The House Appropriations Committee Funds Adoption Opportunities at $39 million which is a rejection of the Administration’s proposed cut of $9 million. Adoption/Kinship Incentives is funded at $37.9 million, the same as last year.
The lack of increase for Adoption/Kinship Incentives fund continues to build on a recent and growing problem of underfunding. Since its creation under ASFA in 1997, the adoption incentives fund (now amended to include subsidized guardianships) has frequently required more funding then originally appropriated. That is because in several years states exceed the number of increased adoptions projected in appropriations. That is truer now that the same incentive fund has been stretched to include kinship placements. When states do so well and bonuses exceed what has been appropriated, Congress used to make up for that shortfall the following year and appropriate additional funding for the past year and the new fiscal year.
In the past decade, with various sequestrations and across-the-board cuts, Congress has not appropriated more funding. Despite that HHS continues to go back to states and borrow from the current fiscal year to make good on the previous year shortfall. As a result, HHS will only have approximately $4 million in incentive funds when they are released this September.
If states earn $37 to $40 million, as likely this September 30, then the incentive fund will fall short by more than $35 million.
On Tuesday, Voice for Adoption will hold a Capitol Hill briefing to highlight the issue. (see below)