[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 65 (Tuesday, April 5, 2011)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 18677-18679]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-8044]


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DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Administration for Children and Families

45 CFR Parts 1355, 1356 and 1357


Federal Monitoring of Child and Family Service Programs; Request 
for Public Comment and Consultation Meetings

AGENCY: Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration 
for Children and Families (ACF), Administration on Children, Youth and 
Families (ACYF), Children's Bureau (CB)

ACTION: Request for public comment and consultation meetings.

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SUMMARY: The Children's Bureau is interested in improving the process 
by which we review title IV-B and IV-E plan requirements. CB currently 
reviews a State's compliance through Child and Family Service Reviews 
(CFSRs). Following two rounds of CFSRs in every State and the passage 
of several amendments to Federal child welfare laws since the CFSRs 
began, we believe it is time to reassess how CB reviews title IV-B and 
IV-E programs through the CFSR and identify enhancements and system 
improvements we could make.

DATES: Written comments must be submitted to the office listed in the 
ADDRESSES section below on or before May 20, 2011. Please see 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for additional details on consultation 
meetings.

[[Page 18678]]


ADDRESSES: Interested persons may submit written comments by any of the 
following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     E-mail: CBComments@acf.hhs.gov. Please include ``Comments 
on CFSR Federal Register Notice'' in the subject line of the message.
     Mail or Courier Delivery: Jan Rothstein, Division of 
Policy, Children's Bureau, Administration on Children, Youth and 
Families, Administration for Children and Families, 1250 Maryland 
Avenue, SW., 8th Floor, Washington, DC 20024
    Instructions: If you choose to use an express, overnight, or other 
special delivery method, ensure that delivery may be made at the 
address listed under the ADDRESSES section. We urge interested parties 
to submit comments electronically to ensure that they are received in a 
timely manner. All comments received will be posted without change to 
http://www.regulations.gov. This will include any personal information 
provided. Comments provided during a meeting, or in writing, in 
response to this Federal Register notice will receive equal 
consideration by ACF.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jan Rothstein, Children's Bureau, 1250 
Maryland Ave., SW., 8th Floor, Washington, DC 20024, (202) 401-5073.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
    Child and Family Service Review Background: Section 1123A of the 
Social Security Act (the Act) requires the Secretary of the Department 
of Health and Human Services to issue regulations for the review of 
programs under titles IV-B and IV-E to determine whether such programs 
are in substantial conformity with title IV-B and IV-E plan 
requirements, implementing regulations and relevant title IV-B and IV-E 
plans. ACF issued regulations implementing such reviews, known as the 
CFSRs, in the Federal Register on January 25, 2000 (65 FR 4020). The 
review process, as regulated, grew out of extensive consultation with 
interested groups, individuals and experts in the field of child 
welfare and related areas. The consultation affirmed that the broad 
goals of child welfare systems are to: Assure safety for all children; 
to assure permanent, nurturing homes for all children; and to enhance 
the well-being of children and their families. The reviews reinforce 
those goals.
    The existing CFSRs enable CB to: (1) Ensure conformity with Federal 
child welfare requirements; (2) determine what is actually happening to 
children and families as they are engaged in child welfare services; 
and (3) assist States to enhance their capacity to help children and 
families achieve positive outcomes. CB conducts the reviews in 
partnership with State child welfare agency staff and other 
stakeholders involved in the provision of child welfare services. We 
have structured the reviews to help States identify strengths as well 
as areas needing improvement within their agencies and programs.
    Each CFSR is a two-stage process consisting of a Statewide 
Assessment and an onsite review of child and family service outcomes 
and program systems. For the Statewide Assessment, CB prepares and 
transmits data profiles that contain aggregate data on the State's 
foster care and in-home service populations. The data profiles allow 
each State to compare certain safety and permanency data indicators 
with national standards determined by CB. The on-site review includes 
case record reviews, interviews with children and families engaged in 
services and interviews with other stakeholders. States determined not 
to have achieved substantial conformity in all the areas assessed are 
required to develop and implement Program Improvement Plans (PIPs) 
within two years addressing the areas of nonconformity. CB supports the 
States with technical assistance and monitors implementation of their 
plans. States that are unable to complete their PIPs successfully have 
some of their Federal child welfare funds withheld until they are found 
to be in substantial conformity or have successfully completed a PIP as 
prescribed in the Federal regulations.
    We believe that the CFSR has been a factor contributing to 
increased State and local attention to child welfare practice 
improvement and a renewed focus on child and family outcomes and the 
systems supporting positive outcomes. Stakeholders have also noted that 
there are areas where the CFSRs could contribute to even more positive 
changes. To that end, we are interested in learning from stakeholders 
in response to the questions below how they would envision a Federal 
review process that meets the statutory requirements in section 1123A 
of the Act and holds child welfare agencies accountable for achieving 
positive outcomes for children and families and continuously improving 
the quality of their systems for doing so.
    In addition to the foregoing, we would like to clarify that, 
although several of the questions below address Tribal involvement in 
Federal reviews of title IV-B and IV-E plan requirements, until 
regulations are in effect otherwise, Indian Tribes operating title IV-E 
programs of their own are not subject to CFSRs. However, Indian Tribes 
have participated in CFSRs in the past and Indian children are part of 
the CFSRs. Therefore, we are interested at this time in gaining their 
insight into how the process could be improved.

