Understanding Adoption Subsidies: An Analysis of AFCARS Data. State Subsidy Practices and Adoption Outcomes


Pearson correlation coefficients were used to further examine the relationships among state-level variables representing subsidy practices and adoption outcomes, as shown in Table 3-9. The table shows significant correlations between the percent of children who received an adoption subsidy and the rate of adoptions among eligible children. The percent of children receiving any subsidy was, in turn, significantly correlated with the percent of children for whom a federal IV-E subsidy was used. This suggests that adoption assistance under Title IV-E expands states' ability to offer adoption subsidies, rather than substituting for subsidies that would otherwise be supported by state funds. Since special needs status is a prerequisite for federal adoption assistance, it is not surprising that both receipt of federal subsidy and receipt of any subsidy (federal or state only funded) were significantly correlated with the percentage of children who are classified as special needs.

Table 3-9.
Correlations among State-Level Subsidy Practices and Adoption Outcomes (Pearson Correlation Coefficients)
  NACAC Special Needs Category % Classified as Special Needs % Federal Foster Care Payment FMAP % Federal Adoption Subsidy % Any Adoption Subsidy Median Adoption Subsidy Foster Care Adoption Rate Median Months MRE to Adoption
NACAC special needs category 1 -.052 .323* -.117 .277* .130 .233 .189 .123
% classified as special needs -.052 1 -.209 .123 .563** .468** -.039 .071 -.031
% federal foster care payment .323* -.209 1 .033 .212 .025 .071 .390** .094
FMAP -.117 .123 .033 1 -.051 -.142 -.152 .243 -.219
% federal adoption subsidy .277* .563** .212 -.051 1 .750** .221 .223 -.011
% any adoption subsidy .130 .468** .025 -.142 .750** 1 .199 .282* -.127
Median adoption subsidy .233 -.039 .071 -.152 .221 .199 1 .004 .111
Foster care adoption rate .189 .071 .390** .243 .223 .282* .004 1 -.435**
Median months MRE to adoption .123 -.031 .094 -.219 -.011 -.127 .111 -.435** 1
* Significant at the 0.05 level.
** Significant at the 0.01 level.

NACAC = North American Council on Adoptable Children
FMAP = Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage
MRE = most recent entry

Source: AFCARS 2001, adoption data.
Bower & Laws, 2002.

Other than the correlation between adoption subsidies and adoptions of eligible children, few of the hypothesized relationships shown in Figure 1-1 could be supported by analysis of state-level variables. No significant correlation was found between the percentage of children receiving adoption subsidy and the median time from most recent entry to foster care and adoption. The median amount of adoption subsidy was not correlated to either the rate of adoption or median time to adoption. Several other hypothesized relationships described in Section 1.2 were not found to be significant, including the relationship between either the percentage of foster children eligible for IV-E foster care support or state FMAP rates and the percentage of children receiving federal plus state adoption subsidies.

Figure 3-1 shows the model from Section 1, with significant correlations indicated by a heavier line. Since the relationships between special needs status, IV-E eligibility and subsidy receipt are as expected, the most interesting correlation is that between the percentage of children receiving an adoption subsidy and the foster care adoption rate (proportion of eligible children adopted).

Figure 3-1.
Correlations Between Subsidy Practices and Adoption Outcomes

Figure 3-1. Correlations Between Subsidy Practices and Adoption Outcomes

(a)  Heavy lines indicate correlations significant at the 0.05 or 0.01 levels.

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