the foster care system; decrease in the amount of adoption assistance without the concurrence of the adoptive parents; and denial of a request for a change in payment level due to a change in the adoptive parents circumstances. In situations where the final fair hearing decision is favorable to the adoptive parents, the agency can reverse the earlier decision to deny benefits under title IV-E. If the child meets all the eligibility criteria, Federal Financial Participation (FFP) is available, beginning with the earliest date of the child's eligibility (e.g., the date of the child's placement in the adoptive home or finalization of the adoption) in accordance with Federal and State/Tribal statutes, regulations and policies. The right to a fair hearing is a procedural protection that provides due process for individuals who claim that they have been wrongly denied benefits. This procedural protection, however, cannot confer title IV-E benefits without legal support or basis. Accordingly, FFP is available only in those situations in which a fair hearing determines that the child was wrongly denied benefits and the child meets all Federal eligibility requirements. For example, if a fair hearing officer determines that a child would have been eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) prior to the finalization of the adoption, FFP is available only if there had been eligibility documentation for the child from the Social Security Administration, or its designee at that time. Accordingly, if a fair hearing officer decides that a child should have received adoption assistance, but, in fact, the child does not meet all the Federal eligibility criteria, the title IV-E agency cannot claim FFP under title IV-E for the child.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-01-01 (1/23/01) (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act -sections 471(a)(12) and 473


      3. Question: Do foster parents or relative caregivers have a right to a fair hearing under section 471(a)(12) of the Social Security Act (the Act) with regard to adverse placement decisions? In particular, do the provisions for relative preference at section 471(a)(19) of the Act and an opportunity to be heard for foster parents and relative caretakers at section 475(5)(G) of the Act create fair hearing rights?(Updated June 11, 2013)

      Answer: No. The provisions at sections 471(a)(19) and 475(5)(G) of the Act have no relation to or bearing on the fair hearing requirements. The title IV-E agency determines where and with whom the child will be placed by virtue of its placement and care responsibility. The fair hearing provision at section 471(a)(12) of the Act provides for granting an opportunity for a fair hearing to any individual whose claim for benefits available pursuant to this part is denied or not acted upon with reasonable promptness. The benefit under the title IV-E foster care maintenance payments program is provided to eligible children.
      • Source/Date: 06/09/04 (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Section 471(a)(12) of the Social Security Act, 45 CFR 205.10 and 1355.30(p)(2).


      4. Question: Does section 471(a)(12) of the Act give prospective adoptive parents a right to the 45 CFR 205.10 fair hearings provisions with regard to pre-adoptive foster care placement issues?(Updated June 11, 2013)

      Answer: No. Section 471(a)(12) of the Act does not grant prospective adoptive parents the right to a fair hearing under 45 CFR 205.10, for the purposes of challenging the title IV-E agency's exercise of its placement and care responsibilities pursuant to section 472(a)(2)(B) of the Act. The title IV-E fair hearings provision is directed to individuals who believe that they have been denied a benefit to which they are entitled, such as the denial of adoption assistance (see 45 CFR 205.10(a)(5) and Child Welfare Policy Manual Section 8.4). The situation raised in the question does not involve the denial of a benefit or assistance, but rather entails a placement decision. Nothing in Federal law or regulations requires the title IV-E agency to provide an individual with an opportunity for a fair hearing with regard to agency placement decisions.
      • Source/Date: 06/09/04 (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Section 471(a)(12) of the Social Security Act, 45 CFR 205.10.


