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Child Welfare Policy Manual

Also see “Components of a Caseworker File

From Administration for Children & Families:  http://www.acf.hhs.gov/j2ee/programs/cb/laws_policies/laws/cwpm/index.jsp?idFlag=0http://www.acf.hhs.gov/j2ee/programs/cb/laws_policies/laws/cwpm/index.jsp?idFlag=0

This manual replaces the Children's Bureau's former policy issuance system. This Child Welfare Policy Manual updates and reformats all of the existing relevant policy issuances (Policy Announcements and Policy Interpretation Questions) into an easy to use question and answer format. This manual is broken down into nine main policy areas (with detailed subsections): AFCARS, CAPTA, Independent Living, MEPA/IEAP, Monitoring, SACWIS, Title IV-B, Title IV-E, Tribes/Indian Tribal Organizations. Future policy guidance will be disseminated in this format and announced as "Updates!" to the manual. This web-based manual ensures that the most current policy information is available to the States in the quickest and most accurate way. All questions/comments should be directed to the ACF Regional Offices.

Click here to see or print either the full table of contents, or the table of contents for just one section.

Table of Contents (full text)
1. AFCARS
2. CAPTA
3. INDEPENDENT LIVING
4. MEPA/IEAP
5. MONITORING
6. SACWIS
7. TITLE IV-B
8. TITLE IV-E
9. TRIBES/INDIAN TRIBAL ORGANIZATIONS

User's Guide
Withdrawn Child Welfare Policies
References
Print the Manual
Additions to the Manual
Deletions to the Manual
Modifications to the Manual
Cumulative Change History of Questions & Answers

 

1.2B.3  AFCARS, Data Elements and Definitions, Foster Care Specific Elements, Episode and removal circumstances

 

4. Please clarify the meaning of the terms removal, placement, episode, and discharge.

 

Answer:  A Removal is either the physical act of a child being taken from his or her normal place of residence, by court order or a voluntary placement agreement and placed in a substitute care setting, or the removal of custody from the parent or relative guardian pursuant to a court order or voluntary placement agreement which permits the child to remain in a substitute care setting. Placement occurs after removal and is the physical setting in which a child finds himself or herself, that is, the resultant foster care setting. A new Placement setting results when the foster care setting changes, for example, when a child moves from one foster family home to another or to a group home or institution. An Episode is a removal with one or more placement settings. A previous episode is one that has been completed by a discharge. A current episode is a removal and one or more placement settings without a discharge. A Discharge represents that point in time when the child is no longer in foster care under the care and responsibility or supervision of the State agency. For AFCARS purposes, situations in which the State retains supervision of a child and the child returns home on a trial basis, for an unspecified period of time, are considered a discharge from foster care after a six month period. (See: 45 CFR 1355, Appendix A, Section I, Roman Numeral III, Questions A and B. Also see: Appendix D, Detailed Foster Care, Element Numbers 18, 20, and 23.))

Source:  ACYF-CB-PIQ-94-01 (7/8/94); Final Rule (65 FR 4020) (1/25/00)

Legal Reference:  Social Security Act - section 479; 45 CFR Parts 1355, 1356 and 1357

 

 

Search Results

1.1 AFCARS, Compliance and Penalties

 

1.   How are the penalties calculated for a submission (e.g., the 90% accuracy requirement)?   (Deleted 07/05/2002)

 

 

1.2 AFCARS, Data Elements and Definitions

 

1.   What procedures should a child welfare worker follow in order to most effectively obtain accurate information on the racial and ethnic status of children and adults?

 

 

1.2A AFCARS, Data Elements and Definitions, Adoption Specific Elements

 

1.   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?

 

2.   What procedures should a child welfare worker follow in order to most effectively obtain accurate information on the racial and ethnic status of children and adults?

 

 

1.2A.1 AFCARS, Data Elements and Definitions, Adoption Specific Elements, Adoptive parents

 

1.   What procedures should a child welfare worker follow in order to most effectively obtain accurate information on the racial and ethnic status of children and adults?

 

 

1.2A.2 AFCARS, Data Elements and Definitions, Adoption Specific Elements, Birth parents

 

1.   When an adoption is dissolved and the child is then re-adopted, should the State submit the information on the first adoptive (legal) parents or the birth parents?

 

2.   What if a State has information on both the legal as well as one or more putative fathers? For whom should information be provided?

 

 

1.2A.3 AFCARS, Data Elements and Definitions, Adoption Specific Elements, Child's demographics

 

1.   AFCARS reporting requires all data submissions to be in numeric format, however, the data element definitions, both for foster care and adoption, indicate the use of the U.S. Postal Service's two letter State abbreviation. What should be used?

 

2.   What procedures should a child welfare worker follow in order to most effectively obtain accurate information on the racial and ethnic status of children and adults?

 

 

1.2B AFCARS, Data Elements and Definitions, Foster Care Specific Elements

 

1.   What procedures should a child welfare worker follow in order to most effectively obtain accurate information on the racial and ethnic status of children and adults?

 

 

1.2B.1 AFCARS, Data Elements and Definitions, Foster Care Specific Elements, Case plan goal

 

1.   Some States require that parental rights must be terminated before a child's case plan can reflect a goal of adoption. What should be indicated as a goal, if this is a State's policy?

 

2.   If a child's case plan goal is Independent Living how is it indicated on the AFCARS questionnaire?

 

 

1.2B.2 AFCARS, Data Elements and Definitions, Foster Care Specific Elements, Child's demographics

 

1.   What if a parent refuses to disclose whether or not a child has been previously adopted?

 

2.   AFCARS requires race/ethnicity information on all children. But if a child is identified as Hispanic, what information is entered for the race question?

 

3.   Should the FIPS code be that of the child's place of residence or that of the agency responsible for the case?

 

4.   AFCARS reporting requires all data submissions to be in numeric format, however, the data element definitions, both for foster care and adoption, indicate the use of the U.S. Postal Service's two letter State abbreviation. What should be used?

 

5.   In the AFCARS regulation at section 1355.40 (b)(2) there is a reference to the most recent date of a periodic review (either administrative or court) being entered for children who have been in foster care for nine months or more and other references indicate seven months. Is this a typographical error?

 

6.   What procedures should a child welfare worker follow in order to most effectively obtain accurate information on the racial and ethnic status of children and adults?

 

 

1.2B.3 AFCARS, Data Elements and Definitions, Foster Care Specific Elements, Episode and removal circumstances

 

1.   Following a trial home visit which extends beyond six months and where the child is considered "discharged," what happens if the child returns to a group home? Is this a new placement, a new episode, or an entirely new removal?

 

2.   If a child is removed from a home in which a sibling was alleged to have been abused, but the child being removed from the home was not abused, should physical abuse (alleged/reported) be marked as a condition associated with the child's removal?

 

3.   What if the only reason for a child's removal from home is mental abuse? How do you code this for AFCARS?

 

4.   Please clarify the meaning of the terms removal, placement, episode, and discharge.

 

5.   Does the definition of Neglect include cases of failure to provide supervision (non-supervision)?

 

6.   For both of the computer-generated transaction dates: should the date be generated on the date that the data was first entered or the date that the data was last updated?

 

7.   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?

 

8.   A State title IV-E agency has an agreement in effect pursuant to section 472(a)(2)(B)(ii) of the Social Security Act with the State juvenile justice agency. As such, the State reports to AFCARS children who are in the placement and care responsibility of the State juvenile justice agency and receiving title IV-E foster care maintenance payments in a foster family home or child care institution. When such a child is no longer receiving title IV-E foster care maintenance payments because the child is placed in an unallowable facility (e.g., in detention), should the State stop reporting the child to AFCARS?

 

 

1.2B.4 AFCARS, Data Elements and Definitions, Foster Care Specific Elements, Financial elements

 

1.   Should a State report that a child is eligible for, but not actually receiving title IV-E foster care maintenance payments in foster care element 59, "Sources of Federal Financial Support/Assistance for Child?"

 

 

1.2B.5 AFCARS, Data Elements and Definitions, Foster Care Specific Elements, Foster family home

 

1.   What procedures should a child welfare worker follow in order to most effectively obtain accurate information on the racial and ethnic status of children and adults?

 

 

1.2B.6 AFCARS, Data Elements and Definitions, Foster Care Specific Elements, Outcome information

 

1.   Some States do not capture information about outcomes except when the children not only are discharged from agency custody, but also the case is closed and the agency is no longer providing any type of services to the family. If this is the case for a particular State, how will penalties be assessed for lack of information?   (Deleted 07/05/2002)

 

 

1.2B.7 AFCARS, Data Elements and Definitions, Foster Care Specific Elements, Placements

 

1.   How does a State code a record where the status of the placement changes? For example, if a child is in a foster family home placement setting and that family decides to adopt the child, thus becoming a pre-adoptive home placement setting, how do States record the placement setting, the date of placement, and the number of placements?

 

2.   The internal consistency check for date of placement in current foster care setting states that it must be later than the date of latest removal from home. Can't it also be equal to the date of latest removal?

 

3.   If a child is on a trial home visit or has run away as of the end of the reporting period, what is to be reported in the "Date of placement in current foster care setting" field?   (Deleted 07/05/2002)

 

4.   How do States indicate emergency shelter care - as "institution" or "group home?"

 

5.   Please provide a more inclusive definition of Pre-Adoptive Home, Foster Family Home (Non-Relative), Institution and Trial Home Visit.

 

6.   "Group homes" as they are called in some States may more closely match the AFCARS definition of "institutions" by their size, so the data reported may look like the State has foster homes and institutions as placements, and nothing much else. Won't this be a problem?

 

7.   Please clarify the meaning of the terms removal, placement, episode, and discharge.

 

8.   For AFCARS reporting purposes what information is entered for a child who returns to a placement setting different than the placement setting from which he/she ran away or left for a trial home visit?

 

9.   Why are trial home visits (which count as placements for element 41 and may last up to 6 months or more) not counted as placements for element 24 - number of placements?

 

10.   "Runaway" is an option for a child's "Current Placement Setting"; should it be counted when calculating the answer to, "Number of Previous Placements During This Removal Episode"?

 

11.   For AFCARS reporting purposes what information is entered for a child who returns to the same placement setting from which he/she ran away or left for a trial home visit?

 

12.   The data element, "Number of Previous Placement Settings During This Removal Episode" clearly indictes previous placement settings; however, the definition in the regulation says to include the current placement setting in this count. This seems to be contradictory. Which is correct?

 

13.   Mental health institutions and jails are not normally considered to be the same type of facility. Some States expressed concern with counting them as the same for AFCARS. Why are they counted all the same as "institutions?"

 

14.   If a child goes home on a regular basis (e.g., the child is placed in an institution, but goes home to his or her family on weekends), is this considered two placements each week?   (Deleted 07/05/2002)

 

15.   Occasionally a child may be placed in the home of a neighbor or family friend who is in the process of being licensed but is not licensed at the end of the reporting period. In this case, how should that placement setting be coded?

 

16.   How are children in shelter care indicated on the AFCARS questionnaire?   (Deleted 07/05/2002)

 

17.   If the provider changes status (e.g. was a county service foster home and changes to a child placement service) and the child remains with the same family is this 1 placement setting or 2 placement settings?

 

18.   If a child is in a foster family home and then goes to a different foster family home, is this one placement or two placements?

 

19.   If a foster family moves to another city or county or State, is the move considered to be a new placement for the child living with the family?

 

20.   The AFCARS definition of "institution" seems different from the definition used for IV-E and adoption programs. Why?

 

21.   How should the State count brief periods spent away from the child's foster care provider in foster care element 24, " Number of previous placement settings during the removal episode"?

 

22.   How should a State count a child's placement back into a previous foster home in foster care element 24, "Number of previous placement settings during the removal episode"? Should a State only increase the number of previous placement settings if the child is placed in a foster care setting in which he has not been placed before?

 

23.   If a child is on a trial home visit or has run away how should the State report this child in AFCARS?

 

24.   Should a State report in AFCARS a child who is under the placement and care responsibility of the State title IV-B/IV-E agency but who has not yet been placed in a foster care setting because the child ran away prior to placement?

