The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), partnering with the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), announced certain “Title IV-B” child welfare services have been integrated to improve effectiveness.
The new integration comes under Public Law 102-477 (P.L. 102-477). Specifically, ACF recommended, and BIA approved for Citizen Potawatomi Nation to integrate its child welfare services grants with several other federal grants for employment, training, and related services into a single program and budget to address tribal priorities.
“Public Law 102-477 has long been critical legislation for ACF to promote tribal sovereignty, and expansion to include new ACF programs helps meet our nation-to-nation responsibilities,” said ACF Acting Assistant Secretary Jeff Hild. “The feedback we hear from our Tribal Advisory Committee and tribal leaders is tribes know best how to serve their citizens, and 477 is one way to do this.”
Under P.L. 102-477, tribes can integrate their federal employment, training, and related services from across the federal government to improve the effectiveness of those services. Tribes wishing to integrate a program into a 477 plan must first submit a proposed plan to DOI that identifies the programs to be integrated and consolidated. Once a program is included in such a plan, tribes have very broad flexibility in use of those funds.
“Child welfare programs provide services that ensure children are safe in their homes and adults can achieve the stability to seek employment and self-sufficiency,” said ACF Administration on Children, Youth and Families Commissioner Rebecca Jones Gaston. “Including child welfare programs into a 477 plan means tribes can serve families with fewer administrative burdens.”
In October 2022, 12 federal departments, including HHS, signed a new interdepartmental Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to streamline 477 program implementation for tribal nations. The Biden-Harris Administration and HHS are interested expanding opportunities for tribes under P.L. 102-477.
The child welfare Title IV-B program is the second new HHS program integrated into a 477 plan since the MOA was signed. ACF recommended, and BIA approved, the integration of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in April 2023 for the Cook Inlet Tribal Council. Other ACF programs integrated are the Child Care and Development Fund, Community Services Block Grant, Native Employment Works, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families programs.
As of the end of Fiscal Year 2023, 70 tribes were integrating 133 individual ACF grants totaling over $270 million. This is about 85 percent of all federal funds integrated under P.L. 102-477.
Last Updated: October 26, 2023