Questions

    Please identify the question to which you are responding. If you 
have additional comments, please identify them by citing to the 
appropriate section of the regulations or review process, if 
appropriate:
    1. How could ACF best promote and measure continuous quality 
improvement in child welfare outcomes and the effective functioning of 
systems that promote positive outcomes for children and families?
    2. To what extent should data or measures from national child 
welfare databases (e.g., the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and 
Reporting System, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System) be 
used in a Federal monitoring process and what measures are important 
for State/Tribal/local accountability?
    3. What role should the child welfare case management information 
system or systems that States/Tribes/local agencies use for case 
management or quality assurance purposes play in a Federal monitoring 
process?
    4. What roles should State/Tribal/local child welfare agencies play 
in establishing targets for improvement and monitoring performance 
towards those targets? What role should other stakeholders, such as 
courts, clients and other child-serving agencies play?
    5. In what ways should targets and performance goals be informed by 
and integrated with other Federal child welfare oversight efforts?
    6. What specific strategies, supports, incentives, or penalties are 
needed to ensure continued quality improvement and achievement of 
positive outcomes for children and families that are in substantial 
conformity with Federal child welfare laws?
    7. In light of the ability of Tribes to directly operate title IV-E 
programs through recent changes in the statute, in what ways, if any, 
should a Federal review process focus on services delivered to Indian 
children?
    8. Are there examples of other review protocols, either in child 
welfare or related fields, in which Tribal/State/local governments 
participate that might inform CB's approach to reviewing child welfare 
systems?

[[Page 18679]]

    We welcome any other comments you have about Federal review of 
child welfare programs, including the current CFSR process.
    Additional Consultation Opportunities: In addition to this 
opportunity to comment, CB plans to hold four in-person consultations 
in ACF Regions III, VI, VIII and IX and two meetings in our offices in 
Washington, DC.
    CB invites State representatives, Tribal leaders and/or their 
representatives, judges, families and youth served by the child welfare 
system and other interested stakeholders to attend these in-person 
meetings or call in via the conference call number to provide their 
input on the questions raised above. Registration for the meetings and 
calls must be completed in advance per the details below. You may also 
provide written comments as noted in the ADDRESSES section, regardless 
of participation in an in-person session or conference call. Finally, 
please note that Federal representatives attending the consultation 
sessions will not be able to respond directly during the session to the 
concerns or questions raised by participants. The consultation sessions 
and contact information are listed below:

CB meeting/conference call-1: April 26, 2011, 12-2 EDT.
CB meeting/conference call-2: May 3, 2011, 1-3 EDT.
Register for the meeting/call of your choice by sending an e-mail to: 
cw@jbsinternational.com to register.

Region III--April 20, 2011, 10:00-12:00 EDT

150 S. Independence Mall West, Suite 864, Philadelphia, PA 19106-3499, 
Please send an e-mail to: cw@jbsinternational.com to register.

Region VI--April 18, 2011, 10:00-12:00 CDT

1301 Young Street, Room 1119, Dallas, TX 75202, Please send an e-mail 
to: cw@jbsinternational.com to register.

Region VIII--April 27, 2011, 10:00-12:00 MDT

999 18th Street, South Terrace, Suite 499, Denver, CO 80202, Please 
send an e-mail to: cw@jbsinternational.com to register.

Region IX--April 20, 2011, 10:30-12:30 PDT

90 7th Street, 9th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103, Please send an e-
mail to: cw@jbsinternational.com to register.

    The Children's Bureau is also hosting Tribal Roundtables for Tribal 
leaders and/or their representatives. The dates of these sessions are 
listed below:

August 2-3 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma;
August 16-17 in Seattle, Washington;
September 13-14 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
    A portion of the agenda for these roundtables will be set aside to 
discuss Federal monitoring of child and family services programs under 
titles IV-B and IV-E. The Children's Bureau will send information 
directly to Tribal leaders regarding attendance at these roundtables.


    Dated: March 31, 2011.
Bryan Samuels,
Commissioner, Administration on Children, Youth and Families.
[FR Doc. 2011-8044 Filed 4-4-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4184-25-P