Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) approval of the Social Security Act's title IV-E reimbursements for foster care placements, focusing on: (1) the number of title IV-E foster care placements made by juvenile justice agencies in fiscal year (FY) 1998 and the amount of federal care funding expended for these placements; (2) how selected states ensure that title IV-E funds are not used for placements in detention facilities and ensure that procedural requirements to protect the welfare of children in title IV-E funded juvenile cases are met; and (3) HHS' processes for ensuring the appropriate use of funds and compliance with these procedural requirements in title IV-E funded juvenile justice placements.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Health and Human Services||1. The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Assistant Secretary, Administration for Children and Families, to review title IV-E funded juvenile justice placements in child care institutions in states that have such placements in order to collect information needed to determine whether or not the facility in which the child was placed was a detention facility.|
|Department of Health and Human Services||2. In each state having title IV-E funded juvenile justice placements in child care institutions, HHS should review a sufficient number of such placements to provide a reasonable degree of assurance that detention facilities are not receiving title IV-E funds and that procedural requirements intended to protect the welfare of children are being met in juvenile justice placements. Depending on the results of the initial review in a given state, HHS could decide whether it would be necessary to review the same number of juvenile justice cases in that state in the future.|
|Department of Health and Human Services||3. For those states having title IV-E funded juvenile justice cases, HHS should ensure that the adequacy and effectiveness of state and county systems used to: (1) determine if the facilities in which juvenile justice children are placed are licensed and otherwise eligible for title IV-E funding; and (2) ensure that procedural requirements are met in title IV-E funded juvenile justice cases are examined.|