The bill repeals and reenacts, with amendments, provisions of the state's adoption assistance program (adoption program) that provides cash subsidies and other noncash benefits to families who adopt eligible children and youth who might not otherwise be adopted, in order to update the adoption program. The department of human services (state department) supervises the administration of the adoption program by county departments of human or social services (county departments).
The bill outlines eligibility for the adoption program and the available benefits. Determination of the type and amount of benefits to be provided through the adoption program must take into consideration the circumstances of the adopting family and the needs of the eligible child or youth being adopted. Specific benefits for an adoption made through the adoption program are detailed in a written adoption assistance agreement (agreement). The terms of an agreement are negotiated among all parties involved. The agreement must be reviewed at least every 3 years but may be reviewed sooner at the request of the adoptive parents or the county department.
The adoptive parents may appeal any decision made pursuant to the provisions of the adoption program with a hearing before an administrative law judge.
The bill outlines the conditions under which adoption program subsidies may be suspended or terminated and under which the agreement may be terminated.
The state department is required to keep data on the adoption program to help evaluate the adoption program's ongoing effectiveness in providing stability to families involved in the adoption of eligible children and youth. As appropriate, the state department, a county department, or a nonprofit child placement agency is required to provide prospective adoptive families, at the time the family is matched, with information on the various benefits available through the adoption program.
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)