Adoption Assistance

To provide Federal Financial Participation (FFP) to states, Indian tribes, tribal organizations and tribal consortia (tribes) in adoption subsidy costs for the adoption of children with special needs who cannot be reunited with their families and who meet certain eligibility tests.

This assistance
is intended to prevent inappropriately long stays in foster care and to promote the healthy development of children through increased safety, permanency and well-being.

Agency - Department of Health and Human Services

The Department of Health and Human Services is the Federal government's principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially to those who are least able to help themselves.

Office - See Regional Agency Offices.

Contact the Regional Administrator, ACF, HHS in the appropriate Regional Office.

(See Appendix IV of the Catalog for a list of addresses of the Regional Offices.).

Selected Recipients for this Program

RecipientAmount Start DateEnd Date
Pascua Yaqui Tribe $ 79   2021-10-012022-09-30
Puerto Rico Department Of The Family $ 1,720,111   2021-10-012022-09-30
Salt River Pima-maricopa Indian Community Educational Se, The $ 100,282   2021-10-012022-09-30
Human Services, Pennsylvania Department Of $ 156,932,290   2021-10-012022-09-30
Human Services, Minnesota Department Of $ 66,011,365   2021-10-012022-09-30
Department Of Human Services Hawaii $ 16,231,809   2021-10-012022-09-30
Children And Families, Connecticut Department Of $ 53,696,135   2021-10-012022-09-30
Children & Family Services, New York Office Of $ 162,259,649   2021-10-012022-09-30
Children, Youth And Families, New Mexico Department Of $ 29,737,942   2021-10-012022-09-30
Children & Family Services, Illinois Department Of $ 92,595,925   2021-10-012022-09-30

Program Accomplishments

Fiscal Year 2016: 52 states (including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) and 6 tribes received grant awards. Fiscal Year 2017: It is anticipated that a total of 52 states (including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) and 6 tribes will receive grant awards. Fiscal Year 2018: It is anticipated that a total of 52 states (including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) and 6 tribes will receive grant awards.

Uses and Use Restrictions

All parents adopting special needs children are eligible for the nonrecurring cost of adoption up to $2,000.

Adoption assistance payments may be used only in support of the adoption of children who meet the definition of special needs and satisfy categorical eligibility criteria as specified in the statute.

A state or tribe may receive Federal Financial Participation (FFP) only if its title IV-E plan has been approved by the Secretary.

Funding is also available for administrative and training costs necessary to administer the program.

The program was amended through Public Law 113-183 effective October 1, 2014 to require title IV-E agencies to calculate and report annually the savings from the use of revised categorical eligibility requirements.

These savings must be calculated in accordance with the Department's specified method or an alternative method and then represent additional non-federal funding to be expended on title IV-B and title IV-E programs as specified in section 473(a)(8) of the Social Security Act (the Act).

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Funds are available to states (including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S.

Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa) and to tribes with approved title IV-E plans.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Eligible beneficiaries include certain children who are legally freed for adoption where an adoption assistance agreement has been entered into prior to the finalization of an adoption. These children must: (1) have been determined by the state or tribe to be special needs, e.g., a special factor or condition which makes it reasonable to conclude that they cannot be adopted without adoption assistance; a state or tribe determination that the child cannot or should not be returned home; and a reasonable effort has been made to place the child without providing financial or medical assistance and (2) meet one of the relevant statutory categorical eligibility criteria. These criteria differ during the phase-in period (federal fiscal years (FFYs) 2010 through 2017) based on the FFY in which the adoption assistance agreement was entered into and the child's circumstances at that time. See section 473 of the Act for additional details on program eligibility requirements. FFP is available from the time of placement for adoption in accordance with state, local or tribal law or final adoption decree to age 18 (21 if the state/tribe finds that a disability means aid should continue or where provided for in an adoption assistance agreement that was entered for a child that had attained at least 16 years of age before the agreement became effective) as long as the parent supports the child. No child adopted prior to the approval of the state or tribal title IV-E plan is eligible for FFP. No means test applies to adopting parents, but the amount of subsidy is agreed to by agency and parents and may be readjusted by joint agreement.


