• January 2014
  • Vol. 15, No. 1

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Delinking IV-E Eligibility and Income Standards

Current title IV-E eligibility is tied to whether the family from which a child is removed would have met the income standard of the 1996 Aid to Families With Dependent Children (AFDC) program, which has since been replaced by the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. When child welfare professionals and policymakers discuss child welfare finance reform, eliminating the AFDC income requirements from title IV-E foster care eligibility—known as delinking—is a common suggestion. To explore this further, the American Public Human Services Association recently released The Cost Modeling Project: An Analytical Tool for Child Welfare Agencies to Assess the Impact of Delinking.

Since AFDC is based on 1996 income standards that are not adjusted for inflation, many children who are in foster care are not able to receive Federal financial support because of their families' income levels. This places an increased financial burden on States and links assistance to family income rather than child needs. The report provides background about title IV-E financing and describes how several scenarios for delinking title IV-E from AFDC would affect five jurisdictions that have different characteristics (e.g., average annual expenses, the State's Federal Medical Assistance Percentage). It also includes an assessment tool that States and localities can use to assess how delinking may affect them.

The Cost Modeling Project: An Analytical Tool for Child Welfare Agencies to Assess the Impact of Delinking, is available here:

http://www.aphsa.org/content/dam/NAPCWA/PDF%20DOC/Home%20Page/ImpactofDelinking.pdf (285 KB)

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