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09/21/2020 03:53 AM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20190&cosponId=31898
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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: June 4, 2020 09:18 AM
From: Representative Karen Boback
To: All House members
Subject: Adoption Assistance
 
In the very near future, I plan to introduce legislation to allow adoption assistance payments to eligible adoptive families to continue until the adopted child reaches age 21, regardless of when the adoption assistance agreement became effective. Under current law, adoption assistance is available only to families who adopt children who, due to certain factors beyond their control, are traditionally more difficult to place. Specifically, they must have been in foster care at least six months, and must have been “shown to be difficult to adopt because of a disability or by virtue of age, sibling relationship or ethnicity.” Further, the county agency must have attempted to place the child with a family that did not require assistance.
 
Adoption assistance payments generally end when the child turns 18, and can be extended to age 21 only if the child was 13 or older when the adoption assistance agreement went into effect. This is true even if the adopted child is still finishing high school, as most young people are when they turn 18. The policy of discontinuing assistance at age 18 to families who adopted their children at a younger age ignores the reality that many of the factors that made the child eligible for adoption assistance in the first instance are also factors that correlate to a higher level of need during this transitional age. I recently spoke with a parent who adopted special needs twin daughters when they were eight years old and severely delayed. Now, at 18, they are still in high school and still have significant physical and mental health needs, but the loss of assistance payments has made it difficult to properly provide for them.
 
My legislation will provide for continued assistance until age 21, but only if the adopted child is still in school, in job training, working, or unable to do these things due to a disability.
 
Without the availability of assistance many of these children would never find a permanent home. Please join me in fully supporting the families who step up and open their homes and their lives to these precious children.



Introduced as HB2678