Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 - P.L. 96-272

Date: June 1980


H.R. 3434
Enacted June 17, 1980

Major Provisions of the Act

  • Required States to make adoption assistance payments, which take into account the circumstances of the adopting parents and the child, to parents who adopt a child who is eligible for Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and is a child with special needs
  • Defined a child with special needs as a child who meets the following conditions:
    • Cannot be returned to the parent's home
    • Has a special condition such that the child cannot be placed without providing assistance
    • Has not been able to be placed without assistance
  • Required, as a condition of receiving Federal foster care matching funds, that States make 'reasonable efforts' to prevent removal of the child from the home and return those who have been removed as soon as possible
  • Required participating States to establish reunification and preventive programs for all children in foster care
  • Required the State to place a child in the least restrictive setting and, if the child will benefit, one that is close to the parent's home
  • Required the court or agency to review the status of a child in any nonpermanent setting every 6 months to determine what is in the best interest of the child, with most emphasis placed on returning the child home as soon as possible
  • Required the court or administrative body to determine the child's future status, whether it is a return to parents, adoption, or continued foster care, within 18 months after initial placement into foster care