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Title IV-E Funding for Legal Representation
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U.S. Children's Bureau Permits Funding for Child and Parent Legal Representation

On December 21, 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau announced a revision to theChild Welfare Policy Manual permitting states to receive federal Title IV-E funding reimbursement for the administrative costs of providing “independent legal representation by an attorney for a child who is a candidate for title IV-E foster care or in foster care and his/her parent.”The policy was later updated to apply to tribal representation, as well as the costs of paralegals, investigators, peer partners, social workers, support staff, and overhead for independent child and parent legal representation.

 

Overview 

The Children’s Bureau removed Q/A 8.1B #30 and added the following new Q/A to section 8.1B:

Question 30: May a title IV-E agency claim title IV-E administrative costs for attorneys to provide legal representation for the title IV-E agency, a candidate for title IV-E foster care or a title IV-E eligible child in foster care and the child’s parents to prepare for and participate in all stages of foster care related legal proceedings?

Answer:  Yes. The statute at section 474(a)(3) of the Act and regulations at 45 CFR 1356.60(c) specify that Federal financial participation (FFP) is available at the rate of 50% for administrative expenditures necessary for the proper and efficient administration of the title IV-E plan. The title IV-E agency’s representation in judicial determinations continues to be an allowable administrative cost.

Previous policy prohibited the agency from claiming title IV-E administrative costs for legal services provided by an attorney representing a child or parent. This policy is revised to allow the title IV-E agency to claim title IV-E administrative costs of independent legal representation by an attorney for a child who is a candidate for title IV-E foster care or in foster care and his/her parent to prepare for and participate in all stages of foster care legal proceedings, such as court hearings related to a child’s removal from the home. These administrative costs of legal representation must be paid through the title IV-E agency.  This change in policy will ensure that, among other things: reasonable efforts are made to prevent removal and finalize the permanency plan; and parents and youth are engaged in and complying with case plans.

Legal and Related References: 45 CFR 1356.60(c), section 474(a)(3)

Additionally, on July 29, 2019, the Children's Bureau clarified that tribes are also eligible for Title IV-E funding:


Question31:  Are title IV-E administrative costs for the legal representation provided by agencyattorneys and for independent legal representation of children and parents in all stages of foster care related legal proceedings available to tribes and public agencies that have an agreement under section 472(a)(2)(B)(ii) of the Act? 

Answer:Yes. A title IV-E agency that has an agreement with a tribe or any other public agency under section 472(a)(2)(B)(ii) of the Act may claim title IV-E administrative costs for legal representation provided by tribal or public agency attorneys under the agreement in all stages of foster care related legal proceedings. The title IV-E agency may also claim administrative costs for independent legal representation provided by an attorney for a candidate for title IV-E foster care or a title IV-E eligible child in foster care who is served under the agreement, and the child’s parents, to prepare for and participate in all stages of foster care related legal proceedings.

 

Legal and Related References:45 CFR 1356.60(c), section 474(a)(3); CWPM Q/A 8.1B #30

On April 21, 2020, the Children's Bureauprovided further instruction about the scope of legal representation costs that are eligible for reimbursement:

 

Question 32:Does the policy at CWPM 8.1B #30 allow a title IV-E agency to claim title IV-E administrative costs of paralegals, investigators, peer partners or social workers that support an attorney providing independent legal representation to a child who is a candidate for title IV-E foster care or is in title IV-E foster care, and his/her parent, to prepare for and participate in all stages of foster care legal proceedings, and for office support staff and overhead expenses?

 

Answer: Yes, the policy permits a title IV-E agency to claim such title IV-E administrative costs to the extent that they are necessary to support an attorney in providing independent legal representation to prepare for and participate in all stages of foster care legal proceedings for candidates for title IV-E foster care, youth in foster care and his/her parents. The costs must be consistent with federal cost principles per 45 CFR Part 75 Subpart E. The title IV-E agency must allocate such costs so as to assure that the title IV-E program is charged its proportionate share of costs (See CWPM sections8.1Band8.1C).

 

Legal and Related References: 45 CFR 1356.60(c), section 474(a)(3)

 

Title IV-E for Legal Representation Resources

Title IV-E for Legal Representation Webinars

NACC's Member-Webinar on Title IV-E Expansion for Legal Representation 

High-Quality Legal Representation Resources

Federal Guidance and Communications

Best Practices

Children's Legal Representation Research

Children and Youth Services Review:

Other Research:

Sample State Agreements and RFPs

News Clips

Want More Information?

For more information on how to seize this opportunity and enhance legal service delivery systems for children in your state, please contact  Policy@NACCchildlaw.org.


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