House Bill Revamps Adoption Incentive Payments; Includes New State Mandates
On October 22, 2013, the House approved the Promoting Adoption and Legal Guardianship for Children in Foster Care Act (H.R. 3205). The bill would reauthorize the Adoption Incentive program and Family Connection Grants through fiscal year (FY) 2016. Both programs expired on September 30, 2013. The bill modifies the formula for calculating adoption incentive payments. It also includes new state mandates related to the Title IV-E adoption assistance program. Specifically, it requires states to report on the amount and use of state savings in the Title IV-E adoption assistance program resulting from the phase-out of income eligibility requirements included in a 2008 child welfare law (P.L. 110-351), and would mandate that states spend at least 20% of those savings on post-adoption services.
The Senate has not yet considered a similar measure, although the Senate Finance Committee released a discussion draft of its bill, the Strengthening and Finding Families for Children Act of 2013, on September 30, 2013. Similar to the House bill, the Senate draft would restructure payments under the Adoption Incentive program, and require that states spend at least 40% of their adoption assistance savings on post-adoption and post-guardianship services and for services to support permanent outcomes for children who might otherwise enter foster care. The president also included a scaled-down reauthorization of the Adoption Incentive program and Family Connection Grants in his FY 2014 budget.