Opportunities to Strengthen Title IV-B


Title IV-B of the Social Security Act is scheduled for reauthorization in Congress this year. This funding stream supports children in the child welfare system or at risk of entering care, designed around prevention and early intervention.  These discretionary grant programs have allowed states to develop complementary programs and supportive services that cater specifically to states’ priority populations and initiatives. Reauthorization presents opportunities to strengthen IV-B so governors can better utilize this funding stream to support children and families working with child protection services.


  • Lisa Cauley, Senior Director of Child, Family, and Adult Services for the North Carolina Department of Human Services, Division of Social Services

Key Takeaways

  • Child and adolescent mental health, community-based services to reduce and prevent child maltreatment, and reunification supportive services for children in foster care remain priority areas w/in human services for Governors and policy advisors.
  • Burdensome federal rules and regulations create barriers to states’ ability to utilize funding in an efficient and effective manner
  • Flexibility in utilizing IV-B funds would assist states’ ability to provide critical individualized resources that layer on top of other child welfare services (like title IV-B) to keep families together when possible

State Discussions

The greatest barriers states experience when utilizing IV-B funds include:

  • Inability to braid and blend funding allocations creates barriers to spending smaller amounts of money allocated from IV-B
  • Limitations on using funds for children’s medical services when Medicaid is unavailable
  • Strict regulations on funding sources prohibit states from customizing services and programs to meet families’ individual needs
  • Cumbersome short grant cycles for Kinship Navigators strain administrative resources (I.e. cost, time) that are already limited

State perspectives on improving the use and coordination of IV-B funds include:

  •  Raise the limitation on administrative costs from 10% to 20% to meet need for additional staff capacity and equipment
  • Allow states to use IV-B funds on concrete supports and legal services for family reunification, as allowed under IV-E
  • Promote and encourage collaboration with sister agencies providing medical, mental health, and workforce supports to explore pilot programs for innovative service delivery
  • Increase flexibility for uses of funds to include purchasing necessary technologies for child protective services visits, including tech and devices are compatible with remote visits and monitoring.

Governors’ greatest priorities around prevention, reunification, and adoption include:

  • Improving child and adolescent mental health and education
  • Providing access to community-based and home-visiting programs
  • Addressing parents with substance use issues through targeted Parent Partners program
  • Preventing the maltreatment of children through prevention services
  • Prioritizing the family reunification of children in care