Families who have adopted children from public child welfare systems generally have access to adoption subsidies in addition to whatever PAS program may be available to them. The five case-study states offered substantial flexibility in their subsidy programs. All allowed establishment of deferred subsidies, which allowed families who did not require a subsidy at the time of adoption to request one at a later date if circumstances changed. In addition, all five states noted that subsidies could be renegotiated as family circumstances changed. Flexibility in policy is of limited value, however, unless adoptive families understand what resources may be available to them and how they can be accessed. In four of the five states, adoptive parents participating in focus groups expressed considerable frustration and confusion related to subsidies.
Data on state adoption support policies compiled by the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) suggest that in the five case-study states, strong PAS programs are accompanied by relatively generous subsidies and other supports (Bower and Laws, 2002). However, case study data did not reveal any suggestion of a planned effort to coordinate the various forms of support to which families have access.