Utah Department of Administrative Services Division of Administrative Rules

Utah Administrative Code

The Utah Administrative Code is the body of all effective administrative rules as compiled and organized by the Division of Administrative Rules (Subsection 63G-3-102(5); see also Sections 63G-3-701 and 702).

NOTE: For a list of rules that have been made effective since July 1, 2014, please see the codification segue page.

NOTE TO RULEFILING AGENCIES: Use the RTF version for submitting rule changes.


R512. Human Services, Child and Family Services.

Rule R512-43. Adoption Assistance.

As in effect on July 1, 2014

Table of Contents

R512-43-1. Purpose and Authority.

(1) The purpose of the adoption assistance program is to aid an adoptive family to establish and maintain a permanent adoptive living arrangement for a child who qualifies for the program under state and federal law.

(2) The adoption assistance program is intended to provide a permanent family for a child in public foster care or who receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI) by providing financial and medical assistance for the child's benefit and best interest to the family who adopts the child.

(3) Section 62A-4a-901, et seq. authorizes the state to provide adoption assistance and supplemental adoption assistance and Section 473, Social Security Act, authorizes federal adoption assistance. Section 473, Social Security Act (42 USC 673) as amended by Public Law 110-351 (October 7, 2008), 45 CFR 1356.40 (October 1, 2009), and 45 CFR 1356.41 (October 1, 2009) are incorporated by reference.

(4) This rule is authorized by Section 62A-4a-102.

R512-43-2. Definitions.

In addition to terms defined in Section 62A-4a-902, the following terms are defined for purposes of this rule:

(1) Initiation of adoption proceedings means the earlier of (a) the date an Adoption Agreement is signed with Child and Family Services for placement of a child in the home, or (b) the date an adoption petition is filed.

(2) Child in public foster care means a judicially removed child whose placement resulting in adoption was immediately preceded by protective, temporary, or legal custody with a State IV-E agency, or a child who was placed with a State IV-E agency through a Voluntary Placement Agreement, or the child of a minor parent in foster care.

(3) A child or youth who was taken into protective custody and, as a result of the protective episode, was placed with a relative who was given legal custody meets the definition of a child in public foster care.

(a) If the court orders Child and Family Services to continue to provide Protective Supervision Services for the family in making safety and permanency decisions for the child, including placement decisions and permanency goals, the child is eligible for adoption assistance if the child's permanency goal becomes adoption, if all other criteria in R512-43-3(1-4) are met.

(i) This may include a change in placement to another relative while the Protective Supervision Services continue to be court ordered.

(4) State IV-E agency means Child and Family Services or a public agency or tribal organization with whom Child and Family Services has an agreement in effect for foster care maintenance payments in accordance with Title IV- E, Section 42 USC 672.

(5) AFDC means the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program that was in effect on July 16, 1996.

(6) Child with a previous IV-E agreement means a child who was Title IV-E eligible in a previous adoption with a fully executed adoption assistance agreement originating in any state, and the previous adoption was legally dissolved or ended due to the death of both of the adoptive parents.

R512-43-3. General Requirements for Adoption Assistance.

(1) Qualification for adoption assistance is based upon the child meeting qualifying factors, not the adoptive family.

(2) A child qualifies for adoption assistance if all of the following are met:

(a) The state has determined that the child cannot or should not be returned home.

(b) The state can document that reasonable efforts were made to place the child for adoption without providing adoption assistance. An exception applies if the child has significant emotional ties with the adoptive family and it is not in the child's best interest to consider a different adoptive placement.

(c) The state determines the child meets the definition of a child with a special need in accordance with Section 62A-4a-901, et seq.

(i) A child under age five in public foster care meets the special need definition of "a child with a physical, emotional or mental disability" when the child is at risk to develop such a condition due to specific factors identified in the child's or birth parents' health and social histories.

(3) In determining eligibility for adoption assistance, there is no income eligibility requirement or means test for the adoptive parents.

(4) A child must be a U.S. citizen or qualified alien to receive adoption assistance.

(5) An application for adoption assistance is submitted to the regional adoption assistance committee on a form provided by Child and Family Services.

