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(6.35) How do the Adoption Assistance Program (AAP) and the regional center serve children with developmental disabilities?

(6.35) How do the Adoption Assistance Program (AAP) and the regional center serve children with developmental disabilities?

AAP is a federal program[1]See Title 42 U.S. Code section 670 and following and Title 45 Code of Fed. Regs sections 1356.40 and 1356.41. implemented by the states[2]See California Welfare & Institutions Code section 16115.5 and following and Title 22 Cal. Code Regs. section 35000 and following. that encourages people to adopt children in foster care, or who are likely to end up in foster care. The program offers financial incentives to the adoptive family.

You have to meet three requirements to be eligible for AAP:

  1. The child must be under age 18 (or under age 21 if the child has a mental or physical disability and still needs help).
    1. The child is not likely to be adopted without financial help because of age, disability, brothers and sisters that need to stay together, race, ethnicity, or color.
    1. The courts must be involved and have determined that the adoption is in the best interest of the child.[3]Welfare & Institutions Code section 16120.

International and independent adoptions are not eligible for AAP. Children who receive services from a regional center and who also receive AAP benefits are called “dual agency children.” Dual agency children require care and supervision beyond that provided to other children in foster care.[4]Welfare and Institutions Code section 11464(a)(1). Children who receive AAP benefits still have a right to regional center services under the under the Lanterman Act.[5]Section 4684. Regional centers sometimes try to say that the AAP money should pay for services like respite or behavioral services. But, administrative hearings have repeatedly found that AAP funds are not a generic resource and do not have to be used to pay for regional center services.[6]Cases that found that AAP is not a generic resource include: L.H. v. Valley Mountain Regional Center, OAH Case No. 2002080370, Rebecca K. v. Regional Center of the East Bay, OAH Case No. 2000030471, … Continue reading

If you are considering adopting a child with a developmental disability, contact Disability Rights California for information on how to access the AAP program.

References
1 See Title 42 U.S. Code section 670 and following and Title 45 Code of Fed. Regs sections 1356.40 and 1356.41.
2 See California Welfare & Institutions Code section 16115.5 and following and Title 22 Cal. Code Regs. section 35000 and following.
3 Welfare & Institutions Code section 16120.
4 Welfare and Institutions Code section 11464(a)(1).
5 Section 4684.
6 Cases that found that AAP is not a generic resource include: L.H. v. Valley Mountain Regional Center, OAH Case No. 2002080370, Rebecca K. v. Regional Center of the East Bay, OAH Case No. 2000030471, Breanna W. v. San Andreas Regional Center, OAH Case No.2000120046, T.S., C.S., and J.S. v. San Gabriel/Pomona Regional Center, OAH Case Nos. 2003050412, 2003050413, and 2003050414, and Jareth S. and Candace S. v. North Los Angeles County Regional Center, OAH Case Nos. 2000010339 and 2000010340.