If you have not already heard, last June, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) raised the state's Title IV-E financial participation rate (FFP) from a maximum of $240 per month to a maximum of $250 per month though June 30, 2011. (See Family, Children, and Adult Services Procedure Letter No. 195, June 18, 2010. Procedure Letter 196 announced the maximum state adoption maintenance subsidy would be $250 per month for the same period. June 30, 2011, marks the end of State Fiscal Year 2011.
The county agency must provide the non federal portion of any adoption assistance payment over $250. The non-federal financial participation rate for both the state and county remains at 31.66% until at least December 31, 2010. The federal financial participation rate is 68.34%.
Although, the increase in the state's FFP is modest to say the least, it appears that some county agencies have not gotten the word. Adoptive parents in need of an additional $10 per month, can request an amendment to their current adoption assistance agreements if they choose.
The state's FFP in Ohio is one of the lowest in the entire country. The opportunity of adoptive parents in Ohio to receive at all adequate Title IV-E adoption assistance payments for their special children rests entirely on their ability to negotiate agreements with county agencies based upon considerations of the overall needs of the child and the overall circumstances of the adoptive family. Federal and OAC rule 5101:2-49-01 support a negotiation process that considers:
the ordinary and special needs of the child projected over an extended period of
time and should cover anticipated needs, e.g., child care; AND
the adopting family's capacity to incorporate the child into their household in
relation to their lifestyle, standard of living and future plans, as well as
their overall capacity to meet the immediate and future needs (including
educational) of the child.
Ultimately, an adequate adoption assistance payment depends upon the adoptive parents' ability to secure an agreement with the county agency to contribute a certain level of matching funds (FFP) in secure a sufficient level of federal funding and bring the adoption assistance payment above $250 per month and closer to the child's appropriate foster home payment rate.
The Announcement of the state's FFP for Title IV-E adoption assistance rate may be found on the ODJFS web site. To find the foster care survey, go to the ODJFS web site at http://jfs.ohio.gov. Then, click on: Adoption, Site Index, eManuals, Family, Children and Adult Services Manual , FCASM Procedure Letters.