Child Welfare Title IV-E Waiver Demonstration Projects Overview

11/10/2015

kids laying in circleThe federal Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act ( P.L. 112-34), which was signed into law on September 30, 2011, reauthorized the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to approve new child welfare Title IV-E Waiver Demonstration Projects. The Waiver reauthorization does not provide additional funding. Instead, it allows more flexible use of federal Title IV-E funds to test new service delivery and financing approaches to improve outcomes for children and families involved in the child welfare system. HHS approved up to 10 projects per year in federal fiscal years 2012 to 2014. Approved projects must be designed to accomplish one or more of the following goals:

  • Increase permanency for all infants, children, and youth by reducing the time in foster placements when possible and promoting a successful transition to adulthood for older youth;
  • Increase positive outcomes for infants, children, youth, and families in their homes and communities, including tribal communities, and improve safety and well-being; and
  • Prevent child abuse and neglect and the re-entry of infants, children and youth into foster care.

The following states were approved for 2012 waivers (click on each state to access the proposals): Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.  Click here for more info from HHS,  including a proposal checklist. 

The following states were approved for 2013 waivers: the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, New York, Rhode Island and Tennessee.

The following states were approved for 2014 waivers: Arizona, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, West Virginia and for the first time a tribe, the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe in Washington State, has received a waiver to operate a program within its tribal child welfare system. See Summary of Child Welfare Demonstration for information on all states' waiver programs.

How Can State Legislators Get Involved?

  • State legislators can determine if their state child welfare agency is participating in a 2012-2014 Child Welfare Demonstration Project and if the project will require legislative changes to improve child and family outcomes.
  • Legislative leadership is key to examining and promoting any promising approaches proposed for legislative consideration or state implementation.
  • In consultation with key agency leaders, legislators have a critical role in helping to make decisions about how best to target a waiver and in creating an environment that encourages innovation.
  • In addition, legislative support can help child welfare agencies leverage multiple funding streams and develop effective partnerships with other state agencies and service systems to improve outcomes for children and families.

A Resource for Innovation

Waivers allow state and tribal child welfare agencies to design and demonstrate a wide range of approaches for improving safety, permanency and well-being outcomes for children. The reauthorizing legislation required applicants to demonstrate that they have implemented or plan to implement two specific program improvement strategies from a list of 10 possible approaches, including at least one strategy that the agency has not implemented previously.   

 
HHS prioritized projects that:

  • Focus on positive well-being outcomes for children, youth and their families, especially those who have experienced trauma related to maltreatment.
  • Focus on the social and emotional well-being of children and youth who are available for adoption, as well as those who have been adopted.
  • Are designed to yield “more than modest improvements” in the lives of children and families and contribute to the evidence about what works to improve child and family outcomes.
  • Leverage the involvement of other resources and partners to make improvements concurrently through child welfare and related program areas, such as delivery of effective mental and behavioral health services and continuity of Medicaid eligibility as children move in and out of foster care.

State Legislator Fact Sheet

NCSL Webinar
 
 

 

History and
Purpose

To view the NCSL Webinar “Guidance on New Title IV-E Child Welfare Demonstration Projects,” click here.
 
Title IV-E funds are used to pay for costs of a child in foster care.  They are not available to be used for services to prevent removal or for reunification services for a parent.  A Child Welfare Waiver Demonstration Project can enable a state to use Title IV-E funds outside of the foster care costs restriction.
 
The federal Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act ( P.L. 112-34), which was signed into law on September 30, 2011, reauthorized the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to approve new child welfare Title IV-E Waiver Demonstration Projects. The Waiver reauthorization does not provide additional funding. Instead, it allows more flexible use of federal Title IV-E funds to test new service delivery and financing approaches to improve outcomes for children and families involved in the child welfare system. HHS approved up to 10 projects per year in federal fiscal years 2012 to 2014. Approved projects must be designed to accomplish one or more of the following goals:

  • Increase permanency for all infants, children, and youth by reducing the time in foster placements when possible and promoting a successful transition to adulthood for older youth;
  • Increase positive outcomes for infants, children, youth, and families in their homes and communities, including tribal communities, and improve safety and well-being;
  • Prevent child abuse and neglect and the re-entry of infants, children and youth into foster care.

A Resource for Innovation

Waivers allow state and tribal child welfare agencies to design and demonstrate a wide range of approaches for improving safety, permanency, and well-being outcomes for children. The reauthorizing legislation requires applicants to demonstrate that they have implemented or plan to implement two specific program improvement strategies from a list of 10 possible approaches, including at least one strategy that the agency has not implemented previously.     
 
HHS will give priority to projects that:

  • Focus on positive well-being outcomes for children, youth and their families, especially those who have experienced trauma related to maltreatment;
  • Focus on the social and emotional well-being of children and youth who are available for adoption, as well as those who have been adopted;
  • Are designed to yield “more than modest improvements” in the lives of children and families and contribute to the evidence about what works to improve child and family outcomes; 
  • Leverage the involvement of other resources and partners to make improvements concurrently through child welfare and related program areas, such as delivery of effective mental and behavioral health services and continuity of Medicaid eligibility as children move in and out of foster care.

How Legislators
Can Support the Waiver Demonstration Projects

First, state legislators can determine if their state child welfare agency is participating in a 2012-2014 Child Welfare Demonstration Project, and if the project will require legislative changes to improve child and family outcomes. Legislative leadership is key to examining and promoting any promising approaches proposed for legislative consideration or state implementation. In consultation with key agency leaders, legislators have a critical role in helping to make decisions about how best to target a waiver and in creating an environment that encourages innovation. In addition, legislative support can help child welfare agencies leverage multiple funding streams and develop effective partnerships with other state agencies and service systems to improve outcomes for children and families.

Evidence-Based  Practices

Waiver demonstrations can support title IV-E agencies in their efforts to shift from a reliance on generic interventions to interventions with demonstrable improvements in outcomes.
Research-based approaches include: 

  • Trauma screening; examples: Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths Trauma Version, Childhood Trauma Questionnaire, and Pediatric Emotional Distress Scale
  • Parenting interventions; examples: Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, Triple P, Children’s Summer Treatment Program
  • Functional assessments; examples: Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, Child Behavior Checklist, the Social Skills Rating Scale, and Emotional Quotient Inventory Youth Version

There are a number of extensive, publicly available lists and databases of evidence-based and evidence-informed interventions for improving outcomes in vulnerable children. These include, among others:

For More
Information on Waiver Demonstration Projects

Legislators and staff can obtain more information about the waiver demonstration project, including states’ experiences with previous waiver demonstration programs, click here to go to the HHS Administration of Children and Families Website. For questions about the role of legislators in supporting effective waiver projects that can improve outcomes for children and families, please contact Nina Williams-Mbengue at the National Conference of State Legislatures at 303-856-1559 or nina.mbengue@ncsl.org.

About This NCSL Project

The Denver-based child welfare project staff focuses on state policy, tracking legislation and providing research and policy analysis, consultation, and technical assistance specifically geared to the legislative audience. Denver staff can be reached at (303) 364-7700 or childwelfare@ncsl.org.

NCSL staff in Washington, D.C. track and analyze federal legislation and policy and represent state legislatures on child welfare issues before Congress and the Administration. Staff in D.C. can be reached at (202) 624-5400 or cyf-info@ncsl.org.

Additional Resources