42 USC 673 - Adoption assistance program

(a) Agreements with adoptive parents of children with special needs; State payments; qualifying children; amount of payments; changes in circumstances; placement period prior to adoption; nonrecurring adoption expenses 

(1) 
(A) Each State having a plan approved under this part shall enter into adoption assistance agreements (as defined in section 675 (3) of this title) with the adoptive parents of children with special needs.
(B) Under any adoption assistance agreement entered into by a State with parents who adopt a child with special needs, the State

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(i) shall make payments of nonrecurring adoption expenses incurred by or on behalf of such parents in connection with the adoption of such child, directly through the State agency or through another public or nonprofit private agency, in amounts determined under paragraph (3), and
(ii) in any case where the child meets the requirements of paragraph (2), may make adoption assistance payments to such parents, directly through the State agency or through another public or nonprofit private agency, in amounts so determined.
(2) 
(A) For purposes of paragraph (1)(B)(ii), a child meets the requirements of this paragraph if the child
(i) 
(I) 
(aa) was removed from the home of a relative specified in section 606 (a) of this title (as in effect on July 16, 1996) and placed in foster care in accordance with a voluntary placement agreement with respect to which Federal payments are provided under section 674 of this title (or section 603 of this title, as such section was in effect on July 16, 1996), or in accordance with a judicial determination to the effect that continuation in the home would be contrary to the welfare of the child; and
(bb) met the requirements of section 672 (a)(3) of this title with respect to the home referred to in item (aa) of this subclause;
(II) meets all of the requirements of subchapter XVI with respect to eligibility for supplemental security income benefits; or
(III) is a child whose costs in a foster family home or child-care institution are covered by the foster care maintenance payments being made with respect to the minor parent of the child as provided in section 675 (4)(B) of this title; and

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(ii) has been determined by the State, pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, to be a child with special needs.
(B) Section 672 (a)(4) of this title shall apply for purposes of subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, in any case in which the child is an alien described in such section.
(C) A child shall be treated as meeting the requirements of this paragraph for the purpose of paragraph (1)(B)(ii) if the child
(i) meets the requirements of subparagraph (A)(ii);
(ii) was determined eligible for adoption assistance payments under this part with respect to a prior adoption;
(iii) is available for adoption because
(I) the prior adoption has been dissolved, and the parental rights of the adoptive parents have been terminated; or
(II) the childs adoptive parents have died; and
(iv) fails to meet the requirements of subparagraph (A) but would meet such requirements if
(I) the child were treated as if the child were in the same financial and other circumstances the child was in the last time the child was determined eligible for adoption assistance payments under this part; and
(II) the prior adoption were treated as never having occurred.
(3) The amount of the payments to be made in any case under clauses (i) and (ii) of paragraph (1)(B) shall be determined through agreement between the adoptive parents and the State or local agency administering the program under this section, which shall take into consideration the circumstances of the adopting parents and the needs of the child being adopted, and may be readjusted periodically, with the concurrence of the adopting parents (which may be specified in the adoption assistance agreement), depending upon changes in such circumstances. However, in no case may the amount of the adoption assistance payment made under clause (ii) of paragraph (1)(B) exceed the foster care maintenance payment which would have been paid during the period if the child with respect to whom the adoption assistance payment is made had been in a foster family home.
(4) Notwithstanding the preceding paragraph,
(A)  no payment may be made to parents with respect to any child who has attained the age of eighteen (or, where the State determines that the child has a mental or physical handicap which warrants the continuation of assistance, the age of twenty-one), and
(B)  no payment may be made to parents with respect to any child if the State determines that the parents are no longer legally responsible for the support of the child or if the State determines that the child is no longer receiving any support from such parents. Parents who have been receiving adoption assistance payments under this section shall keep the State or local agency administering the program under this section informed of circumstances which would, pursuant to this subsection, make them ineligible for such assistance payments, or eligible for assistance payments in a different amount.
(5) For purposes of this part, individuals with whom a child (who has been determined by the State, pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, to be a child with special needs) is placed for adoption in accordance with applicable State and local law shall be eligible for such payments, during the period of the placement, on the same terms and subject to the same conditions as if such individuals had adopted such child.
(6) 
(A) For purposes of paragraph (1)(B)(i), the term nonrecurring adoption expenses means reasonable and necessary adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, and other expenses which are directly related to the legal adoption of a child with special needs and which are not incurred in violation of State or Federal law.
(B) A States payment of nonrecurring adoption expenses under an adoption assistance agreement shall be treated as an expenditure made for the proper and efficient administration of the State plan for purposes of section 674 (a)(3)(E) of this title.
(b) Aid for dependent children; assistance for minor children in needy families 

(1) For purposes of subchapter XIX of this chapter, any child who is described in paragraph (3) is deemed to be a dependent child as defined in section 606 of this title (as in effect as of July 16, 1996) and deemed to be a recipient of aid to families with dependent children under part A of this subchapter (as so in effect) in the State where such child resides.
(2) For purposes of subchapter XX of this chapter, any child who is described in paragraph (3) is deemed to be a minor child in a needy family under a State program funded under part A of this subchapter and deemed to be a recipient of assistance under such part.
(3) A child described in this paragraph is any child
(A) 
(i) who is a child described in subsection (a)(2) of this section, and
(ii) with respect to whom an adoption assistance agreement is in effect under this section (whether or not adoption assistance payments are provided under the agreement or are being made under this section), including any such child who has been placed for adoption in accordance with applicable State and local law (whether or not an interlocutory or other judicial decree of adoption has been issued), or
(B) with respect to whom foster care maintenance payments are being made under section 672 of this title.
(4) For purposes of paragraphs (1) and (2), a child whose costs in a foster family home or child-care institution are covered by the foster care maintenance payments being made with respect to the childs minor parent, as provided in section 675 (4)(B) of this title, shall be considered a child with respect to whom foster care maintenance payments are being made under section 672 of this title.
(c) Children with special needs 
For purposes of this section, a child shall not be considered a child with special needs unless
(1) the State has determined that the child cannot or should not be returned to the home of his parents; and
(2) the State had first determined
(A)  that there exists with respect to the child a specific factor or condition (such as his ethnic background, age, or membership in a minority or sibling group, or the presence of factors such as medical conditions or physical, mental, or emotional handicaps) because of which it is reasonable to conclude that such child cannot be placed with adoptive parents without providing adoption assistance under this section or medical assistance under subchapter XIX of this chapter, and
(B)  that, except where it would be against the best interests of 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 under this section or medical assistance under subchapter XIX of this chapter.