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Glossary of Terms

Child welfare expenditures.   For the 2007 Casey Child Welfare Financing Survey, states were asked to used the following definitions to guide their report of fiscal data:

Expenditures  
-Includes:  all state fiscal year (SFY 2006) expenditures for the programs, case management, administration, and operation (including field and administrative staff expenses) of your state's child welfare services system, including all funds for services contracted out to another agency that meet the definition of child welfare below. 

-Excludes:  capital costs, appropriated but unexpended funds, and recoupment of federal reimbursement from prior years.

Child Welfare
-Includes: all of the following services that are administered by the child welfare agency: services for children and families to prevent abuse and neglect; family preservation services; child protective services (intake, family assessment, investigation, and case management); in-home services; out-of-home placements; and adoption services.

-Excludes: domestic violence, juvenile justice, and all other services that the child welfare agency may provide that are not listed above.

Child welfare expenditures from federal funds.  States can receive federal dollars for child welfare activities from a variety of sources, some dedicated to child welfare (i.e., Titles IV-B and IV-E of the Social Security Act), while others are designated for broader purposes (e.g., Medicaid, SSBG, TANF, Supplemental Security income and Social Security Benefits, and a host of other grants and awards).    States were asked in the 2007 Casey Child Welfare Financing Survey to report all federal funds expended or claimed for child welfare services in SFY 2006, including all federal funds claimed in SFY 2006 as reimbursement for state and local funds expended in SFY 2006.  The amounts exclude recoupment of federal reimbursement for prior years.   

Title IV-E.  The largest federal funding stream for child welfare activities is Title IV-E of the Social Security Act.  It comprises the Foster Care and Adoption Assistance programs, which are open-ended entitlements (the state receives a certain level of reimbursement from the federal government for every eligible claim submitted), and the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program, which is a capped entitlement (the state is entitled to get reimbursed for every single claim it submits to the federal government, up to a certain level, or cap). 

Title IV-E Foster Care Program.  The Title IV-E Foster Care Program reimburses states for expenditures in three categories: (1) maintenance payments that cover the costs of shelter, food, and clothing for eligible children; (2) foster care placement services and administrative costs related to foster care (which may include activities such as case-planning and pre-placement services, SACWIS costs, caseworker salaries, eligibility determination, and other general overhead and administrative costs incurred); and (3) expenses related to training for staff and foster parents.  The program is an open-ended entitlement (the state receives a certain level of reimbursement from the federal government for every eligible claim submitted).  

Title IV-E Foster Care Penetration Rate.  The Title IV-E Foster Care Penetration Rate represents the percentage of children in out-of-home placements for which a state received Title IV-E reimbursement from the federal government for foster care maintenance payments.  (E.g., a state with a foster care penetration rate of 52% in SFY 2006 received federal reimbursement for the foster care maintenance payments of 52% of the children in out-of-home care that year).      

Title IV-E Adoption Assistance Program.  The Title IV-E Adoption Assistance Program  reimburses states for expenditures in three categories: (1) adoption assistance payments to eligible families; (2) adoption placement services and administrative costs related to adoptions from foster care; and (3) expenses related to training for staff and adoptive parents.  The program is an open-ended entitlement (the state receives a certain level of reimbursement from the federal government for every eligible claim submitted).

Title IV-E Adoption Assistance Penetration Rate.   The Title IV-E Adoption Assistance Penetration Rate represents the percentage of children adopted from foster care and receiving subsidy payments for which the state received Title IV-E reimbursement from the federal government for the subsidy. (E.g., a state with an adoption penetration rate of 52% in SFY 2006 received federal reimbursement for the adoption subsidy payments of 52% of the children adopted from foster care who received subsidies that year).

Title IV-E Chafee/ETV.   In addition to the Foster Care and Adoption Assistance reimbursement programs, stats are also allocated funds through the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program and the Education and Training Vouchers program under Title IV-E for activities and services related to youth who are transitioning (or who have already transitioned) out of the foster care system.

