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funds under these discretionary programs have been successful in obtaining funding for these programs from such other sources such as Job Training Partnership Act (Labor), Farmer Home Administration (Agriculture), Community Development Block Grant (CDBG),
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Indian Health Service, State and local units of government, bond issues, and the Appalachian Regional Commission.
Question. The Inspector General has been critical of the monitoring and administration of the discretionary programs. What steps have you taken to increase staff and administrative support to the discretionary programs?
Answer. Since September of FY 1990, five professional staff have been recruited for the FSA Discretionary Grants and Contact Review Branch, bringing the staff to its ceiling of eight grants management specialists. In addition, on-site monitoring of grantees has been given renewed emphasis and resources. Our FY 1992 request for the Program Administration account requests additional resources to help correct these deficiencies, as well as to administer recently enacted programs. Funds for on-site monitoring have been increased by 24 percent over those expended in FY 1990. An additional program chief has been assigned to manage several of the discretionary grants programs.
Question. The 101st Congress appropriated over $41 million in FY91 funding and authorized $50 million for FY92 for the McKinney Emergency Community Services for the Homeless program. Why has the Administration requested no funding for this program in its FY92 budget request?
Answer. The Emergency Community Services Homeless Grant Program allocates funds by formula to states and Indian tribes. Distributed primarily to community action agencies and migrant farm worker organizations, funds are generally used to augment other community efforts to provide outreach, emergency shelter, comprehensive services, and to promote private-sector assistance to the homeless population. Up to 25 percent of the funds may be used to prevent at risk people from being evicted from their homes.
Such services, however, are already funded under numerous other service authorities including the Social Services Block Grant program, the Community Development Block Grant program, the AFDC/Emergency Assistance program and most of the other McKinney Homeless Assistance Act programs, particularly, the Emergency Shelter Grant program at HUD and the Emergency Food and Shelter program at FEMA.
In FY 1992, no funding is requested for this program. Instead, additional funds are requested in Public Health Service to 1) expand primary health care services to the homeless population, 2) expand services for the hardest to reach homeless people; those with cooccurring mental health and substance abuse problems, and 3) create a consolidated demonstration program for innovative delivery of comprehensive services to homeless individuals and families.
Question. Emergency Community Services for the Homeless program is currently the major McKinney Homeless Assistance program that includes homeless prevention activities such as mediation for landlord-tenant disputes and short term payments to prevent evictions. Do you agree that these targeted services to prevent homelessness are needed?
Answer. Authority for targeted services to prevent homelessness are certainly needed. Fortunately there are numerous
other Federal programs that are used for this purpose. In addition, to the Emergency Community Services Homeless Grant Program (EHP), and the Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG) program, the Emergency Food and Shelter program, AFDC Special Needs Allowances, and Social Services Block Grant funds can be and are used to prevent evictions.
Question. The 101st Congress authorized $55 million for a new McKinney Act demonstration program for homelessness prevention-family support centers at or near public housing. Why has the Administration not requested funding for this program?
Answer. The Department has ample authority and ongoing support for family support projects. In addition to the Comprehensive Child Development Centers program for which $25 million will be spent in FY 1991, the Head Start Program also funds several family support center demonstrations to provide support services for parents of low income children enrolled in Head Start. Under a Memorandum of Understanding signed between Secretary Sullivan and Secretary Kemp in 1990, a HHS and HUD working group is planning a competition in FY 1991 for up to 10 projects that integrate services for low income families in public housing.
Local providers frequently express frustration at having assistance for these populations fragmented in a manner that requires multiple applications to piece together comprehensive services. Funding another program in this area would in our opinion add to that frustration.
Question. Congress also authorized a new McKinney Act demonstration program for preventive services targeted to children of homeless families or families at risk of homelessness. Why has the Administration not requested funding for this program?
Answer. There are many existing authorities that support prevention services to children of homeless families or families at risk of homelessness. In addition to Family Support Center type services described above, the Department administers a range of family crisis programs that target at risk children and their families to prevent abuse, neglect, inappropriate out-of-home placements and to foster reunification of children with their families. Funding for these programs listed below has increased from $75 million in FY 1989 to a FY 1992 request level of $115 million. Figures shown are the Administration's FY 1992 request in millions.
