Resource Library

Frequently Asked Questions

The following questions regarding child welfare funding, allocations, claiming and budgeting were gathered and compiled from the regional sessions, forums and evaluations. The responses to these questions have been compiled with input from CDSS. For additional information on any of these questions and answers, please email CDSS at

  1. What are the funding sources for the pilot counties which are implementing differential response?

    For FY 2004/05, the 11 pilot counties which were implementing differential response received allocations from Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF), State Children’s Trust Fund (SCTF), State General Fund (SGF) and Title IV-E.

    For FY 2005/06, the 11 pilot counties were allocated SGF and Title IV-E funds. However, there was additional funding available to all counties through the Child Welfare Services Outcome Improvement Plan (CWSOIP). The funding for CWSOIP was PSSF, SCTF, SGF and Title IV-E. Based on submission and approval of county plans, CFL No 05/06-30, dated November 2, 2005, the funds were allocated and claiming instructions were issued.

  2. At the CDSS, who are the experts on Title IV-E and Title XIX federal financial participation?

    CDSS has staff in both program and fiscal who have expertise in Title IV-E and Title XIX. When counties ask questions, the Department uses this expertise to assure that counties are given the correct information and to provide technical assistance as needed or requested. Because CDSS is not the single state agency for Title XIX, questions regarding the use of these funds may require consultation with the California Department of Health Services.

  3. How can County Welfare Departments (CWD) encourage other county departments and community partners to become involved with leveraging revenue?

    The CWD should be able to teach other departments and community partners about the benefits of leveraging based on the target population, services provided, and how a dollar can be matched to increase the funding available for children and families. The CWD could develop several experts who can explain eligibility requirements for each CWD funding stream and match requirements. The expert may need to know eligibility requirements for funds in other departments or community partners such as Title XIX, XX or grant awards.

    How to best show the advantages of leveraging is to take one foster care child who is being served by multiple agencies. List the agencies serving this child and family (e.g., CWD, Mental Health, Public Health, Schools, CBO, etc.). List the services being provided to this child/family. Are there duplicate services? What fund sources are currently being used to support this child and family? What federal funding stream could pay for each service and what is the federal reimbursement rate? Develop a funding plan. Indicate any cost savings or increase in funding due to the leveraging.

  4. Can private funds be used as match funds? California Department of Health Services is telling MAA/TCM Consortium that only Certified Public Expenditures can be used as match for federal financial participation (FFP).

    The federal government established the guidelines for using privately donated funds as a match for Title IV-E. Please refer to CFL No. 05/06-31 for specific criteria for private funds to be used as the Title IV-E match. CDSS will defer to the California Department of Health Services on the matching requirements for MAA/TCM, as each federal agency may have differing rules on match requirements.

  5. For Title IV-E, please provide actual examples of how counties are using CWS services via public agencies. How can the County Welfare Department partner with Mental Health?

    Title IV-E does not pay for services. However, All-County Letter No. 04-32, dated September 7, 2004, focused on opportunities for public agencies performing administrative pre-placement prevention activities to draw down Title IV-E funding. Counties who establish interagency agreements with other public agencies who are involved in a family’s case plan may draw Tile IV-E for allowable case management costs in the other agency.

  6. How can counties access more Title IV-E when no State General Fund is available as the match?

    Counties are allocated State General Fund (SGF) for CWS administrative expenditures. Title IV-E is an entitlement program which is uncapped. Therefore, if a county can pay the entire match to draw down Title IV-E after the SGF allocation is spent, the county can draw down additional Title IV-E funds. For example, counties can use donated funds or county-only funds as match.

  7. As counties move towards implementation, how do they financially support their community partners? Is it permissible to use PSSF funds?

    PSSF funds are flexible and can be used to provide community-based, family-centered services to focus on supporting and preserving families, protecting children and preventing child abuse and neglect. However, federal regulations do require a minimum of 20 percent of PSSF funds to be spent in each of the four components of the program (Family Preservation Services, Family Support Services, Adoption Promotion and Support, and Time-Limited Family Reunification).

  8. Can we get information/assistance on how to access foundation dollars successfully?

    Private nonprofit organizations, such as foundations, are able to donate funds to counties and designate the use of the funds as long as the donor is not a sponsor or operator of the designated program. Counties must use the funds for the designated purpose and can not divert them for other uses. If the designated use of the funds qualifies for Federal or State programs, the funds may be used as match to draw down additional Federal or State dollars.

    When funds are donated to the county, they are treated as county general fund as long as the private donated funds are appropriated in the State or County Budget by the proper authority. This means that the donated funds can be used as the county share of cost when matching Federal or State program funding. It is up to the county to determine which Federal or State program funds can be drawn down using the donated money as the county match. However, the county must ensure that the activities performed, or the services purchased, meet the criteria for the fund source being accessed.