(6) Application for adoption assistance, approval, and completion of the adoption assistance agreement, including signatures of an adoptive parent and a representative from Child and Family Services, are to be completed prior to finalization of the adoption.

(7) Adoptive parents may request adoption assistance after an adoption is finalized by requesting a fair hearing through the Office of Administrative Hearings. Adoption assistance may only be granted after finalization when the conditions stated in R512-43-11-2(a) are met.

(8) Adoption assistance usually begins after finalization of an adoption. However, adoption assistance may be initiated at the time of placement if the child is legally free for adoption, the adoptive home is approved, adoption proceedings are initiated, an adoption assistance agreement is fully executed prior to placement, and foster care maintenance payments are not being provided for the child.

(9) An adoption assistance agreement shall be approved and have all required signatures before any payments may be made to an adoptive family or before state medical assistance may be initiated.

(10) A qualified child shall continue to be eligible to receive adoption assistance until a child reaches age 18 unless causes for termination apply as stated in R512-43-10. Assistance may be extended until a child reaches age 21 when the regional adoption assistance committee has determined that the child has a mental or physical disability that warrants continuing assistance.

(a) An extension of adoption assistance beyond age 18 is warranted if the child meets the criteria for services in the Department of Human Services, Division of Services for People with Disabilities.

(11) Child and Family Services is responsible for notifying a prospective adoptive family of the availability of adoption assistance when the family begins an adoptive placement of a qualified child in public foster care.

(12) The adoptive parents are responsible to notify Child and Family Services of any circumstances that may affect the child's eligibility for adoption assistance or eligibility for adoption assistance in a different amount.

R512-43-4. Reimbursement of Non-Recurring Adoption Expenses.

(1) A parent who adopts a child meeting all of the qualifying factors for adoption assistance listed in R512-43-3(2) may be reimbursed for non-recurring adoption expenses on behalf of the child.

(2) A parent may be reimbursed up to $2,000 per child for allowable non-recurring expenses directly related to the legal adoption of a child with a special need. Reimbursement shall be limited to costs approved by the regional adoption assistance committee.

(3) Expenses may include reasonable and necessary adoption fees, court costs, adoption-related attorney fees, pre-placement adoptive evaluation, health and psychological examinations of adoptive parents, post-placement adoptive evaluation prior to adoption, and transportation and reasonable costs of lodging and food for the child and/or adoptive parents during the placement or adoption process.

(4) Adoptive parents are responsible to provide necessary receipts for reimbursement.

(5) Only costs that are incurred in accordance with State and Federal law and that have not been reimbursed from other sources or funds may be included.

(6) Non-recurring adoption expenses are reimbursable through Title IV-E Adoption Assistance. The child does not have to be determined Title IV-E eligible for the parents to receive this reimbursement.

R512-43-5. Monthly Subsidy.

(1) Qualifying for a Monthly Subsidy.

A child qualifies for a monthly subsidy when the following requirements are met:

(a) The child meets all of the qualifying factors for adoption assistance listed in R512-43-3(2), and

(b) The child meets the definition of child in public foster care, qualifies for SSI, or the child had a previous IV-E agreement or Utah state adoption assistance agreement.

(c) The child's eligibility for SSI benefits is established no later than the time adoption proceedings are initiated.

(2) Guiding Principles for Monthly Subsidies.

(a) The amount of monthly subsidy to be paid for a child is based on the child's present and long- term treatment and care needs and available resources, including the family's ability to meet the needs of the child. A combination of the parents' resources and subsidy should cover the ordinary and special needs expenses of the child projected over an extended period of time.

(b) The amount of the monthly subsidy may not exceed the payment that would be made if the child was placed in a foster family home at the point in time when the agreement is being initiated or revised.

(c) The amount of monthly subsidy may increase or decrease when the child's level of need or the family's ability to meet those needs changes. The family or the caseworker may initiate a change in the amount of subsidy at any time when needs or resources change.

(d) For a child in public foster care, the requested amount of monthly subsidy is negotiated between the adoptive parent and caseworker. The Adoptive Parent Statement of Disclosure items must be reviewed in depth by the caseworker and adoptive parent prior to subsidy negotiation.

