Title IV-E Agreements
The Role of the States in Helping to Implement the Tribal Provisions in the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008
P.L. 110-351 authorizes Indian tribes to submit a plan for approval to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to directly operate the Title IV-E Foster Care and Adoption Assistance Program. It also recognizes the right of tribes to continue or seek new agreements with states to operate the program. In either case, states have an important role to play in optimizing the ability of tribes to successfully operate this program.
There are approximately 92 tribes in 14 states that have entered into agreements with a state to operate all or part of the Title IV-E program. Some agreements are very narrow – maintenance payments only – and others are quite broad and provide for full operation of the Title IV-E program by the tribe with the state paying for the match. Fostering Connections provides that any tribal-state agreement in effect on the date of enactment of the law remains in effect subject to the right of either party to revoke or modify the agreement and future tribal-state agreements are authorized.
There is a new requirement in the law that states are required to negotiate IV-E agreements with tribes in good faith, if requested. This may involve a new agreement or could be the renegotiation of an existing agreement. Although there are no guidelines issued as of yet, it is presumed that this requirement means that a state must engage in negotiations with the tribe over all aspects of the programs if the tribe so requests. One provision in the law whose intent is to help facilitate successful agreements is a provision that the state may utilize the tribe’s FMAP for payments made pursuant to a Title IV-E tribal-state agreement. This will often result in a higher level of federal reimbursement under a tribal-state agreement for foster care maintenance, adoption and guardianship payments than would have previously been the case.