Friday, August 29, 2014

Eligibility Part 4 Reasonable Attempt to Place Without Adoption Assistance as a Special Needs Requirement Title IV-E Adoption Assistance in Ohio

NOTE: Coming Monday, Eligibility: Part 5  Practical Advice and Question

Part 3 of the federal and state special needs definition reads:

Except where it would be against the best interest of the child to place the child because of such factors as the existence of significant emotional ties with prospective adoptive parents while in the care of such parents as a foster child, a reasonable but unsuccessful, effort has been made to place the child with appropriate adoptive parents without providing adoption assistance. . . ."

In the past this requirement has been misinterpreted and caused problems for adoptive families, but under current federal and state policies, it should not pose much of a problem.  The ODJFS training county agencies on the revised rules, reiterated current standards by quoting from Section 8.2B.11  of the federal Child Welfare Policy Manual. 

In an effort to find an appropriate adoptive home for a child, and meet the requirement that a reasonable, but unsuccessful, effort be made to place the child without adoption assistance,  it is not necessary for the agency to "shop" for a family while the child remains in foster care.
Once the agency has determined that placement with a certain family is in the child's best interest, the agency should make full disclosure about the child's background, as well as known or potential problems.
The agency can pose the question of whether the prospective adoptive parents are willing to adopt without assistance. If they say they cannot adopt the child without adoption assistance, the requirement in section 473 (c)(2)(B) for a reasonable, but unsuccessful, effort to place the child without providing adoption assistance will be met.
Important Practical Tip: The question ask parents whether given what they know about the child's background and their family circumstances, would it be "against the child's best interest" to be placed  for adoption without adoption assistance?   The obvious answer in nearly every case is "yes," it would be against the child's best interest.   

Adopting parents, therefore should have no qualms about stating that they cannot adopt without adoption assistance.  The question of whether the parents can adopt the child without adoption assistance is not to be taken literally.  Of course they can adopt the child without assistance and would probably choose the child over the adoption assistance if that were the only option.   

If a parent has any qualms about saying they cannot adopt without adoption assistance., they can write or say something like: "Given _________'s needs and or family circumstances we cannot adopt her without adoption assistance because it would clearly be contrary to her best interest."

Other examples in which it would be contrary to the child's best interest to be placed without adoption assistance include:
  • The existence of emotional ties with the prospective adoptive parent(s) while the child was in the care of the foster parent(s) as a foster child.
  • The prospective adoptive parent(s) is a relative.
  • The child is being adopted by an adoptive parent(s) of the child's sibling(s).  (See OAC rule 5101:2-49-03).