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December/January 2013Vol. 13, No. 11Title IV-E Waiver Demonstration Projects

By Bethany Miller, Children's Bureau Child Welfare Specialist

The Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act, P.L. 112-34, signed into law on September 30, 2011, provided the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with authority to approve up to 10 title IV-E child welfare waiver demonstration projects in fiscal year (FY) 2012–2014. These demonstration projects involve the waiver of certain requirements of titles IV-E and IV-B of the Social Security Act. 

While waiver demonstration projects do not provide additional funding to carry out new services, they allow more flexible use of Federal funds in order to test new approaches to service delivery and financing structures. It is anticipated that this flexibility will result in improved outcomes for children and families involved in the child welfare system, while remaining cost neutral to the Federal Government.

HHS is giving priority consideration to demonstration projects that test or implement approaches that will positively impact well-being outcomes for children, youth, and their families, with particular attention to addressing the trauma experienced by children in the child welfare system. Additional emphasis is placed on leveraging resources and partners to make improvements concurrently through child welfare and related program areas.

On September 28, 2012, HHS approved nine demonstration projects for Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin. These States are currently working to further refine the target populations they will serve, the interventions they will implement, and the evaluation designs they will use to measure the impact of the demonstration.

The projects vary in their scope, target populations, and interventions. Some States are implementing specific evidence-based interventions (EBIs) with a discrete target population (e.g., Parent-Child Interaction Therapy with infants and toddlers and their families). Other States have identified participating counties that will choose from an array of EBIs to be implemented within those jurisdictions, with the opportunity for further expansion later in the demonstration. Still, others are taking a multifaceted approach where EBIs will be implemented statewide and with all children from birth to adulthood. Examples of proposed interventions include a Differential Response system to divert children from entering out-of-home care whenever possible; a partnership between State child welfare and mental health agencies to support interventions for children in or at-risk of entering congregate care; early childhood interventions; and post-reunification services and supports. 

The Information Memorandum on child welfare waiver demonstration projects, ACYF-CB-IM-12-05, outlines the requirements for projects and proposal submission procedures and can be found here: (489 KB) 

HHS set January 15, 2013, as the deadline for title IV-E agencies to submit proposals for consideration in FY 2013. Proposals must be submitted to

Technical assistance on programmatic, fiscal, and evaluation matters is available to current and prospective child welfare waiver demonstration projects.  Additional information about title IV-E child welfare waiver demonstration projects, including technical assistance resources and evaluation reports, is accessible through the Children’s Bureau website. Questions can be directed to