Register August 2011 No. 668
Chapter DCF 50
FACILITATING THE ADOPTION OF CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
Subchapter I — General Provisions
Subchapter II — Adoption Assistance
Adoption with adoption assistance.
Eligibility for adoption assistance.
Application for adoption assistance.
Supplemental payments under adoption assistance agreements entered into before July 1, 2011.
Request to amend the adoption assistance agreement for a child at high risk of developing special needs.
Request to amend the adoption assistance agreement following adoption.
Amount of adoption assistance.
Responsibilities under the program.
Subchapter III — Adoption Information Exchange
Adoption information exchange.
Adoption information exchange responsibilities.
Adoption agency responsibilities.
Ch. DCF 50 Note
Sections PW-CY 40.30 to 40.35 were repealed effective January 31, 1984 and a new chapter HSS 50 was created effective February 1, 1984. Chapter HSS 50 was renumbered chapter HFS 50 under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 1., Stats., and corrections made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 6. and 7., Stats., Register, May, 1999, No. 521
. Chapter HFS 50 was renumbered to chapter DCF 50 under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 1., Stats., Register November 2008 No. 635
Statement of intent.
The intent of this chapter is to facilitate the placement of all children in Wisconsin who are legally available for adoption by providing adoption assistance to families adopting children with special needs and by establishing an adoption information exchange to help find adoptive homes for these children.
(2) Purpose of rules.
This chapter establishes criteria to be used by the department in determining when adoption assistance, as authorized by s. 48.975
, Stats., may be provided, specifies limitations on the granting of adoption assistance, sets procedures for applying for adoption assistance and for amending the adoption assistance agreement and establishes an adoption information exchange, as required by s. 48.55
, Stats., to be operated by the department directly or through a contract with an individual or private agency to assist in finding the best adoptive homes available for the placement of children with special needs.
This chapter applies to the department, adoption agencies, any individual or private agency under contract to the department to operate the adoption information exchange, adoptive parents, prospective adoptive parents and special needs children.
"Administrative review" means a review of the plan of services for a child conducted by a panel of persons selected by the adoption agency, at least one of whom is not responsible for the case management or for the supervision or delivery of services to either the child who is subject to the review or the child's parents.
"Adoption" means a method provided by law to establish the legal relationship of parent and child between persons who are not so related by birth, with the same mutual rights and obligations that exist between the child and the child's birth parents.
"Adoption agency" or "agency" means a Wisconsin county department authorized under s. 48.57 (1) (e)
, Stats., to place children for adoption, the department, a licensed child welfare agency authorized under ss. 48.60
and 48.61 (5)
, Stats., to accept guardianship and to place children under its guardianship for adoption or an American Indian tribal agency in this state.
"Adoption assistance" means assistance provided under agreement by the department to the parents of an adopted child or the prospective adoptive parents of a child placed for adoption, when the family has signed and the department has approved an agreement that is designed to assist in the cost of care of the child after adoption or after the child has been placed for adoption.
"Adoption information exchange" or "exchange" means a department program created to facilitate the adoption of special needs children by disseminating information about the children to adoption agencies and prospective adoptive families.
"Adoption photolisting" means a publication that lists individual special needs children and includes photographs and descriptions of them.
"Adoptive family" means a husband and wife jointly or an unmarried adult.
"Child at high risk" means a child in the guardianship of an adoption agency who does not have a known special need under s. DCF 50.03 (1) (b) 1.
but who is at high risk of developing a moderate or intensive level of special needs under s. DCF 50.03 (1) (b) 3.
based on one or more of the following:
There is documented information that either or both birth parents have a medical diagnosis or medical history which could result in a condition for the child described in s. DCF 50.03 (1) (b) 3.
at a later time.
The child has experienced 4 or more placements with extended family or foster homes that could affect the normal attachment process.
The child experienced neglect in the first 3 years of life or sustained physical injury or physical disease that could have a long-term effect on physical, emotional or intellectual development.
There is documented evidence in a medical or hospital record, law enforcement record, social or human service department record, court record, or a record of an agency under a contract with a county department or the department to provide child welfare services that the birth mother used harmful drugs or alcohol during pregnancy which could later result in the child developing special needs as described in s. DCF 50.03 (1) (b) 3.
There is documented evidence in a medical or hospital record that the birth mother received inappropriate prenatal care which could later result in the child developing special needs as described in s. DCF 50.03 (1) (b) 3.
"Department" means the Wisconsin department of children and families.
"Division" means the department's division of safety and permanence.
"Legal risk" means a status of a child in which the severance of the legal rights of the child's birth parents through a termination of parental rights proceeding under the laws of the state or tribal court have not been completed or the court's decision is being legally contested.
"Legally free" means the status of a child when the legal rights of the child's birth parents have been severed through death of a parent or a termination of parental rights proceeding according to the laws of the state or the tribal court, and the court has transferred guardianship and custody of the child to a placement agency pending adoptive placement.
"Medical adoption assistance card" means a card issued for the purpose of identifying a person as a recipient of adoption assistance for medical care.
"Monthly adoption assistance payment" means a monthly payment amount described in an adoption assistance agreement to help with the expense of raising the child made by the department to the parents or prospective parents of an adopted child with special needs and also means the $0 payment to the adoptive parents or prospective adoptive parents receiving adoption assistance in the form of medical assistance and to the adoptive parents or prospective parents of a child at high risk.
"Registration" means the listing of information about special needs children or the listing of information about approved prospective adoptive families with the adoption information exchange for the purpose of locating a prospective adoptive family.