 

25.   If a child in foster care moves within a child care institution at a single location (e.g., from one building, dorm, cottage, or wing to another within the institution) should a State report this to AFCARS as a change in placement? Is it relevant whether the child is moving within the institution because of a change in the level of care necessary?

 

 

1.2B.8 AFCARS, Data Elements and Definitions, Foster Care Specific Elements, Principal caretaker

 

1.   When an adoption is dissolved and the child is then re-adopted, should the State submit the information on the first adoptive (legal) parents or the birth parents?

 

2.   What if a State has information on both the legal as well as one or more putative fathers? For whom should information be provided?

 

3.   If a child's principal caretakers are a same sex couple how is it indicated for AFCARS reporting?

 

 

1.3 AFCARS, Reporting Population

 

1.   Please clarify the definition of the AFCARS foster care reporting population, that is, the children States are to submit AFCARS data on.

 

2.   Should children who are still receiving funding from the State agency be reported on in AFCARS even if they are age 18 or over?

 

3.   Are past placement histories to be included or only current active cases?

 

4.   Do States report on the children in State custody even though the State has no placement or financial responsibility?

 

5.   Do States report on children whose care is in the control of tribal courts?

 

6.   What guidelines or qualifiers, if any, exist as to the inclusion of American Indian children in the AFCARS reporting population?

 

7.   Do States report on children in private agency care?

 

8.   What is the relationship between State and tribal organizations to access client data, especially non-IV-E funded clients?

 

9.   What agency submits data on adoption for children placed out of State (i.e., cooperative placement agreements)?

 

10.   Under what circumstances, if any, should children in emergency care be included in the AFCARS reporting population?

 

11.   Are children at home (i.e., trial home visits) to be included in the AFCARS reporting population?

 

12.   Are children in juvenile justice facilities included in AFCARS reporting?

 

13.   What if a child in care is known to two different State agencies? Which agency should report on the child?

 

14.   If the State has placement and financial payment responsibility for some children, but the State does not have custody, do we report them?

 

 

1.4 AFCARS, Technical Requirements

 

1.   For programming purposes, are "6 months" and "180 days" supposed to be literally the same? Automated systems must be programmed precisely as to what date to use.

 

2.   What links are States to maintain between children in the AFCARS foster care data transmission and the AFCARS adoption data transmission? If the State uses encrypted numbers, the child's number will appear the same on both the foster care and the adoption reports. Does this violate confidentiality?

 

 

2.1 CAPTA, Assurances and Requirements

 

1.   Must the policies that are the subject of the CAPTA assurances, be embodied in State statutes?

 

2.   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?

 

 

2.1A.1 CAPTA, Assurances and Requirements, Access to Child Abuse and Neglect Information, Confidentiality

 

1.   What are the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) confidentiality requirements?

 

2.   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)(A)(viii) of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA)?

 

3.   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?

 

4.   The confidentiality provision at section 106(b)(2)(A)(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)?

 

5.   Is there a prohibition against redisclosure of confidential child abuse and neglect information?

 

6.   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)(v) and (vi) of CAPTA?

 

7.   Do the confidentiality requirements in the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act apply to the members of citizen review panels?

 

8.   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?

 

 

2.1A.2 CAPTA, Assurances and Requirements, Access to Child Abuse and Neglect Information, Expungement

 

1.   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.

 

2.   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?

 

 

2.1A.3 CAPTA, Assurances and Requirements, Access to Child Abuse and Neglect Information, Open courts

 

1.   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?

 

2.   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 CAPTA. Do the confidentiality provisions in CAPTA restrict the information that can be discussed in open court?   (Deleted 04/17/2006)

 

3.   How widely should the "open courts" provision in the last paragraph of section 106(b)(2) of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) be applied considering the "open courts" provision in title IV-E of the Social Security Act?

 

 

2.1A.4 CAPTA, Assurances and Requirements, Access to Child Abuse and Neglect Information, Public disclosure

 

1.   Section 106(b)92)(A)(x) of CAPTA requires States 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"?

 

2.   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?

 

3.   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)(A)(x) for public disclosure of findings or information about cases of child abuse or neglect that result in child fatality or near fatality?

 

4.   Section 106(b)(2)(A)(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 in the case of child abuse or neglect that results in a child fatality or near fatality. Section 2.1A.1, Q/A #1 of the Child Welfare Policy Manual (CWPM) "requires" public disclosure in such cases. Does a State have the option of disclosing information on these child fatalities and near fatalities, for example, when full disclosure may be contrary to the best interests of the child, the child's siblings, or other children in the household?

 

5.   Section 106(b)(2)(A)(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

 

6.   In a case of child abuse or neglect that results in a child fatality or near fatality, is the State required by Federal law to disclose to the public personal information about the child, including name, date of birth and date of death?

 

7.   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?

 

 

2.1B CAPTA, Assurances and Requirements, Appeals

 

1.   Please explain the requirements in the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) for appealing findings of child abuse or neglect.

 

2.   To whom does the appeals process under section 106(b)(2)(xi)(II) 106(b)(2)(A)(xv)(II) apply?

 

3.   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)?

 

4.   Must States set up an administrative appeals process if they do not maintain a central registry?

 

 

2.1C CAPTA, Assurances and Requirements, Expedited Termination of Parental Rights

 

1.   The provision at section 106(b)(2)(A)(xv)(II) of CAPTA requires that States provide for expedited termination of parental rights for abandoned infants. What is considered "expedited" for this purpose?

 

 

2.1D CAPTA, Assurances and Requirements, Guardian Ad Litems

 

1.   What is the meaning of the requirement in section 106 (b)(2)(ix) of CAPTA for guardians ad litem, including the requirement that they obtain a first-hand understanding of the situation and needs of the child?

 

2.   The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) provision at section 106(b)(2)(A)(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?

 

 

2.1E CAPTA, Assurances and Requirements, Reunification

 

1.   If a State does not "require" reunification, in general, must it do anything further regarding the mandate in section 106(b)(2)(A)(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 or felonious assault of a child?

 

2.   Section 106(b)(A)(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. 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" (section 102 (d)). Does a conflict exist between the two statutes?

 

3.   Does section 106 (b)(2)(A)(xvii) of CAPTA, which requires States to have provisions for termination of parental rights in cases where a parent has been convicted of murder, manslaughter or felonious assault of a child, mean that children cannot be reunified with a parent that has committed such a crime?

 

 

2.1F CAPTA, Assurances and Requirements, Infants Affected by Illegal Substance Abuse

 

1.   We understand section 106(b)(2)(A)(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 illegal substance abuse or withdrawal symptoms resulting from prenatal drug exposure. 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?

 

2.   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)(A)(ii) of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA)?

 

3.   The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) provision at section 106(b)(2)(A)(ii) requires States to adopt policies and procedures to address the needs of infants identified as being affected by illegal substance abuse or withdrawal symptoms resulting from prenatal drug exposure. Does this requirement include an infant who is affected by prenatal exposure to alcohol?

 

 

2.1F.1 CAPTA, Assurances and Requirements, Infants Affected by Illegal Substance Abuse, Plan of Safe Care

 

1.   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)(A)(iii) of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA)?

 

 

2.1G CAPTA, Assurances and Requirements, Triage

 

1.   Section 106(b)(2)(A)(v) of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) requires the State to have triage procedures 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?

 

2.   What is the expected scope of public outreach the citizen review panels are supposed to undertake per the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) provision at section 106(c)(4)(C)? In one State, one panel is interested in surveying foster parents while another is interested in surveying some of their local community service providers. Is either of these too narrow?

 

 

2.1H CAPTA, Assurances and Requirements, Notification of Allegations

 

1.   The provision at section 106(b)(2)(A)(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)(A)(xviii) meant "face-to-face" contact only?

 

2.   The provision at section 106(b)(2)(A)(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)(A)(xviii) of CAPTA apply only to child maltreatment investigations or does it also apply to child maltreatment alternative response assessments?

 

3.   The provision at section 106(b)(2)(A)(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?

 

 

2.1I CAPTA, Assurances and Requirements, Referrals to IDEA, Part C

 

1.   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?

 

2.   Can the provision at section 106(b)(2)(A)(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?

 

3.   Does the "child" as mentioned in section 106(b)(2)(A)(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?

 

 

2.1J CAPTA, Assurances and Requirements, Criminal Background Checks

 

1.   Are fingerprints required as part of the criminal background check requirement in section 106(b)(2)(A)(xxii) of CAPTA?

 

2.   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?

 

 

2.2 CAPTA, Citizen Review Panels

 

1.   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?

 

2.   Do States have the flexibility to determine how to implement the citizen review panels requirement in section 106(b)(2)(xiv) of CAPTA?

 

3.   What are the functions that citizen review panels must perform?

 

4.   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?

 

5.   Do the confidentiality requirements in the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act apply to the members of citizen review panels?

 

6.   Must a State include families who are involved with the Child Protective Services (CPS) agency as members of its citizen review panels?

 

 

2.3 CAPTA, Definitions

 

1.   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 111 (2). Please clarify.

 

2.   Definitions are found in sections 106 (b)(4), as well as in sections 111 (2) and (4). What is the difference between the definitions found in these sections?

 

3.   Section 106(b)(2)(A)(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"?

 

 

3. INDEPENDENT LIVING

 

1.   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?

 

 

3.1 INDEPENDENT LIVING, Certifications and Requirements

 

1.   Will States need to make any specific changes in their legislation and policy to comply with the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP)?

 

2.   Who is considered the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the State for purposes of signing the certifications?

 

 

3.1A INDEPENDENT LIVING, Certifications and Requirements, Adolescent Participation

 

1.   Is there a Federal requirement for the State to formulate a life skills assessment or enter into a personal responsibility contract with each youth receiving services under the CFCIP?

 

 

3.1B INDEPENDENT LIVING, Certifications and Requirements, Age

 

1.   Is it correct that there is no minimum age requirement for youths to receive Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP) services?

 

2.   Who must the State serve in the age 18-21 category in independent living services?

 

3.   At what age do independent living services have to be provided to foster care youth?

 

 

3.1C INDEPENDENT LIVING, Certifications and Requirements, Coordination

 

1.   What is specifically being asked of the State regarding the coordination requirement at 477(b)(3)(F) of the Social Security Act?

 

 

3.1E INDEPENDENT LIVING, Certifications and Requirements, Miscellaneous Requirements

 

1.   Does the court have to approve the youth's case plan that describes the services needed for him/her to transition from adolescence to adulthood?

 

 

3.1F INDEPENDENT LIVING, Certifications and Requirements, Objective Eligibility Criteria

 

1.   What are the program eligibility requirements for programs and services provided by the State?

 

2.   If a foster care youth (under age 18) is placed in another State, which State is responsible for providing the funding for CFCIP services?

 

3.   If a former foster care youth (between the ages of 18-21) moves from the State in which he or she aged out of foster care to another State, which State is responsible for providing CFCIP services?

 

4.   Does marriage have any impact on a youth's eligibility for CFCIP?

 

5.   Can former foster care youth be required by the court to participate in the CFCIP?

 

6.   Are youth who do not age out of the foster care system because permanency was attained prior to age 18 eligible for CFCIP services? For example, a youth was in foster care but reunited with his/her family and is living at home or was adopted before attaining 18 years of age. Would such a youth be eligible for CFCIP services at age 18?

 

 

3.1G INDEPENDENT LIVING, Certifications and Requirements, Room and Board

 

1.   What is meant by "room and 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?

 

2.   Does the law at 477 (b)(3)(A) and (B) of the Social Security Act (the Act) allow "room and board" payments for youth between 18-21 years of age who are in a higher education situation?

 

3.   Can a State provide Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP) funds to an organization for the purpose of acquiring real property under the statutory provision that permits limited room and board expenditures for former foster care children between the ages of 18 and 21?

 

4.   May a State use Chafee funds to provide room and board for youth (between the ages of 18-21) who voluntarily remain in foster care?

 

 

3.1H INDEPENDENT LIVING, Certifications and Requirements, Training

 

1.   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?

 

2.   Does the law permit training to be directly charged to title IV-E or must the training costs be cost allocated?

 

3.   May States claim the costs of training foster parents under their CFCIP funds?

 

 

3.1I INDEPENDENT LIVING, Certifications and Requirements, Tribal

 

1.   Must the Tribes participate in the title IV-E program in order to access Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP) funds and services? Is their participation in the title IV-E program a prerequisite for soliciting their input?