The state or tribe must submit an application for approval by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Costs will be determined in accordance with 45 CFR Part 75. 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles applies to this program.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Consultation to states and tribes is available from the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Regional Offices.

The standard application forms, as furnished by HHS, must be used for this program.

Environmental impact information is not required for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. Applications are made in the form of a title IV-E Plan, prepared in the format provided by the ACF Children's Bureau (CB). Title IV-E plans and amendments are submitted to the ACF Regional Child Welfare Program Manager for approval.

Award Procedures

Quarterly awards are made on the basis of estimated expenditures, which are later revised to include only actual allowable claimed expenditures. Next quarter estimates are due on July 30, October 30, January 30, and April 30 each year. Final decisions and awards are made by the Headquarters Office. Letter-of-credit is issued by the HHS Payment Management System (PMS).


Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.


Social Security Act, Title IV-E, Section 470 et seq; as amended.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

HHS will approve/disapprove applications (title IV-E plans or amendments to them) within 45 days of receipt by HHS.


Appeals are processed in accordance with HHS regulations in 45 CFR Part 16.


Awards remain effective without plan renewal but title IV-E plan may be amended as necessary.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Statutory Formula: Funding is provided on an open-ended basis in accordance with sec.474(a) of the Social Security Act. Formula Grant Funding Level: FFP for adoption assistance is equal to the applicable Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) rate as defined in section 1905(b) (sec. 479B(d) for tribes) of the Social Security Act (i.e., from 50% to 83%, depending on the state or tribe and the fiscal year) for adoption assistance payments, 75% for training costs, and 50% for other administrative costs. Matching Requirements: The non-Federal Share of program costs (difference between total cost and FFP) in each funding category constitutes the required match to be met by the title IV-E agency. Matching funds from state agencies must be appropriated monies raised from non-Federal revenue sources. Matching funds from tribal agencies must also be appropriated monies, but may at the option of the tribe include Federal funds specifically authorized by Federal statutes to be used as match for other Federal programs. Additionally, in accordance with 45 CFR 1356.68 for administration and training costs only, tribal matching funds may be included in-kind expenditures (or contributions) from allowable third party sources. This program does not have MOE requirements.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Federal financial participation is available to a State or Tribe operating under an approved title IV-E plan. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: Quarterly, through a letter of credit.

Post Assistance Requirements


Reports as required by the Secretary:.

Cash reports are not applicable.

Progress reports are not applicable.

A quarterly report of estimated expenditures, actual expenditures, and number of children assisted (Form CB-496) is required 30 days after the end of the quarter.

An annual adoption saving calculation and accounting report (Form CB-496 Part 4) is also required 30 days after the end of the fourth quarter of each FY.

Performance monitoring is not applicable.


In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503. Audits are conducted in accordance with the requirements in 45 CFR 75.


States and tribes must maintain all financial and programmatic records necessary for the proper and efficient operation of the program, including records of applications, determinations of eligibility, the utilization of awarded grants and other funds for the provision of financial assistance and allocated indirect and direct administrative and training costs in accordance with requirements in HHS regulations at 45 CFR 75 and written guidance from ACF.

Financial Information

Account Identification

75-1545-0-1-609 - ARRA grants: 75-1546-0-1-609.


(Formula Grants) FY 16 $2,539,323,468; FY 17 est $2,658,000,000; and FY 18 est $2,867,000,000

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

FY 2016: $362 t0 $477,744,896 with an average of $43,778,942.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

45 CFR 1355-1356.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

See Regional Agency Offices. Contact the Regional Administrator, ACF, HHS in the appropriate Regional Office. (See Appendix IV of the Catalog for a list of addresses of the Regional Offices.).

Headquarters Office

Eileen West 330 C Street SW, Room 3509B, Washington, District of Columbia 20201 Email: Phone: 202-205-8438

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Not Applicable.

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