The bill updates provisions of the state's adoption assistance program (adoption program) that provides cash subsidies and other noncash benefits to families who adopt children who, because of one or more special needs, might not otherwise be adopted. The department of human services (state department) administers the adoption program in conjunction with county departments of human or social services (county department). 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 special needs adoptions. As appropriate, the state department, a county department, or a nonprofit child placement agency is required to provide prospective adoptive families, at the time of application, with information on the various benefits available through the adoption program.
The bill outlines eligibility for the adoption program and the available benefits. Specific benefits for an adoption made through the adoption program are detailed in a written adoption assistance agreement (agreement) that addresses the unique needs of the eligible child or youth to be adopted. The terms of an agreement are negotiated between all parties involved. 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 child or youth being adopted. The agreement must be reviewed at least every 3 years, but may be reviewed sooner at the request of the adoptive parents.
The adoptive parents may appeal any decision made pursuant to the provisions of the adoption program with a hearing before an administrative law judge in accordance with the 'State Administrative Procedure Act'.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)