 

2.   Are entities other than "tribes" included in the requirements at section 477(b)(3)(G) of the Social Security Act?

 

3.   How will the State document its compliance with the requirements to consult and coordinate with the Tribes?

 

4.   Why is the requirement for States to consult with Tribes in the Chafee Foster Care Independence Act?

 

5.   Some Tribal representatives feel the wording for the assurance at 477(b)(3)(G) should indicate that "benefits and services under the programs will be made available to Indian youth in the State on "an equal basis" rather than on "the same basis" as to other youth in the State. Is the change in wording allowable?

 

 

3.3A INDEPENDENT LIVING, Fiscal, Administrative Costs

 

1.   May a State use funds under section 477 of the Social Security Act (the Act) for administrative costs and information system costs?

 

 

3.3B INDEPENDENT LIVING, Fiscal, Allocations

 

1.   Will the Department allow reallocation of State unspent funds to other States that could match the additional amount?

 

2.   Which fiscal year and data source is being used for determining Chafee Foster Care Independence Program allocations for each State?

 

3.   How will the fact that the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program allotment will be based on the most recent AFCARS data on the number of children in State foster care as a proportion of the number of children in foster care nationwide affect States that have lowered their foster care caseloads over the last several years?

 

 

3.3C INDEPENDENT LIVING, Fiscal, Match

 

1.   Will all expenditures of Chafee funds require a match?

 

2.   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?

 

3.   How much of the State's funds for "room and board" can be used as matching funds?

 

4.   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?

 

 

3.3D INDEPENDENT LIVING, Fiscal, Non-supplantation

 

1.   If States have utilized other Federal sources of funds (e.g., Title XX), under the former ILP, can Chafee funds be used to replace them?

 

 

3.3E INDEPENDENT LIVING, Fiscal, Use of Funds

 

1.   Does the Chafee legislation allow States to develop and utilize trust funds for youth?

 

2.   Can Chafee funds be used to rehabilitate buildings to house youth that are in the independent living program?

 

3.   If a State currently offers a program for homeless youth, can the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP) be used to fund such a program?

 

 

3.4 INDEPENDENT LIVING, Related Foster Care Requirements

 

1.   Can the permanency plan for a child when s/he is "placed in another planned permanency living arrangement" include independent living and/or emancipation in accordance with 475(5)(C) of the Social Security Act?

 

2.   What is the definition of "foster care" to be used in connection with the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program?

 

3.   Can foster care include non-paid relative care where a foster care maintenance payment is not being made?

 

4.   Is an Indian boarding school considered a foster care setting for the purposes of eligibility for Chafee Independent Living services? Would it matter if the boarding school were outside the U.S., e.g., in Canada?

 

5.   Are youth who have been dually adjudicated with both delinquent and abuse/ neglect determinations, but are placed only in a detention facility eligible for Chafee services?

 

 

3.5 Independent Living, Educational and Training Vouchers

 

1.   If a youth ages out of foster care in one State and then changes his or her State of residency, which State is responsible for providing a youth with an educational and training voucher?

 

2.   Is the amount of a youth’s educational and training voucher exempt from Federal taxes?

 

3.   Since one of the purposes of the Chafee Independent Living program is to provide educational services to former foster care recipients between the ages of 18 and 21 (section 477(a)(5)), can general Chafee funds be used to supplement the $5,000 per-year ceiling for a youth in the Chafee Educational and Training Voucher (ETV) program?

 

 

3.5A Youth Eligibility

 

1.   Must a youth be 18 years of age to receive a Chafee Educational and Training Voucher?

 

2.   If a State amends its title IV-E State plan to define youth at age 14 as eligible for Chafee services, can the State also make foster care youth who are adopted at age 14 eligible for Educational and Training Vouchers (ETV) under the "youth otherwise eligible" criteria in section 477(i)(1) of the Social Security Act (the Act)?

 

3.   Must students attend school full-time to receive a Chafee Educational and Training Voucher?

 

4.   If a youth has been receiving a Chafee voucher to attend college, but is not taking classes during the semester the youth turns age 21, will the youth continue to be eligible for a voucher through age 23?

 

5.   Would a voucher be available for a youth to get an adult high school certificate or General Equivalency Degree (GED) at a community college?

 

 

3.5B Coordination and Duplication

 

1.   The Chafee voucher program requires States to describe how they will avoid duplication of benefits under this and any other Federal assistance program. Does this mean that an award of an educational and training voucher precludes a youth from also receiving a Pell grant award?

 

 

3.5C Eligible Expenses and Institutions

 

1.   What type of institutions fall within the definition of "institution of higher education" for the purposes of the educational and training voucher program under section 477 of the Social Security Act?

 

2.   Section 477(i)(4) of the Social Security Act allows States to use educational and training vouchers to pay for the "cost of attendance" up to $5,000 per year. What is included in the definition of "cost of attendance?"

 

3.   What child care expenses are included in the definition of "cost of attendance" for the voucher program?

 

4.   If the State is paying for the "cost of attendance" for a student under the Educational and Training Voucher program, what are allowable transportation expenses under the definition of "cost of attendance?" May the State use funds from the voucher program to pay for expenses related to a student's personal vehicle?

 

5.   Can the State use funds awarded in the current fiscal year for the Educational and Training Voucher (ETV) program to pay all or a portion of a youth’s educational or vocational student loans from previous years?

 

6.   There is a $5,000 per year maximum per youth for the Educational and Training Voucher fund. Does this maximum apply only to Federal funds? If so, can the State spend additional dollars from all-State funds or other sources for this purpose?

 

7.   Section 477(i)(4)(B) of the Social Security Act states that a voucher or vouchers provided for an individual "shall not exceed the lesser of $5,000 per year or the total cost of attendance, as defined in the Act." Does the $5,000 ceiling apply to an academic year, a Federal or State fiscal year, a calendar year or any 12-month period?

 

8.   Would a voucher be available for a youth to get an adult high school certificate or General Equivalency Degree (GED) at a community college?

 

 

3.5D Administrative Costs

 

1.   Can a State claim the administrative costs under the title IV-E Foster Care program (section 474(a)(3) of the Social Security Act (the Act)) for implementing the Educational and Training Voucher program?

 

2.   Can Chafee voucher program funds be used to pay for staffing?

 

 

3.5E Match

 

1.   Can non-State funds (e.g., private dollars, in-kind) be used to match the voucher funds?

 

2.   Must State or in-kind funds used to match the voucher program follow the same program rules as the Federal dollars?

 

 

3.5F Use of Funds

 

1.   Can funds for the voucher program be used for non-voucher related expenses, i.e., mentoring programs or other supportive activities for eligible youth?

 

 

4.1 MEPA/IEAP, Diligent Recruitment

 

1.   Can you give us some guidance with respect to satisfying the diligent recruitment requirements of the Multiethnic Placement Act (MEPA)?

 

2.   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?

 

 

4.2 MEPA/IEAP, Enforcement of Section 471 (a)(18) of the SSA

 

1.   What criteria will be used to determine if a violation of section 471 (a)(18) of the Act has occurred?

 

2.   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?

 

3.   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?

 

 

4.3 MEPA/IEAP, Guidance for Compliance

 

1.   What are examples of some impermissible activities under the Multiethnic Placement Act (MEPA)?

 

2.   May public agencies allow foster or adoptive parents to specify the race, color, national origin, ethnicity or culture of children for whom they are willing to provide care?

 

3.   May public agencies assess the racial, national origin, ethnic and/or cultural needs of all children in foster care, either by assessing those needs directly or as part of another assessment such as an assessment of special needs? May they do this for a subset of all children in foster care?

 

4.   May public agencies assess the racial, national origin, ethnic and/or cultural capacity of all foster or adoptive parents, either by assessing that capacity directly or as part of another assessment such as an assessment of strengths and weaknesses?

 

5.   May public agencies honor the request of birth parents to place their child, who was involuntarily removed, with foster parents of a specific racial, national origin, ethnic and/or cultural group? What if the child was voluntarily removed?

 

6.   If an action by a public agency will not delay or deny the placement of a child, may that agency use race to differentiate between otherwise acceptable foster/adoptive placements?

 

7.   May public agencies decline to transracially place any child with a foster/adoptive parent who has unsatisfactory cultural competency skills?

 

8.   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?

 

9.   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?

 

10.   May a home finding agency that contracts with a public agency, but that does not place children, dissuade or otherwise counsel a potential foster or adoptive parent who has unsatisfactory cultural competency skills to withdraw an application or not pursue foster parenting or adoption?

 

11.   May a home finding agency that contracts with a public agency, but that does not place children, assess the racial, national origin, ethnic and/or cultural capacity of all adoptive parents, either by assessing that capacity directly or as part of another assessment such as an assessment of strengths and weaknesses? May they do this for a subset of adoptive parents, such as white parents?

 

12.   How does HHS define "culture" in the context of MEPA guidance?

 

13.   Please provide examples of what is meant by delay and denial of placement in foster care, excluding situations involving adoption.

 

 

5.1 MONITORING, Child and Family and Services Review (CFSR)

 

1.   The child and family services review assesses compliance with only certain State plan requirements rather than all State plan requirements. How will you ensure compliance with those State plan requirements not addressed in the child and family services review?

 

2.   How will the child and family service reviews work in county-administered systems?

 

3.   At 45 CFR 1355.33 (b) are there special requirements or criteria for the "external partners" who are supposed to be included in the child and family services review team? Can these individuals be paid or compensated?

 

4.   What are the requirements for ensuring confidentiality during the case review portion of the review?

 

5.   For the on-site portion of the review, does including the State's largest metropolitan area impact the representativeness of the sample?

 

6.   Do the child and family services reviews cover the title IV-E State plan requirement that prohibits States to delay or deny interjurisdictional adoptions?

 

7.   Certain performance indicators do not seem to be applicable to their related outcomes. For example, the performance indicators associated with Well-Being Outcome #1, Families have enhanced capacity to provide for their children's needs, are measures of process and do not equate with enhanced capacity for parents. Please explain the rationale for the choice of these performance indicators.

 

8.   Well-Being Outcome #2, "Children receive appropriate services to meet their educational needs," is not an outcome that can necessarily be achieved by the child welfare system. Moreover, we question whether this outcome, as it is stated, meets the definition of an outcome. Please explain the rationale for its inclusion as an outcome.

 

9.   In enforcing the national standard for the statewide data indicators, will some States automatically fail to meet the standard, by definition, since the standard is set at the 75th percentile of State performance?

 

10.   Is a two year time period (plus the opportunity for a one year extension) for completing a program improvement plan excessive?

 

11.   Will you ensure that program improvement plans are consistent with any consent degrees by which States may be bound?

 

12.   What are the differences among calculating the amount of the penalty, suspending penalties, and rescinding penalties in the child and family service reviews?

 

13.   During a child and family services review, a State must meet certain thresholds to be determined in substantial conformity (i.e., achievement of the outcomes in 90% or 95% of the cases (as applicable) and the national standards for the statewide data indicators). Must the State meet those same standards post-review in order to successfully complete a program improvement plan and for the penalty to be rescinded?

 

 

5.2 MONITORING, Title IV-E Eligibility Reviews

 

1.   Under what authority may the Department review closed or sealed foster care records, particularly for those children who have been adopted?

 

2.   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?

 

3.   Doesn't the requirement for the State to submit the complete payment history records for each sample case fail to comport with the regulation governing records retention at 45 CFR 74?

 

4.   How will the eligibility of children receiving title IV-E foster care maintenance payments where the State or tribe is operating under a IV-E waiver demonstration be reviewed?

 

5.   Should the review title IV-E foster care eligibility team include representatives that are external to the agency such as State foster care review board members, child advocates, etc.?

 

6.   For title IV-E eligibility reviews, what is the expectation for determining whether a provider is properly licensed when a child is placed in foster care in another State?

 

7.   When a child is placed in foster care outside the State that has placement and care responsibility, must the foster family home be licensed by the State in which it is situated for title IV-E eligibility purposes? Will it be considered an error case on a title IV-E eligibility review if a foster family home is not licensed by the State in which it is situated?

