10. What is your State's process for applying for a fair hearing? (A fair hearing is a legal, administrative procedure that provides a forum to address disagreements with agency decisions.)
Any subsidy decision by the State Department of Human Resources, which the placement agency or the adoptive parents deem adverse to the child, is reviewable by the Office of Adoption, Alabama Department of Human Resources. The placement agency or the adoptive parents may request a review by writing to the Office of Adoption. If the adoptive parents are dissatisfied with the results of the review, they may request a fair hearing within 30 days or receipt of notice by writing to the Administrative Hearings Officer in accordance with the Alabama Administrative Procedure Act.
Adoptive parents may request a first-level review and/or an evidentiary hearing when there is disagreement with a decision regarding their child’s adoption assistance benefits. To seek a review, an adoptive parent must do so no later than 30 days after the date of the department's decision. The request may be made by telephone, by electronic mail, by facsimile transmission, or in writing to the department. A request for review under this section does not affect the right to an evidentiary hearing. At any time during a review under this section, an adoptive parent may be represented by an attorney or may be self-represented. A self-represented party may be assisted by a person who is not an attorney. An adoptive parent who is not satisfied with the department's first-level review decision may request an evidentiary hearing. If an adoptive parent does not submit a request for a first-level review, the department's original decision is a final administrative action unless a written request for an evidentiary hearing is submitted.
An adoptive parent who is not satisfied with the department's decision to deny, suspend, reduce, change, or terminate an adoption subsidy payment may request an evidentiary hearing. A request for an evidentiary hearing must be submitted in writing no later than 30 days after the date of the department's original decision or a decision under a first-level review. At any time during the hearing, an adoptive parent may be represented by an attorney or may be self-represented. Upon receipt of a timely request under this section, the department will request the chief administrative law judge, to appoint an administrative law judge employed or retained by the office of administrative hearings to preside over a hearing.
To read about the first-level review or evidentiary hearing please view the Alaska State Legislature website: http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/statutes.asp#44.64.060.
Adoptive parents have the right to request a fair hearing any time DCYF denies, reduces, or terminates adoption assistance benefits. Parents are directed to contact their adoption assistance case worker to request a fair hearing. Requests must be made in writing within fifteen calendar days after the mailing of an agency decision informing parents of an action affecting their child’s adoption assistance benefits. A pre-hearing summary of the facts and grounds should be prepared and submitted to the hearing officer not less than four days prior to the hearing. Benefits will not be reduced or terminated prior to a hearing decision, unless there is a substantial change in household eligibility. The hearing will be held at the local office or any other place mutually agreed upon by the hearing officer and the appellant. The hearing will be scheduled not less than twenty days or more than thirty days from the date of filing for the appeal. Appellant, in lieu of appearance, may submit a written statement or be available by telephone to testify. Hearings are conducted in accordance with Arizona Administrative Code R6-5-2405. The hearing officer listens to both sides and keeps a full and complete record of the hearing. All hearing decisions are final unless reconsideration is requested. An appellant may request a reconsideration of the hearing decision in writing within ten calendar days of the mailing of the decision.
Adoptive parents have the right to request a fair hearing when they disagree with a DCFS decision that affects their child’s adoption assistance benefits. If an initial application for adoption assistance is denied, the adoption assistance coordinator will send a written notice by certified mail to the prospective adoptive parents. The notice advises parents that they have ten working days to send a written request to the Director of DCFS seeking an appeal of the decision. The Director then has ten working days to reply by certified mail to the adoptive parent. If the Director upholds the denial, the family has ten working days to appeal to the Appeals and Hearings Administration Section.
Requests to Appeals and Hearings for a fair hearing/administrative hearing must be made in writing within thirty calendar days of receiving an adverse action from DCFS. Requests should be sent to the Department of Human Services at the address listed below. The Appeals and Fair Hearing Section will notify DCFS that an appeal has been filed. An Investigative File will be prepared immediately and made available to the adoptive parent (petitioner), any representative they choose to bring to the hearing, the Office of Chief Counsel Attorney, and the Appeals and Hearing Section (AHS). The AHS will send out a notice of hearing which contains the time, date, and place of the hearing and the name of the hearing officer who will conduct the hearing. Hearings usually take place in the county of residence of the child, but hearing may be held in other locations for substantiated reasons. If an adoptive parent does not appear at a scheduled hearing and does not contact the Appeals and Hearing Section prior to the date of the hearing, the appeal will be abandoned. Send requests for a fair hearing to the following address:
Department of Human Services, Office of Chief Counsel
Appeals and Hearings Administration Section
P.O. Box 1437, Slot N401
Little Rock, Arkansas 72203-1437
Appeals and hearings procedures, link: http://humanservices.arkansas.gov/about-dhs/occ.
