45 CFR § 1356.41 - Nonrecurring expenses of adoption.
(a) The amount of the payment made for nonrecurring expenses of adoption shall be determined through agreement between the adopting parent(s) and the title IV-E agency administering the program. The agreement must indicate the nature and amount of the nonrecurring expenses to be paid.
(b) The agreement for nonrecurring expenses may be a separate document or a part of an agreement for either State, Tribal, or Federal adoption assistance payments or services.
(c) There must be no income eligibility requirement (means test) for adopting parents in determining whether payments for nonrecurring expenses of adoption shall be made. However, parents cannot be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses for which they have otherwise been reimbursed.
(d) For purposes of payment of nonrecurring expenses of adoption, the title IV-E agency must determine that the child is a “child with special needs” as defined in section 473(c) of the Act, and that the child has been placed for adoption in accordance with applicable laws; the child need not meet the categorical eligibility requirements at section 473(a)(2).
(1) The title IV-E agency must notify all appropriate courts and all public and licensed private nonprofit adoption agencies of the availability of funds for the nonrecurring expenses of adoption of children with special needs as well as where and how interested persons may apply for these funds. This information should routinely be made available to all persons who inquire about adoption services.
(2) The agreement for nonrecurring expenses must be signed at the time of or prior to the final decree of adoption. Claims must be filed with the title IV-E agency within two years of the date of the final decree of adoption.
(1) Funds expended by the title IV-E agency under an adoption assistance agreement, with respect to nonrecurring adoption expenses incurred by or on behalf of parents who adopt a child with special needs, shall be considered an administrative expenditure of the title IV-E Adoption Assistance Program. Federal reimbursement is available at a 50 percent matching rate, for title IV-E agency expenditures up to $2,000, for any adoptive placement.
(2) Title IV-E agencies may set a reasonable lower maximum which must be based on reasonable charges, consistent with State, Tribal, and local practices, for special needs adoptions within the State or Tribal service area. The basis for setting a lower maximum must be documented and available for public inspection.
(3) In cases where siblings are placed and adopted, either separately or as a unit, each child is treated as an individual with separate reimbursement for nonrecurring expenses up to the maximum amount allowable for each child.
(g) Federal financial participation for nonrecurring expenses of adoption is limited to costs incurred by or on behalf of adoptive parents that are not otherwise reimbursed from other sources. Payments for nonrecurring expenses shall be made either directly by the title IV-E agency or through another public or licensed nonprofit private agency.
(h) When the adoption of the child involves a placement outside the State or Tribal service area, the title IV-E agency that enters into an adoption assistance agreement under section 473(a)(1)(B)(ii) of the Act or under a State or Tribal subsidy program will be responsible for paying the nonrecurring adoption expenses of the child. In cases where there is placement outside the State or Tribal service area but no agreement for other Federal, Tribal, or State adoption assistance, the title IV-E agency in the jurisdiction in which the final adoption decree is issued will be responsible for reimbursement of nonrecurring expenses if the child meets the requirements of section 473(c).
(i) The term “nonrecurring adoption expenses” means reasonable and necessary adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees and other expenses which are directly related to the legal adoption of a child with special needs, which are not incurred in violation of State, Tribal or Federal law, and which have not been reimbursed from other sources or other funds. “Other expenses which are directly related to the legal adoption of a child with special needs” means the costs of the adoption incurred by or on behalf of the parents and for which parents carry the ultimate liability for payment. Such costs may include the adoption study, including health and psychological examination, supervision of the placement prior to adoption, transportation and the reasonable costs of lodging and food for the child and/or the adoptive parents when necessary to complete the placement or adoption process.
(j) Failure to honor all eligible claims will be considered non-compliance by the title IV-E agency with title IV-E of the Act.
(k) A title IV-E expenditure is considered made in the quarter during which the payment was made by a title IV-E agency to a private nonprofit agency, individual or vendor payee.