 

 

7.1 TITLE IV-B, Citizenship/Alienage Requirements

 

1.   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 (including those funded through title IV-B). Is this a correct interpretation?

 

2.   Are States required to verify the citizenship or immigration status of individuals receiving child welfare services funded under title IV-B?

 

 

7.2 TITLE IV-B, Confidentiality

 

1.   What are the title IV-B confidentiality requirements?

 

2.   Who can release information? In particular, can parties other than the State title IV-B agency (such as the court) release information?

 

3.   Do the title IV-E confidentiality requirements apply to court records of children served by the title IV-B agency?

 

4.   Is any information contained in the child welfare record protected from redisclosure by a court in accordance with title IV-B confidentiality requirements?

 

5.   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)(v) and (vi) of CAPTA?

 

6.   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?

 

 

7.3 TITLE IV-B, Programmatic Requirements

 

1.   For what population of children must the section 422 protections be provided?

 

2.   Do the regulations at 45 CFR 205.10 require fair hearings for appeals related to services as well as financial claims?

 

3.   Will States jeopardize their title IV-B funding if they choose not to apply for the CAPTA Basic State Grant (BSG)?

 

4.   Can you clarify which children must be included in the State's report to ACF on overseas adoption disruptions and dissolutions under section 422(b)(12) of the Social Security Act?

 

5.   Sections 424(e)(1) and (2) of the Social Security Act (the Act) require the State to provide data on monthly visits between a child in foster care and "the caseworker handling the case of the child" and to make progress toward 90 percent of children in foster care in the State being visited by "their caseworkers." Which caseworkers can fill these roles?

 

6.   Are youth 18 and older who are in foster care included in the monthly caseworker visits requirements in sections 424(e)(2)(A) and 436(b)(4) of the Social Security Act?

 

 

7.4 TITLE IV-B, Use of Funds

 

1.   May States use title IV-B funds to pay for adoptive parents to attend adoption conferences?

 

2.   Is foster parent insurance allowable as an administrative cost under title IV-B?

 

3.   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?

 

4.   Are educational costs for foster children eligible for reimbursement under title IV-B?

 

5.   Are medical expenses an allowable cost under title IV-B?

 

6.   May a State use its title IV-B, subpart 1 funds to pay for services to children in interstate placements?

 

7.   Are laptop computers purchased for caseworkers allowable as a program cost under section 436(b)(4) of the Social Security Act (the Act)?

 

 

8.1 TITLE IV-E, Administrative Functions/Costs

 

1.   Is the cost of conducting criminal records checks for prospective foster and adoptive parents an allowable administrative cost under title IV-E?

 

2.   Can a case assessment be considered an allowable administrative cost?

 

3.   May a State use title IV-E administrative funds for such items as beds or smoke detectors to help prospective foster family homes meet licensing standards?

 

4.   Are the costs of medical exams necessary for a prospective foster parent to obtain and retain a foster family home license or approval an allowable administrative cost under title IV-E?

 

5.   May a State that receives a request for an out-of-State home study from another State pursuant to section 471(a)(26) of the Social Security Act (the Act) claim title IV-E administrative costs to comply with the request?

 

6.   May a State claim administrative costs on behalf of an otherwise eligible child for an entire month when the child is placed in a licensed or approved foster family home or child care institution for less than an entire month?

 

 

8.1A TITLE IV-E, Administrative Functions/Costs, Allowable Costs - Adoption Assistance Program

 

1.   What are the allowable administrative costs in the title IV-E Adoption Assistance Program?

 

2.   Under the Adoption Assistance Program, is Federal financial participation (FFP) for administrative costs associated with case review, case management, and supervision prior to a final decree of adoption available only for children in preadoptive placements?

 

3.   Can a State claim title IV-E administrative costs for activities performed on behalf of a child in a finalized adoption?

 

 

8.1B TITLE IV-E, Administrative Functions/Costs, Allowable Costs - Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program

 

1.   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.

 

2.   May we claim Federal financial participation (FFP) for the cost of conducting title IV-E eligibility determinations even for children who are not found to be title IV-E eligible?

 

3.   May the State claim administrative costs for the child of a minor parent?

 

4.   Can administrative costs for processing and management of foster child health care services be claimed against title IV-E?

 

5.   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.

 

6.   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"?

 

7.   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?

 

8.   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?

 

9.   45 CFR 1355.33 (b) requires the use of "external partners" on the child and family services review team. Can these individuals be paid or compensated?

 

10.   Please provide some guidance with respect to the allowable costs for candidates for foster care.

 

11.   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?

 

12.   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?

 

13.   May we claim title IV-E administrative costs for eligible children who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

 

14.   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?

 

15.   Is the implementation and operation of a statewide quality assurance system an allowable title IV-E administrative cost?

 

16.   Are administrative costs allowable when a child has run away from a foster care placement?

 

17.   Can a case assessment be considered an allowable administrative cost?

 

18.   May a State claim title IV-E administrative funds for the legal services of a child in foster care or his/her parents, such as the parent or child's legal representation in court hearings?

 

19.   Does having an approved program improvement plan (PIP) enable a State to claim title IV-E administrative or training costs that otherwise would not be allowable under section 474(a)(3) of the Social Security Act?

 

20.   States are permitted to claim administrative costs for a child placed with a relative for the lesser of 12 months or the average length of time it takes for the State to license or approve a foster home as long as a foster family home application is pending. What happens if the State does not license or approve the relative's home during this period?

 

21.   What administrative costs may a State claim during the one-month period when a child moves from an unallowable facility to a licensed or approved foster family home or child care institution as described at section 472(i)(1)(B) of the Social Security Act?

 

22.   Section 472(i)(1)(B) of the Social Security Act (the Act) permits States to claim administrative costs for a calendar month prior to the child’s move from an unallowable facility to a licensed or approved foster family home or child care institution. Is a State limited in how many times it can apply section 472(i)(1)(B) for the same child?

 

23.   May a State claim title IV-E administrative costs as permitted under section 472(i) of the Social Security Act (the Act) for a child placed in an unlicensed or unapproved relative home before completing the background check requirements in section 471(a)(20) of the Act?

 

24.   May the State 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.

 

25.   May a State claim administrative costs during the unlicensed period that a child is placed in a foster family home whose license has expired, but is in the process of renewal?

 

26.   Section 472(i)(1)(B) of the Social Security Act (the Act) allows a State to claim Federal financial participation (FFP) for allowable administrative expenses for an otherwise eligible child for not more than one calendar month when the child moves from a facility not eligible for payments under title IV-E into a foster family home or child care institution licensed or approved by the State. Please clarify for what time period administrative costs may be claimed during this transition.

 

27.   When a child in foster care lives in a foster family home or child care institution outside the child’s school of origin may the cost of transporting the child to and from the school of origin be an allowable title IV-E administrative cost?

 

 

8.1C TITLE IV-E, Administrative Functions/Costs, Calculating Claims

 

1.   May a State claim Federal financial participation (FFP) in the title IV-E foster care and adoption assistance programs based on estimates of quarterly expenditures, or must FFP be claimed on the basis of actual expenditures reported quarterly?

 

2.   What is the connection between the date the child is considered to have entered foster care and when the State may claim Federal financial participation (FFP) for foster care maintenance payments?

 

3.   A State asks whether it is required to apply an eligibility factor to child specific costs for children whom it "reasonably views as candidates for title IV-E foster care maintenance payments".

 

4.   Licenses for foster family homes and child-care institutions often go into effect or may lapse on a day other than the first or last day of the month. How should the State claim Federal financial participation (FFP) for a title IV-E eligible child who is placed in a foster family home or child-care institution that is licensed for a portion of a month?

 

5.   When May Federal financial participation (FFP) begin for candidates for foster care?

 

6.   Are administrative funds available at 50% Federal financial participation (FFP) for the cost of accrediting a State’s child welfare agency?

 

7.   Section 472(i)(2) of the Social Security Act permits States to claim administrative costs on behalf of a candidate for foster care who is “potentially eligible for benefits under a State plan under this part.” Does the phrase "potentially eligible" mean that the State must determine that a child would meet the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) eligibility criteria at the time of removal before claiming allowable costs?

 

 

8.1D TITLE IV-E, Administrative Functions/Costs, Candidates

 

1.   May we claim Federal financial participation (FFP) for the administrative costs associated with foster care candidates even for children who never enter foster care?

 

2.   At what point may a child be considered a candidate for foster care?

 

3.   Can children on trial home visits be considered candidates for foster care?

 

4.   Can children in aftercare be considered candidates for foster care?

 

5.   What is the maximum length of time a child may be held in candidate status?

 

6.   Who must make the determination with respect to foster care candidacy?

 

7.   Are children placed in facilities that are outside the scope of what is considered foster care candidates for the purpose of claiming title IV-E administrative costs?

 

8.   What constitutes a case plan for the purposes of documenting a child's candidacy for foster care?

 

9.   The State is permitted to claim administrative costs for a candidate for foster care if a potentially title IV-E eligible child is at imminent risk of removal from the home and the State is either pursing the removal of the child from the home or providing reasonable efforts to prevent the removal in accordance with section 471(a)(15) of the Social Security Act (the Act). Section 472(i)(2) of the Act requires the State to redetermine that a candidate for foster care remains at imminent risk of removal at least every six months. What happens if the State does not complete this redetermination timely?

 

10.   Section 472(i)(2) of the Social Security Act (the Act) describes a candidate for foster care as a child at "imminent" risk of removal. Does the State have to use the term "imminent risk" in the case plan to document a child's candidacy? Or, is it permissible for the State to document that the child is at "serious risk of removal" from the home to satisfy this requirement?

 

11.   In order for a child to be considered a foster care candidate for purposes of section 472(i)(2) of the Social Security Act (the Act), among other things, the State must have documented that the child is at imminent risk of removal from the home. Does the out of home placement for the child have to be a foster care setting?

 

 

8.1E TITLE IV-E, Administrative Functions/Costs, Contracting

 

1.   Under the title IV-E foster care program may the title IV-E State agency contract for some child foster care functions (administrative or otherwise) and still be eligible for Federal financial participation (FFP), as long as the State agency retains responsibility for the placement and care of the child?

 

2.   Title IV-E administrative costs may be claimed for activities completed by child placing agencies. When an institution participates in case review, case supervision and case management, can an allocated amount of this time be charged to title IV-E administration? If not, what is the appropriate way of allocating these costs? When an institution participates in making a treatment plan and in daily recording of a child's progress, to what should these activities be allocated?

 

3.   May State agencies contract with another organization, such as a community college to conduct training on behalf of the State agency? This training would be considered State agency training, not educational institution training?

 

4.   May title IV-E foster care maintenance payments flow through a for-profit entity to the foster care provider?

 

 

8.1F TITLE IV-E, Administrative Functions/Costs, Match Requirements

 

1.   Can third-party in-kind services and donated funds be used as the State's share for matching purposes under title IV-E?   (Deleted 08/26/2002)

 

2.   May third-party in-kind services be used as the State's share for matching purposes under title IV-E?

 

3.   May donated funds be used as the State's share for matching purposes under title IV-E?

 

4.   May unrestricted funds from a private source donated to the State that become part of the general pool of funds available to the State and are then appropriated by the State legislature be used to match title IV-E Federal Financial Participation (FFP) at the 75 percent rate for training?

 

5.   The Departmental Appeals Board (DAB) found in Decision No. 1737 that States may claim FFP for allowable administrative costs paid with private funds that are donated to support specific activities. Does this finding mean that funds donated from a private source can be used to match Federal financial participation (FFP) at the 75% rate for title IV-E training?

 

 

8.1G TITLE IV-E, Administrative Functions/Costs, Title IV-E Agreements

 

1.   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?

 

2.   Which agency (State or Tribal) has responsibility for providing foster care payments and child welfare services to Indian children?

 

3.   What is the rationale for prohibiting any body that conducts permanency hearings from being part of or under the supervision or direction of the State agency? Does this requirement extend to other public agencies with which the State agency has a title IV-E agreement?

 

4.   Under title IV-E a State agency must be designated to administer the foster care maintenance program. Could another State agency, such as a "Youth Authority", provide program monitoring and supervision through an inter-agency contract (assuming some or all children under the "Youth Authority" will be eligible)?

 

5.   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?

