State Legislation to Provide Adoption and Post-Adoption Supports, Subsidies and Tax Credits 2005-2013

Nina Williams-Mbengue 2/5/2014

The chart below reflects state legislation to provide adoption and post-adoption supports, subsidies and tax credits. The legislation includes expanding and increasing adoption payments and subsidies; increasing adoption tax credits; creating sliding-scale fees for adoptions, based on the income of the prospective adoptive parent; extending adoption assistance; expanding the eligibility of children for post-adoption assistance and support; and, requiring departments of child welfare to provide information on adoption tax credits to adoptive parents (now a federal requirement).

You can also view State Legislation to Expedite and Streamline the Adoption Process 2008 - 2013 chart. Recent state legislation to expedite and streamline the adoption process includes eliminating certain requirements such as: home study requirements for relatives adopting children; foster care licensure for prospective adoptive parents and, requirements that an adoptee live in adoptive home for specified time periods. 

Legislation to Provide Adoption and Post-Adoption Supports, Subsidies and Tax Credits 2005-2013







2013 Louisiana SB 220 Chapter 66


Provides for the Louisiana Has Faith in Families Act, relates to incentives for foster children who are in the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services to be placed with adoptive parents once the biological rights of the parents have been terminated, provides for subsidies and educational assistance, provides for special needs children, relates to the Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance.


Educational Assistance

2013 Mississippi SB 2833 Chapter 449

Authorizes the income tax credit for the amount of qualified adoption expenses paid or incurred by a taxpayer to be allowed in the same taxable year for a child for which an exemption is claimed.

Income Tax Credit

2013 Maine HB 761 Chapter 411

Prohibits the Department of Health and Human Services from reducing its adoption assistance payments to adoptive parents once an adoption assistance payment is agreed upon and the agreement signed by the prospective adoptive parents.

Subsidy/Adoption Assistance Payment




2012 KY HB 224 Acts Chapter  7

Establishes the Kentucky National Guard Adoption Assistance Program, allows money in the military family assistance trust fund to be used for the Kentucky National Guard Adoption Assistance Program.

Adoption Assistance Payment

2012 NE L 1062 Enacted


Changes provisions relating to adoption assistance, requires a written agreement designating a guardian for the child in case of the death of the adoptive parent or parents, provides that adoption assistance ceases upon the death of adoption parents or placement of the child with the Department of Health and Human Services or a child placement agency, provides an assistance exception for assignment to a guardian or conservator.

Subsidy/Adoption Assistance

2012 WA H 2657 Chaptered


Revises provisions affecting adoption support expenditures, provides a minimum adoption support payment, establishes a central unit of adoption support negotiators, requires renegotiation of contracts to a lower payment if fiscally feasible, convenes a workgroup on children's mental health, requires a report.

Subsidy/Adoption Assistance Payment




2011 Ala. Acts, HB 297, Act 557


Determines that adoption subsidy agreements and payments end when specific events occur, including when the child reaches age 18, the child’s adoption is terminated, or the child no longer is receiving support from the adoptive parents. The law further establishes that adoption subsidy payments shall continue for children between the ages of 18 and 21 who were adopted after age 16 if specific criteria are met, including that the child is enrolled or completing an education in a program; the child has a physical disability or a mental disability and is in need of continued support; or the child is incapable of participating in school, a training program or employment because of a medical condition.

Subsidy/Adoption Assistance Payment

2011 Or. Laws, HB 2052, Chap. 141

Stipulates that adoption subsidy payments may include, but are not limited to, the maintenance costs, medical and surgical expenses, and other costs incidental to the care, training and education of the child. Such payments may not exceed the cost of providing comparable assistance in foster care and shall not be made after the adoptive child reaches age 18. Qualification for payments shall be determined and approved by the Department of Human Services before completion of the adoption proceeding and shall be re-determined annually thereafter. The department may increase, decrease, suspend or terminate payments at any time, at its discretion. If payments are suspended or terminated before the child’s

18th birthday, the child’s parents may petition the Department of Human Services for a review of the case. The department shall afford the petitioner an opportunity for a hearing, which shall be held in the county the petitioner elects.

