Although Title IV-E of the Social Security Act is an important funding stream for foster care and adoption services in American Indian communities, limited research has been conducted on the facilitation of tribal access to federal IV-E resources. Historically, direct IV-E funding has not been available to tribal communities, therefore, tribes have worked with their respective states to develop agreements that allow them to access these important funds. The purpose of this study was to provide a comprehensive overview of current IV-E intergovernmental provisions in order to assist tribes and states in strengthening both new and existing IV-E agreements. The research team conducted a nationwide content analysis of all existing current IV-E documents and conducted focus groups and telephone interviews with tribal and state representatives. Major findings include: 1) current IV-E tribal/state agreements vary widely, thus, there is no “standard” for these agreements; 2) current IV-E tribal/state agreements focus mainly on foster care maintenance payments and services; and 3) although tribes have limited options in regard to accessing IV-E dollars (tribes must enter into an agreement with the state or they cannot access this funding source), they have established good working relationships with their respective states. Implications of these results for both tribes and states are discussed, and three recommendations are included to help facilitate tribal access to Title IV-E federal funding.
Date: December 2000