 

 

8.1H TITLE IV-E, Administrative Functions/Costs, Training

 

1.   What is the Federal financial participation (FFP) in the costs of training for employees of the State title IV-E agency, foster parents, adoptive parents and employees of private child placing and child care agencies?

 

2.   May State agencies contract with another organization, such as a community college to conduct training on behalf of the State agency? This training would be considered State agency training, not educational institution training?

 

3.   May the States fund adoptive parents' attendance at adoption conferences with title IV-E training funds?

 

4.   May allowable costs include salary, travel and per diem for State agency program staff or State agency staff development unit staff conducting training of employees or foster parents?

 

5.   Is title IV-E training limited to training related to foster care maintenance or can it be related to the entire provision of foster care including meeting the child's service needs? Since most training programs for foster parents discuss the "total" child, the hope would be the training costs would not need to be separated between title IV-E and title IV-B.

 

6.   Prior to the on-site portion of a child and family services review (CFSR), the State members of the team must participate in a State team training. Can the costs related to such participation be claimed by the State at the 75 percent rate of Federal financial participation (FFP)?

 

7.   The Departmental Appeals Board (DAB) found in Decision No. 1737 that States may claim FFP for allowable administrative costs paid with private funds that are donated to support specific activities. Does this finding mean that funds donated from a private source can be used to match Federal financial participation (FFP) at the 75% rate for title IV-E training?

 

8.   What are the title IV-E training topics that the State may claim at the 75 percent match rate under section 474(3)(A) of the Social Security Act and 45 CFR 1356.60(b)?

 

9.   May the State claim title IV-E funds at the 75 percent match rate for any administrative activities that are directly related to carrying out the State agency’s training initiatives?

 

10.   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?

 

11.   What training topics are not allowable as either a training cost or an administrative cost under the title IV-E program?

 

12.   Would you explain the cost-sharing or matching requirements for the title IV-E training program?

 

13.   May a State claim title IV-E training funds at the 75 percent match rate for initial in-service training if there are gaps of days or weeks or longer when the newly hired staff is not receiving training either in the classroom or on the job?

 

14.   May the State claim title IV-E training funds for the portion of the initial in-service training program that includes actual work experience?

 

15.   May the State claim title IV-E training funds at the 75 percent match rate to train current title IV-E agency staff who are either promoted or transfer to another position within the agency, such as from caseworker to supervisor, under an initial in-service training program?

 

16.   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?

 

 

8.2 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program

 

1.   Can a State suspend or reduce a title IV-E adoption assistance subsidy if the adoptive parents fail to renew or recertify the adoption assistance agreement?

 

 

8.2A.1 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Agreements, Interstate placements

 

1.   Which State is responsible for entering into an adoption assistance agreement in interstate adoptions?

 

2.   What happens if a family moves to a different State while the adoption assistance agreement is still in effect?

 

3.   When the State agency enters into an adoption assistance agreement with a family from another State, which State's rate structure applies as the limit for the adoption assistance payment?

 

4.   Please explain the responsibilities of States that have entered into interstate adoptions when the adoptive parents die or the adoption is dissolved.

 

 

8.2A.2 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Agreements, Means test

 

1.   May a State employ a means test when negotiating adoption assistance agreements?

 

 

8.2B TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Eligibility

 

1.   Please explain who is eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance.

 

2.   Does a 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?

 

3.   Are children whose legal guardianships disrupt eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance?

 

4.   Is the State required to provide title IV-E adoption assistance to all eligible children on whose behalf it is requested?

 

 

8.2B.1 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Eligibility, Biological parents

 

1.   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?

 

 

8.2B.2 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Eligibility, Children in foster care

 

1.   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 State agency through a voluntary placement agreement?

 

2.   May title IV-E eligible children in adoptive homes receive title IV-E foster care maintenance payments prior to finalization of adoption?

 

 

8.2B.3 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Eligibility, Child of a minor parent

 

1.   Is the child of a minor parent eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance?

 

2.   When must the child of a minor parent meet the title IV-E adoption assistance eligibility criteria?

 

 

8.2B.4 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Eligibility, Deceased adoptive parents/dissolved adoptions

 

1.   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.

 

2.   Please explain the responsibilities of States that have entered into interstate adoptions when the adoptive parents die or the adoption is dissolved.

 

 

8.2B.5 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Independent Adoptions

 

1.   Is a child who is the subject of an independent adoption eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance?

 

 

8.2B.6 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, International Adoptions

 

1.   Is a child who is the subject of an international adoption eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance?

 

 

8.2B.7 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Eligibility, Judicial determinations

 

1.   We believe that the lack of a "reasonable efforts" determination in accordance with section 472 (a)(1) of the Social Security Act (the Act) cannot result in ineligibility for title IV-E adoption assistance. Is this correct?

 

2.   Do the "contrary to the welfare" requirements at 45 CFR 1356.21(c) and (d) apply to the adoption assistance program?

 

 

8.2B.8 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Eligibility, Medicaid

 

1.   Is Title XIX coverage required under title IV-E Adoption Assistance?

 

2.   Some States are requiring adoptive parents to complete annual renewals of their adoption assistance agreements. Does title IV-E require the State or local agency to perform annual renewals or eligibility determinations for adoption assistance?

 

 

8.2B.9 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Eligibility, Redeterminations

 

1.   What are the requirements for redeterminations of title IV-E adoption assistance eligibility?

 

2.   Some States are requiring adoptive parents to complete annual renewals of their adoption assistance agreements. Does title IV-E require the State or local agency to perform annual renewals or eligibility determinations for adoption assistance?

 

 

8.2B.10 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Eligibility, Responsibility for placement and care

 

1.   Must the State have responsibility for placement and care of a child for that child to be eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance?

 

 

8.2B.11 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Eligibility, Special needs

 

1.   Please explain the requirements for special needs determinations.

 

2.   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?

 

 

8.2B.12 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Eligibility, SSI

 

1.   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)?

 

2.   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?

 

 

8.2B.13 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Eligibility, Voluntary relinquishments

 

1.   Is a child who is voluntarily relinquished to a private, nonprofit agency eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance?

 

 

8.2C TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Interstate Compact

 

1.   What is the definition or description of the term "interstate compact" as used in the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Amendments of 1980 (Public Law 96-272)?

 

 

8.2D.1 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Payments, Allowable costs

 

1.   Are there restrictions for how title IV-E adoption assistance funds may be spent?

 

 

8.2D.2 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Payments, Duration

 

1.   May a State limit the duration of payments pursuant to an adoption assistance agreement?

 

 

8.2D.3 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Payments, Non-recurring expenses

 

1.   Please summarize the requirements for the nonrecurring expenses of adoption.

 

2.   Is it possible for States to set maximum amounts on specific items within the category of nonrecurring expenses for which they will reimburse adoptive parents?

 

3.   States are required to reimburse up to $2,000, or such lower amount as set by the State, 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 State to further limit the reimburseable areas within the allowable expense category? For instance, could reimbursement be limited to attorney fees only? Or, could a State elect not to reimburse adoption study fees and transportation costs?

 

4.   Prospective adoptive parents sometimes have an attorney review the subsidy agreement to ensure that the parents’ best interests are addressed. This private attorney review is in addition to the work of the State agency attorneys who prepare the subsidy paperwork. Are attorney fees and other expenses related to the review of the title IV-E adoption assistance agreement directly related to the legal adoption of a child with special needs and, therefore, allowable under title IV-E?

 

5.   Does the nonrecurring adoption expenses limit of $2,000 (or lower at State option) apply per adoption episode or is it a lifetime limit?

 

6.   Can the title IV-E agency claim Federal financial participation (FFP) for the nonrecurring expenses of adoption if the adoption is never finalized?

 

 

8.2D.4 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Payments, Rates

 

1.   Please explain how the State agency should set rates for title IV-E adoption assistance payments.

 

2.   A State 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 State 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?

 

3.   Can the State median income adjusted to family size be used as a guide to establish consistency in determining amounts of payment?

 

4.   Is it permissible to adjust the amount of the adoption assistance payment after the adoption assistance agreement is signed?

 

5.   Some State's foster care rate structures are based on levels of care. How would such a structure impact the adoption assistance rates?

 

6.   When the State agency enters into an adoption assistance agreement with a family from another State, which State's rate structure applies as the limit for the adoption assistance payment?

 

7.   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?

 

 

8.2D.5 TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Payments, Termination

 

1.   Under what circumstances may the State agency terminate an adoption assistance agreement?

 

2.   Section 473(a)(4)(B) of the Social Security Act states that no adoption assistance payment can 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 or if the State determines that the child is no longer receiving any support from such parents." When is a parent considered to be "no longer legally responsible for support" or not providing "any support" for the child?

 

3.   Can a State agency automatically suspend the adoption assistance payment for the duration of an adopted child's placement in foster care? The State agency would reinstate the payment upon the child's return home.

 

 

8.2E TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Promoting Adoption Assistance

 

1.   What is the State's responsibility for notifying prospective adoptive parents about the availability of adoption assistance?

 

 

8.3A TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility

 

1.   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 reuinification. 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?

 

2.   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?

 

3.   In determining a child's Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) eligibility, should the State look to the household circumstances at the time of the child's removal or should the State look at the whole month of the removal petition or voluntary placement agreement to determine deprivation and/or income? For example, can a child's deprivation be based on circumstances that occur in the month of removal, but after the child's removal from the home?

 

 

8.3A.1 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, Adjudicated delinquents

 

1.   Are adjudicated delinquents eligible for title IV-E foster care maintenance payments?

 

2.   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?"

 

3.   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?"

 

4.   A youth may be declared a ward of the court and be ordered placed in much the same manner as delinquents, yet, he is not a delinquent in that no crime has been committed. Does the term "juvenile delinquent" refer to status offenders and, if not, are status offender wards eligible for Federal funds?

 

 

8.3A.2 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, Age

 

1.   For what classes of title IV-E eligible children does title IV-E allow continuation of foster care maintenance payments after age 18 and reimbursements for those payments? May a State, for example, claim Federal financial participation (FFP) for children in foster care who have mental or physical handicaps who remain in care until age 21?

 

2.   Can a youth who was previously title IV-E eligible who has "aged out" of foster care at age 18 retain his/her title IV-E eligibility if he/she re-enters foster care? The youth is under age 19 and expected to graduate from high school before reaching the age of 19.

 

 

8.3A.3 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, Biological parents

 

1.   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?

 

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

 

 

8.3A.4 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, Child in facility outside scope of foster care

 

1.   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?

 

2.   How should the State 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 State begin to claim for such child if s/he is placed in foster care?

 

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

 

 

8.3A.5 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, Child of a minor parent

 

1.   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 State have placement and care responsibility of both? Is the child considered to be in foster care even if the State does not have placement and care responsibility? May the child continue to receive IV-E if the minor parent runs away? May the State claim administrative costs for the child? Is the child eligible for medical assistance under title XIX and social services under title XX?

 

2.   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?

 

3.   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 State 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?

 

 

8.3A.6 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, Contrary to the welfare

 

1.   Do you consider an emergency order (sometimes referred to as a "pick-up order" or "ex-parte order") as the first court ruling for the purpose of meeting the contrary to the welfare requirements?

 

2.   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?

 

3.   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.

 

4.   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?"

 

5.   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?"

 

6.   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?

 

7.   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 State agency. Does this temporary shelter order constitute a "judicial determination" as required for a State 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?

 

8.   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 have to actually remove the child at that time and place the child in foster care?

 

 

8.3A.7 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, Documentation of judicial determinations

 

1.   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.

 

2.   Some States do not transcribe court hearings; rather, court clerks take "bench notes" during the course of a hearing. Are these "bench notes" acceptable for purposes of meeting the documentation requirements of 45 CFR 1356.21(d)?

 

3.   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."

 

 

8.3A.8a TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, Facilities requirements, child-care institution

 

1.   When and under what conditions can a public agency or unit of government claim reimbursement under title IV-E for multiple facilities operated as licensed public child care institutions for 25 or fewer children?

 

2.   An inquiry from a State described a situation in which a local governmental unit is operating a residential child care facility that consists of several cottages on a common plot of land. One of the cottages, licensed by the State, has a licensed capacity of 25 or fewer children. Another cottage is also licensed, but for more than 25. The question is: are the costs of care in the cottage of 25 or less eligible for Federal financial participation (FFP), since it has an individual license and is not considered, for purposes of licensing, as a part of the other cottage housing more than 25 children?

