Subsidies change incentives for adoption of foster children: study

Sep 07, 2012

The structure of a federal program that provides monthly subsidies to promote the adoptions of special needs children in foster care may actually be delaying some adoptions, according to a new study by University of Notre Dame economist Kasey Buckles.

The Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act (AACWA), passed in 1980, provides an average of $670 per month for foster parents of special needs children, while of special needs children receive an average of $571 per month. "Special needs" refers to foster children who may be harder to place in permanent adoptive homes because of age, race, or mental or .

Forthcoming in the , Buckles' study shows that the number of adoptions increases when children become eligible for an adoption subsidy, and most of the increase is from adoptions by foster parents. However, the age of subsidy eligibility for children varies by state since states can choose how they define a special needs child. As a result, children in some states become subsidy eligible at age 2, while others are not eligible until age 12.

"A foster parent who adopts a child who is not yet eligible for the adoption subsidy forfeits $670 per month, on average. This creates an incentive for foster parents to wait until their foster child is eligible by age to formally adopt."

The vast majority of foster children come from , and formalized adoption can have an emotionally stabilizing effect on these children.

"If the who are waiting to adopt could be granted an adoption subsidy sooner, the child could be moved into a stable adoptive relationship more quickly. This would have the added benefit of saving money, since adoption subsidies are always less than what the state spends to support a child in foster care."

Explore further: Less privileged kids shine at university, according to study

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

More support needed for families adopting from foster care

May 14, 2009

A new University of Illinois study of families adopting from foster care revealed significant declines in professional services and social support over the first three years of adoptive family life, even though parents indicated ...

Vulnerable children fare well with relatives

Jan 21, 2009

Placing vulnerable children with relatives is a viable option, a new study by Cochrane Researchers suggests. In view of several recent high profile child abuse cases, the study may have important policy implications.

Adoption: Every child deserves a home

Nov 23, 2009

Finding a permanent home for children and youth who are in the care of welfare agencies should be a priority for all Canadians, write Laura Eggertson, Dr. Noni MacDonald, Cindy Baldassi and Dr. Paul Hébert in an editorial ...

Recommended for you

Why are UK teenagers skipping school?

Dec 18, 2014

Analysis of the results of a large-scale survey reveals the extent of truancy in English secondary schools and sheds light on the mental health of the country's teens.

Fewer lectures, more group work

Dec 18, 2014

Professor Cees van der Vleuten from Maastricht University is a Visiting Professor at Wits University who believes that learning should be student centred.

How to teach all students to think critically

Dec 18, 2014

All first year students at the University of Technology Sydney could soon be required to take a compulsory maths course in an attempt to give them some numerical thinking skills. ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

rwinners
not rated yet Sep 09, 2012
I'd feel much more comfortable with this article if it had come out of a secular college.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.