      5. Question: Is the title IV-E agency required to conduct the fair hearings mandated at section 471(a)(12) of the Social Security Act (the Act), or may it delegate the process to another agency?(Updated June 13, 2013)

      Answer: Although section 471(a)(12) of the Act requires that the title IV-E agency provide for an opportunity for a fair hearing "before the State agency," the regulation at 45 CFR 1355.30(p)(2) cross references 45 CFR 205.10. The latter citation at 45 CFR 205.10(a)(9) authorizes the hearings to "be conducted by an impartial official(s) or a designee of the agency." Thus, an agency other than the title IV-E agency may be designated to conduct hearings and make recommendations to the title IV-E agency. The provision at 45 CFR 205.100(b)(1), however, prohibits officials of the title IV-E agency from delegating their authority for exercising administrative discretion in the "administration or supervision of the plan." Thus, although the title IV-E agency may delegate the fair hearing function pursuant to the title IV-E requirement, the title IV-E agency must make the final decision.
      • Source/Date: 7/6/05 (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act -- Sections 471(a)(12), 45 CFR Parts 1355.30(p)(2), 205.10(a)(9) and 205.100(b)(1)


  • 8.4H TITLE IV-E, General Title IV-E Requirements, Safety Requirements
    • 1. Question: Is the requirement for criminal records checks extended to the staff of child-care institutions, unlicensed relative homes?(Updated June 12, 2013)

      Answer: The criminal records check provision does not extend to child-care facilities; the statute specifically limits this requirement to prospective foster and adoptive parents. However, in order to be an eligible provider for title IV-E funding purposes, the licensing file must include documentation that safety considerations with respect to the caretakers have been addressed. This safety documentation requirement applies to child-care institutions in every situation. Since this provision is a title IV-E funding requirement, it does not extend to relative homes that are not licensed or approved in accordance with State/Tribal licensing standards because children placed in such homes are not eligible for title IV-E funding.
      • Source/Date: Preamble to the Final Rule (65 FR 4020) (1/25/00) (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 471 (a)(20); 45 CFR 1356.30


  • 8.4I TITLE IV-E, General Title IV-E Requirements, Social Security Numbers
    • 1. Question: What is the policy regarding a Social Security Number for persons eligible under title IV-E?(Updated June 12, 2013)

      Answer: Section 472 of the Social Security Act does not require that an otherwise eligible child apply for or furnish to the title IV-E agency a Social Security Number in order to be eligible for the title IV-E foster care maintenance and adoption assistance programs.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-86-01 (2/25/86) (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 472


      2. Question: How should title IV-E agencies reconcile the inconsistent requirements for furnishing social security numbers (SSN) under Medicaid and title IV-E?(Updated June 12, 2013)

      Answer: Changes brought about by the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 (DEFRA) (Public Law 98-369) resulted in an OHDS Policy Announcement which stated that otherwise eligible children are not required to apply for or furnish a Social Security Number (SSN) in order to be eligible for the title IV-E Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program or the Adoption Assistance Program. However, title XIX program regulations at 42 CFR 435.910 were amended to require, effective April 1, 1985, that each individual (including children) requesting Medicaid services furnish his/her SSN as a condition of eligibility for Medicaid. (It should be noted that if an individual needs emergency medical care, medical assistance cannot be denied if the individual has not previously applied for a SSN.) Children who are eligible for title XIX Medicaid on the basis of their eligibility under title IV-E must furnish a SSN as a condition of eligibility for Medicaid, even though a SSN is not required under title IV-E.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-87-01 (1/5/87) (revised 6/6/13)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 472 (h), 473 (b), 1102 and 1137; Public Law 98-369; 42 CFR 435.910


  • 8.5C.1 Guardianship Assistance Program, Payments, Termination
    • 1. Question: May a title IV-E agency include a provision in the Guardianship Assistance Program (GAP) agreement terminating payments if the guardian and the child move to another country?(Updated March 11, 2011)

      Answer: Yes. The title IV-E agency has the flexibility to include a provision in the GAP agreement terminating payments if the guardian and the child move to another country. ACYF-CB-PI-10-11 states that a title IV-E agency has broad discretion to establish how it will evaluate, reevaluate, or terminate GAP agreements. The PI states, "[f]or example, a title IV-E agency may establish agreements that: . . . allow the agency to suspend or discontinue guardianship assistance payments when a certain event occurs." Accordingly, a title IV-E agency may provide in the GAP agreement that moving to another country is an event that could cause the suspension or discontinuation of GAP payments.
      • Source/Date: 2/24/2011
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act ¿ Section 473(d)(1), ACYF-CB-PI-10-11


