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Adoption Assistance Program

Federal subsidies were created by Congress (through Public Law 96-272 - the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980) to encourage the adoption of special needs children and remove the financial disincentives for families to adopt. Recognizing that adoptive parents often experience financial difficulty meeting the special needs of children who formerly were placed in California’s foster care system, the State Legislature created the Adoption Assistance Program (AAP).  In creating the program, the Legislature intended to benefit children in foster care by providing the security and stability of a permanent home through adoption. Children may receive a federally funded subsidy under Title IV-E or a state-funded subsidy per state guidelines.

To apply for the AAP, adoptive families must submit a completed Request for Adoption Assistance ( AAP 1 ) form which is provided by their licensed adoption agency. The responsible public agency will determine the child’s special needs eligibility for participation in the program. If the child is deemed eligible, the responsible public agency will negotiate a signed adoption assistance agreement, or a deferred adoption assistance agreement will be executed with the adoptive parents, prior to the adoption finalization. A reassessment of the child’s needs and family’s circumstances is conducted every two years. The amount of financial assistance is determined based upon the special needs of the child and circumstances of the family. An adopted child who receives AAP benefits from California may move anywhere in the world and still receive monthly subsidy payments until the age of 18 or 21, if the child has a mental or physical disability.

AAP Monitoring

The purpose of Adoption Assistance Program (AAP) monitoring is to ensure administration of the AAP from eligibility determination to disbursement of benefits is in compliance with federal and state laws. It is the intent of the Department to act in an oversight role by providing monitoring feedback in the form of a findings report and technical assistance. Monitoring is the first step toward ensuring compliance with federal and state regulations and will assist counties with maintaining accurate AAP eligibility and AAP case. Technical assistance is available to counties upon request. If you have any questions regarding AAP monitoring please contact the county’s assigned AAP monitor to request assistance.

For Additional Information:

California Department of Social Services
Adoptions Services Bureau
744 P Street, MS MS 8-12-31
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 651-8089