SUBCHAPTER 70m ‑ ADOPTION STANDARDS

 

SECTION .0100 ‑ GENERAL

 

10A NCAC 70M .0101 SCOPE

Rules in this Subchapter contain adoption standards for county departments of social services, which are the public agencies in North Carolina mandated by law to provide adoption services. Included are requirements which shall be met by county departments of social services in carrying out their responsibilities under Chapter 48 of the General Statutes and in the administration of the Adoption Assistance Program under G.S. 108A‑49 and 108A‑50, a funding program to facilitate the adoption of certain children with special needs.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 131D‑10.5; 143B‑153;

Eff. February 1, 1976;

Readopted Eff. October 31, 1977;

Amended Eff. October 1, 2008; June 1, 1990; February 1, 1986.

SECTION .0200 ‑ ORGANIZATION AND ADMINISTRATION

 

10A NCAC 70M .0201 PUBLIC AGENCIES

(a) 10A NCAC 70H .0401 governs the policies for public agencies providing adoption services in determining the qualifications for personnel and in the recruitment, retention, and effective performance of qualified personnel.

(b) 10A NCAC 70F .0207 governs the policies for public agencies in the hiring of staff, use of clerical staff, and use of volunteers.

(c) The caseload size of social workers providing adoption services shall be in compliance with requirements set forth in 10A NCAC 70H .0401.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 48-1-101; 48-1-109.; 143B‑153;

Eff. February 1, 1976;

Readopted Eff. October 31, 1977;

Amended Eff. October 1, 2008; September 1, 1986.

 

SECTION .0300 ‑ FUNCTIONS OF AN ADOPTION AGENCY

 

10A NCAC 70M .0301 GENERAL

Public child‑placing agencies shall perform the following functions:

(1) provision of casework and other supportive services to biological parents considering adoption;

(2) provision of casework and other supportive services to the child considered for adoption;

(3) provision of casework and other supportive services to adoptive applicants through pre‑placement studies;

(4) selection of home and placement process;

(5) supervision after placement;

(6) fulfillment of social and legal responsibilities;

(7) compilation and preservation of complete case records;

(8) provision of post‑adoption consultation services.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 48‑1 et seq.; 143B‑153;

Eff. February 1, 1976;

Readopted Eff. October 31, 1977;

Amended Eff. June 1, 1990; September 1, 1986.

 

10A NCAC 70M .0302 SERVICES TO ADOPTIVE APPLICANTS

(a) 10A NCAC 70H .0404, .0405, .0406, .0407, 0408 and .0409 shall govern the policies for public agencies providing adoption services in determining the procedures for, the application process, preplacement assessment, notification to adoptive applicants of acceptance or denial of application, services to adoptive applicants and families, legal process and record retention.

(b) A county department of social services shall prepare or contract for the preparation of a preplacement assessment for an adoptive applicant who has identified a prospective adoptive child and has been unable to obtain a preplacement assessment. An applicant is deemed unable to obtain a preplacement assessment if the applicant is unable to obtain an assessment at the fee the county department of social services is permitted to charge under 10A NCAC 70M .0303. Except as provided in this Subchapter, no county department of social services is required to conduct a preplacement assessment unless it agrees to do so.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 48-1-100; 48-1-101; 48-1-102; 48-1-103; 48-1-106; 48-1-109; 48-2-205; 48-2-301; 48-2-302; 48-2-304; 48-2-305; 48-2-501; 48-2-502; 48-2-503; 48-2-504; 48-2-601; 48-2-602; 48-2-603; 48-2-604; 48-2-605; 48-2-606; 48-2-607; 48-3-100; 48-3-201; 48-3-202; 48-3-203; 48-3-204; 48-3-205; 48-3-301; 48-3-302; 48-3-303; 48-3-304; 48-3-305; 48-3-306; 48-3-307; 48-3-308; 48-3-30; 48-3-501; 48-4-100; 48-4-101; 48-4-102; 48-4-103; 48-5-100; 48-5-101; 48-6-100; 48-6-102; 48-9-101; 48-9-102; 48-10-104; 48-10-105; 131D-10.5; 143B‑153;

Eff. February 1, 1976;

Readopted Eff. October 31, 1977;

Amended Eff. October 1, 2008; July 17, 2000; September 1, 1986.

