Thursday, September 30, 2021

Negotiation Scenarios What Costs May Be Considered in Negotiating Adoption Assistance


Consistent with federal policy, the negotiation process challenges the parents and agency to come to a good faith agreement on the following overriding question.  Given the parent’s circumstances, along with the child’s ordinary and special needs, how much monthly supplemental support is sufficient to enable the successful incorporation of the child into a permanent, loving family?  Pretty wordy question, Dr. Know It All, but that is the mindset implied by the policy language.


Scenario 1:  Foster parents are in the process of adopting their special needs foster child, who is eligible for Title IV-E Adoption Assistance.  The child’s therapist agrees that soccer and a special summer camp, would provide positive therapeutic experiences.  The child’s teacher also recommends additional tutoring to help address the child’s learning problems.  None of the desired programs are publicly funded.  The adoptive mother quit her job in order to provide more extensive care for her child.  The parents propose a monthly adoption assistance payment that helps them cover the cost of the programs while still providing for the daily needs necessary for maintaining the child in a permanent family.  The parents' includes consideration of the adjustments necessitated by the adoptive mother's decision to quit her job and devote her time to caregiving. Is the parents' proposal consistent with federal and state policy?


Yes.  The parent’s circumstances are affected by the decision of the adoptive mother to quit her job.  The parents are proposing an adoption assistance agreement that will help them provide important services that address the child’s special needs, while enabling them to cover ordinary needs essential for providing a stable home.  Leaving employment outside the home to care for a special needs child is an important example of parent or family “circumstances.”  The parents are not requesting that adoption assistance cover any particular special or ordinary need.  Rather, they are asking that adoption assistance serve as a supplemental source of support that will enable them to provide for the child’s ordinary as well as special needs.