April 9, 2001

Department of Health and Family Services
Division of Children and Family Services

To: Area Administrators/Assistant Area Administrators
Bureau Directors
County Departments of Community Programs Directors
County Departments of Developmental Disabilities
     Services Directors
County Departments of Human Services Directors
County Departments of Social Services Directors
Section Chiefs
Tribal Chairpersons/Human Services Facilitators
From: Susan N. Dreyfus
Re: Use of Title IV-E Incentive Funds

This memo provides clarification regarding the use of Title IV-E Incentive funds in calendar year (CY) 2001 for out-of-home care placement costs and implementation of the WiSACWIS system. The memo addresses questions that have come up during the course of the Department’s review of CY 2001 plans.

Use of IV-E Incentive Funds for Placement Costs

Per s. 46.45(2)(a), Wis. Stats., at least 50% of the IV-E Incentive funds allocated to counties must be spent for services to children who are at risk of abuse or neglect to prevent the need for child abuse and neglect intervention services. The "prevention" portion of the IV-E Incentive funds must be used for activities to prevent out-of-home care placements. The prevention portion of the IV-E Incentive funds cannot be used for placement costs under any circumstances.

The remaining "other services" portion of IV-E funds must be used for services and projects to assist children and families. The Department has given counties considerable flexibility with the other services portion of the IV-E Incentive funds. The legislative intent is that the IV-E Incentive funds be used to expand services to children and families and not be used to offset existing county costs. For that reason, there is a county maintenance of effort requirement under s. 46.45(2)(b), Wis. Stats. DCFS has specified that counties must maintain their non-supplanting, maintenance of effort amount, as required by DCFS Memo 98-02, issued March 25, 1998. If the other services portion of the IV-E Incentive funds are used for placement costs, counties must have experienced increased placement costs since the base year for maintenance of effort and must continue to meet the overall maintenance of effort requirement for the
IV-E Incentive funds. IV-E Incentive funds can be used for placement-related activities, such as foster parent recruitment and training, case worker staff and visitation by children with their families.

Carryover of IV-E Incentive Funds

IV-E incentive funds not spent by the county in one calendar year carry forward and can be used in the next calendar year. While this carry forward provision exists to give counties flexibility in using the IV-E Incentive funds, the Department expects that counties will use their entire IV-E Incentive funds allocation in the year provided and that carryover of funds will be kept to a minimum. Counties must provide an explanation of unspent funds in their annual report for the IV-E Incentive program.

The Department has specified one exception to the limitation on carryover. Starting in CY 2001, counties may carry forward IV-E Incentive funds for the purpose of expected county costs for implementation of the WiSACWIS child welfare information system. Other than for WiSACWIS, counties should not carry IV-E Incentive funds forward. Counties should not maintain carryover balances as contingency funds for placement costs or other purposes.

Use of IV-E Incentive Funds for WiSACWIS

The Governor’s 2001-2003 budget bill proposes that the costs of implementing the WiSACWIS system statewide be shared by the Department and counties. To give counties flexibility in funding their share of WiSACWIS implementation costs, a statutory change is included in the budget bill to effectively waive the 50% prevention requirement for counties during years that WiSACWIS implementation costs will be paid. During those years, counties will be allowed to use up to 100% of their IV-E Incentive funds for WiSACWIS implementation costs.

The purpose of the statutory change is to give counties additional flexibility in the use of IV-E Incentive funds. The Department does not expect counties to reduce funding for existing IV-E Incentive program projects to make funds available for WiSACWIS. The change will merely give counties the option to redirect their IV-E Incentive funds without violating the statutory prevention and maintenance of effort requirements. Whether counties choose to exercise this option will be a local decision.

The 50% prevention requirement remains in effect for CY 2001, so any carryover of CY 2001 funds for WiSACWIS is limited to the other services portion of the IV-E Incentive funds. The CY 2001 carryover is explained in DCFS Memo 2000-14 issued October 13, 2000. Any county choosing to implement WiSACWIS in CY 2001 may use the other services portion of their CY 2001 funds for the local share of implementation costs. As the 2001-2003 budget bill and the WiSACWIS roll-out schedule are finalized, counties may submit modified IV-E Incentive plans for CY 2001.

Phone (608) 267-3832
Email tuohyjo@dhfs.state.wi.us

The Department of Children and Families, protecting children, strengthening families, building communities.