Manatee County Government Administrative Center Commission Chambers, First Floor 9:00 a.m. - November 18, 2014
November 18, 2014 - Regular Meeting
Agenda Item #25

Title IV-E Funding Letters

Briefing Provided Upon Request

Contact and/or Presenter Information

Brenda Rogers, Director
Community Services Department, x3489

Andy Guyre, Human Services Division Manager
Community Services Department, x3493

Action Requested
Authorize Chairman to execute a letter to the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) rescinding Manatee County's participation in the Title IV-E Adoption Assistance Program. 

Enabling/Regulating Authority
F.S. 39.0121(7), F.S. 409.017 and Social Security Act, Section 473.

Background Discussion

·        On April 8, 2014, the Board of County Commissioners issued a letter to the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) requesting the reallocation of up to $205,397 from Title IV-E Adoption Assistance funding to Manatee County for July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015.  Expected match from Manatee County was 25%, an amount not to exceed $51,349.25.

·        The available Title IV-E Adoption Assistance funds, according to information provided by DCF at the time, could be used to provide specialized therapeutic parent training as primary support for prospective adoptive parents and parents with a finalized adoption of a child through either  the child welfare system or private adoption agency.

·        In May 2014, the allocation of $205,397 was approved by DCF, granting Manatee County the opportunity to provide local match for Title IV-E Adoption Assistance funds from Children’s Services Tax Fund.  Children’s Services Advisory Board set aside FY14/15 reserves to fund an adoption preservation program through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process.

·        To develop an effective RFP, Community Services staff requested written confirmation of client eligibility requirements and program service specifications required by DCF.  In addition staff conducted a search for best practices in adoption preservation services to ensure proposed services would be beneficial for local families and a good investment of County funds.

·        Information, including the proposed funding agreement, received from DCF revealed the following concerns that led to the recommendation of Community Services Department and County Attorney’s Office to decline the Title IV-E Adoption Assistance funds on behalf of Manatee County.

·        Title IV-E eligibility criteria are unclear.  County staff, responsible for contract management, will not have direct access to the DCF system to verify eligibility.  This exposes the County to financial penalties if an ineligible client receives services.  In addition, families that do not have a connection with the child welfare system do not meet eligibility criteria, prohibiting access to services for hundreds of adoptive families in need of services.

·        Funding is restricted to provision of parent training services, and may not be used to provide services to the adopted child or clinical support services to adoptive families.  This narrow focus eliminates procuring program services built on best practices in the field of adoption preservation.  Best practices indicate the need for trained adoption professionals to provide a wide range of services focused on the family and children.

·        Proposed funding agreement, provided in August by DCF, contained restrictions, additional reporting requirements, and client eligibility that contradicted the initial requirements proposed by DCF in April 2014 which do not reduce the risk of disruption to the adoption or effectively strengthen the family.

·        This letter notifies the Department of Children and Families that Manatee County has elected to decline the allocation of Title IV-E Adoption Assistance funds.  No match funds will be provided. 


    County Attorney Review
    Other (Requires explanation in field below)

    Explanation of Other
    Letter reviewed and edited by County Attorney's Office.

    Reviewing Attorney

    Instructions to Board Records
    Original to Community Services to send to DCF upon execution. 

    Cost and Funds Source Account Number and Name

    Amount and Frequency of Recurring Costs

    Attachment:  DCF Title IV-E Adoption Assistance letter.pdf