Adoption Assistance

To provide Federal Financial Participation (FFP) to States in adoption subsidy costs for the adoption of children with special needs and who meet certain eligibility tests.

Agency - Department of Health and Human Services

The Department of Health and Human Services is the Federal government's principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially to those who are least able to help themselves.

Office - Contact the Regional Administrator, ACF, HHS in the appropriate Regional Office.

(See Appendix IV of the Catalog for a list of addresses of the Regional Offices.)

Program Accomplishments

Adoption subsidy payments are made to eligible children with special needs who are adopted. In fiscal year 2007, this program assisted an estimated average of 390,200 children per month. It is estimated that this program will assist an average of 411,700 children per month in fiscal year 2008 and 430,000 in FY 2009. There were 52 grants made in fiscal year 2007. It is estimated that 52 grants will be made in fiscal year 2008 and 52 grants in fiscal year 2009.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Federal subsidy may be used only in support of the adoption of children who meet the definition of special needs as specified in the Statute.

All parents adopting special needs children are eligible for the nonrecurring cost of adoption.

States may receive Federal Financial Participation (FFP) only if State plans have been approved by the Secretary.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Funds are available to States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico with approved State plans.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Beneficiaries are children who: (1)in Title IV-E foster care, eligible for Are AFDC (as in effect July 16, 1996) SSI recipients are the minor child living with his/her parent who is in IV-E Foster Care; or was previously adopted and eligible for adoption assistance but the adoption dissolved or the adoptive parents died and (2) have been determined by the State to be special needs, e.g., a special factor or condition which makes it reasonable to conclude that they cannot be adopted without adoption assistance; a State determination that the child cannot or should not be returned home; and a reasonable effort has been made to place the child without providing financial or medical assistance. FFP is available from the time of placement for adoption in accordance with State and local law or final adoption decree to age 18 (21 if the State finds that a disability means aid should continue) as long as the parent supports the child. No child adopted prior to the approval of the State's Title IV-E plan is eligible for FFP. No means test applies to adopting parents, but the amount of subsidy is agreed to by agency and parents and may be readjusted by joint agreement.


The State must submit an application for approval by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Costs will be determined in accordance with 45 CFR Part 92.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Consultation to States is available from Regional Offices of ACF, DHHS.

The standard application forms as furnished by DHHS must be used for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

Applications (State plans) are submitted to the Regional Office (RO) of ACF.

Award Procedures

Quarterly awards are made on the basis of estimated expenditures, which are later revised to include only actual allowable expenditures. Final decisions and awards are made by the Headquarters Office. Letter-of-credit is issued by the HHS Payment Management System (PMS).


Estimates are due July 30, October 30, January 30, and April 30.


Social Security Act, Title IV-E, Section 470 et seq., as amended.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

HHS will approve/disapprove applications (State plans or amendments to them) within 90 days of receipt by HHS.


Refer to 45 CFR Part 16.



Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

FFP for adoption assistance is equal to the Federal medical assistance percentage (as defined in section 1905(b) of the Social Security Act) of the total expended for adoption assistance payments, 75 percent of training costs, and 50 percent of other administrative costs.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Federal financial participation is available to a State operating under an approved State plan.

Post Assistance Requirements


Expenditure reports are required 30 days after the end of the quarter; other reports as required by the Secretary.


Audits are conducted in accordance with the requirements in 45 CFR 92.


States must maintain records necessary for the proper and efficient operation of the program, including records of applications, determinations of eligibility, allocated and direct administrative and training costs, and the provision of financial assistance.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Grants) FY 07 $1,942,289,000; FY 08 $2,156,000,000; and FY 09 est $2,286,000,000.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Range for FY 07 from $156,900 to $344,873,400 per State/Territory; Range estimate for FY 08 from $174,164 to $382,820,081; Range estimate for FY 09 from $184,666 to $405,902,925. The average award amount respectively is $34,451,159, $38,980,769 and $41,519,230.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking; 45 CFR 1355-1356.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Contact the Regional Administrator, ACF, HHS in the appropriate Regional Office. (See Appendix IV of the Catalog for a list of addresses of the Regional Offices.)

Headquarters Office

Eileen West, Children's Bureau, 1250 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20447. Telephone: (202) 205-8438.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals


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