(e) The amount of the monthly subsidy is subject to the approval of the regional adoption assistance committee. If the requested amount is not granted, the adoptive parent has a right to appeal as stated in R512-43-11.

(3) Process for Determining Monthly Subsidy Amount.

(a) Utilizing the level of need criteria specified in R512-43-5(4), the caseworker and adoptive family identify the child's level of need.

(b) The caseworker and adoptive family identify the applicable monthly subsidy payment range, according to the child's specified level of need, as specified in R512-43-5(5).

(c) The caseworker and adoptive family negotiate the amount of monthly subsidy to be requested from the regional adoption assistance committee. The requested monthly subsidy amount may not exceed the maximum amount for the specific level of need identified for the child nor the maximum amount that the child would receive if placed in a foster family home.

(d) The identified need level for the child and requested amount of monthly subsidy is presented to the regional adoption assistance committee for approval. If the requested amount is not approved or is reduced by the committee, Child and Family Services must send a written notice to the adoptive parents within 30 days informing them of the process to request a fair hearing.

(4) Determining Child's Level of Need.

(a) The level of need is determined by considering the child's age, history, physical, mental, emotional, and social functioning and needs, and any other relevant factors. Frequency of occurrence, duration, severity, and number of needs or problem areas are also considered.

(b) The presence of a particular issue listed within a designated level does not mandate that the child be categorized at that level. The child's needs, taken as a whole, determine the level selected for the child.

(c) Level of need is classified into three categories.

(i) Level One applies to a child with a minimal number and severity of needs. It is expected that most of these issues will improve with time, and significant improvement may be anticipated over the course of the adoption. For children ages five and under issues may include, but are not limited to: feeding problems, aggressive or self destructive behavior, victimization from sexual abuse, victimization from physical abuse; or no more than one developmental delay in fine motor, gross motor, cognitive or social/emotional domains. For children ages 6-18, issues may include but are not limited to: social conflict, physical aggression, minor sexual reactivity, need for education resource classes or tutoring, some minor medical problems requiring ongoing monitoring, or mental health issues requiring time limited counseling.

(ii) Level Two applies to a child with a moderate number and severity of needs. It is expected that a number of these issues are long-term in nature and the adoptive family and child will be working with them over the course of the adoption, and some may intensify or worsen if not managed carefully. Outside provider support will probably continue to be needed during the course of the adoption. For children ages five and under, issues may include, but are not limited to: developmental delays in two or more areas of fine motor, gross motor, cognitive or social/emotional domains; diagnosis of failure to thrive; moderate genetic disease or physical handicapping condition; or physical aggression expressed several times a week, including superficial injury to self or others. For children ages 6-18, issues may include, but are not limited to: daily social conflict or serious withdrawn behavior; moderate risk of harm to self or others due to physically aggressive behavior; emotional or psychological issues with a DSM-IV diagnosis requiring ongoing counseling sessions over an extended period of time; moderate sexual reactivity or perpetration; chronic patterns of being destructive to items or property; cruelty to animals; mild mental retardation or autism, with ongoing need for special education services; and physical disabilities requiring ongoing attendant care or other caretaker support.

(iii) Level Three applies to a child with a significant number or high severity of needs. It is expected that these issues will not moderate and may become more severe over time. The child's level of need may at some time require personal attendant care or specialized care outside of the home, when prescribed by a professional. For children ages five and under issues may include, but are not limited to: severe life threatening medical issues; moderate or severe retardation or autism; serious developmental delays in three or more areas of fine or gross motor, cognitive or social/emotional domains; anticipated need for ongoing support for activities of daily living, such as feeding, dressing and self care; or high levels of threat for harm to self or others due to aggressive behaviors. For children ages 6-18 issues may include, but are not limited to: moderate or severe retardation or autism; life threatening medical issues; severe physical disabilities not expected to improve over time; predatory sexual perpetration; high risk of serious injury to self or others due to aggressive behavior; serious attempts or threats of suicide; severely inhibiting DSM-IV diagnosed mental health disorders diagnosed within the past year that limit normal social and emotional development, such as an Axis 5 GAF score under 50; or need for ongoing self contained or special education services.

(d) The regional adoption assistance committee must approve the level of need identified for the child.

(e) A child's need level may be increased in severity by one level if the adoption assistance committee determines that the child's permanency may be compromised due to financial barriers to the child's adoption and if at least one of the following circumstances apply:

(i) The child has been in state custody for longer than 24 months.

(ii) The child is nine years of age or older.

(iii) The child is part of a sibling group of three or more children being placed together for the purposes of adoption.

(5) Identifying Amount for Monthly Subsidy Based Upon the Child's Level of Need.

(a) Each level of need corresponds to a dollar range in the amount of monthly subsidy that may be paid for a child, with the specific amount based upon the individual child's needs and the family's ability to meet those needs.

(b) The monthly subsidy amount for an individual child may not exceed the maximum amount for the payment range applicable to the child's level of need. A family may choose to defer receipt of a monthly subsidy for which a child qualifies, with the option to initiate a monthly subsidy at a later date, or to receive a lesser amount than would be allowable for the level of need at a given point in time.

(c) Monthly subsidy payments for a child's needs categorized as Level One range from zero to 40 percent of the maximum maintenance payment that may be paid for a child in a foster family home.

(d) A family may choose to receive a lesser amount than would be allowable for the child's level of need at a given point in time.

(e) Monthly subsidy payments for a child's needs categorized as Level Two range from 20 to 70 percent of the maximum maintenance payment that may be paid for a child in a foster family home.

(f) Monthly subsidy payments for a child's needs categorized as Level Three range from 50 to 100 percent of the maximum maintenance payment that may be paid for a child in a foster family home.

(g) For extraordinary, infrequent, or uncommon documented needs that cannot be covered by a monthly subsidy or state medical assistance, refer to supplemental adoption assistance in R512-43-7.

(6) Funding Sources and Eligibility for Monthly Subsidy.

(a) The two funding sources for the monthly subsidy are Title IV-E Adoption Assistance and state adoption assistance funds. The child's eligibility determines which funding source is used for payment.

(b) Title IV-E Adoption Assistance shall be considered first for the monthly subsidy. To receive Title IV-E Adoption Assistance, a child with special needs shall meet at least one of the following Federal requirements:

(i) A child is determined eligible for SSI by the Social Security Administration prior to the initiation of adoption proceedings.

(ii) The removal home for the child in public foster care received, or would have been eligible to receive, AFDC prior to removal, and the child was removed from the home as a result of a judicial determination that remaining in the home would be contrary to the child's welfare.

(iii) The child was voluntarily placed for foster care with the state and:

(A) Was or would have been AFDC eligible at the time of removal if application had been made,

(B) The child lived with a specified relative within the six months prior to the voluntary placement, and

(C) Title IV-E foster care maintenance payments were made on behalf of the child.

(iv) The child's needs were met through foster care maintenance payments made to and for the child's minor parents as provided by Subsection 475(4)(B) of the Social Security Act.

(v) The child had a previous IV-E adoption assistance agreement.

(c) State adoption assistance funds may be used for the monthly subsidy if the qualified child is not eligible for Title IV-E Adoption Assistance.

(7) Use of the monthly subsidy. The monthly subsidy may be used according to the parents' discretion. Some examples of the uses of the monthly subsidy payment are medical, dental, or mental health services not paid for by the state medical assistance or family insurance, special equipment for physically or mentally challenged children, respite care, child care, therapeutic equipment, minor renovation of the home to meet special needs of the child, damage and repairs, speech therapy, tutoring, specialized preschool based on needs of the child, private school, exceptional basic needs such as special food, clothing, and/or shelter, visitations with biological relatives, cultural and heritage activities and information.

R512-43-6. State Medical Assistance.

(1) A child qualifies for state medical assistance as a component of adoption assistance when all of the following requirements are met:

(a) The child meets all of the qualifying factors for adoption assistance listed in R512-43-3(2), and

(b) The child meets the definition of child in public foster care, qualifies for SSI, or the child had a previous IV-E adoption assistance agreement or Utah state adoption assistance agreement.