Subsidy/Adoption Assistance Payment

2011 Puerto Rico Session  Laws, L 0160

Grants maternity and paternity leave in cases of adoption of children age 6 and older.

Maternity and Paternity Leave

2011 W. Va. Acts, SB 35, Chap. 170

Raises the tax credit from $2,000 to $4,000 for non-family adoptions of children under age 18 at the time of adoption. This credit may, at the taxpayer’s option, be taken over a three-year period.

Income Tax Credit

District of Columbia
B 537, Chapter  114

Regulates the placement of children in family foster homes and requires child-placing agencies to determine adoption fees by developing a sliding-scale fee based upon the income of the applicant.





2010 Okla. Sess. Laws, HB 3292, Chap. 324

Sec. 3: Provides for adoption assistance payments on behalf of a child subject to the jurisdiction of Oklahoma but residing in another state, up to the maximum foster care reimbursement allowable in the state of residence.

Subsidy/Adoption Assistance Payment

2010 Va. Acts, HB 443, Chap. 271


Amends the eligibility and application process requirements for adoption assistance. The legislation also provides for separate maintenance and state special services payments to facilitate adoptive placements and ensure permanency for children with special needs. In addition, it allows payment to adoptive parents for nonrecurring expenses related to the adoption, such as court costs, attorney fees and costs related to the adoption study.

Subsidy/Adoption Assistance Payment




2009 Cal. Stats., AB 295, Chap 427

Extends the availability of funds appropriated for adoption activities to specified counties to provide pre- and post-adoption services to ensure the successful adoption of children and youth who have been in foster care 18 months or more, are at least nine years of age, and are placed in an unrelated foster home or in a group home.

Pre- and Post- Adoption Services

2009 Cal. Stats., AB 665, Chap. 250

Makes a change to provisions of existing law under which the State Department of Social Services may provide state adoption services and which requires the state to reinvest adoption incentive payments for the placement of older children into the child welfare system to provide adoption services for older children.

Subsidy/Adoption Incentive Payments

California Assembly Bill 154, Chapter 222

Establishes that the Legislature shall conform state statutes with the federal Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 and expend on services savings resulting from changes in eligibility for adoption as­sistance, including, but not limited to, post-adoption assistance. Requires that the State Department of Social Services

or a licensed adoption agency inform prospective adoptive families of their potential eligibility for a federal and state tax credit.

 Subsidy/Tax Credit

SENATE BILL  597, Chapter 339

Makes amendments necessary to be consistent with the requirements set forth in the federal Fostering Connections Act. These include requiring the Department of Social Services to exercise diligence to identify and provide notice to all adult grandparents and close relatives of the child; requiring the department, in consultation with pediatricians, health care experts and experts in and recipients of child welfare services, to develop a plan for the ongoing oversight and coordination of health care services for a child in a foster care placement; and requiring the Department or licensed adoption agency to provide information regarding the federal adoption tax credit for any individual who is adopting or consider­ing adopting a child in foster care.

Tax Credit

2009 Ga. Laws, HB 237, P. 34


Determines that the Department of Human Resources will provide financial assistance to families adopting children once the child has been placed for adoption and been determined eligible for assistance, and the adoption assistance agreement has been signed prior to the finalization of the adoption by all parties. The Act clarifies that financial assistance shall not exceed the cost of providing foster care.

Subsidy/Adoption Assistance Payment

2009 Ind. Acts, SB 303, P.L. 42

Provides that children older than age two are considered hard to place and are eligible for state adoption subsidies.

Subsidy/Adoption Assistance Payment

2009 Md. Laws, HB 683, Chap. 411


Expands the eligibility of an adopted child or adoptive family for Maryland’s Post Adoption Support Services Pilot Program, which includes medical treatment, mental health services, parenting classes, and other direct services provided by the Department of Human Resources that aid the child or family and assist in preventing the child from being returned to the care and supervision of the department. Ensures the equitable distribution of program funds.


