Adoption Assistance for Children Adopted From Foster Care: Federal Title IV-E Adoption Assistance
This information was taken directly from Child Welfare Information Gateway
Federal Title IV-E Adoption Assistance
Adoption assistance from the Federal Government is administered under the Federal Title IV-E Adoption Assistance Program. Payments to the adoptive parents of an eligible child with special needs can take two forms:
- One-time (nonrecurring) adoption assistance and/or
- Ongoing (recurring) adoption assistance
These funds may be available through State and private agencies for eligible children being adopted from foster care.
Eligibility for Federal IV-E Adoption Assistance
With the passage of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, States and Tribes are required to have two sets of program eligibility criteria for the Title IV-E Adoption Assistance Program. One set of criteria applies to a child who is considered an “applicable child” due to the child’s age, length of time in care, or as a sibling of an applicable child. The other criteria are for a child who is considered “not an applicable child” and who, in order to receive Title IV-E Adoption Assistance, must meet the former eligibility requirements.3 The criteria for a child who is not an applicable child will be phased out by 2018. At that point, all children will be considered “applicable.”
It is important to understand that figuring out whether or not a child is an applicable or not an applicable child is only the first step to determining whether the child is eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance. Being an applicable child does not mean that a child automatically is eligible for Title IV-E Adoption Assistance.
The title IV-E agency will examine many factors when determining whether a child is eligible to receive Federal adoption assistance. The information below provides an overview of the eligibility criteria for the Federal adoption assistance program. The title IV-E agency can explain the eligibility details. The factors the title IV-E agency will consider include:
1. Whether the child is considered to be an “applicable child” whose eligibility is determined by the revised eligibility criteria, or whether the child is considered to be “not an applicable child” whose eligibility is determined based on the eligibility rules that were in place prior to October 1, 2009
2. Whether the child meets the title IV-E agency’s criteria for special needs
3. Whether the child meets specific eligibility criteria that provide the child a “pathway” into the adoption assistance program. Depending on several factors, the title IV-E agency may examine any of the following:
The legal and financial circumstances under which the child was removed from home
The manner of removal from the child’s home
Whether the child is a child of a minor parent who is in title IV-E foster care
Whether the child was eligible for Title IV-E Adoption Assistance in a prior adoption
Whether the child meets some or all of the criteria to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is a program administered by the Social Security Administration
Whether the child meets certain citizenship and immigration status requirements
Return to Affording Adoption
Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2011). Employer-provided adoption benefits.’' Washington DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau.