Adoption and Financial Assistance: Tools for Navigating the Bureaucracy

By Rita Laws; Tim O'Hanlon | Go to book overview

7
Adoption Assistance and the Crucial Adoption Assistance Contract

You take a number of small steps which you believe are right, thinking maybe tomorrow somebody will treat this as a dangerous provocation. And then you wait. If there is no reaction, you take another step: courage is only an accumulation of small steps.

-- George Konrád (b. 1933)


NEGOTIATING AN ADOPTION SUBSIDY CONTRACT

Once you or the agency have determined that your child qualifies as IV-E- eligible, it is time to negotiate. Title IV-E is very clear that all adoption assistance contracts should be negotiated, not just assigned. (See Chapter 1 and Part III for more information on IV-E eligibility and for the text of PL 96-272, Title IV-E.)

When it comes to adoption assistance negotiation, the old adage applies: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." You can avoid problems and possibly save a great deal of money by doing some advance homework on local policy and federal and state subsidy law.


A PARENTS RIGHTS MODEL?

This homework may not be as much of a challenge in the future as it is now. PL 96-272, signed in 1980, is not yet twenty years old. As important new federal legislation goes, it is a young law, barely a teenager, and nowhere near mature. For example, all states do not routinely inform parents about their rights under PL 96-272 even though this has been a mandate since the law's inception. But, overall, more states are doing a better job

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