-The John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP) is authorized by Title IV-E of the Social Security Act.  It offers assistance to help older youth in care and former foster youth (age 18-21) acquire training and independent living skills so they can become self-sufficient.   Funding is provided to states with approved plans and can be used for assisting youth with education, employment, financial management, housing, emotional support, and other activities.  

-The Education and Training Vouchers Program (ETV) for Youths Aging out of Foster Care was added to the CFCIP in 2002. ETV provides resources specifically to meet the education and training needs of youth aging out of foster care.  Payments are made to states for post secondary educational and training vouchers for youth likely to experience difficulty as they transition to adulthood after the age of 18. This program makes available vouchers of up to $5,000 per year per youth for post secondary education

Title IV-E Demonstration Waivers.   The Child Welfare Waiver Demonstration authority provides States with an opportunity to use Federal funds more flexibly in order to test innovative approaches to child welfare service delivery and financing.  Section 1130 of the Social Security Act, enacted in 1994, gave HHS the authority to approve demonstration projects whereby states can waive certain aspects of Title IV-E. Through this program, states can design and demonstrate a wide range of approaches to reform child welfare and improve outcomes in the areas of safety, permanency, and well-being.  As of June 2008, 13 Title IV-E demonstration waivers were active in 12 states.

Title IV-B.   Title IV-B of the Social Security Act comprises two subparts:

-Title IV-B, Subpart 1 is the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Child Welfare Services Program.  It is discretionary grant program (the program must be reauthorized by Congress through the appropriations process each year and the amount allocated can change annually) that funds a range of child welfare services and activities, including those to prevent abuse and neglect; preserve and reunite families; promote safety, permanence, and well-being of children in foster or adoptive placements; and maintain a qualified workforce.  

-Title IV-B, Subpart 2 is the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program.  It has a capped entitlement component (the state is entitled to reimbursement for every single claim it submits to the federal government, up to a certain level, or cap) and a discretionary component (subject to the annual Congressional appropriations process).  The funds can be used to support services for family preservation, family support, time-limited reunification, and adoption promotion and support.     

Medicaid.  The Medicaid program is authorized by Title XIX of the Social Security Act.  It is a state-administered health insurance program that is jointly funded by the federal and state governments.  States operate individual Medicaid programs within broad federal guidelines.  Medicaid is an open-ended entitlement program, with states receiving federal reimbursement for every eligible claim they submit.  The federal matching rate depends on the state's per capita income.   

In addition to covering direct health service expenses (e.g., payments to doctors and dentists, medical supplies, medication etc), Medicaid can also be used by states for certain services and activities related to child welfare, including targeted case management (when a state identifies a specific population to provide assistance with securing services), and rehabilitative services (which could include such things as behavioral and psychiatric treatment, therapeutic placements). States can also claim Medicaid dollars for transportation to and from providers, and administrative costs associated with these activities.

In the 2007 Casey Child Welfare Financing Survey, from which the data in the "Child Welfare Financing" topic derives, states were explicitly asked to exclude Medicaid dollars used to pay for direct health services for Medicaid-eligible children in the child welfare system.  Therefore, the Medicaid dollars in the "Child Welfare Financing" section of the database include only amounts used for child welfare services and activities, and not direct health services.

Social Services Block Grant.   The Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) is Title XX of the Social Security Act.  SSBG is a capped entitlement program that supports a wide range of social policy goals, including prevention of abuse and neglect, child protection, and family reunification.  States receive shares based on a formula specified in federal statute.  Eligibility for services/activities funded by SSBG dollars is state-specific.

Through the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of (PRWORA) of  1996 welfare reform legislation, states are authorized to transfer up to 10% of their Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant into the SSBG program.  The data reported in the "Child Welfare Financing" topic include these transferred amounts in the SSBG category, rather than the TANF category.  

