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Q & A: Domestic Violence Waivers


Issued by: Administration for Children and Families (ACF)

Domestic Violence Waivers


Q1: What does the requirement that good cause domestic violence waivers "be accompanied by service plans" mean? Must States include service plans as part of the TANF case records?

A1: The "accompanied by" requirement was not meant to imply a specific physical relationship between the waiver granted and the service plan--merely that the two items co-exist. In other words, our expectation is only that, when granting waivers to victims of domestic violence, States develop service plans at the time that they decide to grant waivers of program requirements. (We also expect periodic reviews and updates.)

We would not require or necessarily expect that the service plans and TANF case records be maintained in the same office or in the same files. For example, under an MOU, the domestic violence providers could develop and retain the service plans -- thus keeping the plans out of the TANF case records. In this case, the MOU should specify any obligations the domestic service providers would have to share information with the State TANF agency or other officials (e.g., in the case of an audit) and the obligations of the State TANF agency to maintain the confidentiality of such information. In fact, States need to be sensitive to the special safety and confidentiality issues in these cases and ensure that their documentation procedures provide adequate protections for victims of domestic violence.

Q2: If a State has adopted the Family Violence Option, may it "stop the clock" for families experiencing domestic violence?

A2: See Q1 in Time Limits section.

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