JooYeun Chang, the senior director of public policy for Casey Family Programs (CFP) since 2007, was appointed by President Barack Obama to head the Children’s Bureau (CB), the division at the Department of Health and Human Services responsible for the federal government’s Title IV-E funding for state child welfare systems.
Chang came to CFP from the D.C.-based Children’s Defense Fund, where she was a senior staff attorney for five years. The policy shop she oversaw at CFP focused mostly on reform of federal foster care spending. Most of it, close to $7 billion, is passed to state and county child welfare systems through matching funds made available through Title IV-E of the Social Security Act.
The majority of that money is strictly for foster care-related costs. Casey Family Programs has pushed both publicly and behind the scenes for IV-E reform that would widen the universe of children covered by federal support and make that funding more flexible. Click here for more on CFP’s work with D.C. think tank Brookings Institution to find common ground among child welfare advocates on IV-E reform.
The Children’s Bureau, which Chang took the helm of today, administers all of the IV-E funding for adoption assistance, foster care and guardianship, along with technical assistance.
The division also handles a number of block grant and discretionary programs, including:
- Chafee Act funding for youths aging out of foster care
- The Stephanie Tubbs Jones and Promoting Safe and Stable Families programs, both aimed at supporting family preservation
- Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act state grants, aimed at improving child protective services
- “Waiver” demonstration projects, which are being conducted in several states to test possible expansion and flexibility plans for IV-E
- Monitoring of state data and progress through the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System and the Child and Family Services Review process
The administration has operated heretofore without putting a political appointee in charge of CB or the Family Youth Services Bureau, which are both offices within the Administration for Children, Youth and Families at HHS (ACYF).
Answering to ACYF Commissioner Bryan Samuels since 2010 were two acting associate commissioners: Joe Bock at CB, who is now succeeded by Chang, and Debbie Powell, who remains in place at FYSB.
Both offices also have a policy person who answered to Samuels: Sonali Patel at FYSB, and Heidi McIntosh at the Children’s Bureau. Samuels left government last week for the top job at Chapin Hall, a child welfare policy and research group in Chicago.
John Kelly is the editor-in-chief of The Chronicle of Social Change