108A-49. Foster care and adoption assistance payments.

(a) Benefits in the form of foster care assistance shall be granted in accordance with the rules of the Social Services Commission to any dependent child who would have been eligible to receive Aid to Families with Dependent Children (as that program was in effect on June 1, 1995), but for his or her removal from the home of a specified relative for placement in a foster care facility; provided, that the child's placement and care is the responsibility of a county department of social services. A county department of social services shall pay, at a minimum, the monthly graduated foster care assistance payments for eligible children as set by the General Assembly. A county department of social services may make foster care assistance payments in excess of the monthly graduated rates set by the General Assembly.

(b) Adoption assistance payments for certain adoptive children shall be granted in accordance with the rules of the Social Services Commission to adoptive parents who adopt a child eligible to receive foster care maintenance payments or supplemental security income benefits; provided, that the child cannot be returned to his or her parents; and provided, that the child has special needs which create a financial barrier to adoption. A county department of social services shall pay, at a minimum, the monthly graduated adoption assistance payments for eligible children as set by the General Assembly. A county department of social services may make adoption assistance payments in excess of the monthly graduated rates set by the General Assembly.

(c) The Department is authorized to use available federal payments to states under Title IV-E of the Social Security Act for foster care and adoption assistance payments.

(d) Except as otherwise prohibited by federal law, the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Social Services, shall not require a redetermination of a child's eligibility for vendor payments under any adoption assistance agreement established prior to July 1, 2011. Nothing in this subsection shall make vendor assistance an entitlement.

(e) If all other eligibility criteria are met, adoption assistance payments may continue until the beneficiary reaches the age of 21 if the beneficiary was adopted after reaching the age of 16 but prior to reaching the age of 18. (1981, c. 275, s. 1; 1997-443, s. 12.10; 1999-190, s. 3; 2011-383, s. 1; 2015-241, s. 12C.9(b).)