 

3.   What is the operative definition of the term "primarily" when used to describe a facility for the detention of children?

 

4.   Is Federal financial participation available for children placed in for-profit child-care institutions?

 

5.   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?

 

 

8.3A.8b TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, Facilities requirements, foster family home

 

1.   Does the language in the first part of the definition: "Foster family home means the home of an individual or family..." modify the latter statement: "The term may include group homes...or other facilities?" For example, is corporate ownership of a group home precluded?

 

2.   The regulation at 45 CFR 1355.20 (a) which includes a definition of the term "foster family home" as " . . . the home of an individual or family licensed or approved by the State licensing or approval authority(ies), . . . The term may include group homes, agency operated boarding homes or other facilities licensed or approved for the purpose of providing foster care by the State agency responsible for approval or licensing of such facilities." Is it the intent of 45 CFR 1355.20 to open up the definition of foster family home to what is essentially institutional care (e.g., residential treatment)?

 

 

8.3A.8c TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, Facilities requirements, licensing

 

1.   Can the State waive some foster home standards or criteria for licensure or approval of relative foster homes?

 

2.   Must a foster home be licensed by the State or by a State-certified child placement agency for title IV-E payments to be properly made?

 

3.   Must a Tribal foster home meet State licensing standards or be a "relative home" in order to be eligible for payments under title IV-E?

 

4.   Both sections 401 (c)(1)(A) and 411 (c)(1)(A) of the Personal Responsibility Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) define Federal, State, and local public benefits to include professional or commercial licenses. Is a foster care or adoptive home license/approval considered a Federal, State, or local public benefit?

 

5.   May a State maintain separate systems that "license" one category of foster family homes, e.g., non-relatives, and "approves" another category, e.g., relatives, as long as both systems adhere to the same standards?

 

6.   The regulations permit States to claim title IV-E reimbursement made for children placed in foster family homes for a period of time, up to 60 days, between the date the foster family homes meets all the licensing or approval criteria and the date the agency issues the license or approval. When does the 60-day period begin?

 

7.   We understand the prohibition on claiming FFP for title IV-E foster care maintenance payments on behalf of children placed in foster family homes that are not fully licensed or approved. In situations where a foster home that has a full license or approval is placed on "probation" due to some factor that must be corrected, but maintains the license or approval during the probationary period, can the State claim FFP under title IV-E during the probationary period?

 

8.   What is an example of a two-tiered system of licensing, and how does that apply to training foster families?

 

9.   By what authority are Tribes restricted to licensing homes that are on or near Indian reservations?

 

10.   Must foster family homes approved through the tribal process meet the same standard as homes licensed by the State?

 

11.   Licenses for foster family homes and child-care institutions often go into effect or may lapse on a day other than the first or last day of the month. How should the State claim Federal financial participation (FFP) for a title IV-E eligible child who is placed in a foster family home or child-care institution that is licensed for a portion of a month?

 

12.   Can a State claim title IV-E reimbursement for an eligible child placed in a child-care institution that has a provisional license? Can the State claim title IV-E if the child care institution has a probationary license due to a violation of State procedures?

 

13.   Does the law require that licensed child-placing agencies in a State use the same foster home licensing standards as the State?

 

14.   May a State claim title IV-E reimbursement on behalf of an otherwise eligible child when a State’s licensure requirements are met as the result of a "variance"?

 

15.   May a State claim title IV-E foster care maintenance payments on behalf of an otherwise eligible child who is in a pre-adoptive placement with an adoptive family if the family does not meet the State's foster care license/approval requirements but does meet the State's adoptive home license/approval requirements?

 

16.   In response to a question about foster care provider licenses that go into effect or lapse on a day other than the first or last day of the month, section 8.3A.8c of the Child Welfare Policy Manual (CWPM), Q/A #11, states that "[i]f a foster family home or child-care institution is licensed for a portion of a month, the State may claim Federal financial participation (FFP) for the entire month when an otherwise eligible child has resided in that home for the entire month." Does this same policy apply in situations where a foster care provider's license is revoked at some point during the month?

 

17.   May a State claim administrative costs during the unlicensed period that a child is placed in a foster family home whose license has expired, but is in the process of renewal?

 

18.   When a child is placed in foster care outside the State that has placement and care responsibility, must the foster family home be licensed by the State in which it is situated for title IV-E eligibility purposes? Will it be considered an error case on a title IV-E eligibility review if a foster family home is not licensed by the State in which it is situated?

 

19.   If a State's license or approval of a private child-placing agency expires but that agency continues to license/approve foster family homes on behalf of the State, will the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) consider such homes fully licensed or approved according to State standards for title IV-E eligibility purposes?

 

 

8.3A.9 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Reasonable efforts

 

1.   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?

 

2.   May a State receive an extension to the time frames prescribed in the regulation for obtaining judicial determinations regarding reasonable efforts to address the problem of continuances?

 

3.   May a checklist be used to document the reasonable efforts requirements?

 

 

8.3A.9a TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, Reasonable Efforts to Finalize a Permanency Plan

 

1.   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?

 

2.   Regarding the reasonable efforts to finalize judicial determination: Is the State required to look at the permanency plan in effect at the time the judicial determination is due to see if the court order addresses that specific plan in its reasonable efforts judicial determination?

 

3.   Is the State required to obtain a judicial determination regarding reasonable efforts to finalize a permanency plan in accordance with 45 CFR 1356.21(b)(2) for a child placed in foster care as a result of a voluntary placement agreement?

 

4.   What are the criteria for determining whether a child is ineligible for a title IV-E foster care maintenance payment with respect to the requirement that a judicial determination regarding reasonable efforts to finalize a permanency plan be made within 12 months of the date the child is considered to have entered foster care and every 12 months thereafter? For example, is a child ineligible from the date the determination is due until such time as the date the determination is made?

 

5.   When a child in foster care is placed in another State and the sending State transfers the child's placement and care responsibility to the receiving State’s title IV-B/IV-E agency, does the "clock" re-start for determining when the case review requirements or reasonable efforts to finalize a permanency plan are due?

 

 

8.3A.9b TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Reasonable efforts, to prevent a removal

 

1.   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?

 

2.   When must the "reasonable efforts to prevent removal" criteria be met; in the initial court order that removes the child or 60 days from the date the child is removed?

 

3.   Title IV-E eligibility for an entire foster care episode is prohibited if the reasonable efforts to prevent removal requirements are not satisfied. Please explain the rationale for this policy.

 

4.   For title IV-E eligibility purposes, will the Administration for Children and Families accept a judicial determination that efforts to prevent removal or reunify the family were not necessary for a reason other than those described in 45 CFR 1356.21(b)(3)?

 

 

8.3A.9c TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Reasonable Efforts, Qualifying Language in Court Orders

 

1.   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?

 

 

8.3A.10 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, Redeterminations

 

1.   We believe failure to hold a timely redetermination of title IV-E eligibility is a program issue, not an eligibility issue. Is this correct?

 

2.   Is it permissible to allow redeterminations to be used after a break in foster care placement in those cases where there is no new court ordered removal from the home and no break in State responsibility for placement and care? Examples of situations in which redeterminations are currently being used 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 State supervision, and then back to foster care; (c) A child in foster care goes home under State supervision without a change in court order and then returns to foster care.

 

3.   During the time the child is receiving title IV-E foster care payments, the parental rights of his parents are terminated. The child is subsequently moved into a residential care facility which is not eligible to receive foster care payments and the title IV-E case is discontinued. Later, he is again placed into a foster home and reapplication for title IV-E foster care is made. In considering eligibility for this reapplication, the deprivation at the time of court action, found initially and verified under the old foster care case, can be utilized. However, to meet the requirement of "continues to be eligible", must deprivation with regard to the biological parents again be established or may the termination of parental rights be used to constitute deprivation?

 

 

8.3A.11 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, Removal from the home/living with

 

1.   We are confused by the term "constructive removal"? Please explain the term and its implications for the title IV-E program.

 

2.   Can a child be considered "constructively" removed from a legal guardian who is not a specified relative?

 

3.   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.

 

4.   For the purpose of determining a child's eligibility for Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) 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?

 

5.   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 have to actually remove the child at that time and place the child in foster care?

 

 

8.3A.12 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, Responsibility for placement and care

 

1.   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.

 

2.   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?

 

3.   The regulations at 45 CFR 1356.21(g)(3) specify that Federal financial participation (FFP) for title IV-E foster care maintenance payments may not be claimed when a court orders a placement with a specific foster care provider. In situations where the court specifies the placement in a court order after hearing testimony from various sources, including the State IV-E agency, is FFP available? Is availability of FFP affected when the court disagrees with the agency's placement recommendation and specifies another placement in the order?

 

4.   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?

 

 

8.3A.13 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, Voluntary placement agreements

 

1.   If a State fails to obtain the necessary judicial determination within the first 180 days of a voluntary placement, can the case be reopened when a judicial hearing is convened or does the child lose all further benefits of the title IV-E program during that period of placement?

 

2.   In the event that a court hearing date has been set within the first 180 days of a voluntary placement, but no determination made, may a pre-approved continuance hearing date deem the child eligible up to the continuance date?

 

3.   A State places a child into foster care pursuant to a voluntary placement agreement but does not have the voluntary placement provision in its State Plan and, thus, does not claim Federal financial participation (FFP) for the child. Can this placement later be considered a judicial removal and FFP be claimed from that time forward if there is a petition to the court within six months of the time the child had last been living with the parent(s) and subsequent judicial determinations are made regarding "contrary to the welfare" and "reasonable efforts"?

 

4.   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"?

 

5.   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?

 

6.   When a child is initially placed into foster care through a voluntary placement agreement, and the State subsequently issues a court order regarding the child's removal and/or the State's placement and care responsibility, what criteria must be met for the child to be eligible for title IV-E foster care maintenance payments?

 

7.   Section 472(e) of the Social Security Act (the Act) requires a State to obtain a judicial determination during the first 180 days of the voluntary placement to the effect that the placement is in the child's best interest to continue title IV-E payments beyond that time. When does this 180-day clock begin?

 

 

8.3A.14 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, Voluntary relinquishments

 

1.   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?

 

2.   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?

 

 

8.3A.15 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, When payments may begin

 

1.   At what point may the State begin to claim Federal financial participation (FFP) for title IV-E foster care maintenance payments?

 

 

8.3B TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Payments

 

1.   Under title IV-E, how is the term "foster care maintenance payments" defined?

 

2.   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?

 

3.   Please clarify how funds may be disbursed for allowable child care.

 

4.   Federal policy allows a State 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 State from providing child care for working foster parents in some but not all "political subdivisions" or jurisdictions in the State?

 

5.   May title IV-E foster care maintenance payments flow through a for-profit entity to the foster care provider?

 

6.   May title IV-E eligible children in adoptive homes receive title IV-E foster care maintenance payments prior to finalization of adoption?

 

 

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

 

1.   What are the elements of costs for foster care maintenance payments under section 475 (4) of the Social Security Act (the Act)?

 

2.   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.?

 

3.   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.

 

4.   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?

 

5.   What is an acceptable profit margin for a for-profit child-care institution that services title IV-E eligible children?

 

6.   Routine medical-related expenses are covered under our State's 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?

 

7.   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"?

 

8.   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 State 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?

 

9.   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?

 

10.   In some States, 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 State claim title IV-E foster care maintenance payments for the child who goes temporarily to stay with another foster parent for respite purposes?

 

 

8.3B.2 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Payments, Rates

 

1.   What are the restrictions for rate setting with respect to for-profit child-care institutions?

 

2.   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?

 

 

8.3C TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, State Plan/Procedural Requirements

 

1.   For what population of children must the section 422 protections be provided?

 

2.   Please explain the requirements with respect to case plans and the case review system at section 475 of the Social Security Act (the Act) for a child and his/her minor parent in foster care.

 

3.   Section 471(a)(26) of the Social Security Act (the Act) requires the State to conduct and complete an interstate home study and return a report on the results of the study within 60 days (or 75 days under certain circumstances). Must the State include the results of the criminal background checks and child abuse registry checks on the prospective foster or adoptive family required by section 471(a)(20) of the Act in the 60-day report?

