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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) concerning Tribal Child Welfare Funding

Where does a Tribe obtain their child welfare funding?

  • Federal Government: The federal government is responsible for assisting tribes in meeting the service needs of citizens, through what is called “federal trust responsibility.” Funding for tribal child welfare programs comes from a variety of federal, state, and local sources, including the BIA through the Indian Child Welfare Act and Services to Children and Elderly Families, grants to tribal courts, and HHS-administered funding through Title IV-B (Subpart 1, Child Welfare Services and Subpart 2, Promoting Safe and Stable Families) and Title IV-E Foster Care.

Taken from the NRC4Tribes Needs Assessment Findings Report:


  • Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA): Under the mission area of Serving Communities, the Human Services Program supports the Department’s Strategic Goal to Advance Quality Communities for Tribes and Alaska Natives by improving welfare systems for Indian Tribes and Alaska Natives. Human Services consists of direct funding and activities related to social services, welfare assistance, Indian child welfare, and program oversight.

Taken from the BIA’s Division of Human Services webpage at:


Where does a State obtain their child welfare funding?

Although the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the principal federal agency that funds child welfare services, eight other federal agencies also fund programs related to child welfare. Funding is provided to states, community-based organizations, academic institutions, and other grantees. In some cases, states (or local grantees) must match federal funding with their own spending. Some funds may be used for purposes other than child welfare, and may be distributed to multiple agencies within a state. Finally, each funding source has its own expenditure and other data reporting requirements. Given this “patchwork” of funding sources upon which states rely, it is difficult to accurately determine how much states spend for child welfare services.

Taken from:[1].pdf


What is Title IV-B, Subpart 1?

The Stephanie Tubbs Jones Child Welfare Services Program provides grants to States and Indian tribes for programs directed toward the goal of keeping families together. They include preventive intervention so that, if possible, children will not have to be removed from their homes. If this is not possible, children are placed in foster care and reunification services are available to encourage the return of children who have been removed from their families. Services are available to children and their families without regard to income.

Taken from the Federal Children’s Bureau website at:


What is Title IV-B, Subpart 2?

The primary goals of Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) are to prevent the unnecessary separation of children from their families, improve the quality of care and services to children and their families, and ensure permanency for children by reuniting them with their parents, by adoption or by another permanent living arrangement. States are to spend most of the funding for services that address: family support, family preservation, time-limited family reunification and adoption promotion and support.

The funds are distributed to States, territories and Indian Tribes large enough to garner a minimum of $10,000. The formula for distribution relies on food stamp usage in the States with a small percentage set aside for Tribes. Allocations to States range from almost $35 million (California) to just over $375,000 (Wyoming). Almost 120 Tribes were eligible for funds in FY 2008.

Taken from the Federal Children’s Bureau website at:

What is Title IV-E?

Title IV-E of the Social Security Act provides funds for states and tribes to provide foster care, transitional independent living programs for children, guardianship assistance, and adoption assistance for children with special needs. Funds are available under title IV-E for the following:

  • Title IV-E Foster Care - Assistance with costs of foster care for eligible children and associated administrative and training costs
  • Title IV-E Adoption Assistance - Financial and medical assistance for the adoption of children with special needs and associated administrative and training costs
  • Title IV-E Guardianship Assistance - Financial and medical assistance for guardianship of eligible children and associated administrative and training costs
  • John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program – Funds to help older youth in foster care and former foster care youth acquire training and independent living skills so they can become self-sufficient

Taken from the Federal Children’s Bureau website at:


What is the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act?

On October 7, 2008, President Bush signed into law the Fostering Connection to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act (H.R. 6893/P.L. 110-351). This act will help hundreds of thousands of children and youth in foster care by promoting permanent families for them through relative guardianship and adoption and improving education and health care. Additionally, the bill will extend federal support for youth to age 21 and increase their opportunities for success when they finally leave care. The Fostering Connections Act also will offer many American Indian children important federal protections and support for the first time.

Taken from

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