"Special needs child" means a legally free child for whom it is difficult to find an adoptive home and who meets the eligibility criteria for adoption assistance under s. DCF 50.03
"Substantial change in circumstances" means that a documented change related to the risk that qualified the child as a child of high risk under par. (j)
has occurred to the child in one or more areas of special needs, including physical, behavioral or emotional special needs, that would result in a change in a supplemental payment determined under one of the following:
DCF 50.01 History
Cr. Register, January, 1984, No. 337
, eff. 2-1-84; r. and recr. Register, July, 1985, No. 355
, eff. 8-1-85; am. (1) and (2), renum. (d) to (s) to be (e) to (s) and (d), and am. (4) (d), (n), (o) and (p), Register, December, 1988, No. 396
, eff. 1-1-89; correction in (4) (n) to (p) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 1., Stats., Register, December, 1988, No. 396
; am. (4) (d), r. (4) (n) to (q), cr. (4) (dr), (n) and (o), renum. (4) (r) to (t) to be (4) (p) to (r), Register, September, 1992, No. 441
, eff. 10-1-92; emerg. am. (2), r. and recr. (4), eff. 11-16-99; am. (2), r. and recr. (4), Register, July, 2000, No. 535
, eff. 8-1-00; correction in (4) (t) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register November 2002 No. 563
; CR 02-101
: am. (4) (g), r. and recr. (4) (j), Register November 2002 No. 563
, eff. 12-1-02; corrections in (4) (e), (j) (intro.), 1., 4., 5., (k), (L), (s), (t) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 6. and 7., Stats., Register November 2008 No. 635
; CR 10-148
: am. (4) (t), cr. (4) (t) 1., 2. Register August 2011 No. 668
, eff. 9-1-11.
Adoption with adoption assistance. Sections DCF 50.03
specify procedures and criteria to be used in granting adoption assistance and apply to the department, adoption agencies and adoptive parents, except that the adoption of American Indian children is subject to 25 USC 1901
DCF 50.02 History
Cr. Register, July, 1985, No. 355
, eff. 8-1-85; am. Register, December, 1988, No. 396
, eff. 1-1-89; correction made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 1.
, Stats., Register November 2008 No. 635
Eligibility for adoption assistance.
In order for a child to be adopted with adoption assistance the child must be available for adoption and the following circumstances shall exist:
DCF 50.03(1)(a)(a) Age.
The child shall be under 18 years of age at the time of adoption.
(b) Special needs.
The child shall have at least one of the following special needs at the time of the adoptive placement:
The child is 10 years of age or older if age is the only factor in determining eligibility;
The child is a member of a sibling group of 3 or more children that must be placed together;
For an adoption assistance agreement entered into before July 1, 2011, the child exhibits special need characteristics judged to be moderate or intensive under the schedule of difficulty-of-care levels specified in s. DCF 50.042 (3)
The child belongs to a minority race and children of that minority race cannot be readily placed due to a lack of appropriate placement resources; or
The child is a child at high risk of developing a moderate or intensive level of special needs under subd. 3.
(c) Availability for adoption.
A child shall be considered available for adoption if the child is in the guardianship of the department, a county department under s. 48.57 (1) (hm)
, Stats., or an adoption agency and the department, county department, or adoption agency decides that the child cannot or should not return to the home of his or her parents. If the child is an American Indian, adoption procedures shall be in accordance with 25 USC 1901
(d) Wisconsin responsibility.
A child brought to Wisconsin for adoption from another state under the interstate compact on the placement of children, ss. 48.988
, Stats., except as mandated by federal statutes and regulations, or from another nation under an orphan, relative or medical immigrant visa may not be provided adoption assistance from this state.
DCF 50.03 Note
Note: Federal law interpretations as provided in ACYF-CB-PA-01-01and ACYF-CB-IM-01-08 require that in an interstate adoption, when the sending state public child welfare agency does not have responsibility for placement and care of a child, the public child welfare agency in the adoptive parents' state of residence is responsible for determining whether the child meets the definition of special needs, entering into the adoption assistance agreement, and paying the subsidy for a child who meets eligibility requirements for federally funded adoption assistance.
(2) Reasonable placement efforts to assure adoption placement. DCF 50.03(2)(a)(a)
Reasonable efforts shall be made to assure a timely placement of the child with the best available family without adoption assistance. The agency shall make efforts to consider a number of families in order to locate the most suitable family for the child, including a review of all approved families associated with the agency, and consideration given, as required by s. 48.833
, Stats., to the availability of an adoptive placement with a relative of the child, and those efforts shall be documented in the child's record. If 2 or more appropriate families are not approved and available within the agency, the agency shall make a timely effort to locate additional families by doing any of the following:
Working through the adoption information exchange to photolist the child with a national adoption exchange.
Once the agency has determined that placement with a specific family would be the most suitable for the child, the agency shall make a full disclosure to the family of the child's background, to the extent known, as well as any existing or potential problem related to the child known to the adoption unit of the agency.
If the child has a special need under sub. (1) (b)
and if the circumstances of either this subsection or sub. (3)
exist, the agency shall inform the family of the adoption assistance program and ask the proposed adoptive parents whether they are willing to adopt without adoption assistance. If the family is not willing to adopt without adoption assistance, the requirement that a reasonable, but unsuccessful, effort to place the child without adoption assistance is met. A request for adoption assistance shall not be a basis for removing a child from a current adoptive placement.
DCF 50.03(3)(a)(a) Subsection (2)
shall be waived if the child has developed significant emotional ties with the foster family and it can be demonstrated that the child: