The House of Representatives has passed a bill that would extend the federal government’s waiver program for child welfare systems, which has enabled state and county systems to use federal funding to test different strategies for reducing the number of children entering the foster care system
Traditionally, most federal funds for child welfare go to states in their Title IV-E entitlement, and those funds are largely restricted for children who are placed into foster care.
Waivers from the IV-E structure – granted by the Department of Health and Human Services to certain systems, including the Florida Department of Children and Families – have enabled agencies to use federal dollars to focus on helping keep more families together and lower the number of children placed in foster care.
The House bill was submitted in March by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.). Action on the extension of waivers now turns to the Senate, where Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) introduced a bill in mid-May.
The House passed a waiver extension bill during the 111th Congress, but the Senate never acted.