Notice of in-person meeting on proposal on AFCARS

Dear Tribal Leader:

The Children’s Bureau (CB) within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Department of  Health and Human Services (HHS) is requesting tribal consultation on a Notice of Proposed  Rulemaking (NPRM) on the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) published  in the Federal Register on April 19, 2019 (84 FR 16572). In addition to the two telephone tribal  consultations I described in my letter of April 29, 2019, I am now pleased to invite you to an  in-person tribal consultation on Monday, June 3, 2019 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Background on the 2019 AFCARS NPRM:

As I wrote in my previous letter, ACF is seeking input on the 2019 NPRM, which proposes to  streamline and remove data elements from the AFCARS final rule that was published on December 14,
2016 (81 FR 90524). The goal of the 2019 NPRM is to reduce burden on title IV- E agencies  consistent with Executive Order (E.O.) 13777 (issued February 24, 2017) and the HHS Regulatory  Reform Task Force that identified the AFCARS regulation as one in which the reporting burden may  impose costs that exceed benefits. The 2016 final rule substantially increased the information
that state and tribal title IV-E agencies must report, including for the first time, requiring  state title IV-E agencies to report information related to the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978
(ICWA).

The 2019 NPRM was informed by comments we received to the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking  (ANPRM, published March 15, 2018, 83 FR 11449) and tribal consultation held on May 15 and 16, 2018  during the ANPRM comment period. During consultation, tribal representatives expressed a need for  information on the tribal membership of children in foster care and their foster care and adoptive  placements, whether ICWA applies for the child, and notification of proceedings per ICWA  requirements. These were identified as the most important pieces of information to be able to know  the number of children nationally to whom ICWA applies and provide some national information on  whether the state made inquiries and whether notification to the Indian child’s tribe occurred.

A brief summary of the major changes proposed in the 2019 NPRM are below:

• CB proposes to streamline the ICWA-related data elements by instead requiring states to report  on key milestones and outcomes associated with meeting the needs of Native American children. For  example, we have proposed to retain elements such as whether the child and the child’s mother and  father are tribal members, whether ICWA applies to the child, whether the tribe was sent notice,  and whether the child is placed in a foster me who are tribal members.

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• CB proposes to remove data elements that required states to report detailed information on  ICWA’s requirements and are tied to the Department of Interior’s regulations, the ICWA statute, and
court actions, such as court findings, good cause findings, qualified expert witness testimony, and  information on active efforts.

Informational Call on 2019 AFCARS NPRM:

To prepare for consultation, CB is holding an informational call for tribal leaders and/or members  of your staff that will provide an overview of the 2019 NPRM. Attending this call will allow for a
more meaningful exchange during tribal consultation. During this informational overview of the  2019 NPRM, telephone lines will not be open.

• Tuesday, May 28, 2019, 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm (EDT) If you are interested in participating, please register at:

https://acf.adobeconnect.com/esmoxxm95mgz/event/registration.html

In-Person Tribal Consultation:

The CB will hold in-person tribal consultation on Monday, June 3, 2019, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm (MDT) at the

Albuquerque Marriott Pyramid North 5151 San Francisco Road, Northeast Albuquerque, NM 87109

https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/abqmc-albuquerque-marriott-pyramid-north

Room reservations under the federal per diem rate can be booked with the hotel’s reservation coordinator, Rachel Miller, at (505) 798-6446 or Rachel.Miller@atriumhospitality.com

If you plan on participating in this tribal consultation, please register at the link below.

Please note that tribal officials may also participate in this consultation remotely. If you are unable to attend in person, but would like to participate virtually (by phone/webinar), please note
this during your registration, and you will be provided with information.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/acf-tribal-consultation-on-afcars-registration- 61116270410?aff=DTTL.

For updates and the most current information on the June 3 tribal consultation, please visit:

https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ana/acf-tribal-consultation-on-afcars-2019

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In addition to presenting testimony during tribal consultation, CB strongly encourages
tribal leaders to comment in writing through the comment methods identified in the 2019 NPRM:

• The deadline for the receipt of comments in response to the 2019 NPRM is on or before June 18, 2019.

• The public may submit comments, identified by RIN number 0970-AC72, by one of the following methods:

o Federal eRulemaking Portal: Regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for sending comments. We recommend this method.

o Email: CBComments@acf.hhs.gov. Include RIN number 0970-AC72 in subject line of the message. Additional Information on the AFCARS 2019 NPRM is available on the Children’s Bureau website at: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/laws-policies/whats-new.

Additionally, Information Memorandum ACYF-CB-IM-19-02, dated April 19, 2019, informs state and tribal title IV-E agencies of the publication of the AFCARS 2019 NPRM and where to submit comments.

If you have questions regarding the May 28 information call or the June 3 tribal consultation, please contact: contact Cheryl Speed of the Children’s Bureau at Cheryl.Speed@acf.hhs.gov.

Sincerely,

Jerry Milner

Acting Commissioner

Administration on Children, Youth and Families

 

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