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4000 County Child Welfare Services Contracts

Title IV-E Finance Handbook for County Contracts August 2009

Texas counties can establish and maintain child welfare boards.

Texas Family Code §264.005

Child welfare boards work closely with local DFPS staff to serve the needs of children in substitute care. DFPS has contracts with many Texas counties that enable the counties to receive federal reimbursement under Title IV-E for the cost of providing certain goods and services to children who meet Title IV-E eligibility criteria.

DFPS implements a county outreach program to promote Title IV-E contracts with counties.

Human Resources Code §40.0566

DFPS implements a standard statewide outreach program to:

  •  inform each county that federal funds are available to pay for the costs of providing child protective services within the county; and

  •  provide technical assistance on request to a county seeking federal funds.

To implement the program, DFPS:

  •  designates regional staff to implement the program;

  •  designates a statewide coordinator to coordinate the activities of the regional staff and develop methods of providing information to counties; and

  •  develops a database that:

  •  identifies DFPS and county personnel involved with the outreach program; and

  •  contains information on the date and type of assistance provided by DFPS to each county.

DFPS, in consultation with the Legislative Budget Board, ensures that a record is maintained of the amount of funding each county receives directly from the federal government for child protective services.

Title IV‑E county contracts are subrecipient contracts. A subrecipient is a nonfederal entity that receives federal funds through another entity to carry out a federal program. A subrecipient does not include an individual who is a beneficiary of such a program. See OMB Circular A-133, Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations.

4100 Types of Expenses

Title IV-E Finance Handbook for County Contracts August 2009

There are three types of expenses reimbursable under contracts with child welfare boards. Each expense is reimbursed at a different level of federal financial participation (FFP). This section provides an overview of the three types of expenses that may be included in a contract between DFPS and a county for Title IV-E services. A more detailed description of each type of expenses is included in the following subsections.

1. Foster Care Maintenance

Social Security Act – Section 475(4)(A) defines foster care maintenance payments, in part, as payments to cover the cost of (and the cost of providing) food, clothing, shelter, daily supervision, school supplies, a child’s personal incidentals, liability insurance for a child, and reasonable travel to the child’s home for visitation.

2. Administrative Expenses

Social Security Act - Section 474(a)(3)(E) permits states with approved Title IV-E state plans to be reimbursed at a 50 percent matching rate for the costs of appropriate administrative activities. (Certain subcategories of administrative costs, including training, are reimbursable at a higher rate, as discussed below.)

Also see 45 CFR §1356.60(c), which implements section 474(a)(3) of the Social Security Act and provides examples of what may properly be considered administrative expenditures of the Title IV-E program.

Costs directly related to the administration of the foster care program are deemed allowable if they:

  •  are necessary and reasonable;

  •  are incurred while providing proper and efficient services to children who are eligible under Title IV-E; and

  •  are in accordance with OMB Circular A-87, 45 CFR §95.507, and 45 CFR §1356.60.

The allowable administrative costs that are reimbursable at 50 percent may include:

  •  salaries;

  •  fringe benefits;

  •  travel;

  •  supplies;

  •  equipment; and

  •  other operating expenses.

3. Training

Title IV-E training expenses are a subset of Administration expenses and are reimbursable at the rate of 75 percent, rather than the 50 percent rate offered for other types of administrative services. Additionally, reimbursement for certain groups is offered at an incrementally increasing match rate, as indicated in Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008.

Title IV-E training costs are those costs associated with attending or participating in Title IV-E approved training. Unlike general training, the costs must be specifically related to the Title IV-E program.

Title IV-E training costs include:

  •  salaries;

  •  fringe benefits; and

  •  travel.

For a detailed discussion regarding training costs and reimbursement, see 4130 Training Expenditures.

For further guidance on the types of training activities related to Title IV-E, see Appendix B: Title IV-E Training Topics That the State May Claim as a Title IV-E Match Rate and 45 CFR §1356.60(c).

Prohibited Expenses

Reimbursement of educational and paternity testing expenses is strictly prohibited.

4110 Supplemental Foster Care Maintenance

Title IV-E Finance Handbook for County Contracts February 2013

Expenses for foster care maintenance incurred on behalf of children who meet Title IV-E eligibility criteria are reimbursed at the federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) rate. The FMAP rate changes annually and is in effect from October 1through September 30, which coincides with the federal fiscal year.

Expenses for foster care maintenance include the daily foster care rates paid to foster care providers.

To supplement the services provided to children in out-of-home care, counties often provide additional services referred to as supplemental foster care maintenance. These supplemental services are reimbursable from the federal government at the rate paid for foster care maintenance.

Maintenance expenses for county supplemental foster care must be:

  •  actual;

  •  allowable under Title IV-E;

  •  child-specific; and

  •  supported by county records documenting each of these criteria.

