<<Previous Page

Next Page>>

5000 Legal Contracts

Title IV-E Finance Handbook for County Contracts August 2009

Texas counties are mandated to represent DFPS in child abuse and neglect cases.

Texas Family Code §264.009

County attorneys or district attorneys who represent DFPS in child abuse and neglect cases may receive compensation for doing so by way of contracts for Title IV-E County Legal Services. Reimbursable expenditures include costs incurred to carry out the proper and efficient administration of the state plan.

County legal contracts are a subset of the types of contracts DFPS may enter into with a county for Title IV-E reimbursement. County legal contracts are subject to the same legal authorities and requirements listed in 2000 Legal Basis.

The subitems within 2000 Legal Basis of the handbook contain additional guidance and examples of allowable costs that are specific to county legal contracts.

5100 Types of Expenses

Title IV-E Finance Handbook for County Contracts August 2009

Two types of expenses, Administrative and Training, are reimbursable under contracts for Title IV-E county legal services. Each type of expense is reimbursed at a different federal financial participation (FFP) level.

Administration

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

  •  necessary and reasonable;

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

  •  incurred in accordance with OMB Circular A-87 and 45 CFR §§95.507, 1356.60(c).

Title IV-E allowable administrative costs are reimbursable at 50 percent and may include such costs as:

  •  salaries;

  •  fringe benefits;

  •  travel;

  •  supplies;

  •  equipment; and

  •  other operating expenses.

Training

Title IV-E training expenses are a subset of Administration services. The expenses 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 the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008. See 45 CFR §1356.60(b).

Title IV-E training expenses include:

  •  salaries;

  •  fringe benefits; and

  •  travel expenses.

5110 Administration Expenditures

Title IV-E Finance Handbook for County Contracts February 2013

Salaries and Fringe Benefits

The salaries and fringe benefits paid to county legal personnel for time spent performing Title IV-E activities are reimbursable.

Fringe benefits include, but are not limited to the following:

  •  Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax, paid by the county

  •  Health insurance

  •  Retirement

  •  Workers’ compensation

The distribution and apportionment of salaries and wages must be:

  •  in compliance with OMB Circular A-87, Cost Principles for State, Local, and Indian Tribal Governments; and

  •  in accordance with the county’s approved budget.

The county may claim reimbursement for any staff person of a district or county attorney who provides Title IV-E related legal services for children in foster care. Reimbursement is provided for the percent of each staff person’s time that was spent providing services specifically related to Title IV-E.

Staff Whose Work May Be Reimbursed

Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

Legal

Support

District or county attorney

Attorney

Appellate attorney

Assistant district attorney

Assistant county attorney

Assistant criminal district attorney

Compliance officer (attorney)

CPS unit chief attorney

Criminal district attorney

Deputy division chief

Division chief

Supervising attorney

Administrative clerical staff

Legal clerk

Paralegal

Receptionist

Secretary

Legal secretary

Law clerk

Interpreter (hired and paid by county attorney)

Administration Travel

Travel costs are limited to the maximum Travel Reimbursement rates noted by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts and are limited to actual travel costs.

Allowable Travel Costs

Allowable costs incurred by county personnel while performing Title IV-E administrative duties may include the following:

  •  Meals

  •  Lodging

  •  Auto rental

  •  Gasoline

  •  Airfare

  •  Mileage

  •  Registration fees

  •  Parking

  •  Other incidental expenses, such as taxi fees and tolls

Unallowable Travel Costs

Costs that may not be reimbursed include the following:

  •  Gratuity

  •  Alcoholic beverages

  •  Personal phone calls

  •  Any other items not allowed by federal regulations or not directly connected to the Title IV-E program

Supplies

The costs of supplies that are reasonable and necessary to administer the Title IV-E program are reimbursable. Purchases are charged at their actual cost after deducting all cash discounts, rebates, and allowances received.

The costs may include items not capitalized under the county policy. (See the Equipment section, below, for procedures related to the capitalization threshold.)

Equipment

The cost of equipment deemed reasonable and necessary to administer the Title IV-E program is reimbursable only if it is purchased for employees whose work relates exclusively to Title IV-E.

An item is considered equipment, if the two following conditions exist:

  •  The unit cost is $5,000 or more.

  •  The item has an estimated useful life of more than one year.

See the State of Texas capitalization policy in the document Uniform Grant Management Standards, published by the Budget, Planning, and Policy Division of the Office of the Governor.

