Child Welfare Policy Manual

August 29, 2014

8.2A.1  TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Agreements, Interstate placements

1. Question: Which State is responsible for entering into an adoption assistance agreement in interstate adoptions?

Answer: If the State agency has responsibility for placement and care of a child, that State is responsible for entering into the adoption assistance agreement and paying the title IV-E adoption subsidy, even if the child is placed in an adoptive home in another State. If the State agency does not have responsibility for placement and care, it is the adoptive parents' State of residence where the adoption assistance application should be made. In that event, the public child welfare agency in the adoptive parents' State of residence is responsible for determining whether the child meets the definition of special needs, entering into the adoption assistance agreement and paying the subsidy, consistent with the way public benefits are paid in other programs.

2. Question: What happens if a family moves to a different State while the adoption assistance agreement is still in effect?

Answer: Section 475 (3)(B) of the Social Security Act requires that any adoption assistance agreement, effective on or after October 1, 1983, stipulate that the agreement ...shall remain in effect regardless of the State of which the adoptive parents are residents at any given time. The agreement shall contain provisions for the protection (under an interstate compact approved by the Secretary or otherwise) of the interests of the child in cases where the adoptive parents and child move to another State while the agreement is effective.

States which enter into adoption assistance agreements must take measures to assure that the terms of the agreements are met. Either directly, or through agreements with other States, services and medical care (children eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance payments are deemed eligible for title XIX (Medicaid) regardless of their residence within the nation) agreed upon between the State and parents must be provided (45 CFR 1356.40(e)).

The responsibility of the State to honor its commitments for title XIX and other services as specified in the adoption agreement, is based on the State's agreement to administer title IV-E. The authority for the State to enter into agreements and contracts with other States to honor commitments made in adoption assistance agreements is based on the State's statute or administrative procedures.

3. Question: When the State agency enters into an adoption assistance agreement with a family from another State, which State's rate structure applies as the limit for the adoption assistance payment?

Answer: In situations where a child is placed by the State agency in one State with an adoptive family in another State, it is the placing State that would look at its own established foster care rate structure, as well as State law and policy governing its foster care and adoption assistance payments, to determine the amount of assistance available on behalf of the child. If the placing and paying State's law or policy allows flexibility to pay amounts based upon the foster care board rate in the State in which the child is placed for adoption, this practice would be allowable under title IV-E since the statutory requirement in section 473 (a)(3) of the Act would be met.

  • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-01-01 (1/23/01)
  • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 473 (a)(3)
4. Question: Please explain the responsibilities of States that have entered into interstate adoptions when the adoptive parents die or the adoption is dissolved.

Answer: If a title IV-E adoption dissolves or the adoptive parents die and the child is placed with a State agency that assumes responsibility for placement and care, it is the placing State's responsibility to determine whether the child meets the definition of special needs, and pay the subsidy in a subsequent adoption. If, however, a public child welfare agency is not involved in the subsequent adoptive placement of a child, it is the public child welfare agency in the subsequent adoptive parents' State of residence that is responsible for determining whether the child meets the definition of special needs, entering into the adoption assistance agreement, and paying the subsidy. The State of the child's initial adoption or the State that pays the title IV-E adoption assistance in the child's initial adoption is irrelevant in a subsequent adoption.

  • Source/Date: ACYF-CB-PA-01-01 (1/23/01)
  • Legal and Related References: Social Security Act - section 473