The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the Department of Health and Human Services is required to conduct eligibility reviews every three years of a random sample of cases to determine whether the foster care costs charged to the federal Title IV-E program are appropriate. Federal regulation, 45 CFR 1356.71 provides for a Program Improvement Plan (PIP) process for states found not to be in substantial compliance with the Second Primary Eligibility Review or any subsequent reviews. In addition, federal disallowances are taken for the sample cases that are found to be out-of-compliance. The state has a maximum of one year in which to implement and complete the PIP unless state legislation is required. At the end of the PIP period, ACF conducts a Secondary Eligibility Review. If a state exceeds the error threshold for the case error rate and the dollar error rate, the federal government may impose a disallowance related to the state's entire Title IV-E claims.
The Subsequent Primary Eligibility Review for New York State was held the week of August 31 to September 4, 2009. The results of this review showed that New York State was found to be in substantial compliance. During the Subsequent Primary review, 80 cases were reviewed and 2 were determined to be error cases. A disallowance in the amount of $14,404.00 in maintenance payments and $28,641.00 in associated administrative costs were assessed for these error cases. An additional 15 cases contained payments that were improperly claimed. Although these cases are not considered "error cases" for determining substantial compliance, a disallowance in the amount of $103,195.00 in maintenance payments and $92,106.00 in associated administrative costs were assessed for these ineligible payments. Since OCFS was found to be in substantial compliance, a secondary review is not required. The next primary review will be held within three years.
ACF commended OCFS for its continuous efforts to improve its Title IV-E foster care eligibility program since the previous secondary review that was conducted in August 2006. ACF noted overall improvements in the timeliness of judicial findings and an improvement in the quality of written court orders. Also noted were court orders that addressed the Indian Child Welfare Act for children who are affiliated with Native American or tribal groups. The use of standardized court orders statewide strengthens the State’s ability to achieve better permanency outcomes for children in foster care.
In an effort to support our ongoing commitment to assist local districts in their efforts with compliance with federal Title IV-E requirements, OCFS will continue its partnership with local districts and regional office staff. Training is being updated to reflect changes brought about by the recent review as well as changes from recently enacted federal legislation. All local district staff, regardless of their tenure with the county, are strongly encouraged to attend the various Title IV-E training classes to learn of the changes and updates to Title IV-E eligibility, requirements and claiming. Technical assistance remains available as needed.
•For more specific details on the federal report and its findings, click on the link to take you directly to the report
10-OCFS-LCM-02 Federal Administration for Children and Families’ Final Report on the 2009 Title IV-E Subsequent Primary Foster Care Eligibility Review
Administration for Children and Families FCER Review Instrument
Districts should note that the Review Instrument, which is included within the Title IV-E Foster Care Eligibility On-Site Review Instrument and Instructions, is in the process of being updated from its current 2006 version. This new version will be posted to the OCFS Title IV-E website as soon as it becomes available.
Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Web Site
For information on the Foster Care eligibility review process, visit the ACF web page located at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/laws_policies/policy/im/2001/im0111a1_2007.htm
Court Related Standards and Reasonable Efforts Issues
Title IV-E Foster Care Eligibility: Court Related Standards (PDF) - This document outlines federal Title IV-E eligibility standards that involve the court and addresses compliance issues relating to those standards.
Reasonable Efforts Issues (PDF)
The federal Title IV-E standards require a case specific court determination within 60 days of removal whether reasonable efforts were made to prevent removal or were not required.
The Office of Court Administration
The use of the court forms developed by the New York State Office of Court Administration will help increase the likelihood of complying with federal Title IV-E court related standards required for Title IV-E eligibility