Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ohio Ranks Near the Top in Providing Access to Adoption Assistance

Historically, Ohio has ranked high among the states in the percentage of special needs adopted children that were eligible for federal Title IV-E adoption assistance. In a 2008 study, The Value of Adoption Subsidies the North American Council on Adoptable Children found that Ohio ranked third highest in 2005.

States with Highest and Lowest Percentages of Adoptions of Children Receiving Federally Supported Subsidies (2005)

Highest Percentages
New Hampshire 96.0%
Kentucky 95.9%
Ohio 95.5%
Washington 87.0%
New Jersey 84.4%
New Mexico 84.4%
Mississippi 83.5%
Idaho 81.9%
New York 81.0%
Missouri 78.4%
California 77.9%
Nevada 77.2%
Arizona 77.1%
Oregon 76.6%
Lowest Percentages

District of Columbia *9.4%
Puerto Rico 19.8%
West Virginia 20.9%
Delaware 24.4%
Alabama 35.2%
Massachusetts 35.3%
Georgia 39.8%
Nebraska 45.2%
North Dakota 45.4%
Iowa 47.4%
Wyoming 49.2%
Rhode Island 49.3%
Connecticut 49.9%

*Source AFCARS data. The Washington, D.C. Department of Child and Family Services Agency reports a penetration rate for 2005 of 68 percent. The discrepancy is due, at least in part, to IV-E determinations being completed after data is submitted to AFCARS.

Ohio’s record of inclusiveness represents years of education and advocacy and indicates the state has taken to heart the federal mandate to “actively promote the adoption assistance program” found in the Code of Federal Regulations at Sec. 1356.40 (f). During an era, when some states have limited access to adoption assistance, Ohio can justifiably be proud of this achievement. See table below

Ten States with the Greatest Percentage Decrease of Children Receiving Federally Supported Adoption Subsidies (2000–2005)
State Decline
District of Columbia 39.8%
Delaware 34.8%
West Virginia 28.8%
Colorado 24.7%
Vermont 19.6%
Alaska 19.5%
Arkansas 15.4%
Maine 14.9%
Michigan 14.9%
Minnesota 13.5%

Source: The Value of Adoption Subsidies: Helping Children Find Permanent Families
North American Council on Adoptable Children, May 2008

The Value of Adoption Subsidies and Ending The Foster Care Life Sentence, a 2006 study by Children’s Rights of New York both validate Ohio’s policy by showing the crucial role played by adoption assistance in helping parents incorporate special needs foster children into permanent families. In a time of tight budgets and rule revisions, Ohio should resist any temptations to tighten access to IV-E adoption assistance in pursuit of short term savings. To do so would sully an impressive history of support for the best interests of special needs children and work against the state’s overriding goal of securing permanent homes for abused and neglect children.