IV-E Waiver: An Innovative System that Strengthens Families

The number one priority of the child welfare system is to keep children safe from neglect and abuse. To achieve this mission, child welfare agencies are funded primarily through Title IV-E of the Social Security Act. These funds can only be used to support children after a court determines that they cannot remain safely at home.

In 2007, the federal government offered States and Tribes a time-limited opportunity to use Title IV-E funds to test innovative approaches for working with children and families and the flexibility to use those funds before children are removed from home. This is known as the IV-E Waiver Demonstration Project (Waiver).

The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and the Department of Probation have used the Waiver to improve the services and supports provided to children and families. As a result:

  • DCFS invested in community-based prevention and aftercare support for children, parents and relative caregivers.
  • DCFS lowered social worker caseloads which allowed for deeper work with families through the Core Practice Model (CPM) and development of Child and Family Teaming.
  • Probation implemented Functional Family Therapy (FFT) to improve rehabilitation and reintegration of youth into the community.
  • Probation expanded Wraparound services reducing the use of out of home placement and incarceration.
  • Probation and Child Welfare worked collaboratively to support youth and families that touch both systems.

The Waiver also has spurred learning about use of data and evidence in decision-making, program fidelity, and continuous quality improvement. However, this opportunity for flexible funding and innovative approaches, is scheduled to end on September 30, 2019. Read the complete report: IV-E Waiver Demonstration Project

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