2009 Mich. Laws, HB 4159, Public Act 17

Modifies the adoption support subsidy; states that the maximum amount of the adoption support subsidy shall be equal to the rate that the child received in the family foster care placement or the rate the child would have received if he or she had been in a family foster care placement; provides that adoption assistance agreements must address any services and assistance and provisions to protect the child if the parents move to another state; provides for extension of the agreement to an adoptee up to age 21.

Subsidy/Adoption Assistance Payment

2009 Mont. Laws, HB 367, Chap. 151

Concerns post-adoptive service laws; requires that child-placing agencies provide post-adoptive counseling and support programs for birth parents that are separate from their program for the care and placement of children. Specifies that the costs of the program may not be included in placement fees.

Pre- and Post- Adoption Services

2009 Tenn. Pub. Acts, SB 1702, Chap. 521

Requires the Department of Children’s Services to provide certain post-adoption services.


Pre- and Post- Adoption Services

Texas House Bill 1151, Chapter 1118

Speci­fies educational and employment criteria for adoption assistance, permanency care assistance or foster care benefi­ts, to continue until the month during which a child turns 21 or 22, as applicable. The Department of Family and Protec­tive Services (DFPS) is required to provide these extended adoption assistance, permanency care assistance, or foster care bene­fits only if the DFPS receives a specifi­c appropriation for these purposes. Establishes that the DFPS is to include training in trauma-informed programs and services in any training that the Department provides to foster parents, adoptive parents, kinship caregivers and department caseworkers; the Department shall pay for the training with gifts, donations, grants and any federal money available through the Fostering Connec­tions Act. Extends foster care payments after a youth is age 18.

Adoption Assistance/Training

Washington House Bill 1961, Chapter 235

Expands foster care up to age 21 for youth who are enrolled and participating in a post-secondary or vocational edu­cational program or who are engaged in employment for 80 hours or more per month. Expands the current relative guardianship program by providing adoption support bene­fits, or subsidized relative guardianship benefi­ts, on behalf of youth ages 18–21 who achieved permanency through adoption or a subsidized relative guardianship at age 16 or older. Allows for the continued foster care or group care and necessary support and transition services to youth ages 18–21 who are enrolled and participating in a post-high school academic or vocational program.


2009 Wash. Laws, SB 5811, Chap. 491

Sec. 9: Requires that at least six months before an adoption is finalized, the department must provide to the prospective adoptive parent information describing the limits of the adoption support program, including the limits on monthly cash payments to adoptive families and the process for accessing mental health services for children receiving adoption support services.

Subsidy/Adoption Assistance Payment

Connecticut House Bill 5708, Public Act 100

Directs the Department of Social Services to establish extended eligibility standards for child care subsidies under the department’s Care 4 Kids program to cover people who otherwise would be ineligible, including adoptive parents of qualified foster children.


Mississippi Senate Bill 2601, Chapter  541

Allows continued Medicaid benefits for children adopted through a state-supported adoption agency through age 18. Authorizes the continuation of benefits until the child’s 21st birthday if benefits are found to be in the best interest of the child.





2008 Ga. Laws, HB 1159

Allows a $2000-per-child tax credit for the adoption of a qualified foster child per taxable year, starting with the year in which the adoption becomes final and ending in the year in which the adopted child attains age 18.

Income Tax Credit

2008 Mo. Laws, HB 1946

Changes the requirements regarding the granting of adoption subsidies to adoptive parents to cover financial assistance for any physical and/or mental condition of the adopted child. States that the subsidy will no longer be subject to income restrictions.

Subsidy/Adoption Assistance Payment




2007 Colo. Sess. Laws, SB 33, Chap. 351


Specifies that if an adopted child whose family is receiving an adoption subsidy is subsequently placed outside the home and the family is required to pay for the cost of the child’s care, the payments may not exceed the adoption subsidy. In addition, if an adopted child has been in a voluntary out-of-home placement for 90 days or more, the county must file a petition for review of need for placement.

