The Federal Administration for Children, Youth, and Families has granted Illinois a waiver of restrictions on federal foster-care funds to let the Illinois Department of Children and Families address family problems without having to remove children from their homes and putting them in foster care.
The waiver is known as a IV-E waiver after the section of law that provides federal support for foster care. Because Illinois has longer average stays in foster care and because of the long-term costs for children in foster care, the flexibility is likely to produce long-term savings for the state.
Illinois has had a waiver for specific programs in Cook County, but the new waiver extends the program statewide. The waiver expires is 2019. Under current Federal Law, it cannot be renewed. After that, federal funds would again be limited to supporting only children actually in foster care.
Illinois received $192 million in Federal foster-care funds in fiscal 2016. The Administration on Children, Youth and Families is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In December, the Administration for Children, Youth and Families also awarded DCFS federal planning dollars to begin the development of a new statewide child welfare technology system. The Request for Proposals to implement that project will go out later this month.