Child Abuse State Grants ($19.5)
Assists states to improve services for the prevention and
Child Abuse Challenge Grants
Assists states to improve services for the prevention and
Runaway and Homeless Youth Program ($35.1)
Supports 360 centers and 65,000 youth, through the states,
Transitional Living Program ($9.9)
Assists homeless youths with support services to promote
Drug Educational Prevention for Runaway and Homeless Youth
Awards grants to reduce and prevent the illicit use of drugs by
Emergency Child Abuse Prevention Services Grants
Supports services to children whose parents are substance
Assist states in supporting programs to prevent incidents of family violence and to provide immediate shelter and related assistance for victims of family violence and their dependents.
Question. Does the Family Support Administration propose to play any role in preventing homelessness and meeting the special needs of homeless families?
Answer. In terms of preventing homelessness, the Family Support Administration operates a range of assistance programs that maintain families and children in their homes and in their communities. The Title IV-A programs include basic financial support and, in the event of emergencies, there are supplemental resources that may be used. In FY 1992, the AFDC and Emergency Assistance programs will provide an estimated $247.6 million in temporary shelter and housing assistance to families who otherwise would be homeless. The recent implementation of the Family Support Act and the JOBS program provide additional services and support that are intended to achieve self-sufficiency for these needy families. These programs demonstrate explicitly our intentions and plans to prevent homelessness.
Insofar as "meeting the special needs of homeless families," after emergency shelter is secured for the family, it is critical to provide the financial and economic lifelines to stabilize the families in need. The agency continues to provide encouragement for demonstration and leading edge programs that promote community responses to the conditions that lead to homelessness through the mobilization of diverse sectors and resources.
Question. How are States currently aiding homeless families? With Title IV-A funds?
Answer. States are using Title IV-A funds to assist the homeless in a number of ways. First, the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program does not have a residency requirement. Homeless families who apply for and meet the eligibility requirements are entitled to AFDC money payments and Medicaid benefits.
For the AFDC eligible homeless, States also meet a variety of their needs through optional "special needs." Included are items such as: special clothing or clothing replacement, expenses caused by catastrophe or eviction, excess cost of shelter, fuel, or utilities, repair of property, household furnishings, and moving and storage expenses.
For example, New York provides an AFDC "special need" to cover costs of Tier I and Tier II shelters. These shelters provide transitional living accommodations. Tier I shelters have large open sleeping areas and are intended for short stays; Tier II shelters have private sleeping quarters and are used for more extended stays. Both types of shelters provide social services such as child care, recreation, and health screening.
Second, through the Emergency Assistance program, an optional complement to the AFDC program, many States provide temporary financial assistance and services to families experiencing an emergency. Federal matching at a 50% rate is available for emergency assistance that the State authorizes during a maximum of one period of 30 consecutive days in any 12 consecutive months.
Emergency Assistance funds have been used to pay for the cost of providing temporary shelter, storing or replacing household goods, and reimbursing the expenses of moving a family to a new home or returning a family to a former home. States are given the flexibility within broad Federal guidelines to determine EA eligibility requirements as well as specify what needs the program will cover. All together, 32 States and territories have chosen to participate in this program. Thirty States use EA funds to shelter homeless families or to prevent evictions, and eight States use them to provide temporary shelter for families in hotels or motels.
Question. When do you expect the final Emergency Assistance/AFDC-special needs regulations to be issued? On October
Answer. A Notice of Proposed Rule-making (NPRM) on Emergency Assistance (EA) is under development. The NPRM is being developed along the lines of the recommendations submitted to Congress in July 1989 in a report entitled, Use of the Emergency Assistance and AFDC Programs to Provide Shelter to Families. In the report, the Department recommended issuing a rule to prohibit reimbursement under the EA program for assistance for periods beyond 30 consecutive days in a 12-month period while:
continuing to allow use of EA funds to prevent evictions and utility cut-offs by paying past due rent and utility costs, and
assisting homeless families to secure permanent housing by covering the first month's rent and security deposit.
