While there are restrictions on the use of Title IV-E expenditures (see discussion below), the rhetoric about these limitations, even by the federal agency overseeing their use, fails to acknowledge the wide variety of purposes for which they can be used. For example, a few months ago, HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson, in announcing the extension of Ohio’s demonstration project, said:
[F]unds provided under Title IV-E are reimbursed as an open-ended entitlement, but may only be used to pay for room and board expenses of eligible children in foster care.17
However, IV-E funds may be used for many activities other than just room and board, and, in fact, most of these funds do not go to pay room and board. Title IV-E funds can be used for the following purposes: 18
• Foster care maintenance payments.19 Federal law specifies that these payments cover the cost of food, clothing, shelter, school supplies, daily supervision, insurance, personal incidentals, and travel to the child’s parents’ home for visitation. These federal funds may not be used to pay for the care of a foster child in a facility that accommodates more than 25 children. In FY 2002, over $1.7 billion of IV-E funds were used to reimburse states for room and board expenses for foster children living in a foster home or other facility.20
• Adoption assistance.21 Federal funds reimburse states for ongoing payments to parents who have adopted a “special needs” child from foster care, as well as one-time costs related to completing the child’s adoption, such as attorneys’ fees, court costs, and home studies. In FY 2002, the federal government paid out more than $2.2 billion to the states for the adoption assistance program including almost $1 billion in adoption assistance payments.22 (The state is also paid out of this money for the fees collected while in the adoption process. The parent who is doing the adoption pays nothing for the child. Plus they are paid an “on going stymid” for special needs children. Why can’t the birth parent be paid all this money it would keep the child in the home and the parent with it’s child. What is wrong with this picture?)
• Adoption incentive program.23 States receive $4,000 for every foster child adopted over the number of children adopted in the baseline year and $6,000 for every special needs child adopted that exceeds the baseline figure. In 2003, $14.9 million was awarded to 25 states and Puerto Rico for increasing the number of children adopted from foster care. Awards ranged from more than $3.5 million paid to Florida, to $20,000 to Nebraska.24 In 2004, $17.9 million was awarded to 31 states and Puerto Rico.25 This was the first year in which states were eligible for an additional bonus of $4,000 for each child age nine and older adopted from the public child welfare system. ( Read this part very carefully. This tells you the reader the price of our children being sold. Over 14.9 million awarded to 25 states and Puerto Rico for increasing the number of children adopted from Foster Care. That was in 2003. In 2004 there was 17.9 million awarded to 31 states and Puerto Rico. Then it goes on to say that 2004 was the first year in which state were eligible for an additional bonus of $4,000.00 for each child age nine and older adopted from the public child welfare system. Again what is wrong with this picture.)
• Training of staff, foster, and adoptive parents.26 States may seek reimbursement for 75 percent of the costs of training child welfare staff. These funds may be used for “long term training” of existing and prospective staff including a bachelor’s or graduate degree. Costs of training provided to foster and adoptive parents, including their attendance at conferences, are also reimbursable. The state may provide the training directly or contract it out. If it uses its own staff, then salaries, travel, and per diem are included. Some states contract out some of their training to community colleges. In FY 2003, $214 million in IV-E funds went to pay for training of staff, and foster and adoptive parents.27
(This should be criminal. The Federal Govenment not only pays adoptive and foster parents to take children they pay them to attend conferences and seminars to help them raise them. Why isn’t this money used to help the poor parent whose child has been stolen to find suitable living, gainful employemnt and yes to even return to school in order to get better gainful employment. These people can even earn their bachelor or graduate degree off the backs of children who are stolen. Not only that they are reimbursed for travel, salaries, and per diem. This is not only criminal it is shameful and wrong morally.)
• Administrative costs.28 A variety of activities on behalf of children in foster care and their families are paid for under IV-E administrative costs. Among other things, reimbursable activities include: a caseworker’s assessment of the family and child; development of the case plan; preparation of reports for the court and attendance at court hearings and other reviews; and quality assurance activities. In FY 2002, IV-E administrative costs reimbursements to the states exceeded the amount states claimed for foster care maintenance. (The administrative costs are also paid for under this funding which includes court apperances, and quality assurance activities – Okay what would that be?)
• Automated data management systems.29 States may use these funds for the planning, design, development, and installation of automated child welfare systems. The system must meet certain specifications to be eligible for the funds. Though the federal match has been as high as 75 percent at times, the current federal financial participation rate is 50 percent.
• Chafee Foster Care Independence Program. These federal funds help states offset the care of a particular population of youth in foster care—those who are likely to remain until age 18 and those between 18 and 21 who have “aged out” of foster care. Up to 30 percent of the federal dollars can be used to pay for housing such youth. Other monies may be used for a wide spectrum of services to help these youth make the transition to independence, including basic living skills training, employment preparation, and substance abuse prevention. Unlike other IV-E programs, this is a capped entitlement. States receive a share of the $140 million based on their percentage of the total children in foster care and are required to provide a 20 percent match from non-federal sources.
Title IV-B and Other
Title IV-B, both subparts I and II, allows states greater latitude than Title IV-E in their use of federal money to provide or purchase child welfare services.30 First of all, these funds can be used for any child or family regardless of family income. Acceptable uses of subpart I funds31 cover a broad array of family services, including: preventing the breakup of families and promoting reunification; preventing abuse/neglect and delinquency; protecting homeless children; assuring adequate care of children in out-of-home placements; and placing children in adoptive homes. Subpart II dollars are divided among four broad service categories: family preservation; family support; time-limited family reunification; and adoption promotion and support.32 States also may allocate a portion of their IV-B funds for foster care maintenance payments.33 Unlike Title IV-E, however, Title IV-B funds have been capped. For the fiscal year 2004, $693.7 million was appropriated for Title IV-B.34
In addition to Title IV-E and IV-B, many of the costs associated with foster care are paid with federal funds from the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG)35, Medicaid, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). In fact, those three funding sources together account for more of the costs of foster care room and board payments and administration of the foster care program than all the Title IV-E funds.36
With all the money that is spent on adoptions, foster care and CPS in general there is pleanty to go around to the poor and uneducated who are the victims of the abuse of CPS.
Yvonne Mason, Author