This memo informs agencies of the Education and Training Vouchers (ETV) Program and explains distribution of funding for both the ETV and the Independent Living Programs.
Education and Training Vouchers Program
The State of Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services, Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has been approved to receive Education and Training Vouchers funding for post secondary education and training for youth exiting foster care. The ETV program specifically targets the education goals of the Chafee Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 (Chafee Act). Wisconsin will receive $773,579 to help youth access and achieve post-secondary education and training. These funds will be distributed in the following manner:
The DCFS Scholarship Program funding will increase from $100,000 to $125,000 in 2004. Scholarships will be available for tuition, fees and books for youth that have been approved to attend an accredited post secondary education or training institution. The scholarships will be increased to provide up to $5000 per youth per calendar year. The period for which the funds are available has been expanded so youth may now apply and receive this scholarship more than one time over the course of their education or training.
The remaining funding will be distributed to local agencies to provide direct assistance to youth for services, activities, equipment, supplies, etc. necessary for successful participation and completion of post secondary programs. The formula for distributing this funding is based on 2002 independent living (IL) data reported by each program. As reported by each program in the annual work plan, the average number of eligible youth and youth receiving services determines the percentage of ETV funding received by each agency.
This first allocation of ETV funding must be utilized by September 30, 2004. Due to the late release of these funds and the Program Instruction by the Federal government, the actual spending period is now limited to January 1 - September 30, 2004. ETV funds must be tracked separately from other IL funding in the monthly CARS reports. For additional information on eligibility and the use of the ETV funds, please see the attached ETV Program Guidelines that were developed based on ETV program requirements and input from Wisconsin's Independent Living Coordinators and the Higher Education Opportunities for Youth Advisory Group.
2004 Independent Living Allocations
The receipt of this additional ETV funding follows notification that our base Chafee Foster Care Independent Living Program (CFCIP) funding has been decreased for 2004. Chafee funding is based on the number of children in each state's foster care system the previous year, and as these numbers decrease or increase, the Chafee funds are adjusted accordingly. Wisconsin's allocation decreased from $2.54 million in 2003 to $1.95 million in 2004. This has necessitated revision of the CFCIP budget and annual allocations to counties and tribes.
At this time, all independent living contract amounts will be decreased by approximately 21%. In 2004, on a one-time only basis, we will be able to supplement the decreased Chafee funds using a balance of independent living funding carried forward from the past two years. Another change in the new contract amounts is an adjustment based on 2001 and 2002 data provided to the Division in the 2002 and 2003 independent living work plans. This adjustment was necessary to ensure that agencies receive an amount of funding that is more commensurate with the number of youth eligible for and receiving IL services in that county or tribe.
In summary, in 2004 most county and tribal agencies will not see a significant reduction in their independent living contract amounts as a result of the decreased Federal allocation. In 2004 and ongoing, contract allocation amounts will be determined using the independent living data provided to the DCFS by each county and tribe. Because the number of children in foster care is decreasing and Chafee funds are allocated based on foster care rates, we anticipate that there will be decreases in independent living allocations in 2005. Please plan accordingly, developing your program capacity to a level that can be maintained at current and potentially reduced funding for 2005. Most agencies will receive an additional amount of funds through the Education and Training Voucher Program.
ETV and Independent Living Match
The Federal government will pay 80% of the total amount of funds expended by the State. The State must provide matching contributions to cover the additional 20% of the costs, and counties and tribes will be required to contribute match at the same level. Matching contributions may be in cash (e.g., Community Aids, local tax dollars, IV-E incentive funds or other local or state funds not currently used for match for other federal funds) or in-kind contributions of services, equipment or property and may originate with a third party.
The required match amount for each agency will be stated in the ETV and IL contracts and is provided in the attached 2004 Independent Living and Education and Training Vouchers Allocations for Counties, Tribes and the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare. This attachment contains the agencies' funding levels, match amounts and profile numbers. Matching contributions must be reported on the CARS (DMT Form 600) reporting form using a separate profile number from the program funds.