2004 Jordan Institute
10, No. 1
Post-Adoption Support Efforts in North Carolina: An Overview
In July 2004 the NC Division of Social Services took an important step toward developing the infrastructure North Carolina needs to support its adoptive families. At that time it awarded a total of $1 million to four private providers to create a range of services that will make it easier for county departments of social services and others to support families in the years that follow the finalization of their adoptions. The funding for this effort comes from federal Title IV-B, subpart 2.
Grant recipients were Another Choice for Black Children, Children’s Home Society of NC, Martin County Community Action, and Mountain Youth Resources. Each agency received $100,000 for each region of the state for which it will be responsible.
The overall goal of this post-adoption support program is to help families find parenting solutions that work and to help them find quality services in their local community. Each of these agencies is committed to providing families and children with the best support services possible in order to ensure happy and successful adoptions.
When this project is fully implemented, adoption professionals and parents who have adopted children from foster care in North Carolina will have access to:
Presently these four providers are working to create regional consortiums that will foster strong partnerships with all professionals in the areas of the state they serve.
Adoption Cash Assistance Payments. For each child with special needs they adopt, North Carolina families receive monthly adoption assistance payments. The legislature increased these payments in SFY 2003 and SFY 2004. The current monthly rates are $390 for children age birth–5, $440 for children age 6–12, and $490 for children age 13–18.
Adoption Assistance Vendor Payments. North Carolina also provides the amount of $2,400 in vendor payments to help adoptive families meet medical and therapeutic needs not covered by Medicaid, and to support the educational and respite needs of children who qualify for such services.
NC’s Special Children’s Adoption Fund. Created by the legislature in 1997, this program makes payments to public and private adoption agencies for every child they place over and above an agency-specific baseline established by the NC Division of Social Services. Payments are as follows: $9,000 to agencies for children aged 0-12, $15,000 for children aged 13-18, and $15,000 per child for sibling groups of three of more.
Agencies are free to use this money for post-adoptive services. The “catch” with this program is that the money in the fund is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Thus, agencies that place more children for adoption earlier in the year may receive more money than other counties. Usually the fund is depleted by April or May each fiscal year. The amount allocated for the fund for SFY 04-05 is $3.1 million.
Federal Adoption Incentive Fund. Under this program, each state has an established benchmark—a set number of special needs adoptive placements it must make. Once it reaches this benchmark, the state receives adoption incentive bonuses for every additional child placed for adoption. States decide how best to use the money. North Carolina has received several payments from this fund recently. For several years this money was sent to agencies for the promotion and strengthening of the adoption program. In 2003 the money was used for a post-adoption conference. This year the money will be used to support the NC Foster Parents Association Conference to be held in April. (To learn more about these conferences, see the subhead "Education of Adoptive Parents" in the article Removing Barriers to Supportive Post-Adoption Services.)
According to the Division, the resource these agencies provide is under-utilized. To obtain addditional information about these provider agencies, contact the NCDSS’s Esther High (919/733-9464; Esther.High@ncmail.net).