The Reauthorization of the Adoption Incentive Fund: Opportunities to Expand Reinvestment of State Funds into Child Welfare ServicesThis fall, Congress is likely to reauthorize the adoption incentives program, a federal fund that awards states annually if they succeed in increasing the number of children adopted from foster care. The original fund was created by the 1997 Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) as part of a more global strategy to push states to move some of the 560,000 children in foster care into permanent families. Since its creation it has been successfully reauthorized every five years with Congress generally adjusting the adoption targets to continue to encourage states to keep up their efforts at foster care adoptions.

Before leaving for the August break, a bipartisan group of members from the House Subcommittee on Human Resources of the House Ways and Means committee released a draft version of the reauthorization. The draft text proposes some changes to the formulas for rewarding states based on finalized adoptions. It also touches on the need for post adoption services and, perhaps most importantly, attempts to implement requirements passed in 2008 as part of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act (PL110-351) that requires states to reinvest the dollars states are saving as a result of the expanded federal funding that was a major piece of that law.

This SPARC brief examines some of the issues raised by the reauthorization and the draft proposal including the award levels, reinvestments of state savings and post-adoption services.