 

10A NCAC 70M .0304 adoptive home recruitment

The agency shall have a written plan for on-going recruitment of adoptive homes for the children it places or plans to place for adoption. The plan shall adhere to the provisions of the Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994 as amended by the Interethnic Adoption Provisions of 1996 and shall be submitted to the Division of Social Services, Adoption Unit, to ensure compliance with the Act. If the plan is found to be out of compliance, it shall be returned to the agency for corrections. A copy of the Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994 as amended may be obtained from the U. S. Department of Heath and Human Services, Children's Bureau, 300 C Street SW, Washington, D.C. 20447.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 48-3-204; 131D-10.5; 143B-153;

Eff. October 1, 2008.

 

section .0400 adoption assistance: general

 

10A NCAC 70M .0401 adoption assistance defined

(a) Regular monthly cash assistance payments means the graduated rates set by the General Assembly. The payments may be made to children who meet the requirements set out in Rule .0402 of this Section.

(b) Vendor payments are made directly to the provider, including adoptive parents, for medical services not covered by Medicaid, therapeutic, psychological, and remedial services for children who meet the eligibility criteria set out in Rule .0402 of this Section.

(c) Special Children Adoption Incentive Fund payments may be made to children who meet the requirements as set out in Rule .0404 of this Section.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑49; 108A‑50; 143B‑153;

Eff. July 1, 1982;

Amended Eff. July 18, 2002; July 1, 1991; September 1, 1986.

 

10A NCAC 70M .0402 ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR regular monthly cash assistance payments or VENDOR PAYMENTS

(a) The child shall meet the following eligibility criteria:

(1) The child is legally clear for adoption, or must have been legally adopted;

(2) The child is, or was, the placement responsibility of a North Carolina agency authorized to place children for adoption at the time of adoptive placement;

(3) The child has special needs that create a financial barrier to adoption;

(4) Reasonable but unsuccessful efforts have been made to place the child for adoption without the benefits of adoption assistance;

(5) The child's special needs, though pre-existing, are detected only after his placement into an adoptive home;

(6) The child is under eighteen years of age; and

(7) North Carolina residency of the child and adoptive parents is not a requirement for the child to be eligible to receive regular monthly cash assistance payments or vendor payments.

(b) The child's eligibility for Regular Monthly Cash Assistance Payments shall further be based on one or more of the following factors:

(1) The child is a member of a sibling group being placed together.

(2) The child could be placed for adoption with a known and approved family, but the circumstances of the family preclude assumption of full financial responsibility for the child.

(3) The child has special needs due to a handicapping condition.

(4) The child at the time adoption proceedings were initiated was eligible to receive regular monthly cash assistance payments under Title IV-E of the Social Security Act as:

(A) a dependent child who meets the requirements for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) but for his removal from the home of a specified relative for placement in a foster care facility; or

(B) meeting the requirements of Title XVI of the Social Security Act with respect to eligibility for supplemental security income benefits.

For the child to receive regular monthly cash assistance payments, the adoptive parents must have entered into an agreement with the child's agency prior to entry of the Decree of Adoption. The agreement shall have set forth the respective responsibilities of the agency and the adoptive parents during the time of the child's eligibility for this assistance.

(c) A child's eligibility for vendor payments shall further be determined on the basis of documentation of:

(1) a known and diagnosed medical, mental, or emotional condition that will require periodic treatment or therapy of a medical or remedial nature; or

(2) a potential handicap due to hereditary tendency, congenital problem, birth injury, or other documented high risk factor leading to substantial risk of future disability.

