Child Welfare Policy Manual

April 21, 2014

8.2A  TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Agreements

1. Question: Is it permissible for a State to include a statement in the title IV-E adoption assistance agreement to the effect that "The Department┐s obligation to provide for Federally funded adoption assistance payments and/or services is subject to the appropriation of State funds"?

Answer: No. Although we understand that the State may experience difficulties in its ability to pay subsidies due to the State budget, such difficulties do not relieve or alter the State?s obligation under title IV-E to act in accordance with executed adoption assistance agreements. Accordingly, any statement that undermines the State?s obligation to honor the terms of the title IV-E adoption assistance agreement is not consistent with Federal requirements in sections 473(a)(1)(B)(ii) and 473(a)(3) of the Social Security Act. Once an agreement is signed, the State must obtain the concurrence of the adoptive parent if it wishes to make any changes in the payment amount with one exception. That exception is when there is an across-the-board reduction or increase in the foster care maintenance payment rate. In that circumstance, the State may adjust the adoption assistance payment without the adoptive parent's concurrence.