 

4.   How will ACF determine compliance with the interstate home study requirements in section 471(a)(26) of the Social Security Act (the Act)?

 

5.   Section 471(a)(26)(A)(i) of the Social Security Act (the Act) requires States to complete out-of-State home studies within 60 days, or 75 days in limited circumstances. Are the time limits of section 471(a)(26)(A)(i) of the Act based on business or calendar days?

 

6.   Section 471(a)(26)(A)(i) of the Social Security Act (the Act) requires that States complete out-of-State home studies within 60 days, or 75 days in limited circumstances. At what point does the 60 or 75-day timeframe begin?

 

7.   Section 471(a)(26)(A)(i) of the Social Security Act (the Act) requires that within 60 days of having received an interstate home study request from another State, the responding State conduct and complete the study and return a report to the requesting State. If the home study request is incomplete when it is received and additional information is required, when does the statutory 60-day timeframe begin?

 

8.   Under section 471(a)(26)(A) of the Social Security Act (the Act), the law requires a State receiving an out-of-State home study request to "directly or by contract" complete the home study. Does the statute permit either the responding or requesting State to contract with a private agency for an interstate home study?

 

 

8.3C.1 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, State Plan/Procedural Requirements, Case plans

 

1.   45 CFR 1356.21 (g)(1) requires case plans to be developed jointly with the parent(s). What if the State is unable to locate the parent or s/he is unwilling or unable to participate in developing the plan?

 

2.   How long after the original placement occurs must the case plan be written? Must a new case plan be prepared each time a child moves to a new provider or is it sufficient to update the case plan for each change in placement? How often must the case plan be updated if the child remains in the same placement for several years?

 

3.   Must the court approve case plans?

 

4.   What are the title IV-E and title IV-B case plan requirements regarding health and educational records? Can the education and health records remain a part of the case record rather than be incorporated into the case plan? Can education and health records be attached to the case plan as an appendix?

 

5.   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?

 

6.   Regulations at 45 CFR 1356.21(g) require that a State develop a case plan within 60 days of removal. How is the due date for development of a case plan determined for a child initially placed in a facility outside the scope of foster care (e.g., a detention facility or psychiatric hospital) prior to entering foster care?

 

 

8.3C.2 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, State Plan/Procedural Requirements, Case review system

 

1.   Should the time a child spends in shelter care be factored into calculating the timing for holding periodic reviews, permanency hearings, and for complying with the termination of parental rights (TPR) provision?

 

2.   How is the timing for holding six-month periodic reviews and permanency hearings impacted by an interruption in a foster care episode, for example, a temporary placement in a detention facility or psychiatric hospital?

 

3.   Must the State hold six-month periodic reviews and permanency hearings for children who have run away?

 

4.   Must the State hold six-month periodic reviews and permanency hearings for children in foster care who are placed in unlicensed foster family homes?

 

5.   We understand that the timing for conducting the initial permanency hearing and six-month periodic review is based on the date the child is considered to have entered foster care. Are subsequent reviews/hearings to be held based on the date the child is considered to have entered foster care or within 12 months of the date the prior hearing or review was actually held?

 

6.   When a child in foster care is placed in another State and the sending State transfers the child's placement and care responsibility to the receiving State's title IV-B/IV-E agency, does the "clock" re-start for determining when the case review requirements or reasonable efforts to finalize a permanency plan are due?

 

 

8.3C.2a TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, State Plan/Procedural Requirements, Case review system, date a child is considered to have entered foster care

 

1.   For the date the child is considered to have entered foster care, may the State use a date that is earlier than that prescribed in regulation?

 

2.   How does the date of entry into foster care apply to children who enter foster care pursuant to a voluntary placement agreement?

 

3.   How should the State determine the date a child is considered to have entered foster care for a child who is voluntarily relinquished?

 

4.   What is the connection between the date the child is considered to have entered foster care and when the State may claim Federal financial participation (FFP) for foster care maintenance payments?

 

5.   States often temporarily place children in facilities that are outside the scope of what is considered "foster care," such as a detention facility or psychiatric hospital, with the intent of moving the child to a foster care placement at a later date. What is the "date the child is considered to have entered foster care" (the date used to satisfy the case review requirements at section 475 (5) of the Social Security Act (the Act)) for such children?

 

 

8.3C.2b TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, State Plan/Procedural Requirements, Case review system, notice and right to be heard

 

1.   Is it possible to waive noticing a parent whose child's case plan goal is a permanent foster care placement?

 

2.   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?

 

 

8.3C.2c TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, State Plan/Procedural Requirements, Case review system, permanency hearings

 

1.   Must the State cease efforts at reunification at the permanency hearing if the child is unable to return home to the parent at that time?

 

2.   What is the rationale for prohibiting any body that conducts permanency hearings from being part of or under the supervision or direction of the State agency? Does this requirement extend to other public agencies with which the State agency has a title IV-E agreement?

 

3.   May a State include placement in a permanent foster family home and emancipation in the list of permanency goals at section 475 (5)(C) of the Social Security Act (the Act) that are exempt from the compelling reason requirement in that section?

 

4.   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)(ii) of the Social Security Act (the Act)?

 

 

8.3C.2d TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, State Plan/Procedural Requirements, Case review system, six month periodic reviews

 

1.   Is it possible to abbreviate and/or alter case review procedures for a child whose case plan goal is long-term foster care?

 

2.   Is it correct to say that an administrative review as a written report from the State agency to the court does not meet the court review requirement unless the court reviews the report and makes a determination as described in section 475 of the Social Security Act (the Act)?

 

3.   We believe failure to hold a six month case review is a program issue and not an eligibility issue. Is this correct?

 

4.   Can periodic reviews occur less frequently than every six months?

 

 

8.3C.2e TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, State Plan/Procedural Requirements, Case review system, termination of parental rights

 

1.   How should a State calculate the 15 out of 22 months when a child has multiple entries to and exits from foster care?

 

2.   When a child has been in foster care for 15 out of 22 months but the State does not file a petition to terminate parental rights (TPR) because an exception applies, must the State begin counting another 15 out of 22 months at that time?

 

3.   Must the State obtain a judicial determination regarding a compelling reason not to file a petition to terminate parental rights (TPR)?

 

4.   Is it possible to exempt certain categories of children from the requirement to file or join termination of parental rights (TPR) petitions for children who have been in foster care for 15 out of the most recent 22 months?

 

5.   Please explain how the termination of parental rights (TPR) requirement applies to Indian tribes and it's relationship to Indian Child Welfare Act requirements.

 

6.   May the State or Tribe define compelling reasons for not filing a petition to terminate parental rights (TPR) in State law or Tribal code?

 

7.   Is the fact that a child had been in foster care for 15 out of the most recent 22 months legal grounds for a State to file a termination of parental rights (TPR) petition?

 

 

8.3C.3 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, State Plan/Procedural Requirements, Foster care goals

 

1.   Must the foster care goals required at section 471 (a)(14) of the Social Security Act be enacted into State statute or may these goals be set forth in administrative code?

 

 

8.3C.4 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, State Plan/Procedural Requirements, Reasonable efforts

 

1.   What is the definition of "reasonable efforts?"

 

2.   The statute states that a court of competent jurisdiction may find that reasonable efforts are not required. Please clarify what is meant by the term "court of competent jurisdiction".

 

3.   Are States required to engage in concurrent planning or is it at State option?

 

4.   The regulations, at 45 CFR 1356.21 (b)(3), list the circumstances under which the court may determine that reasonable efforts are not required to prevent removal or to reunify the child and family. Are there other circumstances under which the court may determine that reasonable efforts are not required?

 

5.   Can Indian tribes 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?

 

6.   What are the requirements with respect to the timing for obtaining judicial determinations that reasonable efforts are not required to reunify a family?

 

 

8.3C.5 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, State Plan/Procedural Requirements, Trial home visit

 

1.   What is the regulatory definition of a trial home visit?

 

2.   Often, courts do not specify time periods for trial home visits for children in foster care. If a court does not specify a time period, should we assume it cannot be longer than six months without having to re-establish eligibility for title IV-E foster care payments?

 

3.   Would a continuance of a hearing scheduled to address the trial home visit satisfy the requirement that for title IV-E funding to continue, a court must order a longer visit?

 

4.   Must the State hold six-month periodic reviews and permanency hearings for children on trial home visits?

 

 

8.4 TITLE IV-E, General Title IV-E Requirements

 

1.   What is the definition of "unemployed parent" for purposes of completing the AFDC portion of a title IV-E eligibility determination?

 

 

8.4A TITLE IV-E, General Title IV-E Requirements, AFDC Eligibility

 

1.   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 States to apply these two provisions?

 

2.   Under the following circumstances, is the child eligible for title IV-E foster care? Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) eligibility for a child is based on incapacity of the parent. In the month following removal, the parent is no longer consider incapacitated. By the time of the twelve month eligibility redetermination, the family is no longer eligible for AFDC. What is the title IV-E status of the child?

 

3.   When continued deprivation cannot be substantiated after initial eligibility has been established because the whereabouts of the parent from whom the child was removed cannot be determined, is the child no longer eligible under title IV-E?

 

4.   During the time the child is receiving title IV-E foster care payments, the parental rights of his parents are terminated. The child is subsequently moved into a residential care facility which is not eligible to receive foster care payments and the title IV-E case is discontinued. Later, he is again placed into a foster home and reapplication for title IV-E foster care is made. In considering eligibility for this reapplication, the deprivation at the time of court action, found initially and verified under the old foster care case, can be utilized. However, to meet the requirement of "continues to be eligible," must deprivation with regard to the natural parents again be established or may the termination of parental rights be used to constitute deprivation?

 

5.   Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) initial eligibility requires the counting of a step-parent's income. Is this requirement applicable to title IV-E?

 

6.   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 States allowed to establish a separate set of budgeting procedures for title IV-E?

 

7.   A State asks whether the payment standard or the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) need standard to determine AFDC eligibility shall be used to determine eligibility for the title IV-E program.

 

8.   May the income of a foster care child be pro-rated among the siblings who are placed in the same living arrangement with that child? May resources considered similarly in the same situation? In other words, may the children be considered an assistance group or must each child be a separate assistance unit?

 

9.   If, under a waiver pursuant to section 1115 (a) of the Social Security Act (an 1115 (a) waiver), the State denied benefits to a child who would otherwise meet the requirements of the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, would that child then be ineligible for title IV-E foster care maintenance or adoption assistance payments, should that child come into State care?

 

10.   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?

 

11.   How does the State agency determine need and deprivation to establish a child's eligibility for title IV-E adoption assistance?

 

12.   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?

 

13.   Should a State 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?

 

14.   What is the definition of unemployed parent for purposes of completing the AFDC portion of a title IV-E eligibility determination?

 

15.   How is the $10,000 resource limit to be applied in determining eligibility for title IV-E?

 

16.   May States adjust the 1996 standard of need to reflect cost of living adjustments?

 

17.   May a State 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?

 

18.   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 State 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 States 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?

 

19.   How does a State determine title IV-E eligibility for an abandoned child whose parents are unknown?

 

20.   If a child is removed from a specified relative who is the child's legal guardian, must the State determine whether the child meets the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) criteria of deprivation based on the legal guardian or the parent?

 

21.   In determining a child's Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) eligibility, should the State look to the household circumstances at the time of the child's removal or should the State look at the whole month of the removal petition or voluntary placement agreement to determine deprivation and/or income? For example, can a child's deprivation be based on circumstances that occur in the month of removal, but after the child’s removal from the home?

 

22.   Must a State use one definition of "unemployed parent" for Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and title IV-E purposes?

 

23.   How should the State determine financial need for initial 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 State consider the relative's income and resources?

 

 

8.4B TITLE IV-E, General Title IV-E Requirements, Aliens/Immigrants

 

1.   Section 403 (a) of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) (PL 104-193) sets a five year residency requirement for qualified aliens who enter the United States on or after August 22, 1996 and who make application for Federal means- tested programs. Section 403(c)(2)(F) of PRWORA lists those programs that are exempted from section 403(a) to include titles IV-B and IV-E, under certain circumstances; however, title XIX is not on the list of programs exempted from section 403(a) of PRWORA. Title IV-E eligible children are categorically eligible for Medicaid. Must qualified alien children who are eligible for title IV-E meet the five year residency requirement to be eligible for title XIX?

