Adoption Assistance


This program provides Federal Financial Participation (FFP) to states, Indian tribes, tribal organizations and tribal consortia (tribes) in adoption subsidy costs for the adoption of children with special needs who cannot be reunited with their families and who meet certain eligibility tests. This assistance is intended to prevent inappropriately long stays in foster care and to promote the healthy development of children through increased safety, permanency and well-being.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Administration For Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
A - Formula Grants
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2016 It is anticipated that a total of 52 states (including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) and 6 tribes will receive grant awards. 52 states (including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) and 6 tribes received grant awards.
Fiscal Year 2017 52 states (including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) and 2 tribes received grant awards.
Fiscal Year 2018 52 states (including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) and 6 tribes received grant awards in FY 2018.
Fiscal Year 2019 52 states (including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and 6 tribes received grant awards.
Fiscal Year 2020 53 states (including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and 6 tribes received grant awards.
Fiscal Year 2021 53 states (including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and 6 tribes received grant awards.
Fiscal Year 2022 52 states (including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) and 5 tribes received grant awards
Fiscal Year 2023 It is anticipated that 52 states (including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) and 5 tribes will receive grant awards.
Social Security Act, Title IV-E, Section 470 et seq., as amended.
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
Funds are available to states (including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa) and to tribes with approved Title IV-E plans.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Eligible beneficiaries include certain children who are legally freed for adoption where an adoption assistance agreement has been entered into prior to the finalization of an adoption. These children must: (1) have been determined by the state or tribe to be special needs, e.g., a special factor or condition which makes it reasonable to conclude that they cannot be adopted without adoption assistance; a state or tribe determination that the child cannot or should not be returned home; and a reasonable effort has been made to place the child without providing financial or medical assistance and (2) meet one of the relevant statutory categorical eligibility criteria. These criteria differ during the phase-in period (federal fiscal years (FFYs) 2010 through June 30, 2024) based on the FFY in which the adoption assistance agreement was entered into and the child's circumstances at that time. See section 473 of the Act for additional details on program eligibility requirements. FFP is available from the time of placement for adoption in accordance with state, local or tribal law or final adoption decree to age 18 (21 if the state/tribe finds that a disability means aid should continue or where provided through an adoption assistance agreement that was entered for a child that had attained at least 16 years of age before the agreement became effective) as long as the parent supports the child. No child adopted prior to the approval of the state or tribal Title IV-E plan is eligible for FFP. No means test applies to adopting parents, but the amount of subsidy is agreed to by agency and parents and may be readjusted by joint agreement.
The state or tribe must submit an application for approval by the Children's Bureau.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is not applicable.
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. Applications are made in the form of a Title IV-E Plan, prepared in the format provided by the ACF Children's Bureau (CB). Title IV-E plans and amendments are submitted to the ACF Regional Child Welfare Program Manager for approval.
Award Procedure
Quarterly awards are made on the basis of estimated expenditures, which are later revised to include only actual allowable claimed expenditures. Quarterly estimates are due on July 30, October 30, January 30, and April 30 each year.
Contact the headquarters or regional location, as appropriate for application deadlines
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
ACF will approve/disapprove applications (Title IV-E plans or amendments to them) within 45 days of receipt.
Appeals may take place in accordance with 45 CFR Part 16, subject to the limitations of the Appendix A.
Not applicable.
How are proposals selected?
Not applicable.
How may assistance be used?
All parents adopting special needs children are eligible for the nonrecurring cost of adoption up to $2,000.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Not applicable.
45 CFR Part 75 Subpart F applies to this program.
States and tribes must maintain all financial and programmatic records necessary for the proper and efficient operation of the program, including records of applications, determinations of eligibility, the utilization of awarded grants and other funds for the provision of financial assistance and allocated indirect and direct administrative and training costs, in accordance with 45 CFR 75.361-365 Records Retention, and written guidance from ACF.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory Formula: Title IV-E Chapter Section 474(a)(1-3) Part NA Subpart NA Public Law Pub. L. 74-271 Social Security Act 42 USC 674

Matching is mandatory. The non-federal share of program costs (difference between total cost and FFP) in each funding category constitutes the required match to be met by the title IV-E agency. Matching funds from state agencies must be appropriated monies raised from non-Federal revenue sources. Matching funds from tribal agencies must also be appropriated monies, but may, at the option of the tribe, include Federal funds specifically authorized by Federal statutes to be used as match for other Federal programs. Additionally, in accordance with 45 CFR 1356.68 for administration and training costs only, tribal matching funds may be included as in-kind expenditures (or contributions) from allowable third-party sources.

MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Federal financial participation is available to a state or tribe operating under an approved Title IV-E plan. Post award, the Division of Payment Management will establish an account from which a recipient may draw down award funds. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: Quarterly.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
Contact the Regional Administrator, ACF, HHS in the appropriate Regional Office
Headquarters Office
William Meltzer
330 C Street SW
Washington, DC 20201 USA
Phone: (646) 905-8131
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Formula Grants) FY 22$3,742,843,861.00; FY 23 est $4,128,000,000.00; FY 24 est $4,706,000,000.00; FY 21$3,640,676,827.00; FY 20$3,384,486,134.00; FY 19$2,841,686,683.00; FY 18$2,784,978,934.00; FY 17$2,780,000,000.00; FY 16$2,539,323,468.00; -
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
FY 2022 Grants to states ranged from $1,560,535 to $733,179,278 with an average of $71,972,069.37. FY 2022 Grants to tribes ranged from: $79 to $208,987 with an average of $88,145.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
Program regulations can be found at 45 CFR 1355-1356.
Examples of Funded Projects
Not applicable.


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