A child's eligibility for vendor payments may be determined at any time during the child's minority if the medical, mental, or emotional condition, congenital problem, birth injury, or other documented problem is determined to have been pre‑existing at the time of his placement into an adoptive home. Prior to the child's receipt of vendor payments, the adoptive parents must enter into an agreement with the child's agency to indicate the extent to which they desire the child to participate in this component of the program.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑49; 108A‑50; 143B‑153;

Eff. July 1, 1982;

Amended Eff. July 18, 2002; July 1, 1991; March 1, 1990.

 

10A NCAC 70M .0403 PROCEDURES/REIMBURSEMENT OF ADOPTION ASSISTANCE BENEFITS

(a) Adoption assistance benefits for which a child may be eligible shall become effective the first month following the month in which the Decree of Adoption is issued.

(b) Claims from service providers and monthly cash assistance shall be reimbursed or provided from adoption assistance funds in accordance with the Department of Health and Human Services county department of social services reimbursement process, subject to the following limitations:

(1) Vendor payments to adoptive parents, medical providers and to providers of psychological, therapeutic, and remedial services shall be made only for treatment or services given to alleviate or correct those conditions for which the child has been determined eligible to receive benefits.

(2) The total amount for vendor payments for any combination of medical services not covered by Medicaid including psychological, therapeutic services or remedial services for any child shall not exceed two thousand four hundred dollars ($2,400.00) per State fiscal year.

(3) Vendor payments shall not be made to reimburse providers for the following:

(A) routine medical examinations;

(B) illnesses or conditions not related to or resulting from the conditions for which the child was determined eligible for vendor payments;

(C) services or treatment provided to the child prior to entry of the Decree of Adoption; and

(D) services or treatment that may have been provided on or after the first day of the month following the month in which the child's eligibility ceases.

(c) No local match, in terms of dollars, is required for funds for those children certified to receive benefits under the State Fund for Adoptive Children with Special Needs who are the placement responsibility of licensed private child-placing agencies with the exception of monthly cash payments for those children who are eligible for benefits from Title IV-E of the Social Security Act. No monthly cash assistance payments from the State Fund for Adoptive Children with Special Needs shall be made for any adoption in which the Decree of Adoption is issued on or after October 1, 2011.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A-49; 108A-50; 143B-153;

Eff. July 1, 1982;

Amended Eff. October1, 2011; July 18, 2002; July 1, 1991; March 1, 1990.

 

10A NCAC 70M .0404 ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR THE SPECIAL CHILDREN ADOPTION INCENTIVE FUND AND EFFECTIVE DATE

(a) Within the limits of available funding, the following criteria shall establish eligibility for the Special Children Adoption Incentive Fund. Eligibility is verified and approved on a case-by-case basis by staff of the Division of Social Services for compliance with budgetary limitations and all of the following eligibility criteria:

(1) The child must be in the custody and placement responsibility of the participating county departments of social services;

(2) The child has been in the legal custody of a participating county department of social services for at least six consecutive months and has a health condition (physical, mental, etc.) that is expected to result in impairment in the child's ability to function in the home, school or community and to endure throughout childhood. The child's health condition and the duration of the condition shall be documented by a written statement from a licensed physician and maintained in the child's record;

(3) The child requires eight or more hours daily of direct supervision for personal health care or prevention of self-destructive or assaultive behavior. The status of the child's condition and the supervision needed for the child's condition shall be documented in a written statement from a licensed health or mental health practitioner. The county department of social services working with the foster family and child shall document knowledge of the child's condition and the need for eight or more hours of daily direct supervision by the foster family, health professional or special education teacher;

(4) The foster parent(s) are licensed and the child has resided in the home for the previous six months on a continuous basis. The child's length of stay shall be documented in a written statement from the county department of social services. A copy of the foster home license shall be maintained in the child's record;

