FAMILY CONNECTION GRANTS
Sec. 427. [42 U.S.C. 627] (a) In General.—The Secretary of Health and Human Services may make matching grants to State, local, or tribal child welfare agencies, and private nonprofit organizations that have experience in working with foster children or children in kinship care arrangements, for the purpose of helping children who are in, or at risk of entering, foster care reconnect with family members through the implementation of—
(1) a kinship navigator program to assist kinship caregivers in learning about, finding, and using programs and services to meet the needs of the children they are raising and their own needs, and to promote effective partnerships among public and private agencies to ensure kinship caregiver families are served, which program—
(A) shall be coordinated with other State or local agencies that promote service coordination or provide information and referral services, including the entities that provide 2–1–1 or 3–1–1 information systems where available, to avoid duplication or fragmentation of services to kinship care families;
(B) shall be planned and operated in consultation with kinship caregivers and organizations representing them, youth raised by kinship caregivers, relevant government agencies, and relevant community-based or faithbased organizations;
(C) shall establish information and referral systems that link (via toll-free access) kinship caregivers, kinship support group facilitators, and kinship service providers to—
(i) each other;
(ii) eligibility and enrollment information for Federal, State, and local benefits;
(iii) relevant training to assist kinship caregivers in caregiving and in obtaining benefits and services; and
(iv) relevant legal assistance and help in obtaining legal services;
(D) shall provide outreach to kinship care families, including by establishing, distributing, and updating a kinship care website, or other relevant guides or outreach materials;
(E) shall promote partnerships between public and private agencies, including schools, community based or faith-based organizations, and relevant government agencies, to increase their knowledge of the needs of kinship care families to promote better services for those families;
(F) may establish and support a kinship care ombudsman with authority to intervene and help kinship caregivers access services; and
(G) may support any other activities designed to assist kinship caregivers in obtaining benefits and services to improve their caregiving;
(2) intensive family-finding efforts that utilize search technology to find biological family members for children in the child welfare system, and once identified, work to reestablish relationships and explore ways to find a permanent family placement for the children;
(3) family group decision-making meetings for children in the child welfare system, that—
(A) enable families to make decisions and develop plans that nurture children and protect them from abuse and neglect, and
(B) when appropriate, shall address domestic violence issues in a safe manner and facilitate connecting children exposed to domestic violence to appropriate services, including reconnection with the abused parent when appropriate; or
(4) residential family treatment programs that—
(A) enable parents and their children to live in a safe environment for a period of not less than 6 months; and
(B) provide, on-site or by referral, substance abuse treatment services, children’s early intervention services, family counseling, medical, and mental health services, nursery and pre-school, and other services that are designed to provide comprehensive treatment that supports the family.
(b) Applications.—An entity desiring to receive a matching grant under this section shall submit to the Secretary an application, at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require, including—
(1) a description of how the grant will be used to implement 1 or more of the activities described in subsection (a);
(2) a description of the types of children and families to be served, including how the children and families will be identified and recruited, and an initial projection of the number of children and families to be served;
(3) if the entity is a private organization—
(A) documentation of support from the relevant local or State child welfare agency; or
(B) a description of how the organization plans to coordinate its services and activities with those offered by the relevant local or State child welfare agency; and
(4) an assurance that the entity will cooperate fully with any evaluation provided for by the Secretary under this section.
(1) Grant duration.—The Secretary may award a grant under this section for a period of not less than 1 year and not more than 3 years.
(2) Number of new grantees per year.—The Secretary may not award a grant under this section to more than 30 new grantees each fiscal year.
(d) Federal Contribution.—The amount of a grant payment to be made to a grantee under this section during each year in the grant period shall be the following percentage of the total expenditures proposed to be made by the grantee in the application approved by the Secretary under this section:
(1) 75 percent, if the payment is for the 1st or 2nd year of the grant period.
(2) 50 percent, if the payment is for the 3rd year of the grant period.
(e) Form of Grantee Contribution.—A grantee under this section may provide not more than 50 percent of the amount which the grantee is required to expend to carry out the activities for which a grant is awarded under this section in kind, fairly evaluated, including plant, equipment, or services.
(f) Use of Grant.—A grantee under this section shall use the grant in accordance with the approved application for the grant.
(g) Reservations of Funds.—
(1) Kinship navigator programs.—The Secretary shall reserve $5,000,000 of the funds made available under subsection (h) for each fiscal year for grants to implement kinship navigator programs described in subsection (a)(1).
(2) Evaluation.—The Secretary shall reserve 3 percent of the funds made available under subsection (h) for each fiscal year for the conduct of a rigorous evaluation of the activities funded with grants under this section.
(3) Technical assistance.—The Secretary may reserve 2 percent of the funds made available under subsection (h) for each fiscal year to provide technical assistance to recipients of grants under this section.
(h) Appropriation.—Out of any money in the Treasury of the United States not otherwise appropriated, there are appropriated to the Secretary for purposes of making grants under this section $15,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2009 through 2013.