Maine Revised Statutes

§9-401. Authorization; special needs children

(a).    There is established in the Department of Health and Human Services the Adoption Assistance Program, referred to in this Part as "the program."
[ 1995, c. 694, Pt. C, §7 (NEW); 1995, c. 694, Pt. E, §2 (AFF); 2003, c. 689, Pt. B, §6 (REV) .]
(b).    Subject to rules and regulations adopted by the department and the federal Department of Health and Human Services, the department may provide through the program adoption assistance for special needs children in its care or custody or in the custody of a nonprofit private licensed child-placing agency in this State if those children are legally eligible for adoption and, when reasonable but unsuccessful efforts have been made to place them without adoption assistance, would not otherwise be adopted without the assistance of this program.
[ 1995, c. 694, Pt. C, §7 (NEW); 1995, c. 694, Pt. E, §2 (AFF) .]
(c).    The department shall, subject to rules and regulations adopted by the department and the federal Department of Health and Human Services, reimburse adoptive parents of a special needs child for one-time adoption expenses when reasonable but unsuccessful efforts have been made to place the child without such assistance.
[ 1995, c. 694, Pt. C, §7 (NEW); 1995, c. 694, Pt. E, §2 (AFF) .]
(d).    A "special needs child" means a child who:
(1). Has a physical, mental or emotional handicap that makes placement difficult; [1995, c. 694, Pt. C, §7 (NEW); 1995, c. 694, Pt. E, §2 (AFF).]
(2). Has a medical condition that makes placement difficult; [1995, c. 694, Pt. C, §7 (NEW); 1995, c. 694, Pt. E, §2 (AFF).]
(3). Is a member of a sibling group that includes at least one member who is difficult to place; [1995, c. 694, Pt. C, §7 (NEW); 1995, c. 694, Pt. E, §2 (AFF).]
(4). Is difficult to place because of age or race; [1995, c. 694, Pt. C, §7 (NEW); 1995, c. 694, Pt. E, §2 (AFF).]
(5). Has been a victim of physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect that places the child at risk for future emotional difficulties; or [1995, c. 694, Pt. C, §7 (NEW); 1995, c. 694, Pt. E, §2 (AFF).]
(6). Has in the family background factors such as severe mental illness, substance abuse, prostitution, genetic or medical conditions or illnesses that place the child at risk for future problems. [1995, c. 694, Pt. C, §7 (NEW); 1995, c. 694, Pt. E, §2 (AFF).]
[ 1995, c. 694, Pt. C, §7 (NEW); 1995, c. 694, Pt. E, §2 (AFF) .]
(e).    For the purposes of this section, the department is authorized to use funds that are appropriated for child welfare services and funds provided under the United States Social Security Act, Titles IV-B and IV-E.
[ 1995, c. 694, Pt. C, §7 (NEW); 1995, c. 694, Pt. E, §2 (AFF) .]
(f).    The amount of adoption assistance may vary depending upon the resources of the adoptive parents and the special needs of the child, as well as the availability of other resources, but may not exceed the total cost of caring for the child if the child were to remain in the care or custody of the department, without regard to the source of the funds.
[ 1995, c. 694, Pt. C, §7 (NEW); 1995, c. 694, Pt. E, §2 (AFF) .]
(g).    The duration of assistance may continue until the cessation of legal parental responsibility or until the parents are no longer supporting the child, at which time the adoption assistance ceases. However, if the child has need of educational benefits or has a physical, mental or emotional handicap, adoption assistance may continue until the adoptee has attained 21 years of age if the adoptee, the parents and the department agree that the need for care and support exists.
[ 1995, c. 694, Pt. C, §7 (NEW); 1995, c. 694, Pt. E, §2 (AFF) .]
(h).    Children who are in the custody of a person or agency in another state who are brought to this State for the purpose of adoption are not eligible for adoption assistance through the program except for reimbursement of nonrecurring expenses if the child meets the requirements of the United States Social Security Act, 42 United States Code, Section 673 (c).
[ 1995, c. 694, Pt. C, §7 (NEW); 1995, c. 694, Pt. E, §2 (AFF) .]
SECTION HISTORY
1995, c. 694, §C7 (NEW). 1995, c. 694, §E2 (AFF). 2003, c. 689, §B6 (REV).