Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Some Adopting Parents Pressured to Sign Adoption Assistance Agreements Before Adoptive Placement

Adoptive parents have reported that some county agencies attempt to secure an adoption assistance agreement before completing the adoptive placement agreement. Federal and state law both provide that adoption assistance payment MAY begin on the date of placement, but there is no requirement that adoption assistance payments MUST begin on the date of placement. County agencies cannot legally compel adoption assistance agreement to be completed before adoptive placement.

Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) rule 5101:2-49-08 clarifies the requirement. In the case of children being adopted by their foster parents, the agency must " inform certified foster caregivers who are receiving foster care payments for the care of the child, of the option to continue the foster care payments until the adoption is finalized." The agency must convey this option to the foster parents " before the date on which the child is placed for adoption." See paragraph (D).

Paragraph (B) of the rules specifies "if a child is placed for adoption and all other eligibility requirements have been met, but the completion and signing of the AA agreement is delayed, the AA payment may begin on the date the child was placed for adoption, once the AA agreement is completed and signed by all parties." The primary reason for delay in both of the above examples is continuing negotiation of an adoption assistance agreement by the adopting parents and the agency.

Adopting parents being pressured by agencies to complete adoption assistance agreements should cite OAC rule 5101:2-49-08 and refuse to comply if they are not ready. You may contact with questions me if you wish.