Document Type


Publication Date



This article begins with the context: despite increases in the number of adoptions from foster care achieved in the 1990s, tens of thousands of children remain in foster care awaiting adoption or permanent guardianship. The following section provides background on subsidy law and policy. The section describes the recent history of federal and state subsidies for parents who adopt children from the state foster care systems; the section describes state subsidies for caregivers who become legal permanent guardians of children in the state child welfare systems, and the section describes the disparities between adoption and guardianship subsidies and the subsidies for caregivers who do not seek legal permanency but instead remain foster parents. The section ends by categorizing the states according to their policies for providing adoption subsidies after a child turns 18.

The statistical evidence on the effect of subsidy extensions demonstrates that, by most measures, extensions increase the number of adoptions finalized for children in foster care. Based on the empirical results, the article concludes with recommendations for federal and state adoption and guardianship subsidy policy changes to meet the needs of the tens of thousands of children at risk of growing up in foster care.


Family Law | Juvenile Law | Law