A Checklist on Title IV-E Adoption Assistance and State Adoption Subsidies for Adoptive Parents
GENERAL INFORMATION AND ORIENTATION
- Do you have complete information on the medical history and significant pre adoptive experiences of the child? Do you have a complete medical history of the child's biological parents? Has every effort been made to obtain such information?
- Have you had an extensive discussion with agency adoption professionals about the present and anticipated needs of the child and about the information and services that will be required to meet those needs?
- Have you received training or preparation aimed at helping the child to understand issues pertaining to loss, grief, self identity and other typical problems that may surface during the course of an adoption? Have you been encouraged to inquire about such training and informed where it might be obtained?
- Have you had an extensive discussion about your family's resources, particularly concerning the availability of information, financial resources and support services that will enable you to successfully incorporate the child into a new family?
- Have you been encouraged to view adoption assistance/subsidy programs and post adoption services as essential parts of a post adoption support plan for a child who either has, or is at risk to develop some special needs?
- Have you been encouraged to see the negotiation of subsidy benefits as analogous to securing a comprehensive health insurance plan for your child?
- Do you have detailed information about all of the adoption assistance and adoption subsidy programs? (Title IV-E adoption assistance; reimbursement of non-recurring adoption expenses, state funded monthly payment subsidy; state funded service subsidy, post adoption service subsidy, SSI, etc.)
- Have you been encouraged to explore the child's eligibility for all adoption assistance and state funded adoption subsidy programs?
- Have you applied for federal Title IV-E adoption assistance?
- Have you or the agency explored eligibility for the federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program?
- Have you applied for reimbursement of non-recurring adoption expenses. [Families may be eligible for reimbursement of up to $2,000 for expenses incurred in the adoption of a special needs child].
- Have you explored the child's eligibility for a state funded adoption service subsidy that pays for medical treatment, mental health therapy and other services associated with special needs?
- Have you explored the child's eligibility for a state funded monthly payment subsidy, particularly if the child is not eligible for IV-E adoption assistance?
- Do you understand that, according to federal law, agencies cannot refuse to act on an application for federal Title IV-E adoption assistance or reimbursement of non-recurring adoption expenses? The agency must respond in writing to each application.
FINANCIAL SUPPORT AND ADOPTION RELATED SERVICES
- Title IV-E Adoption Assistance and Reimbursement of Non-Recurring Adoption Expenses
- Do you understand that the child's eligibility for federal Title IV-E adoption assistance does not depend upon your income and financial resources, but only on the child's situation? States may not impose a means test as a condition for federal adoption assistance.
- Do you understand that if the child is determined eligible for Title IV-E adoption assistance, then the child is categorically eligible for Medicaid and Title XX services and that the parent(s) may receive a monthly payment on behalf of the child?
- Do you understand that the amount of adoption assistance is determined by an individual written agreement with the agency?
- Do you understand that the amount of monthly adoption assistance payment specified in the written agreement should be determined after an extensive discussion with the agency about the child's present and future needs and the resources that will be needed to fully incorporate the adoptive child into the family?
- Do you understand that if an agreement for IV-E adoption assistance or reimbursement of non recurring expenses is not signed prior to finalization, the subsidy can only be awarded by appeal through administrative fair hearing?
- Do you understand that federal Title IV-E adoption assistance is paid for through a combination of federal and non federal funding and that the federal portion is the same as the federal share of the state's Medicaid program? The federal share of IV-E ranges from 50 to 80 percent. In Ohio, for example, the federal share is approximately 60 percent. State or a combination of state and county funds are used to supply the non-federal share.
- Do you understand that federal financial participation (reimbursement) in IV-E adoption assistance is limited to monthly payments that do not exceed the family foster care payment rate? The family foster care payment rate is the level of support that the individual child would have received in a suitable family foster home, including one receiving difficulty of care payments for a special or exceptional needs child. There are no federal restrictions on how much a state may actually pay, but any amount of monthly subsidy payment above the individual child's family foster care rate, would not be eligible for federal funds.
