More complete data released by HHS in the awarding of the adoption and kinship incentives for the Adoption and Legal Guardianship Incentive Payments Program shows that the new structure and new rate formula benefited at least 25 of the states. The awards discussed here last week are based on a phased-in formula that awarded states 50% based on the old formula and 50% on the new formula.

This year’s award was revised in last year’s Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act in several ways:

  • In addition to rewarding an increase in adoption from foster care, states are awarded based on increases in subsidized guardianships.
  • The awards were adjusted in terms of categories of adoptions/guardianship placements so that $5000 is earned per increased adoptions, $4000 for overall kinship placements $7500 per pre-adolescent (9 to 14) adoption/guardianship placements, $10,000 per increase in in older adoption/kinship placements (ages 14 and older)
  • The awards as always are based on an increase over the previous year but this formula is based on a rate increase instead a specific number. That is intended to allow states that have been reducing their foster care population (thus reducing the pool of children waiting for adoption) to receive an award for positive permanency policies.
  • All awards for guardianships are new and the formula and the subcategory targeting ages 9 through 14 is new and is an attempt to place a greater focus on a population that have represented an increased presence in the waiting to be adopted category.

The state of Illinois benefited significantly with the new formula but not because of kinship placement as suggested in last week’s article. Instead the state of Illinois benefited from increased adoptions based on a rate rather than the raw numbers formula. The old formula provided awards on an increase from the year before, for example if adoption increased from 100 to 150 a state would receive an incentive on that 50 adoption increase. Instead now it is based on a rate calculation that takes into account the pool of children available to be adopted. Basing the awards on a rate increase rather than a flat increase in the number of adoptions benefited a few states that had been in the leadership role in the late 1990s and early part of the century. States such as New York and Illinois had increased numbers of adoptions early on in more recent years as the pool of children shrank they have not benefited much.  Under the new adoption rates the top states for last year’s awards were Texas, Illinois, Arizona, New York and Florida.

In the awarding of a guardianship there were 30 states that benefited with the top state that benefited in that category was again the state of Texas with Georgia at number two receiving $1.2 million. Georgia is somewhat ironic since that state has not taken the option to extend federal Title IV-E kinship subsidized guardianship placements. The top five states in terms of the overall guardianship awards were Texas, Georgia, Missouri, New York, And Louisiana.

Under the new formula states would’ve actually received a total that is slightly less than $45 million whereas under the old formula states would’ve received a little more than $48 million in incentive funds. The two formulas were combined giving states half of each formula and the total amount of funding r needed would be $46.5 million. Ultimately HHS was providing slightly under $18 million to the states because the previous year’s awards were short by $28.5 million and HHS used $28 million from their appropriations to restore the shortfall from last year.

The 25 states/jurisdictions that received an incentive this year but would’ve received zero incentive funds if the old formula had been in place were: California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and the territory of Puerto Rico.