FIJ Quarterly - Summer 2022 Edition

expected to remain in effect at least until the end of 2022. 18 But as a result, the current foster care and adoption reimbursement rate is more like 56 cents to 84 cents on the dollar. In at least 10 states, the local government runs family policing. In those states, federal reimbursement sometimes is supplemented by state reimbursement—so the proportion of reimbursed foster care and adoption costs may be even higher. None of this applies to all children placed in foster care—only to those who meet a complex eligibility formula discussed below. In Federal Fiscal Year 2022, the federal government is expected to spend $5.8 billion on foster care through Title IV-E and another $3.7 billion on adoption through Title IV-E. 19 The Family First Act allows some IV-E funds to be used for prevention, but as is explained below, the amount is negligible. One other part of IV-E is worth noting because it’s the one part that can now do some real good. Folded into the foster care and adoption categories are reimbursement for “administrative costs.” Unlike the rest of IV- E, reimbursement for administrative costs is not tied to the FMAP. Administrative costs are reimbursed at a flat 50 cents on the dollar. What makes administrative costs important is a change made in 2018. By changing a few words in a policy manual, the federal Children’s Bureau made these funds available for lawyers and their support staff who represent families and children. That creates a modest incentive to embrace one of the most important reforms to curb family policing: high-quality defense counsel for families. 20 Title IV-B Title-IVB is the primary source of prevention and family preservation funding. It is not an entitlement. When the money runs out, there’s nothing more, no matter how great the need. And there’s not much to begin with: about $700 million per year. 21 Even that figure is high since some IV-B money can be spent on adoption, foster care, and “training” family police. 22

The Family First Act Prevention Services Act, discussed below, may add another $130 million in IV-E funds to the total for prevention.

Here’s how it all breaks down:

each year, the federal government spends more than 10 times more on foster care and ______________ 18 Guth, Madeline, et. al. Federal Medicaid Outlays During the COVID-19 Pandemic . Kaiser Family Foundation, April 27, 2021. issue-brief/federal-medicaid-outlays-during-the- covid-19-pandemic/#:~:text=The%20American%20 Rescue%20Plan%20Act,new%20adoption%20of%20 the%20ACA 19 “Federal Appropriations…” supra, note 5. 20 Wexler, Richard. “1 Change in Federal Policy Manual May Do More for Children, Families Than Entire Family First Act.” Youth Today , Feb. 18, 2019. https:// manual-may-do-more-for-children-families-than- entire-family-first-act/ 21 “Federal Appropriations…” supra, note 5. 22 Child Trends. Title IV-B Spending by Child Welfare Agencies in SFY 2018 . March 2021. https://www. IVB_SFY2018.pdf

FIJ Quarterly | Summer 2022 | 61

Powered by