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Funding Principles

Increase Exits from Foster Care to Permanence through Adoption

Funding Principles

How Can States Invest in Safe Exits from Foster Care to Adoption?   

The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoption Opportunities Act of 2008 will help states with one of the major financial hurdles to adoption from foster care by making all children federally eligible for Title IV-E adoption assistance by the year 2018.  As long as adoption subsidies are adequate for parents to meet the needs of children in foster care, adoption success can continue.  Virginia recently included increases to foster care and adoption assistance subsidies in its 2009-2010 budget to respond to concerns about the adequacy of the existing payment. [i] Connecticut increased adoption assistance rates so that children could receive subsidies that are equal to what they received in foster care. [ii]   

The following funding sources can also help states make forward progress on timeliness to adoption:

  • The Adoption Incentives Program.   This program offers a fiscal incentive to states that increase adoptions from previous years, particularly adoptions of special needs children and older youth.  Since 1998, approximately 444,000 children have been adopted from foster care and states have received a total of $222 million for increased adoptions that they can reinvest back into the child welfare system. Policymakers can help states target incentive dollars received back into efforts to achieve timeliness to adoption.  California legislation requires that any adoption incentive payments under ASFA be reinvested to provide increased post-adoption services to families. [iii]    
  • Title IV-E training.  New federal legislation allows states to use Title IV-E to support training for private agency staff.  This funding source is now available to private adoption agencies to train adoption workers and adoptive parents.  Virginia recognized the importance of training to increasing permanency through adoption by dedicating $790,000 in the 2009-2010 budget for training of foster care and adoption staff. [iv] 
  • Private funding.   Wendy’s Wonderful Kids is an example of a private sector partnership that is having significant adoption success.  The Dave Thomas Foundation operates the program, which places adoption recruiters in states to help public agencies find adoptive families for children in foster care.  To date, the program has resulted in 763 adoptions and has a goal of 8,000-10,000 adoptions by 2010.    The Freddie Mac Foundation has teamed up with the Governor and First Lady of Virginia by investing $1 million in their For Keeps Initiative . The Initiative is designed to promote permanent homes for children in foster care.

[ii] 2005Conn. Acts, HB6940, P.A. 05-251