  • 9.1 TRIBES/INDIAN TRIBAL ORGANIZATIONS, Application of Title IV-B and Title IV-E Procedural Requirements
    • 1. Question: When the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is responsible for a child's foster care costs, it will often contract with a State to provide services to that child. Such child is then included in the State's inventory, information system and case review system. The BIA appoints an administrative panel to conduct six month periodic reviews. Do the administrative review panels appointed by the BIA to conduct periodic (six month) reviews for Indian children in foster care satisfy the requirements of sections 475 (5) and (6) of the Social Security Act (the Act)?(Updated February 22, 2007)

      Answer: Yes. Periodic reviews which are administrative reviews (rather than reviews conducted by a court) can take various forms at the State's option. They may be conducted by State agency staff, by a review panel made up of persons outside the agency, or by a panel comprised of both agency staff and the public. Title IV-E does not prohibit the State agency from utilizing a non-agency panel appointed outside the administration of the State agency. Regardless of who appoints the review panel, the review must be conducted in accordance with section 475(5)(B) and (6) of the Act. It must be open to the participation of the parents of the child and it must include at least one person who is not responsible for the case management of, or delivery of services to, either the child or the parent who are the subject of the review.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-83-09 (12/14/83)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 422 (b)(8), 471 (a)(16) and 475(5)(B) and (6)


      2. Question: Please explain how the termination of parental rights (TPR) requirement applies to Indian tribes and its relationship to Indian Child Welfare Act requirements.(Updated February 22, 2007)

      Answer: The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA), Public Law 95-608, was passed in response to concerns about the large number of Indian children who were being removed from their families and tribes and the failure of States to recognize the culture and tribal relations of Indian people. ICWA, in part, creates procedural protections and imposes substantive standards on the removal, placement, termination of parental rights and consent to adoption of children who are members of or are eligible for membership in an Indian tribe. The addition of the requirement in section 475 (5)(E) of the Social Security Act (the Act) to file a petition for TPR for certain children in no way diminishes the requirements of ICWA for the State to protect the best interests of Indian children. Furthermore, States are required to comply with the ICWA requirements and develop plans that specify how they will comply with ICWA in section 422 (b)(9) of the Act. The requirement in section 475 (5)(E) of the Act applies to Indian tribal children as it applies to any other child under the placement and care responsibility of a State or tribal agency receiving title IV-B or IV-E funds. While we recognize that termination of parental rights and adoption may not be a part of an Indian tribe's traditional belief system or legal code, there is no statutory authority to provide a general exemption for Indian tribal children from the requirement to file a petition for TPR. If an Indian tribe that receives title IV-B or IV-E funds has placement and care responsibility for an Indian child, the Indian tribe must file a petition for TPR or, if appropriate, document the reason for an exception to the requirement in the case plan, on a case-by-case basis.
      • Source/Date: Preamble to the Final Rule (65 FR 4020) (1/25/00)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 422(b)(9) and 475 (5)(E); 45 CFR 1356.21 (i)


  • 9.2 TRIBES/INDIAN TRIBAL ORGANIZATIONS, Application of Title IV-E Eligibility Requirements for Title IV-E Tribal Agencies
    • 5. Question: May a State establish and implement a policy that limits foster care maintenance payments and child welfare services for Indian children to only those who are title IV-E eligible?(Updated February 22, 2007)

      Answer: This question has moved to 9; question 1.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-88-02 (1/27/88)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 422, 428 and 472; 25 CFR 20.3


      9. Question: Section 479B(c)(1)(C)(ii)(I) of the Social Security Act permits affidavits and nunc pro tunc documents to be used for the first 12 months of a tribal title IV-E plan to verify reasonable efforts and contrary to the welfare judicial determinations. May a nunc pro tunc order used by a Tribe to verify these judicial determinations be signed by a judge other than the judge who originally made the contrary to welfare or reasonable efforts determinations?(Updated May 5, 2011)