    More detailed information on the use of donated funds given to the county from a private source can be found in CFL No. 05/05-31, dated December 8, 2005 and in CFL No. 03/04-22, dated August 7, 2003.

  9. What are the existing funds that are available to leverage Mental Health/CWS? (What CWS funding streams are available to draw down Mental Health funds; and what Mental Health funds could be used to draw down additional funds for CWS?)

    There is no ability to allow Mental Health to claim through CDSS for Title IV-E funds. Refer to the answer provided in Question #6 regarding CFL No. 04-32 that focuses on opportunities for public agencies performing administrative pre-placement prevention activities to draw down Title IV-E funding, to the extent those activities relate directly to the Title IV-E administrative requirements.

  10. How does the county capture Title IV-E administrative costs?

    Title IV-E administrative costs are primarily captured by Social Worker staff reporting their time to Title IV-E time study codes which are reported on the County Expense Claim (CEC). The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) reimburses counties for costs incurred in the administration of all welfare programs. The counties must file a claim, known as the CEC, in order to be reimbursed for administrative costs associated with welfare programs.

    The CEC is divided into six function areas (e.g., Social Services, CalWORKs, Other Public Welfare, Child Care, Non-Welfare and Generic). Each function is comprised of a number of programs. Program Codes (PCs) are used to capture costs to the appropriate funding source/allocation. Title IV-E is one funding source. Costs are allocated to the functions and/or programs within a function by a county’s use of time study hours which are reported to time study codes developed for each program as described in their Countywide Cost Allocation Plan, located on the following CDSS Web site:

  11. How is each expenditure/cost claimed against the appropriate allocation?

    Counties are allocated funds based on various methodologies. Allocations are issued via a County Fiscal Letter which describes the methodology used to determine the allocation, claiming instructions for costs associated with the allocation, and the program codes associated with the allocation. A ledger system within the automated CEC tracks the costs to the appropriate allocation based on the claiming codes associated with the allocation. For more detailed information regarding the CEC, please refer to the CEC User’s Manual located on the following Web site:

  12. How do counties access IV-B (Subpart 1) funding? Is it allocated?

    Title IV-B funds are allocated to counties as part of the CWS Basic allocation and are claimed through the normal claiming process.

  13. If you are an overmatch county, how do you estimate what funds may be received during the closeout process? How do counties know how much has been drawn down by other counties?

    There is no way to estimate how much surplus funding a county will receive during the close-out process. If a county wants to know how much is being drawn down by another county, then the inquiring county should contact the other county directly.

  14. How do you claim funds for public health nurses on a welfare claim?

    Public health nurses are considered Skilled Professional Medi-Cal Personnel (SPMP). Services rendered by a SPMP must be provided to a Medi-Cal eligible individual and be a qualifying activity. Qualifying/allowable activities are listed under the program code descriptions for time study codes 1381, 1021, 1131, 1591, 5711 and 5721. Detailed claiming instructions along with corresponding program codes can be located in the County Fiscal Letter (CFL) No. 01/02-53, page 3.


  15. What is the fiscal process for claiming expenditures from other county departments and/or community-based organizations (CBOs)?

    County Welfare Departments (CWD) claim all expenditures through the County Expense Claim (CEC) to the appropriate Program Code. The Program Code will allocate the expenditures to the appropriate function within the allowable cost pools.

    For other county departments, the CWD should have an Interagency Agreement or a Memorandum of Understanding that contains certain statutory provisions specified within the CDSS Manual of Policy and Procedures (MPP) Section 23-600, addressing the purchasing of services through contracts with other county departments. These expenditures are then claimed quarterly on the CEC based on the date of payment. All County Letter No. 04-32, dated September 7, 2004, contains additional information regarding agreements with other public agencies.

    The county should have a contract with each community-based organization (CBO) which clearly outlines the services that will be purchased by the CWD. The CWD will claim these expenditures quarterly to the appropriate program codes based on the actual payments made to the CBO.

    It is the responsibility of the CWD to ensure that submitted expenditures are claimed appropriately on the CEC.

  16. A county is not spending all of its CWS allocation. Will that reduce future allocations?

    No. The total CWS Basic Allocation is based on county social worker full-time equivalents (FTE), unit cost, direct charge expenditures and county emergency shelter expenditures.

  17. How do I increase my county’s CWS allocation?

    A county’s total allocation can be increased if caseload increases justify an FTE level (caseload justified FTEs) above the prior year allocated FTE level. County direct costs can also increase if statewide expenditures and/or FTEs increase. A county with an Emergency Shelter can also receive an increased allocation if actual expenditures increase.

  18. After reviewing the CWS Allocation CFL over the past several years, please explain why the number of justified FTEs used to determine the county’s allocation has been constant.

    As part of the hold harmless agreement between CDSS and CWDA, counties will be funded at their prior year allocated FTE level unless caseload increases justify a higher FTE level when calculated using the workload standards. Except for a few counties each year, caseload justified FTEs have been below the allocated FTE levels.