Sheet: Title IV-E Child Welfare Training Program
Title IV-E is the major source of federal funding for educating
and training the child welfare workforce. The Title IV-E child
welfare training program was created as part of the Child Welfare
and Adoption Assistance Act of 1980 (P.L. 96-272) to support
training in both foster care and adoption services.
- The program provides funding for training
both current and future child welfare staff.
- Training may be either short-term or long-term.
- The federal government provides an enhanced
federal match of 75 percent (other administrative costs are
matched at 50 percent).
- The program supports university-agency training
partnerships, in which universities may provide the state
match through in-kind expenditures on faculty, overhead,
and curriculum development.
- Funds may be used for direct financial assistance
(stipends) to students, curriculum development, materials
and books, field instructors, distance education, research
and evaluation of the program, and incentives for staff recruitment.
Although the Title IV-E training program was created in 1980,
it was not until the late 1980s that states began to take advantage
of its program benefits. Even today, states are continuing
to expand their use of the program to address the critical
needs of their child welfare workforces.
- In fiscal year (FY) 1990, Title IV-E provided
about $44 million to states to train child welfare workers.
(GAO, November 1993)
- By FY 1995, IV-E training reimbursements had
more than tripled to $142 million. (Ways and Means Green
- In FY 2002, 49 states received an estimated
$286 million in Title IV-E training reimbursements. Reimbursements
ranged from an estimated low of approximately $10,000 in
Alaska to a high of more than $79 million in California .
(Ways and Means Green Book, 2003)
University-Agency Training Partnerships under Title
University-agency training partnership programs were developed
to ensure that students graduating with degrees in social work
were thoroughly prepared for the rigors of child welfare practice.
- A survey conducted in 1996 found that 68 university
social work programs in 29 states were accessing IV-E funds
for BSW (bachelor's in social work) and MSW (master's in
social work) education. (Zlotnik & Cornelius, 2000) The
number of training partnerships continues to grow.
- Students receiving stipends must commit to
employment with the state or county public child welfare
agency for a specified period of time—usually one to two
years. There is great variation in the amount students receive,
ranging from about $800/semester to $7500.
- The U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) found
the university-agency training partnerships to be promising
practices for addressing the staffing crisis in child welfare,
in part by improving both recruitment and retention. (GAO,
Training Partnership Models (Zlotnik, 1999)
The flexibility in Title IV-E funding has allowed the creation
of different partnership models based on variations in child
welfare agencies and social work education programs.
- Multi-university Collaborations
Arkansas has a multi-campus consortium,
including non-social work programs in some rural communities
where child welfare training needs exist but no social work
program is available.
a model, which was begun with foundation funding and a
Title IV-B, Section 426 grant. After the California Social
Work Education Center (CalSWEC) at the University of California
at Berkeley was created, it sought Title IV-E funding for
over 400 social work students. The students included both
workers returning to school and students preparing for child
welfare careers. CalSWEC created required competencies and
did extensive work on researching outcomes. They have a statewide
committee of representatives from county child welfare agencies,
social work education programs, and the California chapter
of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).
Kentucky developed a program
targeted at the BSW (bachelor's in social work) level to
create a certificate in child welfare. It included all of
the state's BSW programs, with some courses taught through
distance education. The success of the BSW pilot program
led to it being institutionalized and to the creation of
a state-wide program to provide MSW (master's in social work)
degree education to current child welfare staff.
Michigan tapped the state
NASW chapter to serve as the facilitator for its agency-university
partnership. Several years of planning went into their
Title IV-E partnership which only became official after
child welfare was saved from block granting at the time
of welfare reform legislation in 1996. Michigan developed
competencies for MSW programs which are included in the
frequently used Downs , Costin & McFadden child welfare
Oklahoma began their Title IV-E
training efforts as the state was seeking accreditation by
the Council on Accreditation (COA) for Children and Families
Services. In addition to the degree training efforts, the universities,
led by the University of Oklahoma , provide regional consultation
to child welfare supervisors to enhance their knowledge and
Other states are using distance
education technologies to deal with rural issues and/or getting
the same curricula material to a diverse audience.
Barriers to Expanding Agency-University Training
The entitlement status and enhanced federal match at 75 percent
have been key ingredients in the success of the Title IV-E
training program and the university-agency training partnerships.
Eliminating the funding entitlement or putting training costs
in competition with costs for services in a fixed-sum grant
would seriously jeopardize the continuation of these successful
On the other hand, a few adjustments would further enhance
the program's utility as a tool for assisting states in creating
a competent and stable child welfare workforce. Those adjustments
- Eliminating requirements for cost allocation
based on the percentage of the Title IV-E eligible caseload: All
children in the system benefit by better qualified staff,
not only children from families meeting the 1996 AFDC income
- Expanding eligibility for training content: Eligible
training should include all areas related to meeting the
federal goals of safety, permanence, and well-being, and
should not be limited to training related to out-of-home
placement and/or adoption.
- Expanding access for reimbursement to
private universities and private agency staff: In
many jurisdictions, social work education programs at
private universities are the most geographically accessible
for child welfare workers. However, direct financial
participation by private universities is prohibited,
which limits access to quality training programs for
both current and prospective child welfare staff. The
prohibition on the use of IV-E training funding for private
agency child welfare staff also should be eliminated.
- Expanding the 75 percent reimbursement
rate to include all real costs of training, both direct and
indirect, including the costs of administering the program: Current
limitations reduce the number of colleges and universities
able to participate in the program.
- U.S. General Accounting Office. (November 1993). Foster
Care: Federal Policy on Title IV-E Share of Training Costs (GAO/HRD-94-7).
Washington , DC : Author.
- U.S. General Accounting Office. (March 2003). HHS Could
Play a Greater Role in Helping Child Welfare Agencies Recruit
and Retain Staff (GAO-03-357). Washington , DC : Author.
- Zlotnik, J. L. & Cornelius, L. (2000). Preparing Social
Work Students for Child Welfare Careers: The Use of Title
IV-E Training Funds in Social Work Education. Journal
of Baccalaureate Social Work Education, 51.
- Zlotnik, J. L. (2003). The Use of Title IV-E Training Funds
for Social Work Education: An Historical Perspective. Journal
of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 7(1/2), 5-20 .
- Zlotnik, J. L. (1999). Promoting Agency-Social Work Education
Partnerships to Enhance Child Welfare Service Delivery: A
National Perspective. Common Ground, vol. XVI, #1.