In California, the county agency financially responsible for the adoption assistance agreement sends a Notice of Action (NOA) to the adoptive family when granting, increasing, decreasing, or terminating adoption assistance payments. If the adoptive family disagrees with the proposed action, they can request a fair hearing by completing the written hearing request form on the back of the NOA or by calling 800.952.5253 or 800.952.8349 (TDD) to make a verbal request. Forms are to be sent to the address listed on the form, which will vary by county. The hearing will be conducted in the county of residence (where the family lives). Requests for fair hearing must generally be made within ninety days from receipt of an adverse notice.
An Administrative Law Judge conducts fair hearings. The county representative will present their case for the change or denial of an increase and parents have an opportunity to present their information and evidence to substantiate the request for change. A ruling will be made and sent to parents. Fair hearings can be conducted over the phone if the adoptive parent lives in another State or is, for some reason, unable to attend in person. Contact the State Hearings Division at: 1-800-743-8525.
Client’s rights under California Welfare Programs, link: http://www.cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/Civil-Rights/Your-Rights-Under-California-Welfare-Programs.
There are situations after finalization when adoptive parents can request a state level fair hearing before an Administrative Law Judge concerning the adopted child’s eligibility for adoption assistance benefits or the amount of those benefits. These situations include, but are not limited to:
- Relevant facts regarding the child that were known and not presented to the adoptive parent(s) prior to the finalization of the adoption.
- Denial of assistance based upon a means test of the adoptive family.
- Erroneous determination that a child is ineligible for adoption assistance.
- Denial of a request for a change in payment level due to a change in the adoptive parent(s)’ circumstances.
- Failure by the county or a non-profit child placement agency to advise the adoptive parent(s) about the availability of adoption assistance for children who have been identified with special needs.
- Decrease in the amount of adoption assistance without the concurrence of the adoptive parent(s) (for Title IV-E adoption assistance agreements, only).
Adoptive families are asked to submit a written letter requesting a fair hearing to the Office of Administrative Courts. Fair hearings are conducted like a legal hearing. Parents have a right to represent themselves or bring legal counsel or an advocate of their own choosing to assist in representing them. The county department will usually have legal counsel present to represent the Department. The Division of Administrative Hearings will send information to the adoptive family informing them of their right to have legal counsel present at the family’s own cost. Families may choose to request a hearing conducted over the phone or an in-person hearing. Both parties to the hearing, the parents and the Department, are present and the court case proceeds. At the end of the hearing the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) informs the parties of the timeframe for an initial decision to be reached and released. Parties have the option of filing exceptions (disagreements with the elements of the decision) once the initial decision is released. However, exceptions must be based on testimony and evidence that was presented at the hearing. An external party reviews the exceptions and a final agency decision is issued. Parties wishing to appeal the final agency decision must do so in the Colorado Department of Human Services Office of Appeals.
Send written requests for fair hearing to the following address:
Colorado Department of Personnel and Administration
Office of Administrative Courts
633 17th Street, Suite 1300
Denver, Colorado 80202
Requests for fair hearing in Connecticut are made by contacting the Hearings Unit of the Department of Children and Families. For detailed information see Connecticut's Department of Children and Families Policy Manual, Administrative Hearings section on Fair Hearings #22-4-3 Notice of Proposed Action and Right to a Fair Hearing link: http://www.portal.ct.gov/DCF/Policy-Homepage/Chapter-22/Chapter-22.
Hearings may only be requested for a proposed reduction, suspension, or termination of adoption assistance. An assigned Hearings Unit staff member will contact the parent seeking a fair hearing to schedule a hearing at a convenient time and the actual hearing is conducted by the Hearings Unit staff. From there, adoption assistance hearings are held before the Subsidy Review Board, a Governor-appointed board of three hearing officers that hear the case and issue a written determination within ninety days of the hearing date. Send hearing request forms to:
Department of Children and Families, Hearings Unit
505 Hudson Street
Hartford, Connecticut 06106
Adoptive parents have the right to request a fair hearing whenever they wish to appeal a Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families (DSCYF) decision affecting their child’s adoption assistance benefits. Requests for fair hearing are made by submitting a written request to the Department of Family Services (DFS) Director within thirty days of the date of the decision or notice. Requests should explain the reason that parents are requesting a fair hearing and what relief (benefits) they are seeking. Denial of an application for assistance or of a request for the continuation of adoption assistance may be appealed by the adoptive parent(s) or by the agency submitting the application by requesting an administrative review of the case and the decision. The Division Director will conduct the review or appoint a member of their staff to do so. Families can be represented and bring witnesses and substantiating documentation of their claim with them to the hearing. The Director’s office will review the request to determine if the appeal was made timely and to determine that the request is being made by the person affected by the decision. A Hearing Officer is assigned to hear the appeal. The Hearing Officer is an impartial fact finder and decision maker who will create a respectful, non-adversarial environment to which to discuss the case. The Hearing Officer performs the following functions: schedules the fair hearing (appeal), ensures that all parties have been notified of the date, time, and location of the hearing, decides which evidence and witnesses will be considered, mediates the hearing, decides the merits of the appeal (reasons for the adoptive parent’s claims), writes an appeal decision, and ensures that all parties receive a copy of the decision within thirty calendar days of the final hearing date. Send requests for fair hearing to the following address:
Substantiation Hearing Coordinator
1825 Faulkland Road
Wilmington, Delaware 19805
Detailed information on Delaware’s Fair Hearing process can be found at link: https://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dss/redactedfairhearings.html.
