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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR Data is current as of December 16, 2014

Title 45Subtitle BChapter XIIISubchapter GPart 1355 → §1355.38


Title 45: Public Welfare
PART 1355—GENERAL


§1355.38   Enforcement of section 471(a)(18) of the Act regarding the removal of barriers to interethnic adoption.

(a) Determination that a violation has occurred in the absence of a court finding. (1) If ACF becomes aware of a possible section 471(a)(18) violation, whether in the course of a child and family services review, the filing of a complaint, or through some other mechanism, it will refer such a case to the Department's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) for investigation.

(2) Based on the findings of the OCR investigation, ACF will determine if a violation of section 471(a)(18) has occurred. A section 471(a)(18) violation occurs if a title IV-E agency or an entity in the State/Tribe:

(i) Has denied to any person the opportunity to become an adoptive or foster parent on the basis of the race, color, or national origin of the person, or of the child, involved;

(ii) Has delayed or denied the placement of a child for adoption or into foster care on the basis of the race, color, or national origin of the adoptive or foster parent, or the child involved; or,

(iii) With respect to a title IV-E agency, maintains any statute, regulation, policy, procedure, or practice that on its face, is a violation as defined in paragraphs (a)(2)(i) and (2)(ii) of this section.

(3) ACF will provide the title IV-E agency or entity with written notification of its determination.

(4) If there has been no violation, there will be no further action. If ACF determines that there has been a violation of section 471(a)(18), it will take enforcement action as described in this section.

(5) Compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (Pub. L. 95-608) does not constitute a violation of section 471(a)(18).

(b) Corrective action and penalties for violations with respect to a person or based on a court finding. (1) A title IV-E agency or entity found to be in violation of section 471(a)(18) of the Act with respect to a person, as described in paragraphs (a)(2)(i) and (a)(2)(ii) of this section, will be penalized in accordance with paragraph (g)(2) of this section. A title IV-E agency or entity determined to be in violation of section 471(a)(18) of the Act as a result of a court finding will be penalized in accordance with paragraph (g)(4) of this section. The title IV-E agency may develop, obtain approval of, and implement a plan of corrective action any time after it receives written notification from ACF that it is in violation of section 471(a)(18) of the Act.

(2) Corrective action plans are subject to ACF approval.

(3) If the corrective action plan does not meet the provisions of paragraph (d) of this section, the title IV-E agency must revise and resubmit the plan for approval until it has an approved plan.

(4) A title IV-E agency or entity found to be in violation of section 471(a)(18) of the Act by a court must notify ACF within 30 days from the date of entry of the final judgment once all appeals have been exhausted, declined, or the appeal period has expired.

(c) Corrective action for violations resulting from a title IV-E agency's statute, regulation, policy, procedure, or practice. (1) A title IV-E agency found to have committed a violation of the type described in paragraph (a)(2)(iii) of this section must develop and submit a corrective action plan within 30 days of receiving written notification from ACF that it is in violation of section 471(a)(18). Once the plan is approved the title IV-E agency will have to complete the corrective action and come into compliance. If the title IV-E agency fails to complete the corrective action plan within six months and come into compliance, a penalty will be imposed in accordance with paragraph (g)(3) of this section.

(2) Corrective action plans are subject to ACF approval.

(3) If the corrective action plan does not meet the provisions of paragraph (d) of this section, the title IV-E agency must revise and resubmit the plan within 30 days from the date it receives a written notice from ACF that the plan has not been approved. If the title IV-E agency does not submit a revised corrective action plan according to the provisions of paragraph (d) of this section, withholding of funds pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (g) of this section will apply.

(d) Contents of a corrective action plan. A corrective action plan must:

(1) Identify the issues to be addressed;

(2) Set forth the steps for taking corrective action;

(3) Identify any technical assistance needs and Federal and non-Federal sources of technical assistance which will be used to complete the action steps; and,

(4) Specify the completion date. This date will be no later than 6 months from the date ACF approves the corrective action plan.

(e) Evaluation of corrective action plan. ACF will evaluate corrective action plans and notify the title IV-E agency (in writing) of its success or failure to complete the plan within 30 calendar days. If the title IV-E agency has failed to complete the corrective action plan, ACF will calculate the amount of reduction in the title IV-E agency's title IV-E payment and include this information in the written notification of failure to complete the plan.

(f) Funds to be withheld. The term “title IV-E funds” refers to the amount of Federal funds advanced or paid to the title IV-E agency for allowable costs incurred by a title IV-E agency for: foster care maintenance payments, adoption assistance payments, administrative costs, and training costs under title IV-E and includes the title IV-E agency's allotment for the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program under section 477 of the Act.