(5) The foster parent(s) have been receiving monthly cash assistance from any governmental source whether federal, State or local above the state adoption assistance rate established by the General Assembly for the previous six months on a continuous basis to provide the care required for the child's health condition and functional impairment;

(6) The foster parent(s) are willing to adopt the child only if the monthly cash assistance from any governmental source whether federal, State or local above the state adoption assistance rate received as foster parent(s) is not terminated;

(7) The foster parent(s) have signed an adoption assistance agreement and a supplemental agreement that includes the additional amount of cash assistance that the foster parent(s) have agreed to accept prior to the finalization of the adoption. The supplemental agreement will acknowledge that the Special Children Adoption Incentive Fund benefits are not an entitlement and are subject to the availability of State and county funds for this purpose;

(8) The Decree of Adoption for the child was issued by the court on or after January 1, 2001; and

(9) The county department of social services having legal custody of the child voluntarily agrees to participate in the Special Children Adoption Incentive Fund and agrees to assume 50% of the payment above the State adoption assistance rate established by the General Assembly.

(b) The Special Children Adoption Incentive Fund benefits for which the child may be eligible will become effective the first month following the month in which the Decree of Adoption is issued.

(c) When more than one application is received at the same time and funding is not available to serve all applicants the Division of Social Services will base a decision as to which application(s) will be approved on the child's need for greater direct supervision and the child least likely to be adopted.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A-49; 108A-50; 143B-153; S.L. 2000-67, s. 11.16;

Temporary Adoption Eff. January 1, 2001;

Temporary Adoption Eff. August 31, 2001;

Eff. July 18, 2002.

 

10A ncac 70M .0405 PAYMENTS FROM THE SPECIAL CHILDREN ADOPTION INCENTIVE FUND

(a) Payments from the Special Children Adoption Incentive Fund will be made by the Division of Social Services to the adoptive parent(s).

(b) Participating county departments of social services shall submit claims for payments to the Division of Social Services.

(c) The initial payment claim must include the following items:

(1) verification of child's placement authority;

(2) verification that the child has lived with the foster family six consecutive months;

(3) copy of written statement from a licensed physician regarding the child's health condition;

(4) copy of written statement from a licensed health, mental health, or developmental disability professional regarding the status of the child's condition;

(5) copy of signed adoption assistance agreement;

(6) copy of signed supplemental assistance agreement; and

(7) copy of Decree of Adoption.

(d) Monthly payment claims shall be submitted on the "Request for Special Children Adoption Incentive Fund Payment" form developed by the Division of Social Services.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A-49; 108A-50; 143B-153; S.L. 2000-67, s. 11.16;

Temporary Adoption Eff. January 1, 2001;

Temporary Adoption Eff. August 31, 2001;

Eff. July 18, 2002.

 

SECTION .0500 ‑ OUT‑OF‑STATE ADOPTION FEES ‑ GENERAL

 

10A NCAC 70M .0501 PURPOSE OF OUT‑OF‑STATE ADOPTION SERVICE FEES

(a) Out‑of‑state adoption service fees are established as part of the state‑wide permanency planning effort for the purpose of providing services to foster children to assist in finding permanent adoptive homes for them.

(b) This adoption service fee is provided to county departments of social services for payment of service fees to obtain adoption services from out‑of‑state adoption agencies, including assisting with the costs of:

(1) recruiting and securing an adoptive home for the child;

(2) pre‑placement services to family and child;

(3) post‑placement services to family and child;

(4) post‑finalization services.

(c) The adoption service fee is designed to provide financial assistance to enable county departments of social services having legal placement and consenting authority of children to expand their adoptive family recruitment through referrals to out‑of‑state adoption agencies that specialize in hard‑to‑place children.

(d) The Division of Social Services will provide a maximum of one thousand eight hundred dollars ($1800) per child for adoption service fees contracted for between a county department of social services and an authorized out‑of‑state adoption agency.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 48‑1; 143B‑153;

Eff. March 23, 1981;

Amended Eff. July 1, 1991.