Maintenance expenses must be incurred while providing goods or services to children who meet the eligibility criteria for Title IV-E, as determined by DFPS. The expenses must be verified against the Title IV-E Eligibility Verification Report, as required by the CPS Action Memorandum, PSA 05-027, November 19, 2004. The verification report is used by DFPS Contract Management staff who review claims submitted by counties for goods and services provided to children in foster care.

DFPS contract managers forward county-specific information to county staff for preparation of claims. Contract managers provide the verification report only to county personnel who prepare billing statements, and they include only the information for Title IV-E eligible children in that particular county.

To ensure that the verification reports are used solely for their intended purpose, and to protect the confidentiality of these reports, the following statement must appear at the bottom of the report:

“For use in preparing and reviewing county Title IV-E claims only. Confidential information – not for release to the public.”

Payments for Supplemental Foster Care Maintenance

The costs of food, clothing, and shelter are often referred to as room and board costs. DFPS provides room and board for children in foster care through a daily foster care rate paid to foster care providers.

All costs for supplemental foster care maintenance submitted by a child welfare board to DFPS for federal reimbursement must represent actual county costs and must be incurred on behalf of specific children who are eligible under Title IV-E.

The county must maintain accounting records that include an audit trail for each expense. The county record must include:

  •  the child’s name;

  •  the child’s eligibility status for Title IV-E;

  •  a receipt for the expense; and

  •  the county accounting records that display the expense through the county accounting system.

Types of maintenance expenses for supplemental foster care are described below.

Food

Food costs are covered at the DFPS daily foster care rate; however, special dietary needs are reimbursable as personal incidentals, as described under Personal Incidentals, below.

Clothing

Although the DFPS daily foster care rate includes basic clothing costs, supplemental clothing costs paid by the county for DFPS foster care children are allowable as Title IV-E costs if the costs are documented as having been bought for a specific child who is eligible under Title IV-E.

Shelter

Although some county child welfare boards may choose to provide shelter in certain instances, the costs for shelter are not eligible for reimbursement under the Title IV-E contracts.

School Items and Activity Expenses

Allowable expenses under Title IV-E are as follows:

  •  Required classroom supplies, such as notebooks, pens, and paper

  •  Art supplies

  •  Necessary school clothing, such as gym uniforms

  •  Locker and towel fees

  •  Rental or purchase of musical instruments for school band

  •  Band uniforms

  •  Regular after-school activity fees, such as volleyball, basketball, and chess club

  •  School activity fees, such as those required for a class project or a field trip

Expenses not allowed under Title IV-E are as follows:

  •  Costs for after-school enrichment programs that include games, time to work on homework, or private music or art lessons)

  •  Tuition for private school, even if attendance is court-ordered

  •  Fees for summer school

  •  Fees for driver’s education classes (Before the expense is incurred, the county checks with the DFPS regional coordinator for the Preparation for Adult Living, or PAL, program to determine whether the regional PAL program can pay for the expense.)

  •  GED-related expenses (Before the expense is incurred, the county checks with the DFPS regional coordinator for the PAL, program to determine whether the regional PAL program can pay for the expense.)

Personal Incidentals

Allowable expenses are as follows:

  •  Personal hygiene products

  •  Cosmetics

  •  Over-the-counter medications

  •  Special dietary foods

  •  Infant and toddler supplies, including high chairs and diapers

  •  Allowances (counties are encouraged to set a limit)

  •  Gifts for birthdays, special occasions, and holidays

  •  Graduation expenses, such as the cost of buying a senior ring, cap, and gown

  •  Reasonable and occasional costs for such items as tickets or other admission fees for sporting, entertainment, or cultural events

  •  Fees related to clubs, such as the Boy Scouts of America or the Girl Scouts of the USA

  •  Special lessons, including horseback riding

  •  Miscellaneous items such as stamps, envelopes, writing paper, film, and the cost of film development for a personal camera

  •  Reasonable travel provided for the child to visit parents, siblings, relatives, or other caretakers at home or at other appropriate locations, such as a DFPS office (or other location deemed appropriate by DFPS) when it is not possible or appropriate for the child to go home.

  •  Funeral costs (Before funeral costs are incurred, the county checks with DFPS to be sure the costs are reimbursable. If not paid by the child’s parents, reasonable and necessary costs are paid by DFPS in accordance with 6513 Making Funeral Arrangements, in the DFPS Child Protective Services Handbook.)

Expenses that are not allowed are as follows:

  •  Drug screening

  •  School tuition

  •  Expenses related to the Texas Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program

  •  Specialized assessments, such as psychiatric, medical, or educational assessments

  •  Travel costs for the biological parent or other relative visiting with the child

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