Subsidy/Adoption Assistance Payment

2007 Fla. Laws, HB 803, Chap. 119


Allows a qualifying state government employee who adopts a special-needs child to be eligible to receive a lump sum benefit of $10,000 per child. An employee adopting a child in the custody of the Department of Children and Families or a licensed child-placing agency will be eligible to receive a $5000 benefit per child. Specifies that benefits to part-time employees must be prorated. Authorizes parental leave for qualifying adoptive employees in accordance with the personnel policies and procedures of the employee’s state agency. Requires the department to adopt rules and to administer the program benefit.

Subsidy/Adoption Assistance Payment

Parental Leave

2007 Fla. Laws, HB 1309, Chap. 124


Sec. 1. Redesignates the Office of Child Abuse Prevention as the Office of Adoption and Child Protection to establish a comprehensive statewide approach for the promotion of adoption, support of adoptive families and implementation of child abuse prevention efforts.

Requires the office to advise the governor and the legislature on statistics related to the promotion of adoption, support of adoptive families and child abuse prevention trends, status of current programs and services, funding, and development and implementation of a state strategy. Requires a report, by Jan. 1 each year, to the governor, the legislature and relevant state agencies to include a summary of adoption data, child abuse prevention data and the timeliness of the adoption process for children adopted from within the child welfare system. Adds an adoptive parent who has adopted a child from within the state child welfare system to the Child Abuse Prevention and Permanency Advisory Council. Requires each departmental district to develop a plan for its geographic area to be submitted to the Advisory Council. Requires the district plan to include the following: (1) information on the number of children within the child welfare system available for adoption who need child-specific adoption promotion plans, (2) a description of programs currently promoting and supporting adoptive families with information on impact, cost effectiveness and sources of funding and (3) a description of a comprehensive approach for providing post-adoption services.

Sec. 2. Allows the Office of Adoption and Child Protection to establish a direct-support organization to assist the state in promoting adoption, support for adoptive families and prevention by raising money and submitting requests for funding from federal, state, private foundations and individual sources.Requires the office to collect and maintain data and records to evaluate the effectiveness of the program. Requires the office, under certain conditions, to provide to the adoptive parents a maintenance subsidy and an annual adoption assistance benefit of $5,000, paid on a month-by-month basis. Appropriates funds for the maintenance subsidy.


2007 Ill. Laws, SB 68, P.A. 95-601


Amends the Children and Family Services Act so that the Department of Children and Families may continue to provide financial and education assistance for a child during the period beginning when a child’s adoptive parents died and ending with the finalization of a new adoption of the child by another adoptive parent or parents, regardless of the federal financial participation in the cost. Amends the Adoption Act so that the court can proceed to final judgment following the death of one of the intended adoptive parents.


2007 Md. Laws, HB 968, Chap. 444


Sec. 1. Establishes a post-adoption support pilot program to identify children eligible for post-adoption support services, conduct needs assessments of adopted children and adoptive families, and create a post-adoption support services plan. Specifies that post-adoption services are to include medical treatment, mental health services, parenting classes or other direct services provided by the local Department of Social Services after a child is adopted to aid the child or family if the child is in crisis and to prevent the return of the child to department custody. Sets funding. Requires a report to the legislature on or before Dec. 1, 2009, on the number of children adopted and number of adoptive families served by the program, the number that applied for services under the program, the types of services provided and the effectiveness of the services.

Pre- and Post- Adoption Services

2007 Miss. Laws, HB 1121, Chap. 337


Sec. 1. Expands the definition that the Department of Human Services uses to disburse supplemental benefits for special-needs adoptive children, in accordance with federal law.

Sec. 2. Requires a written agreement between the adoptive parent(s) and the department to address the supplemental benefits. Extends benefits to as long as the adoptive parent(s) retains custody.