      Answer: Yes, a nunc pro tunc order may be signed by a judge other than the judge who originally made the contrary to welfare or reasonable efforts determinations as long as the judge signing the nunc pro tunc order considers the evidence (in the court file or otherwise) and agrees that it was contrary to the child's welfare to remain in the home and that reasonable efforts were made.
      • Source/Date: 05/04/11
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act ¿ section 479B(c)(1)(C)(ii)(I)


  • 9.3 TRIBES/INDIAN TRIBAL ORGANIZATIONS, Responsibilities of the Bureau of Indian Affairs
    • 1. Question: Is it the State title IV-B/IV-E agency or the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) that has responsibility for providing foster care and child welfare services to Indian children residing on or near an Indian reservation?(Updated February 22, 2007)

      Answer: The BIA takes the position that its legislation and regulations make it the payor of last resort for Indian child welfare services, and that it will only provide assistance when it is not available from other sources (see 25 CFR 20.3). Therefore, the BIA does not become involved in paying for Indian child welfare services or foster care payments until the State and the Tribes have determined that assistance or services are not otherwise available. The availability of payments and services, however, must not be based on any discriminating practice which treats Indian children differently from other children.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-88-02 (1/27/88)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 421, 422, 428 and 472; 25 CFR 20.3


  • 9.4 TRIBES/INDIAN TRIBAL ORGANIZATIONS, Title IV-E Agreements
    • 1. Question: Which agency (State or Tribal) has responsibility for providing foster care payments and child welfare services to Indian children?(Updated February 22, 2007)

      Answer: While the Federal government provides funds through legislatively mandated programs for certain child welfare needs, it does not assume direct responsibility for the needs of individual children in each State. Rather, this responsibility is reserved for the States. Federal programs which assist States in meeting this responsibility include the title IV-E foster care maintenance payments program and the title IV-B child welfare services program. The title IV-E program is a State administered program to pay the costs of foster care for AFDC eligible children removed from their homes, for whom the State or the Tribe has responsibility for placement and care. It is an entitlement program for individual children and must be available to all eligible residents of a State, including Indian children living on or off reservations. The title IV-B child welfare services program provides Federal funds in the form of formula grants to States and Tribes consistent with the purposes in section 421 of the Act. Some federally recognized Tribes providing child welfare services are eligible to receive title IV-B grants directly from the Federal government. Since these are grants to States and Tribes, and are not entitlements for individual children, the States and participating Tribes have the authority to allocate the use of these funds and to set priorities for their use. Many States and Tribes have developed State-Tribal agreements which formalize the sharing of responsibility for providing foster care maintenance and child welfare services, using title IV-E and title IV-B funds, as well as Social Services Block Grant funds and State funds. Where neither the State nor the Tribe has resources sufficient to cover all the needs of all Indian children, the BIA, as payor of last resort, may pay for these services.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-88-02 (1/27/88)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - sections 421, 422, 428 and 472; 25 CFR 20.3


      2. Question: Must a State decline to enter into a title IV-E agreement with a Tribe that does not meet all of the title IV-B section 422 "protection" or assurances?(Updated July 24, 2006)

      Answer: No. It would not be necessary to decline entering into such Tribal-State agreements because of the Tribe's inability to meet certain title IV-E requirements. We assume that by Tribal-State intergovernmental title IV-E agreements you are referring to an agreement for the placement and care of children eligible under section 472 (a) of the Social Security Act (the Act). The terms of a title IV-E agreement, in accordance with section 472 (a)(2)(B) of the Act, would be negotiated between the State and the Tribe. The agreement should specify the respective responsibilities of each in relation to carrying out the title IV-E requirements. The agreement should also include provisions for assuring that the section 422 protections are afforded to each child in foster care under the Tribes responsibility for placement and care for whom title IV-E foster care maintenance payments are being made by the State. The State and Tribe would determine the responsibilities of each in meeting the section 422 requirements. However, the State has ultimate responsibility for assuring that the title IV-E requirements are met for title IV-E eligible children.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-85-05 (4/12/85)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 472 (a)


