Effective date: 7/7/2016

    (1) Under any adoption assistance agreement with adoptive parents of a special needs child, the state is authorized to make payments to the adoptive parents for non-recurring, one time, expenses the adoptive parents have incurred in connection with adoption of the special needs child. Nonrecurring adoption expenses are those adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, and other expenses which are directly related to the adoption of the special needs child. Such costs may include expenditures for physical and psychological examinations of the adoptive parents if required as a part of the adoption process, as well as transportation, lodging and food for the child or adoptive parents when necessary to complete the placement or adoption process.
    (2) Agency adoption fees shall be established by written agreement between the agency and family prior to the performance of the requested service. If these children are otherwise eligible, agency fees shall be counted as an allowable expense under non-recurring adoption expenses. It is not necessary that the family be receiving maintenance adoption subsidy to be eligible for reimbursement of non-recurring adoption expenses.
    (3) In cases where siblings are placed and adopted either separately or as a unit, each child is treated as an individual with separate reimbursement for nonrecurring expenses up to the maximum amount of $1,000 per child.
    (4) There can be no income eligibility requirements for adoptive parents in determining whether payments for non-recurring expenses of adoption will be made.
    (5) Adoptive parents cannot be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses for which they have been otherwise reimbursed.
    (6) Except where it would be contrary to the best interest of the child, an effort must be made to place the child without adoption assistance prior to reimbursement for non-recurring adoption expenses.
    (7) The following procedures will initiate payments for reimbursement of nonrecurring adoption expenses:
    (a) All adoptive parents of special needs children will be advised by the staff person conducting the home study of the availability of nonrecurring expense reimbursement;
    (b) Reimbursement for eligible costs may be made to the adoptive parent or directly to a vendor. All adoptive parents will be advised by the staff person conducting the home study to keep copies of receipts of expenditures related to the adoption. Copies of such receipts must be available in the subsidy record. Eligible expenses include court costs, attorney fees, birth certificates, costs of required physicals and psychological examinations, costs of transportation, lodging and food for the child and/or adoptive parents when necessary to complete the adoption process, and the cost of the home study if the child is in the custody of a private agency;
    (c) When a placement decision has been made, the adoption assistance agreement shall be negotiated with the family and must include a statement of the projected cost to be reimbursed for nonrecurring adoption expenses, as well as proposed maintenance and medical subsidy amounts if appropriate;
    (d) Payments for nonrecurring expenses can be made up to one (1) year following the finalization of the adoption.
Rulemaking authorized by Florida Statutes § 409.166(8). Implements Florida Statutes § 409.166. History—New 5-20-91, Amended 4-19-94, Formerly 10M-8.0221, Amended 8-19-03, 11-30-08, 7-7-16.