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.  Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) was enacted in 1996.  It repealed the 61-year old Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and created the block grant TANF in its place.  It is the major source of funding for cash welfare for needy families with children.  TANF funds can also be used for other benefits and services that provide economic help to low-income families with children and support the goals of reducing out-of-wedlock pregnancies and promoting two-parent families.  Under TANF, states received fixed block grants to operate programs of their own design, within the parameters set out in the federal statute.  There is no state match required, but states must meet a Maintenance of Effort requirement to receive TANF funds. Eligibility for services/activities funded by TANF dollars includes needy families with children, as determined by the state.  

Through the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of (PRWORA) of  1996 welfare reform legislation, states are authorized to transfer up to 10% of their TANF block grant into the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) program.  The data reported in the "Child Welfare Financing" topic include these transferred amounts in the SSBG category, rather than the TANF category. 

Other federal sources of child welfare expenditures. In addition to the major federal funding streams used for child welfare services and activities (Titles IV-B and IV-E, TANF, SSBG, and Medicaid) states can also access funds for child welfare through the Supplemental Security Income program (payments for food, clothing, shelter, and some disability-related costs for low-income children), Social Security Disability Benefits (for children of workers who have retired, become disabled, or died), and a variety of other grants and awards through programs such as Adoption Opportunities, Children's Justice Act, Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, etc. 

Child welfare expenditures from state funds.  The costs of child welfare services and activities are shared by the federal, state, and (often) local government.  States use their own dollars are match federal funds for some programs that require a matching contribution (e.g., Title IV-E and IV-B, Medicaid) or to meet a Maintenance of Effort requirement (e.g., TANF).  In addition, states use their own funds to cover the cost of child welfare services for which federal dollars are not available or cannot be used (e.g., foster care maintenance payments for children who are not eligible for Title IV-E reimbursement; tutoring).

Child welfare expenditures from local funds.  Nearly half  of states require local governments to contribute to the costs of child welfare services and activities. Some counties/local governments may be required to match Title IV-E funds, or are allowed to draw down additional Title IV-E funds with local dollars.  

Kinship care.  Kinship care refers to all living arrangements in which children are cared for by relatives and neither of the children's parents live in the home.  Often, this definition also includes those who are not related by blood, marriage, or adoption but have an established relationship ("kinship") with the child.  

Kinship foster care.  Kinship foster care refers to those arrangements that occur when child welfare agencies take custody of a child after an investigation of abuse and/or neglect, and places the child with a kinship caregiver who is an approved placement based on the assessment standards developed by the agency.

"Broad" definition of kin.  This definition includes persons who are not related to the child but have an established relationship with the child, including godparents, close friends, neighbors, and others.

"Narrow" definition of kin.  A stricter definition of kinship care to only include blood relatives or those related by marriage or adoption.

Private kin arrangements.    Most kinship care arrangements are private, meaning that the child began living with the relative because of a private agreement between the relative and the birth parent, and the child welfare agency had no involvement in this decision.  In some instances, kin who have had no prior involvement with the child welfare agency may approach the agency because they need assistance in caring for a child that they began caring for through a private kinship arrangement.  These types of scenarios (in which a kinship caregiver in a private arrangement comes to the attention of the child welfare agency) were presented to states in the 2007 Casey Kinship Foster Care Policy Survey. States were asked to report the level and types of involvement that the child welfare agency would have with kin in these instances. 

Diversion from foster care/Diversion of custodyIn some instances when a family becomes involved with the child welfare agency, instead of taking custody of a child at risk of continued abuse or neglect, the agency suggest that the child be moved from the home to live with kin.  In these situations, the agency is able to  "divert" a child who otherwise might enter foster care from doing so.  The child does not come into state/county custody in this circumstance.    

Provisional licensure/Pre-approval.  In response to a need for immediate placement to prevent further disruption after children have been removed from their parental homes and have entered state custody, many states have developed a pre-approval placement process for kin to allow children to be placed into their homes almost immediately after they are removed.  This process may also be referred to as "provisional licensing" or "provisional approval."  The agency may do a limited amount of assessment and safety checks of the relative and his/her home, and then may make the continuation of placement contingent on the completion of the required licensure or approval process.  