In the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) of 1989, the Congress permitted HHS to issue revised proposed regulations incorporating the recommendations included in the Department's 1989 Report to Congress. OBRA 1990 extended the moratorium on the final rule becoming effective before September 30, 1991. As a result, we will not publish a rule that becomes effective before October, 1991.
CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT
Question. What effect will the Child Support Enforcement provisions of the Family Support Act of 1988 have on net public savings? Will any of the 1988 provisions result in more efficient State programs? How?
Answer. Even after full implementation of the Family Support Act's Child Support provisions, aggregate program costs will continue to exceed applicable AFDC collections for the immediate future. So long as the majority of the collections come on behalf of non-AFDC families, for which the State and Federal government get no direct benefit, this situation is likely to continue.
Certain of the 1988 provisions will result in more efficient programs. For example, immediate income withholding will reduce the need to locate obligors and employers subsequent to entry of a support order and failure to pay mandated support by initiating withholding at the time the order is entered. The program standards and timeframes for providing services mandated by the 1988 Amendments will also result in improvements in program and case management, an area sorely in need of attention and improvement. The requirement that guidelines be a rebuttable presumption, as opposed to advisory, in setting support awards in the States, will ensure consistency in amounts awarded as well as streamline the support establishment process in courts or administrative bodies by eliminating extended debate on the appropriate amount of support, except in exceptional cases. Finally, the requirement for periodic review and modification of support orders will ensure that the amount of support remains
equitable over time and through changes in the circumstances of all parties involved.
Question. Do you expect the proposed changes to the child support enforcement incentive payment structure, as outlined in the FY 1992 Budget, to result in net program savings for taxpayers? So, how?
Answer. The FY 1992 proposal assumes that changes in the incentive payment structure will reduce Federal costs by $54 million in FY 1992 which is insufficient to generate a net public savings to the taxpayer in this program. However, to the extent that the bonuses built in to this proposal encourage increased establishment of paternities and support orders, especially on behalf of AFDC recipients, collections should also increase, resulting in increasing program savings.
Question. Have the paternity standards enacted by the 1988 Act increased the annual number of paternity determinations? Why have States had such a bad record in establishing paternities?
Answer. There is evidence that the States are beginning to increase paternity establishment, but the evidence is only suggestive. Definitive evidence will come from further experience with the statutory paternity establishment performance standard, that takes effect in FY 1992. The number of paternities established for AFDC, non-AFDC, and AFDC arrears only cases has increased 28 percent in the last two years:
Likewise, birth rates to both single and married mothers have
Some States seem to believe that paternity establishment is not cost-effective, that the majority of such births occur to teenaged fathers who have no jobs and cannot pay anyway. The costs of establishing paternity, from this perspective, are more than the expected collections. Others use ineffective techniques for establishing paternity or have trouble obtaining state-of-the-art genetic testing techniques. Paternity thus becomes a low priority for them.
Fortunately, these perceptions are not accurate. Research indicates that in the aggregate, paternity establishment, over time, is cost-effective. Most teenaged fathers eventually get jobs and eventually are capable of paying child support if paternity has been established previously. The longer establishment is put off the more difficult it becomes. In addition, and if not perhaps more important, paternity establishment has clear social benefits that can't be overlooked, e.g., establishing inheritance rights and providing valuable medical information about the parent that could impact on the child's health.
Question. By definition, a large segment of the Child Support Enforcement program, namely the non-AFDC component, provides no direct savings to the States or the Federal Government. Does the Administration hold the view that the intangible benefits (i.e., welfare cost avoidance, etc.) of the Child Support Enforcement program outweigh consideration of cost-effectiveness?
Answer. The need for, and benefits of, providing services to non-AFDC families was recognized in 1975 when the Congress first extended availability of child support enforcement services under the IV-D program to those families. The importance of providing these vital services has continued since that time, and was reiterated by language added to Title IV-D of the Social Security Act in the 1984 Amendments.