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Yes. The judicial determination of "reasonable efforts" to prevent placement and reunify the child with his family is an eligibility requirement for the title IV-E foster care maintenance payments program (section 472 (a)(1) of the Act), but such a determination is not an eligibility requirement for adoption assistance in section 473 of the Act.
Yes. To fulfill the eligibility criteria in section 473 (a)(2)(A)(i)(I) of the Social Security Act when a child's removal from the home is the result of court action, there must be a judicial determination to the effect that to remain in the home would be contrary to the child's welfare. Since a child's removal from the home must occur as a result of such a judicial determination, the determination must be made in the first court ruling that sanctions (even temporarily) the removal of a child from the home. If the determination is not made in the first court ruling pertaining to removal from the home, the child is not eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance. The contrary to the welfare finding must be explicit and made on a case-by-case basis. Items such as nunc pro tunc orders, affidavits, and bench notes are not acceptable substitutes for a court order. Only an official transcript is sufficient evidence of the judicial determination. A judicial determination regarding reasonable efforts to prevent removal or reunify the family, although required for title IV-E foster care, is not a requirement for title IV-E adoption assistance eligibility.
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