On Thursday, March 16, 2023, the Children’s Bureau announced the resumption of Title IV-E Foster Care Eligibility Reviews. Due to the pandemic, the Title IV-E Reviews to monitor child welfare agencies’ compliance in meeting certain child welfare eligibility requirements had been suspended in March 2020. Their review will start up again at the start of 2024 (the second quarter of the federal fiscal year) and they will resume with the 15 states that had been scheduled before the suspension; states Illinois through Wisconsin will be reviewed in 2024. The announcement includes a full description of the review process.

The reviews examine states’ compliance in meeting the eligibility of children, examining: judicial determinations on whether “reasonable efforts” and “contrary to the welfare” provisions of the IV-E law are being met; whether voluntary placement agreements are made according to the law; eligibility for AFDC under the state plan in effect on July 16, 1996; the new requirements for a child’s placement in a foster family home, child care institution, or residential family-based treatment facility for substance abuse are followed; whether the child’s placement setting is fully licensed, in accordance with the law; and whether child safety and background check requirements are met.

The reviews do not cover reviews or checks on eligibility, such as those that are conducted by the Office of the Inspector General through the Administration for Children and Families’ (ACF) Office of Grants Management’s financial reviews or audits of title IV-E claims filed.

The reviews involve a sampling of the child foster care caseload (80 cases) and if there are four or fewer errors a state is determined to be in compliance. If more than four errors a second review (of 150 cases) is conducted. State can and do suffer losses of funding, even if it is a result of improper paperwork and documentation.

This will be the first IV-E reviews since the Family First Act was fully implemented, so the new requirements created by that Act will also be reviewed for the first time. These changes include criminal records check for adults working in child caring institutions; limitations on foster care placements that are not foster family homes; assessment and documentation of placements in a qualified residential treatment program (QRTPs); and placements involving children with parents in a licensed, residential family-based treatment facility for substance abuse.