• February 2014
  • Vol. 15, No. 2

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Tribal Title IV-E Programs

The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoption Act of 2008 authorized federally recognized Tribes, Tribal consortia, and Tribal organizations to apply to the Administration for Children and  Families (ACF) to receive title IV-E funds directly for foster care, adoption assistance, and, at Tribal option, for guardianship assistance programs. 

The Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe of Kingston, WA, was the first Tribe to have an approved title IV-E plan in 2012, followed by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of Pablo, MT, in March 2013. In December 2013, the Children's Bureau approved the title IV-E plan for the South Puget Tribal Planning Agency of Shelton, WA, the first Tribal consortium to be approved to operate the title IV-E program directly. Additional Tribes are working to develop or finalize title IV-E plans, and the Children's Bureau looks forward to approving plans later in 2014.

The law authorizing Tribes' direct participation in the title IV-E program also authorized grants of up to $300,000 for a 2-year budget period for Tribes interested in developing a title IV-E plan. These funds are awarded annually through a competitive grant application process. Tribes may use these funds to develop policies and procedures, cost allocation methodologies, begin to plan for data collection, or take other steps necessary to develop and submit an approvable title IV-E plan. Tribes interested in applying for a grant in fiscal year (FY) 2014 may wish to view the funding forecast that has been published here:


ACF anticipates awarding grants to five Tribes in FY 2014 and will continue to make these grants available in future years.

Each Tribe has the discretion to determine whether or when it wants to develop its own title IV-E program. States remain responsible for serving resident American Indian children who are not otherwise being served by an American Indian Tribe under an agreement with the State or under a direct title IV-E plan. The law explicitly permits Indian Tribes to continue existing title IV-E agreements with States and/or enter into new agreements with States to administer all or part of the title IV-E program on behalf of Indian children and to access title IV-E administration, training, and data collection resources. States are required to negotiate in good faith with Indian Tribes, Tribal consortia, and Tribal organizations seeking title IV-E Tribal/State agreements.

The Children's Bureau encourages Tribes interested in the title IV-E program to contact their Regional Office to learn more and to discuss options for the Tribe's participation.

Related Item

Children's Bureau Express featured the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe in the article "Tribe to Operate Child Welfare Services" (June 2012).

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