2007 Mont. Laws, HB 490, Chap. 320

Allows a tax credit of $1,000 for the legal adoption of an eligible child.


Income Tax Credit

2007 N.Y. Laws, SB 4962, Chap. 469

Amends the Social Services Law, the Family Court Act and the Public Health Law to clarify the requirements for receipt of adoption subsidies and placement on the adoption registry.



Subsidy/Adoption Assistance Payment

2007 Ohio Laws, SB 29, Session Law 6

Increases the income tax adoption credit from $500 per child to $1,500 per child.



Income Tax Credit

2007 Texas Laws, SB 758, Chap. 1406


Sec. 4. Requires the Executive Commissioner of the Health and Human Services Department to provide the maximum amount of subsidy that may be paid to an adoptive parent under an adoption assistance agreement that is an amount equal to what would have been paid to the foster parent of the child, based on the child’s foster care service level. Applies only to children who otherwise would have been expected to remain in foster care until age 18 and his or her caregiver would have received foster care payments. Lists factors that may be considered in determining eligibility.

Subsidy/Adoption Assistance Payment

2007 Texas Laws, HB 2549, Chap. 1243

Extends group life insurance to an eligible natural or adopted grandchild.


Life Insurance

2007 Texas Laws, HB 2702, Chap. 267


Sec. 1, 3. Allows students with adoption assistance agreements that provide monthly assistance to be exempt from tuition and fees at public institutions of higher education for the fall 2007 semester onward.

Sec. 2. Instructs the Health and Human Services Department to pay a $150 subsidy each month for health benefit premiums for children under a final order of adoption if the child was under department conservatorship at the time of the adoption placement, would not be eligible for medical assistance and is under 18. Requires the Executive Commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission to adopt rules that include limiting eligibility for the subsidy to children whose adoptive family income is less than 300 percent of the federal poverty level and requiring documentation of proof of appropriate use of the subsidy.

Subsidy/Adoption Assistance Payment




2006 Cal. Stats., AB 1808, Chap. 75


Requires the Department of Social Services, contingent upon appropriation of funds for this purpose, to establish a three-year project in four counties, including San Francisco and Los Angeles counties, and one state district office, to provide funding for pre-adoption and post-adoption services to ensure the adoption of children who have been in foster care 18 months or more. Encourages counties to create partnerships with private adoption agencies to promote adoption of older foster children.

Pre- and Post- Adoption Services

2006 Ill. Laws, HB 4186, P.A. 94-1010


Requires the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to adopt a rule regarding provision of specialized services to children in foster care, in subsidized guardianship or in an adoptive placement who require such services because of emotional, behavioral or medical needs. Requires the DCFS to provide to adoptive parents of children who receive adoption assistance a notice of post-adoption reunion services to facilitate contact between adoptees and their siblings when one or more are in DCFS care or have been adopted elsewhere.

Pre- and Post- Adoption Services

2006 N.Y. Laws, S 7659-A, Chap. 518


Requires adoption subsidy payments to be made to a child’s guardian upon the death of the sole surviving adoptive parent of a child under age 21. Allows the payment to be made directly to the child if there is no willing or suitable guardian; however, if social services determines that the child does not demonstrate the ability to manage direct subsidy payments, social services shall certify payments to a representative payee on behalf of the child. States that the goal of the legislation is to allow 18- to 21-year-olds, who no longer are under the jurisdiction of the court and ordinarily would lose the subsidy to continue to receive adoption subsidy payments after an adoptive parent’s death. Allows social services to revoke the certification of the representative payee if the representative has misused payments or failed to submit timely reports.

Subsidy/Adoption Assistance Payment

2006 Okla. Sess. Laws, HB 2656, Chap. 258

Sec. 7. Amends adoption assistance benefits guidelines to require that adoptive parents requesting benefits for more than one year prepare an adoption assistance annual review request. Adoptive parents must keep the department informed about whether they continue to be legally responsible for the child. Allows an 18-year-old adoptee to receive benefits until age 19 if the adoptee continues to attend high school or pursue a General Equivalency Degree (GED) or meets the criteria for an adoption Subsidy/Adoption Assistance Payment assistance difficulty-of-care rate as determined by the department.