(i) The child's eligibility for SSI benefits is established no later than the time adoption proceedings are initiated.

(c) The child meets state medical assistance citizenship requirements.

(2) A qualified child may receive state medical assistance through an adoption assistance agreement without also receiving a monthly subsidy payment.

(3) The adoptive family must meet all Medicaid requirements, including application, citizenship verification, and annual review requirements in order for Medicaid to be initiated and continue throughout the period of the adoption assistance agreement.

R512-43-7. Supplemental Adoption Assistance.

(1) A child meeting all qualifying criteria for a monthly subsidy and for whom an adoption assistance agreement for a monthly subsidy or state medical assistance is in effect may qualify for supplemental adoption assistance.

(2) Supplemental adoption assistance may only be used for extraordinary, infrequent, or uncommon documented needs not otherwise covered by a monthly subsidy, state medical assistance, or other public benefits for which a child who has a special need is eligible.

(3) Supplemental adoption assistance is not an entitlement, and will be granted only when justified by unique needs of the child and when all other resources for which a child is eligible have been exhausted.

(4) Supplemental adoption assistance requests up to $3,000 will be considered and are subject to the approval of the regional adoption assistance committee.

(5) Supplemental adoption assistance requests from $3,001 to $10,000 shall be considered by the appropriate regional advisory committee established under Subsection 62A-4a-905(2).

(6) Supplemental adoption assistance requests exceeding $10,001 shall be considered by a state level advisory committee with the same membership composition as the regional advisory committees.

(7) Recommendations from the advisory committee are subject to the approval of the Region Director or designee.

(8) Any obligation made or expense incurred by a family prior to approval shall not be reimbursed with supplemental adoption assistance funds unless approval is granted by the Region Director.

(9) A request for an amendment or extension of an existing supplemental adoption assistance agreement will be reviewed by the same committee that reviewed the initial request. If the total amount of multiple requests in a year is $3,000 to $10,000, the request shall be submitted to the appropriate regional advisory committee. If the request exceeds $10,000, the request shall be submitted to the state level advisory committee.

(10) Supplemental adoption assistance is subject to the availability of state funds appropriated for adoption assistance.

R512-43-8. Regional Adoption Assistance Committee.

(1) Each region shall establish at least one regional adoption assistance committee.

(2) The regional adoption assistance committee shall be comprised of at least five members, and a minimum of three members must be present for making decisions regarding adoption assistance. Decisions shall be made by consensus.

(3) Members of the committee may include the following:

(a) Chairperson;

(b) Clinical consultant or casework supervisor;

(c) Regional budget officer or fiscal representative;

(d) Allied agency representative from agencies such as a community mental health center, private adoption agency, or other agencies within the department;

(e) Regional administrator or other staff with relevant responsibilities;

(f) Adoptive or foster parent.

(4) Responsibilities of the regional adoption assistance committee include:

(a) Verification that a child qualifies for adoption assistance,

(b) Approval for reimbursement of allowable, reasonable non-recurring costs,

(c) Approval of level of need and amount of monthly subsidy for initial requests, changes, and renewals,

(d) Approval of supplemental adoption assistance up to $3,000,

(e) Extension of adoption assistance up to age 21 for a qualifying child,

(f) Renewal of adoption assistance, and

(g) Documentation of committee decisions.

R512-43-9. Adoption Assistance Review.

(1) The adoption assistance agreement for a monthly subsidy or state medical assistance shall continue until the month of the adopted child's 18th birthday.

(2) An agreement for supplemental adoption assistance exceeding $3,000 shall be reviewed according to a time frame determined on a case by case basis by the appropriate regional advisory committee.

R512-43-10. Termination of Adoption Assistance.

(1) An adoption assistance agreement for a monthly subsidy or state medical assistance shall be terminated if any of the following occur:

(a) The terms of the adoption assistance agreement are concluded.

(b) The adoptive parents request termination.

(c) The month following the child's 18th birthday, unless approval has been given by the adoption assistance committee to continue until the month following the child's 21st birthday due to mental or physical disability.

