Friday, August 29, 2014

Introduction: Eligibility for Adoption Assistance in Ohio

NEXT: Basic Eligibility Requirements

On July 1, 2014, amendments to Ohio's Title IV-E adoption assistance program went into effect.  Given that IV-E adoption assistance is a federal program, most provisions of the program remain the same.  The most far reaching and problematic is a is a provision which would establishes a statewide maximum adoption assistance payment.  According to an ODJFS staff member,  a preliminary estimate of  the statewide adoption assistance maximum is $1,045  per month.  As we will see, county agencies may ask for a waiver to increase the amount of adoption assistance in cases where the child's foster home payment rate exceeds the statewide maximum adoption assistance payment.

NOTE: Recently, a county agency agreed to ask for a waiver in the case of adoption assistance for a high needs child. As a result, the adoption assistance agreement called for a monthly payment of over $1,400 per month.  If your child's foster care payment rate is over the statewide adoption assistance maximum request a waiver.

The official maximum adoption assistance rate for the state fiscal year beginning July 1, 2014 was published on June 26, 2014 in FCASPL 262 (Monthly Adoption Assistance Statewide Maximum).  One can find that Procedure Letter by: Googling Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.  Click on M under Index of Services.  Click on Manuals. Click on Family Children and Adult Services Manual. Click on Management and Administration.  Click on FCASM Procedure Letters.  We will discuss this provision in some detail in when we address the procedures for negotiating the amount of adoption assistance.  

The following series of blogs will explore the federal Title IV-E adoption assistance program as it exists today.  We will begin with eligibility issues, then proceed to consider the current policy on negotiating adoption assistance agreements in light of the imposition of a statewide maximum adoption assistance payment.  Finally, we will consider other pertinent topics such as appeal and hearings and applying for adoption assistance after finalization.  

The Eligibility Section will include: 

Part 1: Basic Eligibility Requirements
Part 2: SSI, An Alternative Road to Adoption Assistance
Part 3:  Substantial Risk as a Special Needs Requirement
Part 4:  Reasonable Attempt to Place Without Adoption Assistance as a Special Needs Requirement
Part 5: Practical Advice and Questions
Part 6: More Practical Advice and Questions
Part 7: Barriers to obtaining adoption assistance when relatives, foster parents or prospective adoptive parents assume custody of the child.

Each topical section will contain discussions of practical issues and questions. We urge readers to contact us with questions of their own. Readers are invited to pose questions on the Blog Site or send them to Tim O'Hanlon at  

We hope to follow the blogs with statewide webinars.  The larger purposes of this project is to build a better informed statewide network of adoptive and foster families who contemplate adoption.  Once we establish an audience we may ask you for specific information about foster care and adoption assistance payment rates in your county as well as characteristic issues and problems.