Read between the lines. Clinton signed in 1997 the 'Family Safety Act' which gave incentive for DCF to remove children from loving homes where there is NO ABUSE! Power and greed are the motivators for DCF to STEAL children based on lies and deception. Corruption is a reality that exists within a system that was meant to protect children from ABUSE! Yet DCF are the very ones inflicting trauma and abuse to our children and destroying families across America!
Adoption Subsidies Are Unchecked for Fraud
By David J. Lansner and Carolyn A. Kubitschek – July 9, 2012
In 2010, the federal government paid $2,501,000,000 to states under the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act. Hundreds of millions of dollars of that money may have been fraudulently collected by adoptive parents who no longer support their adoptive children, made possible because the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has prohibited the states from even investigating the fraud. States have lost an equal amount of money.
The U.S. government has long provided funds to states to operate foster-care programs, initially under the federal Aid to Families with Dependent Children program (AFDC). Like Aid to Dependent Children (ADC), the foster care program provided a monthly stipend for each eligible foster child. Like ADC, the money was paid to the adult caretaker (the foster parent) for the support and benefit of the child. As soon as a child left foster care, the monthly payment ended, whether the child left foster care to be reunited with his or her parents or to be adopted by new parents.
An unintended consequence of the program was that it discouraged adoptions by foster parents. As soon as a foster parent adopted his or her foster child, the foster-care maintenance payments stopped. Many foster parents were of modest financial means and could not afford to support children without the foster-care maintenance payments. In addition, many foster children required a large amount of support because of their special health, behavioral, or other problems. Accordingly, many children who had no hope of ever returning to their parents simply languished in foster care because the foster parents who loved them could not afford to adopt them and lose the foster-care payments, and no other adults were willing to adopt children who had so many problems.
In 1980, Congress enacted the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act, which, among its many provisions, created a statutory scheme to encourage people to adopt children with special needs who were in the states’ foster-care program by providing subsidies for the adoptive parents. The explicit purpose of the adoption assistance program, as articulated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Children’s Bureau, is to “remove barriers and contribute to an increase in adoption of children with special needs.” The statute implements its purpose by providing matching federal funds to state programs. The matching federal funds are contingent on a state “plan approved by the Secretary” of HHS, with the requirement that the state “administer, or supervise the administration of, the program.” 42 U.S.C. § 671(a)(2); see Administration for Children’s Families (ACF), HHS, Programs and Funding: Title IV-E Adoption Assistance.
The statute authorizes adoptive parents in participating states to receive reimbursement for one-time, nonrecurring adoption expenses and for monthly maintenance payments for the ongoing expenses associated with caring for the children. The amount of the monthly adoption subsidy payment for a child is determined by an agreement between the prospective adoptive parent and the state. It states that the amount may be readjusted periodically, “with the concurrence of the adopting parents,” but may never be greater than the amount that the child would receive if he or she had remained in foster care. 42 U.S.C. § 673(a)(3).
The agreement between the adopting parent and the state is a “written agreement, binding on the parties to the agreement” that “specifies the nature and amount of any payments, services, and assistance to be provided under such agreement.” 42 U.S.C. § 675(3)(A).
A 2008 study conducted by the National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning found that maintenance payments are around $400 to $900 per month. The average base amount nationwide is about $350 a month. The federal government generally reimburses the states for 50 percent of the payments, although in some cases it pays a larger percentage. In 2010, according to tables released by the Administration for Children and Families, the federal government paid $2,501,000,000 to states for adoption assistance, including one-time reimbursements and monthly maintenance payments. Thus, states probably paid about $2 billion of their own money in adoption assistance payments.
Federal statutes 42 U.S.C. § 673 and 42 U.S.C. § 675 mandate that states terminate adoption assistance payments when any one of three events takes place:
- The child ages out of the program by turning 18, if healthy—although states may, at their option, extend the program adoption assistance program to age 19, 20, or 21—or 21 if handicapped;
- The state determines that the adoptive parent is no longer legally responsible for supporting the child; or
- The state determines that the adoptive parent is no longer actually supporting the child.
Adoptive Parents’ Failure to Support Their Children
While there may be many reasons that a parent is no longer supporting his or her adopted child under the age of 18, the most common scenario is that the child has stopped living with the parent. That may be the result of a divorce in which the state makes adoption assistance payments to one parent while the other parent has custody. More common are the cases where the child has left the home. Many children adopted from foster care run away from their adoptive parents or are forced out by them. The children may be put with another adult, return to their birth parents, return to foster care, live on the streets, or be incarcerated.
Because ACF guidance to states allows little room for states to monitor adoption assistance recipients’ eligibility, there is no data on the total number of children who prematurely leave the homes of parents receiving adoption assistance. Available data suggest that the number of adopted children who do not live with their adoptive parents until they turn 18 is significant. Nina Williams-Mbengue, program director at the National Conference of State Legislatures, found that 10–25 percent of pre-adoptive placements disrupt before adoption proceedings are finalized, and 10–15 percent of adoptions dissolve after they are finalized. Some practitioners believe that the numbers are much higher. That substantial fraction should not be surprising; children adopted out of foster care tend to have serious emotional and physical scars from their “frequent displacement, exposure to drugs and alcohol from birth and at other points in their lives and other forms of abuse.” Nina Williams-Mbengue, Moving Children Out of Foster Care, The Legislative Role in Finding Permanent Homes for Children [PDF].
Some adoptive parents find raising such children too difficult and voluntarily surrender those children. In other cases, the children run away, either because they want to live without restrictions or because of abuse in the adoptive home. Indeed, some states, such as Wisconsin, even define categories of “hard to place children” who are eligible for adoption assistance, in part, by their tendency to run away. A child who is moderately difficult to care for may “run away four to seven times a year and three or four days at a time,” while a child who requires intensive care may “run away for long periods of time (eight or more times a year and five or more days at a time.)” North American Counsel on Adoptable Children,Wisconsin State Subsidy Profile, Question 4.
Diane Riggs of the North American Council on Adoptable Children has pointed out that pressure on states to increase adoption rates may in fact be leading to an increase in the number of adoptions that fail as states encourage adoptions by foster parents who are not actually capable of meeting the children’s needs. Diane Riggs, Plan, Prepare, and Support to Prevent Disruptions. In the 1990s, disruption rates after adoption “for children with physical, mental health and developmental problems, range from approximately 10% to approximately 25%.” (Sheena Macrae, Ed., Disruption & Dissolution: Unspoken Losses [PDF]. For an extensive discussion on subsidized adoption failures, see Dawn J. Post and Brian Zimmerman, “The Revolving Doors of Family Court: Confronting Broken Adoptions.” 40 Cap. U. L. Rev. 437 (2012).