(d) The child dies.

(e) The adoptive parents die.

(f) The adoptive parents' legal responsibility for the child ceases.

(g) The state determines that the child is no longer receiving financial support from the adoptive parents.

(h) The child enters the military.

(i) The child marries.

(2) Termination of state medical assistance is subject to the policies of the Division of Health Care Financing.

(3) Supplemental adoption assistance shall terminate when an adoption assistance agreement for a monthly subsidy or state medical assistance is terminated, the terms of the agreement are concluded, the authorizing committee determines that the services funded with supplemental funds are no longer effective or appropriate based upon an independent review by a qualified provider, or if lack of availability of state funding prevents continuation. Written notice as described in R512-43-10(4) shall be provided at least 30 days before funding is discontinued due to lack of availability of state funding appropriated for adoption assistance or due to determination that services are no longer effective or appropriate.

R512-43-11. Fair Hearings.

(1) Fair Hearing Request.

A written request for a fair hearing may be submitted within 10 working days after receiving a Department of Human Services/Child and Family Services decision to the Department of Human Services if:

(a) The adoption assistance application is denied;

(b) The adoption assistance application is not acted upon with reasonable promptness;

(c) Adoption assistance or supplemental adoption assistance is reduced, terminated, or changed without the concurrence of the adoptive parents;

(d) The amount of adoption assistance or supplemental adoption assistance approved was less than the amount requested by adoptive parents;

(e) Adoption assistance was not requested prior to finalization of the adoption and one of the criteria in R512-43-11(2)(a) applies.

(2) Post Finalization Request Fair Hearing.

(a) The fair hearing officer may approve appropriate state or federal adoption assistance for post finalization requests if one of the following is met:

(i) Relevant facts regarding the child, the biological family, or child's background were known but not presented to adoptive parents prior to finalization.

(ii) A denial of assistance was based upon a means test of the adoptive family.

(iii) An erroneous state determination was utilized to find a child ineligible for assistance.

(iv) The state or adoption agency failed to advise adoptive parents of the availability of assistance.

(b) The adoptive parents bear the burden of documenting that the child meets the definition of a child with a special need and that one of the criteria in R512-43-11(2)(a) applies. The state may provide corroborating facts to the family or the fair hearing officer.

R512-43-12. Interstate Adoption Assistance.

(1) Child and Family Services is responsible to determine if a child in Utah public foster care qualifies for adoption assistance when the child is placed in an adoptive home in another state. If the child qualifies, Child and Family Services provides adoption assistance regardless of the state of residence of the adoptive family and child.

(2) If a child with a previous IV-E adoption assistance agreement enters public foster care because the adoption was dissolved or ended due to the result of the death of the parents, the state in which the child is taken into custody in public foster care is responsible to provide adoption assistance in a subsequent adoption.

(3) If a child with a previous IV-E adoption assistance agreement does not enter public foster care when the adoption dissolved or ended due to the death of both parents, the new adoptive parent is responsible to apply for adoption assistance in the new adoptive parent's state of residence.

(4) A parent desiring to adopt an out-of-state child who is not in public foster care but is receiving SSI shall apply for adoption assistance in the parent's state of residence.

(5) An adoption assistance agreement remains in effect regardless of the state of residence of the adoptive parents as long as the child continues to qualify for adoption assistance.

(6) If a needed service specified in the agreement is not funded by the new state of residence, the state making the original adoption assistance payment remains financially responsible for paying for the specific service.

KEY

adoption, child welfare, foster care

Date of Enactment or Last Substantive Amendment

March 10, 2014

Notice of Continuation

September 19, 2011

Authorizing, Implemented, or Interpreted Law

62A-4a-102; 62A-4a-106; 62A-4a-901 through 62-4a-907


Additional Information

Contact

For questions regarding the content or application of rules under Title R512, please contact the promulgating agency (Human Services, Child and Family Services). A list of agencies with links to their homepages is available at http://www.utah.gov/government/agencylist.html or from http://www.rules.utah.gov/contact/agencycontacts.htm.