(g) Reduction of title IV-E funds. (1) Title IV-E funds shall be reduced in specified amounts in accordance with paragraph (h) of this section under the following circumstances:

(i) A determination that a title IV-E agency or entity is in violation of section 471(a)(18) of the Act with respect to a person as described in paragraphs (a)(2)(i) and (a)(2)(ii) of this section, or:

(ii) After a title IV-E agency's failure to implement and complete a corrective action plan and come into compliance as described in paragraph (c) of this section.

(2) Once ACF notifies a title IV-E agency (in writing) that it has committed a section 471(a)(18) violation with respect to a person, the title IV-E agency's title IV-E funds will be reduced for the fiscal quarter in which the title IV-E agency received written notification and for each succeeding quarter within that fiscal year or until the title IV-E agency completes a corrective action plan and comes into compliance, whichever is earlier. Once ACF notifies an entity (in writing) that it has committed a section 471(a)(18) violation with respect to a person, the entity must remit to the Secretary all title IV-E funds paid to it by the title IV-E agency during the quarter in which the entity is notified of the violation.

(3) For title IV-E agencies that fail to complete a corrective action plan within 6 months, title IV-E funds will be reduced by ACF for the fiscal quarter in which the title IV-E agency received notification of its violation. The reduction will continue for each succeeding quarter within that fiscal year or until the title IV-E agency completes the corrective action plan and comes into compliance, whichever is earlier.

(4) If, as a result of a court finding, a title IV-E agency or entity is determined to be in violation of section 471(a)(18) of the Act, ACF will assess a penalty without further investigation. Once the title IV-E agency is notified (in writing) of the violation, its title IV-E funds will be reduced for the fiscal quarter in which the court finding was made and for each succeeding quarter within that fiscal year or until the title IV-E agency completes a corrective action plan and comes into compliance, whichever is sooner. Once an entity is notified (in writing) of the violation, the entity must remit to the Secretary all title IV-E funds paid to it by the title IV-E agency during the quarter in which the court finding was made.

(5) The maximum number of quarters that a title IV-E agency will have its title IV-E funds reduced due to a finding of a title IV-E agency's failure to conform to section 471(a)(18) of the Act is limited to the number of quarters within the fiscal year in which a determination of nonconformity was made. However, an uncorrected violation may result in a subsequent review, another finding, and additional penalties.

(6) No penalty will be imposed for a court finding of a violation of section 471(a)(18) until the judgement is final and all appeals have been exhausted, declined, or the appeal period has expired.

(h) Determination of the amount of reduction of Federal funds. ACF will determine the reduction in title IV-E funds due to a section 471(a)(18) violation in accordance with section 474(d)(1) and (2) of the Act.

(1) Title IV-E agencies that violate section 471(a)(18) with respect to a person or fail to implement or complete a corrective action plan as described in paragraph (c) of this section will be subject to a penalty. The penalty structure will follow section 474(d)(1) of the Act. Penalties will be levied for the quarter of the fiscal year in which the title IV-E agency is notified of its section 471(a)(18) violation, and for each succeeding quarter within that fiscal year until the title IV-E agency comes into compliance with section 471(a)(18). The reduction in title IV-E funds will be computed as follows:

(i) 2 percent of the title IV-E agency's title IV-E funds for the fiscal year quarter, as defined in paragraph (f) of this section, for the first finding of noncompliance in that fiscal year;

(ii) 3 percent of the title IV-E agency's title IV-E funds for the fiscal year quarter, as defined in paragraph (f) of this section, for the second finding of noncompliance in that fiscal year;

(iii) 5 percent of the title IV-E agency's title IV-E funds for the fiscal year quarter, as defined in paragraph (f) of this section, for the third or subsequent finding of noncompliance in that fiscal year.

(2) Any entity (other than the title IV-E agency) which violates section 471(a)(18) of the Act during a fiscal quarter must remit to the Secretary all title IV-E funds paid to it by the title IV-E agency in accordance with the procedures in paragraphs (g)(2) or (g)(4) of this section.

(3) No fiscal year payment to a title IV-E agency will be reduced by more than 5 percent of its title IV-E funds, as defined in paragraph (f) of this section, where the title IV-E agency has been determined to be out of compliance with section 471(a)(18) of the Act.

(4) The title IV-E agency or an entity, as applicable, will be liable for interest on the amount of funds reduced by the Department, in accordance with the provisions of 45 CFR 30.18.

(This requirement has been approved by the Office of Management and Budget under OMB Control Number 0970-0214. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, an agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.)

[65 FR 4082, Jan. 25, 2000, as amended at 66 FR 58676, Nov. 23, 2001; 77 FR 931, Jan. 6, 2012]



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