Equipment is considered a fixed asset, as opposed to a consumable item, and therefore must be capitalized. Equipment must be tracked in a property accounting system and included in the county’s inventory.

For the purpose of reimbursement through the Title IV-E program, the county’s capitalization policy applies. If a county’s capitalization threshold exceeds the $5,000 limit set by the state, an item is considered capitalized equipment for Title IV-E purposes if it costs less than the county’s threshold but more than the state’s.

If a county does not have a capitalization policy, the state’s capitalization policy applies.

Other Operating Expenses

Certain other costs that are directly related to the administration of the Title IV-E program are reimbursable.

Allowable Costs

Other costs that are reimbursable include but are not limited to the following:

  •  Citations by publication

  •  Legal mediation fees

  •  Expert witness fees

  •  Telephone (purchase and service costs)

Unallowable Costs

Other costs that are not reimbursable include but are not limited to the following:

  •  Salaries for court employees

  •  Attorney ad-litem fees

  •  Guardian ad-litem fees

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

  •  Filing fees

  •  Other costs associated with the normal functioning of a court

  •  Costs already allocated to cost allocation for federal assistance programs

5120 Training Expenditures

Title IV-E Finance Handbook for County Contracts February 2013

Title IV-E training costs are the costs associated with attending or participating in Title IV-E approved training. The costs must be specifically related to the Title IV-E program as indicated in Appendix B: Title IV-E Training Topics for Which the State May Claim a Title IV-E Match.

Training costs are reimbursable at the enhanced 75 percent match rate only to the extent that a training session is designed to prepare DFPS employees and limited other trainees to carry out the allowable administrative functions identified in 45 CFR, §1356.60(c)(2). Other trainees may include such persons as potential employees, foster care parents, and institution staff. The functions are listed at the beginning of 4120 Administrative Expenditures.

Training for other groups, such as the following, is reimbursable at an enhanced rate beginning at 55 percent in federal fiscal year 2009 and increasing at 5 percent a year up to 75 percent in federal fiscal year 2013:

  •  CASA volunteers

  •  Contracted child placement providers

  •  The staff of courts that hear abuse and neglect cases

  •  Attorneys representing children or parents

  •  Guardians ad litem

  •  Other court-appointed special advocates representing children in court proceedings as specified in the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008.

Approval from a contract manager must be obtained before billing for Title IV-E training expenses.

Allowable Training Topics

For training to be reimbursable at the enhanced 75 percent rate for Title IV-E training, the topic of the training must be:

  •  related to one of the activities cited in 45 CFR §1356.60(c)(1)(2); and

  •  allowable as an administrative activity under the Title IV-E program.

See also the guidance provided in Section 8.1H, Child Welfare Policy Manual, published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (U.S. HHS).

Allowable training topics include the following:

  •  Eligibility determination and re-determination

  •  Fair hearings and appeals

  •  Rate setting

  •  Referral to services

  •  Preparation for and participation in judicial determinations

  •  Placement of a child

  •  Development of a case plan

  •  Case reviews

  •  Case management and supervision

  •  Recruitment and licensing of foster homes and institutions

For additional allowable training topics see:

Appendix B: Title IV-E Training Topics for Which the State May Claim a Title IV-E Match

Guidance provided on the U.S. HHS website

Training Salaries and Fringe Benefits

The training salaries and fringe benefits paid to county legal personnel for the actual time spent attending or participating in Title IV-E training are reimbursable.

Fringe benefits include but are not limited to the following:

  •  Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax paid by the county

  •  Insurance

  •  Retirement

  •  Workers’ compensation

The time spent traveling to and from the Title IV-E training may be included.

Travel for Title IV-E Training

Travel expenses incurred by county legal personnel while attending or participating in Title IV-E training are reimbursable.

Travel costs are limited to the maximum Travel Reimbursement rates noted by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts and are limited to actual travel costs.

Reimbursable travel costs may include the following:

  •  Meals

  •  Lodging

  •  Auto rental

  •  Gasoline

  •  Airfare

  •  Mileage

  •  Registration fees

  •  Parking

  •  Other incidental expenses, such as taxi fees and tolls

Exception

Training that is not directly related to Title IV-E topics is not reimbursable at the 75 percent enhanced rate, but may be reimbursable at the 50 percent Administration match rate. Allowable cost is based on the percentage of time that the employee who attends the training is otherwise engaged in Title IV-E activities.

For more guidance on claiming training that is not related to Title IV-E as an administrative expense, contact the contracts administrator.

<<Previous Page

Next Page>>