      4. Question: May a State make payments under title IV-E with respect to children in Indian foster homes only if the children are under the responsibility of the State title IV-E/IV-B agency or a State-certified child placing agency?(Updated December 2, 2014)

      Answer: No. Section 472(a) of the Social Security Act (the Act) outlines the eligibility requirements for a child to receive assistance and the conditions under which a State may make foster care maintenance payments under title IV-E and receive Federal financial participation (FFP). In accordance with section 472(a)(2)(B), a State shall make foster care maintenance payments under title IV-E if, among other conditions, the child's placement and care are the responsibility of the State agency administering the title IV-E State plan or any other public agency (including an Indian Tribe) with whom the State agency has made an agreement which is in effect. There is no provision in the statute that authorizes title IV-E payments where custody or responsibility for placement and care of the child has been given to a private agency. Therefore, if the State and the Indian Tribe negotiate and enter into an agreement which recognizes that the Tribe has been given custody or responsibility for placement and care of certain title IV-E eligible children and which confirms the Tribe's responsibility to comply with the requirements under title IV-E in relation to these children, the State may claim FFP under title IV-E for the costs of foster care maintenance payments for them.
      • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PIQ-87-01 (3/25/87) (revised 12/2/14)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 472 (a)


      5. Question: Can Indian tribes that enter into a title IV-E agreement with a title-IV-E agency identify, in tribal code, those aggravated circumstances in which reasonable efforts are not required in accordance with section 471 (a)(15)(D)(i) of the Social Security Act?(Updated December 2, 2014)

      Answer: When entering into a title IV-E agreement with a title IV-E agency, the tribe must adhere to the list of aggravated circumstances defined in State law. The statute at section 471 (a)(15)(D)(i) specifically requires that the aggravated circumstances in which reasonable efforts are not required be defined in State law. Moreover, other public agencies and tribes that enter into agreements with the State agency are not operating or developing their own title IV-E program separate and apart from that operated under the State plan. Rather, the agency or tribe is agreeing to operate the title IV-E program established under the State plan for a specific population of children in foster care. Therefore, the other public agency or tribe is bound by any State statute related to the operation of the title IV-E program. We expect the State child welfare agency to engage the tribes, and any other agency with which it has title IV-E agreements, in developing its list of aggravated circumstances.
      • Source/Date: Preamble to the Final Rule (65 FR 4020) (1/25/00) (revised 12/2/14)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 471 (a)(15)(D); 45 CFR 1356.21 (b)(3)


      6. Question: May an Indian tribe elect not to conduct or require criminal records checks on foster or adoptive parents if it obtains an approved resolution from the governing body of the Indian tribe?(Updated December 2, 2014)

      Answer: No. Tribes that receive title IV-E funds pursuant to a title IV-E agreement with a title IV-E agency must comport with section 471 (a)(20) of the Social Security Act and 45 CFR 1356.30 in accordance with the State plan in order to receive title IV-E funding on behalf of children placed in the homes it licenses. The statute expressly gives the State the authority to opt out of section 471 (a)(20) through State legislation or a letter from the Governor to the Secretary. Agreements between the State child welfare agency and other public agencies or tribes permit those entities to have placement and care responsibility for a particular group of the foster care population under the approved State plan. Such agreements do not permit other public agencies or tribes to develop a distinct title IV-E program separate from that operated under the approved State plan.
      • Source/Date: Preamble to the Final Rule (65 FR 4020) (1/25/00) (revised 12/2/14)
      • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 471 (a)(20); 45 CFR 1356.30


      9. Question: By what authority are Tribes restricted to licensing homes that are on or near Indian reservations?(Updated May 10, 2014)

      Answer: Section 1931 of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) authorizes Indian tribes and tribal organizations to establish and operate child and family services programs "on or near reservations," including a system for licensing or otherwise regulating Indian foster and adoptive homes. We use this language at section 1355.20 of the regulations to remain consistent with the ICWA.
      • Source/Date: Preamble to the Final Rule (65 FR 4020) (1/25/00)
      • Legal and Related References: The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978; 45 CFR 1355.20


 

 

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