Child Welfare Policy Manual

December 03, 2016

8.2B.5  TITLE IV-E, Adoption Assistance Program, Independent Adoptions

1. Question: Is a child who is the subject of an independent adoption eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance if the child is not an "applicable child"?

(Updated 09/13/2016)

Answer: We consider an independent adoption one in which the child is not under the responsibility of a public or private adoption agency. It is highly improbable that a child who is adopted through an independent adoption will be eligible for title IV-E adoption assistance if the child is not an "applicable child" since many of these children are voluntarily relinquished at birth directly to an adoptive family. Children who are voluntarily relinquished are eligible only in certain limited circumstances and only when they are relinquished to the State child welfare agency or another public agency (including Tribes) with which the State agency has a title IV-E agreement. The only exceptions are: (1) a child who meets the eligibility criteria for Supplemental Security Income, and (2) a child in a subsequent adoption, under specific circumstances, if s/he received title IV-E adoption assistance in a previous adoption. If the State determines that such child is a child with special needs, consistent with section 473(c) of the Act, the State may not apply any further requirements or restrictions to the child's eligibility for title IV-E adoption assistance.