Subsidy/Adoption Assistance Payment

2006 Va. Acts, HB 5002, Chap. 3


Requires the Department of Social Services, in collaboration with the Virginia League of Social Services Executives and the executive director of the Office of Comprehensive Services, to conduct a comprehensive study of the policies and procedures of the special-needs adoption program and make recommendations. Requires the study to examine the causes of recent expenditure growth and make recommendations to moderate expenditure growth while meeting the needs of children. States that measures to be studied should include setting income guidelines for prospective adoptive parents, using available federal resources such as Medicaid, and setting rates for children’s residential facilities.

Requires the commissioner to continue review of the state’s current policies on adoption and foster care and recommend ways to expedite the adoption of children from foster care and of children who are not in the state’s care. Requires the commissioner to recruit a national adoption expert to co-chair the task force mandated for the review. Requires a report no later than June 30, 200. Requires the department to develop additional performance measures for the adoption subsidy program to measure the percentage of foster care children with a goal of adoption who are placed in adoptive homes and, of those, the average number of months since termination of parental rights and the average number of months since the goal of adoption was established.

Subsidy/Adoption Assistance Payment





2005 Ark. Acts, HB 1408, Act 437


States that a family is initially eligible for an adoption subsidy if no other potential adoptive family is willing and able to adopt the child without the use of a subsidy. Specifies the cases in which the department may certify a child as eligible for a subsidy without searching for families willing to take the child without a subsidy. These are cases in which the child has established significant emotional ties with prospective adoptive parents while in their care as a foster child or will be adopted by members of his or her biological family. Requires the department to annually re-determine eligibility for each state adoption subsidy.

Subsidy/Adoption Assistance Payment


2005 Conn. Acts, HB 6940, P.A. 05-251

Appropriates funding to provide postsecondary education for children and youth adopted after January 1, 2005. Appropriates funding to make the adoption subsidy comparable to the foster care subsidy for adoptions finalized after Jan. 1, 2005.

Subsidy/Adoption Assistance Payment

2005 Mo. Laws, SB 539

Sec. 453.073.1. Limits eligibility for adoption assistance to children who reside in a household with an income that does not exceed 200 percent of the federal poverty level or who are eligible for Title IV-E adoption assistance. Provides that the time period for which an adoption subsidy is granted shall not exceed one year, subject to renewal at the discretion of the director of the state child welfare agency. Provides that all existing adoption assistance agreements will be deemed to have expired one year after they were initially entered into.

Subsidy/Adoption Assistance Payment

2005 N.M. Laws, SB 233, Chap. 189

Sec. 72. Provides that payment of adoption subsidies may not be made after the child reaches age 18, except that payments for a child enrolled in the medically fragile waiver program may extend until the child reaches age 21.

Subsidy/Adoption Assistance Payment


2005 N.C. Sess. Laws, SB 622, Chap. 276

Sec. 10.49. Requires the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct a study to identify potential incentives for the adoption of children who are difficult to place and the associated costs for each incentive. Requires a report to the legislature.

Subsidy/Adoption Assistance Payment


2005 R.I. Pub. Laws, HB 5835, Chap. 401

Provides that a taxpayer entitled to a federal adoption tax credit shall be entitled to a credit against state income tax if the adopted child was under the care, custody or supervision of the state Department of Children, Youth and Families prior to the adoption.


Income Tax Credit


About This NCSL Project

The Denver-based child welfare project staff focuses on state policy, tracking legislation and providing research and policy analysis, consultation, and technical assistance specifically geared to the legislative audience. Denver staff can be reached at (303) 364-7700 or

NCSL staff in Washington, D.C. track and analyze federal legislation and policy and represent state legislatures on child welfare issues before Congress and the Administration. Staff in D.C. can be reached at (202) 624-5400 or