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Our firm defended a tribal absentee ballot law (denying absentee ballots to non-resident members) against constitutional attack in Jacobson v. Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, No. CV-05-101 (Supreme Court of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Nov. 29, 2006).

General Memorandum 12-052

General Memorandum 12-052
Tribal Title IV-E Foster Care/Adoption Assistance Plan Development Grants

The Children's Bureau of the Department of Health and Human Services is soliciting applications from tribes, tribal organizations and tribal consortia for grants to assist in the development of plans that would enable them to directly administer the Title IV-E Foster Care and Adoption Assistance, and at tribal option, Guardianship Assistance program. There is $1.5 million available for these planning grants in FY 2012; the deadline for receipt of applications is July 10, 2012.

The authority for tribes to administer the Title IV-E program was enacted in 2008 as part of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act (Act), PL 110-351. Under the Title IV-E program, states provide adoption and foster care services for income-eligible children and, at state option, for kinship guardianship assistance payments. This is an open-ended entitlement program; the federal share is approximately $7 billion annually. The authority for tribes to administer the Title IV-E program began October 1, 2009.

Section 302 of the Act appropriates $3 million annually for three purposes:
1) information services concerning the types of services, administrative functions, data collection, program management and reporting requirements necessary for tribal administration of the Title IV-E program; 2) technical assistance for tribes seeking to operate a tribal Title IV-E program directly or seeking to develop a cooperative agreement with a state concerning administration of the program; and 3) grants for tribes to help defray the costs of developing a plan to directly administer the Title IV-E program. Item number 3 is the subject of the grant announcement described in this Memorandum.

The Act does not direct how the $3 million made available annually is to be divided among the three activities listed above. The Children's Bureau has decided to provide $1.5 million for tribal Title IV-E development grants.
The Act limits the amount of funding for each tribal development grant to $300,000 and allows only one grant per tribe. A grant recipient is to have its plan for administration of the Title IV-E program ready to submit to the Children's Bureau within 24 months. The Act requires a tribe to return the development grant money if such a plan is not completed within 24 months, although the Secretary is authorized to waive this requirement if she determines that failure to complete the development of the plan was beyond the control of the tribe.

Grants may be used for any costs attributable to meeting the requirements for approval of a tribally-operated Title IV-E plan including development of a data collection system and a cost allocation plan, and establishment of tribal, agency and court procedures necessary to meet the case review requirements in the law.

It is not a requirement that a tribe have been a recipient of a planning grant in order to administer the Title IV-E Foster Care and Adoption Assistance program. Thus far only the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe, who did not receive a planning grant, has assumed direct operation of the Title IV-E program.

The full grant announcement (CFDA # 93.658) may be downloaded at:
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/open/foa/view/HHS-2012-ACF-ACYF-CS-0280

Please let us know if we may provide additional information or assistance regarding the Tribal Title IV-E Plan Development Grant program.

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Inquiries may be directed to:
Karen Funk (kfunk@hobbsstraus.com)

Available Documents for Download ( any referenced attachments are included in download )


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