Foster Care

Federal Title IV-E dollars are a major source of Oregon's child welfare funding. IV-E payments in general are used to pay the costs of room and board for IV-E eligible children in foster care. In 1997 Oregon was one of a few states that was granted a IV-E waiver which allowed some flexibility in the use of IV-E dollars.

The Waiver permits us to pioneer and evaluate innovative services rather than only pay for foster care room and board. This affords Oregon a unique opportunity to improve the safety and permanency of our children and families and at the same time make a contribution to child welfare research, as research is a required component of utilizing IV-E Waiver dollars. In our July 2011 IV-E waiver renewal, the agreement with the Children's Bureau includes a specific expectation that dollars be used to fund cutting edge and cost neutral approaches that safely prevent family break-up or that reunify families.

The ultimate goal of these demonstration projects is to develop intervention modes that are effective, sustainable and can be replicated. To achieve these program objectives we are implementing and rigorously evaluating two interventions Oregon under our current waiver agreement. These interventions include:

  • Peer Parent Mentoring (Multnomah, Linn, Morrow, Umatilla, Harney and Malheur Counties)
  • Relationship Based Visitation (all remaining counties)


Q: What is the Title IV-E Foster Care Program? 
This program, authorized under Title IV-E of the Social Security Act, provides federal matching funds to help states provide out-of-home care for children until they can safely return home or another permanent plan is put in place. 

Q: What is a Title IV-E waiver? 
Several states have received a waiver to use IV-E funds to use in demonstration projects intended to prevent entrance into foster care or increase reunification. The waiver allows us greater flexibility to use IV-E funds to pioneer cutting edge services. 

Q: Why has DHS chosen to focus on two specific interventions? 
In order to have Oregon's IV-Waiver re-authorized, we needed to make significant improvements to the methodology for our pilot programs. Two specific interventions were chosen as demonstration projects, as a way to test these interventions. 

Q: What cases are eligible for the interventions? 
For both interventions, cases that are eligible are new cases as of January 2011. On-going cases will not be eligible for these services. Each intervention has additional eligibility criteria as described in the program descriptions. 

Q: What is the size of the demonstration project? 
As a demonstration project, the total size of this program is relatively small, compared with the number of families DHS Child Welfare serves. It is estimated that the Parent Mentor intervention will serve on average each year 208 families and the Relationship Based Visitation intervention will serve on average each year 277 families. 

Q: Are there specific requirements for getting a waiver? 
Yes, programs and services must contribute to overall knowledge of best practices in child welfare by developing and testing innovative approaches that can be sustained and replicated. Approaches must emphasize family preservation and reunification, and cannot cost more than the same amount that would have been spent for traditional programs. Pilot programs must be independently evaluated and reported twice a year to the federal government. 

Q: What is the evaluation model? 
The federal Administration for Children and Families (ACF) expects states with Waivers to improve methodologies in developing and piloting services to reduce foster care, improve evaluation design, provide the oversight needed to effectively implement and evaluate the demonstration project and make corrections based upon lessons learned throughout the history of the IV-E Waiver. Because of this, the two current demonstration projects will be evaluated using a random assignment approach. Our research partners at Portland State University have designed a computerized system where assignments will be automatically generated to the intervention group or the control group. 

Contact information: 

Donna Haney 
Policy Analyst