Diligent search.  A diligent search is conducted by staff to locate a parent, relative or other adult who could provide permanency for a child in foster care.  The types of diligent search resources states were asked about in the 2007 Casey Kinship Foster Care Policy Survey are:

-Engagement with the Child and/or the Child's Network: includes states that interview the child and/or persons in the child's network (birth parents, kin, teachers, therapists, etc.) to help in the search for kin.

-Use of Professional Search Services: includes states that contract out for services by professional search firms in order to conduct searches for kin.

-Diligent Search Units or Workers: category includes states that have designated Diligent Search units or Diligent Search workers in the public agency who conduct searches for kin.

-Web Searches: includes states that use simple Internet search engines or also subscribe to more sophisticated search engines (i.e. U.S. Search) to conduct searches for kin.

-Local/State/Federal Databases: includes states that use their State Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS), child support databases, or other state managed databases.

-Other: includes states that use other types of resources such as Family Finding, telephone book searches, or use American Indian tribal partners, etc. to conduct searches for kin.

Non-custodial parent.  A non-custodial parent is a person who does not have primary care, custody, or control of the child.   

Licensure options for kin.  Licensing options for kin caring for children in state custody directly impact the type of financial assistance and support services that are available to them.  If kin are not licensed, they are not eligible to receive federally-funded foster care payments, and the state can decide whether or not to provide financial assistance from another source of funds.  The approval/licensure options in which states can be categorized for kin caring for children in state custody are:

(1) Full licensure:  Kinship care providers are assessed based on the same standards as non-kin foster parents and are required to meet all of the same standards.  No standards are modified or waived for kin that cannot be modified or waived for non-kin parents.

(2) Waived or modified standard: Kinship care providers are assessed based on the same standards as non-kin, but the child welfare agency may waive or modify one or more standards, on an individualized basis, for kin that would not be done for non-kin parents.

(3) Separate approval process:  Kinship care providers are assessed based on different standards than those for non-kin.  The assessment standards for such kin, while different, may be more, less, or equally stringent as those used to assess non-kin foster parents.

Legal Guardianship.  Legal guardianship is established by court order and grants custody to someone who is not the child's parent.  States may offer guardianship as a permanency option for children who cannot be reunified with their parents when identified permanent caregivers are not interested in pursuing adoption.  Legal guardians often have many of the same rights and responsibilities as parents, such as deciding where the child lives and goes to school.  They also can make decisions about the child's health care.  Guardianship doesn't require that parental rights are terminated, so children in a guardianship are still related to their parents. The court might allow the parents or relatives visit with the children in a guardianship. 

Supervised independent living.   Supervised independent living is a placement arrangement for youth in foster care that may include:  scattered-site or semi-supervised apartments, clustered or supervised apartments, shared homes, adult roommate apartments, specialized foster homes, host homes, boarding homes, or subsidized housing. 

-Scattered-Site or Semi-Supervised Apartments:  Foster youth live along or with a roommate in an apartment usually rented from a private landlord.

-Clustered or Supervised Apartments:  Foster youth live alone or with a roommate in an apartment located in a building with live-in or overnight staff supervision that is often agency-owned.

-Shared Homes:  Several foster youth live together in and take responsibility for a house that is agency-owned or rented with minimal supervision or live-in adults.

-Adult Roommate Apartments:  Foster youth share an apartment with an adult roommate who serves as a mentor.

-Specialized Foster Homes:  Foster youth live with foster parents who are specially trained to teach independent living skills.

-Host Homes:  Foster youth rent a room and share facilities in a home that is not licensed for foster care.

-Boarding homes:  Foster youth live in a room and share kitchen facilities with minimal supervision.

-Subsidized Housing:  Foster youth choose their own living arrangement and receive a stipend to pay for living expenses

Re-entry.  Re-entry refers to youth who left foster care due to emancipation or discharge to independent living coming back into foster care.  

Emancipation. Emancipation from foster care occurs when young people have "aged out" of out-of-home care and left the foster care system.