- Do you understand that you have the right of appeal through a request for an administrative fair hearing if the agency declares the child ineligible or denies the child any benefit associated with federal adoption assistance programs? (Title IV-E adoption assistance or reimbursement of non-recurring adoption expenses)
- Do you understand that when an agency denies the child's eligibility for the Title IV-E adoption assistance program, or a written request for an amount of IV-E adoption assistance, or an application for reimbursement of non-recurring adoption expenses, the agency must communicate the denial in writing, along with information about how to request an administrative fair hearing?
- State Funded Monthly Payment and Service Subsidies
- Do you understand that if the child is not eligible for Title IV-E adoption assistance, he or she may be eligible for a state funded monthly payment adoption subsidy?
- Do you understand that some states have state funded service subsidies which are designed to pay for medical, mental health or other services and supplies that are not covered by other resources such as private health insurance or Medicaid?
- Do you understand that your child may be eligible for both Title IV-E adoption assistance and a state funded service subsidy?
- In negotiating a service subsidy have you and the agency considered the child's anticipated needs as well as his or her current needs?
- Are the written provisions on the service subsidy agreement clearly and explicitly stated so that you know exactly what services will be covered and how much the agency will pay for each service if it is not available through health insurance, Medicaid or other resources? Does the agreement specify how much the agency will pay to cover specific services if the need arises in the future?
- Do you understand that failure to complete an agreement for a state funded adoption payment or service subsidy prior to finalization could place it in jeopardy or force the parent into an appeals process?
- Are you confident that the combination of Title IV-E adoption assistance or state funded payment subsidy, reimbursement of non-recurring adoption expenses and state adoption service subsidy, arranged through written agreements with the agency, comprises an adequate plan of post adoptive support for the child?
- If you don't understand any of the items on this checklist, have you contacted an adoptive parent support group or another reliable source of information for clarification or guidance?
AFTER THE FINAL DECREE OF ADOPTION
- Do you understand that some states have service subsidies which adoptive families may apply for after the adoption has been finalized? These post adoption service subsidies are designed to help address problems that have either arisen or become more serious after the adoption.
- Do you understand that existing Title IV-E adoption assistance agreements and state funded adoption subsidy agreements may be amended at any time by mutual agreement between the adoptive parents and the agency?
- Do you understand that if you failed to obtain federal Title IV-E adoption assistance or an agreement for reimbursement of non recurring adoption expenses prior to finalization of the adoption, you may apply by appealing through the state's administrative fair hearing system? (Adoptive parents are particularly encouraged to do so if they were unaware of their child's special needs or the existence of adoption programs at the time of adoption, or if an agency error prevented them from receiving IV-E adoption assistance).
- Do you understand that if the child is found eligible for federal Title IV-E adoption assistance following a state hearing, the child will be eligible for future adoption assistance payments, Medicaid and Title XX services as if the adoption had not been finalized?
- Do you understand that in filing an appeal for an administrative fair hearing to determine your child's eligibility for IV-E adoption assistance, you may also request that retroactive adoption assistance payments be made back to the date of finalization or placement if your child is found eligible? (If you decide to pursue retroactive benefits, you should make a written request for retroactive adoption assistance payments part of your petition for an administrative fair hearing to reconsider your child's eligibility for the federal adoption assistance program.)
- Do you understand that if your state has no established policy on eligibility for IV-E adoption assistance after finalization or retroactive payments that you may be denied at the initial hearing and at the administrative review steps in the hearing process? Do you understand that in such cases, it may be necessary to file for a judicial review by a local court in order to have a chance of obtaining the benefits your child needs?
Article provided by Adoption Subsidy Advocates
via the Adoption Policy Resource Center. May be reproduced and redistributed for non-commercial purposes
if attribution is maintained.