Adoption Incentives Bill Enacted by Congress

President Signs Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act

On September 29, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act, a statute that limits long-term foster care, provides measures for monitoring failed adoptions, and offers restructured adoption incentives.

Under the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, Congress created what is alternatively known as OPPLA (Other Planned Permanent Living Arrangements) or APPLA (Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement). Under this process, child welfare agencies maintain care and custody of a child in foster care who is not expected to be adopted before adulthood. OPPLA or APPLA was only supposed to be a last resort, but studies showed as many as 10 percent of foster children were targeted for OPPLA or APPLA.

Under the new law, APPLA will only be available to children over the age of 15. In addition, case workers will be required to show they have made “unsuccessful efforts” to find another permanent living situation.

The new law mandates that states track finalized adoptions, and that they report to HHS any disruptions to adoptions or guardianships. The law also requires that states spend at least 30% of the funds they receive through HHS on post-adoption and post-guardianship services.

The new law also restructures the payments that states receive for foster care and adoptions. States can receive from $4,000 to $10,000 per child, based on the outcome:

  • $4,000 for guardianship placements
  • $5,000 for adoptions of children under the age of nine
  • $7,500 for guardianship or adoption placements of children between nine and 14
  • $10,000 for guardianship and adoption placements of children over the age of 14

Adoption Attorneys in New Jersey

At the law office of Cofsky & Zeidman, LLC, our lawyers bring more than 25 years of experience to every matter we handle. Attorney Donald C. Cofsky has personally handled more than 1,500 adoption proceedings since joining the bar in 1974. Attorney Bruce D. Zeidman has protected the interests of clients in state and federal courts in New Jersey and Pennsylvania since 1984. We understand the challenges you face, and can help you identify all your options so that you can make good decisions that are in your best long-term interests.

Contact our office online or call us at (856) 429-5005 in Haddonfield, NJ, at (856) 429-5005 in Woodbury, NJ, or in Philadelphia, PA, at (856) 429-5005. We also provide a free initial consultation in personal injury and workers’ compensation matters.

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