 

2.   Are unaccompanied minor refugee children eligible for title IV-E payments for foster care?

 

3.   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?

 

4.   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.?

 

5.   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?

 

6.   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 States to apply these two provisions?

 

7.   Can an unqualified alien become the foster or adoptive parent of a title IV-E eligible child?

 

8.   Both sections 401(c)(1)(A) and 411(c)(1)(A) of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) (PL 104-193) define Federal, State, and local public benefits to include professional or commercial licenses. Is a foster care or adoptive home license/approval considered a Federal, State, or local public benefit?

 

9.   Are States required to verify the citizenship or immigration status of individuals receiving services or payments under title IV-E?

 

10.   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?

 

 

8.4C TITLE IV-E, General Title IV-E Requirements, Child support

 

1.   As part of the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) requirements for initial eligibility, the parents must sign a child support assignment form. Does this provision apply to title IV-E?

 

2.   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?

 

3.   If the State title IV-E agency refers to the title IV-D agency a child in foster care on whose behalf a title IV-E adoption assistance subsidy is being paid, can the court or the administrative body limit the child support award to the amount of the adoption assistance subsidy?

 

4.   Must adoption assistance payments be included in the definition of "all earnings and income" as described in the child support regulations at 45 CFR 302.56(c) for the purpose of determining the child support award?

 

 

8.4D TITLE IV-E, General Title IV-E Requirements, Concurrent Receipt of Federal Benefits

 

1.   What is the Department's policy, under title IV-E, on concurrent receipt of benefits under title IV-E and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

 

2.   How should the decision to apply for SSI or title IV-E benefits be made?

 

3.   May we claim title IV-E administrative costs for eligible children who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

 

4.   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?

 

 

8.4E TITLE IV-E, General Title IV-E Requirements, Confidentiality

 

1.   Under title IV-E, what information can be released? In particular, what information is child welfare information when a child is placed as a result of a juvenile offense?

 

2.   Who can release information? In particular, can parties other than the State title IV-E agency (such as the court) release information?

 

3.   Is any information contained in the child welfare record protected from redisclosure by a court in accordance with title IV-E confidentiality requirements?

 

4.   Under what authority may the Department review closed or sealed foster care records, particularly for those children who have been adopted?

 

5.   What are the title IV-E confidentiality requirements?

 

6.   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)(v) and (vi) of CAPTA?

 

7.   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?

 

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

 

 

8.4F TITLE IV-E, General Title IV-E Requirements, Criminal Record and Registry Checks

 

0.   Do States have to request information from a "State" maintained child abuse and neglect registry of a U.S. Territory 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)?

 

1.   Does the criminal background check provision require checks at the State level, Federal level, or both?   (Deleted 01/31/2007)

 

2.   Does the criminal records checks provision apply to foster parents and adoptive parents whose licensure or approval predates the passage of the Adoption and Safe Families Act?   (Deleted 09/20/2007)

 

3.   Do the requirements for a criminal records check include checks for any member of the household over the age of 18?

 

4.   Does a "drug-related offense" include an alcohol-related felony conviction?

 

5.   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?

 

6.   Must a State complete the fingerprint-based check of national crime information databases required by section 471(a)(20)(A) of the Social Security Act before placing a child in the home of a prospective foster or adoptive parent?

 

7.   Must the State conduct the child abuse and neglect registry checks required by section 471(a)(20)(C) of the Social Security Act before placing a child in the home of a prospective foster or adoptive parent?

 

8.   Does section 471(a)(20) of the Social Security Act (the Act) require the State to conduct a child abuse and neglect registry check on an adult who moves into a licensed/approved foster or adoptive home?

 

9.   Please explain the criminal background check requirements of section 471(a)(20)(A) of the Act and to whom they apply.

 

10.   To whom do the child abuse and neglect registry checks for prospective foster and adoptive parents at section 471(a)(20)(C) of the Social Security Act (the Act) apply?

 

11.   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?

 

12.   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?

 

13.   May a State establish an appropriate timeframe for when a fingerprint-based check of the national crime information databases or a child abuse and neglect registry check must be completed or can remain valid to meet the purposes in section 471(a)(20) of the Social Security Act (the Act)?

 

14.   May a State determine that it will not license or approve a foster or adoptive parent who has a criminal record other than one specified in section 471(a)(20)(A)(i) or (ii) of the Social Security Act (the Act)?

 

15.   Section 471(a)(20)(C)(i) of the Social Security Act (the Act) requires a State to request a check of information in another State’s child abuse and neglect registry in which a prospective foster parent, adoptive parent, or other adult in the home has resided in the preceding five years. With regard to this provision, is the requesting State able to comply with the law if the other State that maintains such a registry denies the request because the provision is not yet effective in the other State?

 

16.   Must a State make a registry check request pursuant to section 471(a)(20)(C)(i) of the Social Security Act (the Act) of a State which is not yet required to comply with such a request due to having an ACF-approved delayed effective date for section 471(a)(20)(C)(ii) of the Act?

 

17.   Section 471(a)(20)(C)(i) of the Social Security Act (the Act) states that "the State shall check any child abuse and neglect registry maintained by the State..." How does this apply if a State does not maintain a child abuse and neglect registry?

 

18.   How should a State proceed when another State that maintains a child abuse and neglect registry does not respond to an out-of-State request to check a child abuse and neglect registry pursuant to section 471(a)(20)(C)(i) of the Social Security Act (the Act)?

 

19.   How should a State that maintains a child abuse and neglect registry and has an ACF-approved delayed effective date respond to incoming requests for child abuse and neglect registry information on prospective adoptive and foster parents pursuant to section 471(a)(20)(C) of the Social Security Act? Is that State out of compliance with the law if it does not provide the information?

 

20.   If a State has verified that another State does not maintain a child abuse and neglect registry, is the State still required by section 471(a)(20)(C)(i) of the Social Security Act (the Act) in every case to make a request to that other State?

 

21.   Some States have procedures that predicate releasing information from their State-maintained child abuse and neglect registry on the requesting State meeting certain conditions. For example, some States require the requesting State to obtain a notarized release or consent from the prospective foster or adoptive parent and others charge a fee for the information. Is this permissible?

 

22.   If the child will not receive title IV-E foster care maintenance or adoption assistance payments, must a prospective foster parent or adoptive parent who will be licensed or approved by an Indian tribe meet the requirements of 471(a)(20) of the Social Security Act (the Act)?

 

23.   Section 471(a)(20)(A)(i) and (ii) of the Social Security Act (the Act) prohibit a State from claiming title IV-E foster care maintenance payments or adoption assistance payments when prospective foster or adoptive parents have been convicted of certain crimes. Are there any exemptions or exceptions permitted from this requirement, such as the State or Indian tribe under a title IV-E agreement with the State considers the prospective parent rehabilitated or the placement is in the best interests of the child?

 

24.   Is an Indian tribe that has a title IV-E agreement under section 472(a)(2)(B)(ii) of the Social Security Act (the Act) permitted an exemption or exception to the background check provisions of section 471(a)(20) of the Act?

 

25.   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?

 

26.   Is a State able to comply with section 471(a)(20)(A) of the Social Security Act (the Act) if the State is unable to take legible fingerprint impressions of the prospective parent to whom the requirements apply?   (Deleted 07/02/2007)

 

27.   For the purposes of section 471(a)(20)(C) of the Social Security Act (the Act), what constitutes a "child abuse and neglect registry maintained by the State"? If a State does not have such a registry, is it required to develop one?

 

28.   What information must a State release from its child abuse and neglect registry to comply with an incoming request from another State for information on an adult member of a prospective foster or adoptive parent's home as required by section 471(a)(20)(C)(ii) of the Social Security Act? For example, may the State release information only on substantiated reports of abuse and neglect?

 

29.   Some prospective foster or adoptive parents have unreadable or missing fingerprints due to their age, disability, or occupation. How can a State comply with section 471(a)(20)(A) of the Social Security Act (the Act) in such cases?

 

30.   Does the State title IV-E agency, or licensing authority, itself have to request information from a State-maintained child abuse and neglect registry pursuant to section 471(a)(20)(C)(ii) of the Social Security Act (the Act)? Similarly, does the State title IV-E agency, or licensing authority, itself have to receive the registry information?

 

31.   Upon the dissolution of an adoption or death of the adoptive parents of a child receiving title IV-E adoption assistance, must the child's new prospective adoptive parents meet the background check requirements of section 471(a)(20) of the Social Security Act (the Act) before they can receive IV-E adoption assistance if that subsequent adoption will be achieved through a private or independent entity?

 

32.   Are the criminal background check requirements at section 471(a)(20)(A) of the Social Security Act (the Act) applicable to all international, private or independent adoptions?

 

 

8.4G TITLE IV-E, General Title IV-E Requirements, Fair Hearings

 

1.   Do the regulations at 45 CFR 205.10 require fair hearings for appeals related to services as well as financial claims?

 

2.   Please explain the circumstances in which an adoptive parents have the right to a fair hearing.

 

3.   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?

 

4.   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?

 

5.   Is a State's 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 State agency?

 

 

8.4H TITLE IV-E, General Title IV-E Requirements, Safety Requirements

 

1.   Is the requirement for criminal records checks extended to the staff of child-care institutions and unlicensed relative homes?

 

 

8.4I TITLE IV-E, General Title IV-E Requirements, Social Security Numbers

 

1.   What is the policy regarding a Social Security Number for persons eligible under title IV-E?

 

2.   How should States reconcile the inconsistent requirements for furnishing social security numbers (SSN) under Medicaid and title IV-E?

 

 

9.1 TRIBES/INDIAN TRIBAL ORGANIZATIONS, Application of Title IV-B and Title IV-E Procedural Requirements

 

1.   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)?

 

2.   Please explain how the termination of parental rights (TPR) requirement applies to Indian tribes and its relationship to Indian Child Welfare Act requirements.

 

3.   May the State or Tribe define compelling reasons for not filing a petition to terminate parental rights (TPR) in State law or Tribal code?

 

 

9.2 TRIBES/INDIAN TRIBAL ORGANIZATIONS, Application of Title IV-E Eligibility Requirements

 

1.   A placement is made by an Indian Tribe, can title IV-E payments be made only if the Tribe is certified by the State as a child placing agency?

 

2.   Must foster family homes approved through the tribal process meet the same standard as homes licensed by the State?

 

3.   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?

 

4.   By what authority are Tribes restriced to licensing homes that are on or near Indian reservations?

 

5.   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?

 

6.   If the child will not receive title IV-E foster care maintenance or adoption assistance payments, must a prospective foster parent or adoptive parent who will be licensed or approved by an Indian tribe meet the requirements of 471(a)(20) of the Social Security Act (the Act)?

 

7.   Section 471(a)(20)(A)(i) and (ii) of the Social Security Act (the Act) prohibit a State from claiming title IV-E foster care maintenance payments or adoption assistance payments when prospective foster or adoptive parents have been convicted of certain crimes. Are there any exemptions or exceptions permitted from this requirement, such as the State or Indian tribe under a title IV-E agreement with the State considers the prospective parent rehabilitated or the placement is in the best interests of the child?

 

8.   Is an Indian tribe that has a title IV-E agreement under section 472(a)(2)(B)(ii) of the Social Security Act (the Act) permitted an exemption or exception to the background check provisions of section 471(a)(20) of the Act?

 

 

9.3 TRIBES/INDIAN TRIBAL ORGANIZATIONS, Responsibilities of the Bureau of Indian Affairs

 

1.   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?

 

 

9.4 TRIBES/INDIAN TRIBAL ORGANIZATIONS, Title IV-E Agreements

 

1.   Which agency (State or Tribal) has responsibility for providing foster care payments and child welfare services to Indian children?

 

2.   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?

 

3.   In order for the State to meet the title IV-B section 422 requirements, must Tribal children assisted under intergovernmental agreements be included in the State's inventory, information system and case review system?

 

4.   May payments be made under title IV-E of the Social Security Act (the Act) 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?

 

5.   Can Indian tribes 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?

 

6.   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?

 

 

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