(a) The Department is authorized to establish a program of State benefits for certain adoptive children from appropriations made by the General Assembly and from grants available from the federal government to the State. This program shall be used exclusively for the purpose of meeting the needs of adoptive children who are physically or mentally handicapped, older, or otherwise hard to place for adoption.
(b) The purpose of this program is to encourage, within the limits of available funds, the adoption of certain hard-to-place children in order to make it possible for children living in, or likely to be placed in foster homes or institutions, to benefit from the stability and security of permanent homes where such children can receive continuous care, guidance, protection and love to reduce the number of such children who might be placed or remain in foster homes or institutions until they become adults.
(c) Eligibility for an adoptive child to receive assistance shall be determined by the Department under the rules and regulations of the Social Services Commission.
(d) Financial assistance under this program shall not be provided when the needed services are available free of cost to the adoptive child; or are covered by an insurance policy of the adoptive parents; or are available to the child under the Adoption Assistance Program specified in G.S. 108A-49. (1975, c. 953, s. 3; 1981, c. 275, s. 1.)