The two Title IV-B programs along with the adoption and kinship incentive fund expire on October 1, 2016 and so they need to be reauthorized either through the Families First Act or or another measure which could include a short term extensions included any CR.  A CR however may just extend the program for a few months.

The Child Welfare Services (CWS) is annually appropriated and is now down to $269 million a year from a high of approximately $293 million in the early 1990s.  Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF), which includes the Court Improvement Program (CIP) is set at $345 million in mandatory funds and $69 million in appropriated funds. The appropriated funds topped out at $100 million in 2002.

The Families First Act extends the two IV-B programs, the incentive fund and makes some changes to the Chaffee Independent Living Program which is technically part of Title IV-E.

Changes include:

  • Five-year extension of the adoption-kinship incentive fund continue the same formula for awards set in 2014 (part of IV-E)
  • Five-year extension of the Regional Partnership Grants of $20 million with adjustments including mandated participation by state substance abuse agencies and new funding allocations (part of IV-B, part 2)
  • Five-year continuation of the $20 million caseworker visit-workforce funds (part of IV-B, part 2)
  • Increased eligibility for the Chaffee Independent Living program to age 23 (IV-E)
  • Increased eligibility for Chaffee student voucher eligibility to age 26 (IV-E)
  • Elimination of the 15-month time-limit on the use of PSSF funds for reunification services (part of IV-B, part 2)
  • A one-time $5 million set aside drawn from appropriated funds for a grant to help spread the use of the NEICE Interstate Compact expansion initiative with states required to update their ICPC system by 2026 (part of IV-B, part 1)
  • Requirements to include evidence of being in foster care as part of the document package for youth that age out (to assist young people eligible for Medicaid to age 26 if they were in foster care) (Title IV-E)
  • Five-year continuation of the court funding program (CIP) (part of IV-B, part 2)
  • A new $8 million to create competitive grants that will address foster parent recruitment (Title IV-E)

The CIP is a challenge each time it is reauthorized because the CBO considers an extension as spending “new” federal funding.  Five years ago Congress addressed the need to find $20 million a year by taking money from PSSF services—in effect cutting services by $20 million a year.  In the Families First Act the extension is included within the costs of the bill.