 

10A NCAC 70M .0502 GENERAL ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

(a) The county department of social services having legal placement responsibility for a child shall submit an application for payment of service fees to the Division of Social Services. .

(b) The application shall provide documentation of the following:

(1) that the agency making application has legal placement and consenting authority for the child;

(2) that the child is legally cleared for adoption;

(3) that the child is one who is considered hard to place due to such factors as:

(A) age;

(B) race;

(C) physical, mental, or emotional handicap; and

(D) being a member of a sibling group; and

(4) that the child is registered on the North Carolina Adoption Resource Exchange.

(c) To the extent funds are available, the Division of Social Services shall approve the payment of an adoption service fee and shall notify the county in writing of this approval.

(d) The county department of social services shall send the Division of Social Services a copy of the purchase of service agreement negotiated with the out‑of‑state provider and shall notify the Division of the dates payments are due.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 143B‑153;

Eff. March 23, 1981;

Amended Eff. October 1, 2008; July 1, 1991; June 1, 1990.

 

SECTION .0600 ‑ NON‑RECURRING ADOPTION COSTS: GENERAL

 

10A NCAC 70M .0601 PURPOSE OF REIMBURSEMENT OF NON‑RECURRING ADOPTION EXPENSES

Reimbursement of non‑recurring adoption expenses incurred by adoptive parents shall be provided by county departments of social services in accordance with requirements set forth in this Section to facilitate the adoption of children with special needs, and in accordance with procedures established by the State Division of Social Services.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑49; 108A‑50; 143B‑153;

Eff. July 1, 1991.

 

10A NCAC 70M .0602 DEFINITIONS

Non‑recurring costs for which reimbursement can be claimed are those costs associated with the adoption that are incurred prior to or at the time of the adoption and which include:

(1) reasonable and necessary adoption fees;

(2) court costs;

(3) attorney's fees;

(4) adoptive home study;

(5) physical examinations;

(6) psychological examinations, when required by an agency;

(7) supervision of the placement prior to entry of the final order of adoption; and

(8) transportation and costs of lodging and food for the child and adoptive parents when necessary to complete the adoptive process.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑49; 108A‑50; 143B‑153;

Eff. July 1, 1991.

 

10A NCAC 70M .0603 REQUIREMENTS

The non‑recurring expenses of a person who adopts a child with special needs will be reimbursed up to the maximum allowable amount based on the following criteria:

(1) The child cannot or should not be returned to the home of his parents.

(2) The child has been determined by a county department of social services to have special needs due to one or more of the following:

(a) a physical, mental, or emotional disability, or high risk factor for such due to background history; or

(b) is a member of a sibling group being placed together.

(3) Reasonable but unsuccessful efforts have been made to place the child into an adoptive home without providing adoption assistance, except when it would be against the best interests of the child to seek a family other than the one with which he has been living as a foster child and with whom he has established significant emotional ties.

(4) On or before entry of the final order of adoption a written agreement concerning reimbursement of non‑recurring costs is entered into between a county department of social services and a person who adopts a child with special needs. Exceptions to this requirement include:

(a) those whose adoptions were completed prior to January 1, 1987 but the non‑recurring adoption expenses were paid after January 1, 1987; and

(b) those whose adoptions were completed between January 1, 1987 and on or before June 14, 1988.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑49; 108A‑50; 143B‑153;

Eff. July 1, 1991.

 

10A NCAC 70M .0604 REIMBURSEMENT FOR NON‑RECURRING ADOPTION EXPENSES

(a) The maximum amount for which adoptive parents will be reimbursed for all non‑recurring adoption expenses shall not exceed two thousand dollars ($2,000).

(b) No maximum rates for specific reimbursable services shall be established by the State Division of Social Services or by any county department of social services.

 

History Note: Authority G.S. 108A‑49; 108A‑50; 143B‑153;

Eff. July 1, 1991.