An adoptive parent or permanent guardian can challenge the Child and Family Services Agency's (CFSA) denial, reduction, or termination of their adoption assistance benefits through the Office of Fair Hearings and Appeals. A Notice of Action along with a Fair Hearing request form is sent to parents instructing them on how to formally request a hearing. Parents must submit a the fair hearing request form or a written request for fair hearing via letter form and CFSA will hold a conference with the parents to resolve the issue.
Hearing requests must be received within thirty days from receipt of the Notice of Action. The parent/caregiver may request a hearing with an examiner or choose to have the case mediated by an impartial third party. An impartial Fair Hearing Examiner will make a final decision based on the best interest of the child, as well as all pertinent Federal/District laws and regulations, and any other relevant information presented by the appellant and the agency. The Office of Fair Hearings and Appeals must submit a notification of the hearing within forty-five days of receipt of the family’s request for fair hearing.
Contact the adoption assistance office at 202.727.5424 to initiate the process. The Fair Hearing request form may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed or hand delivered to the Office of Fair Hearings & Appeals, 200 I Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003
Adoptive parents may appeal any decision of the department with which they disagree and seek redress through levels of departmental administration up to and including the district administrator. Fair hearings must be requested in writing to the adoption specialist or the appropriate entity in the community based care agency. If a dispute cannot be settled at the counselor/supervisor level, the Adoption Review Committee will be convened. The adoption counselor, adoption specialist, family safety program administrator or the appropriate entities with the community-based provider may make requests for committee review. To start this process, families are directed to contact the adoption unit or private adoption agency through which they adopted the child. Families are directed to contact (1) the social worker or department through which they receive their adoption assistance payment (2) the unit through which they finalization the adoption or (3) the district administrator at their local Department of Children and Families (DCFS) office. DCFS office contact locator link: http://www.myflfamilies.com/contact-us/.
Adoptive families can request a fair hearing any time there is a disagreement with a Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) decision affecting their child’s adoption assistance agreement.
Possible reasons for a fair hearing, related to adoption assistance, includes failure of the agency to advise potential adoptive parents about the availability of adoption assistance (AA) for children in foster care. DCFS erroneously determined child was ineligible for IVE benefits, relevant facts regarding the children were known by DFCS or the Child Placing Agency and not presented to the adoptive parents prior to finalization of the adoption which impacted the AA decision, denial of AA based on a means test of the adoptive family, decrease in the amount of AA without the concurrence of the adoptive parents and the adoptive family disagrees with the determination by the State that the child is ineligible for AA.
Counties should promptly try to resolve differences without a hearing, however if the issue cannot be resolved locally and/or if the parents requests a Fair Hearing, the request should be processed in a timely manner.
Parents are directed to contact their local county DFCS to request a fair hearing. All requests must be made in writing and provided to the county DFCS case manager who will forward the referral from to the appropriate agency for handling. The Office of State Administrative Hearings will notify the family, in writing, the specifics regarding the hearing. Hearings are usually held in the family’s county of residence. Parents can request the hearing be held by phone. The request for a telephone hearing must be made in writing to the fair hearing officer identified in the hearing notice Parents will received notice regarding the specific rules regarding hearing. Parents should receive the administrative hearing results within 90 days. If parents do not agree with the administrative hearing they may file for an appeal. All relevant hearing information is provided to the parents.
Georgia DFCS county contact link: https://dfcs.georgia.gov/locations
See the Office of State Administrative Hearings regarding Procedural Rules and Legal Resources, link: https://osah.ga.gov/.
Adoptive parents can request a fair hearing when there is disagreement with a DHS decision which affects their child’s adoption assistance. Requests should be in writing to the adoption assistance worker or the department’s administrative appeals office within ninety days from the receipt of a notice of a denial/reduction/termination of adoption assistance. If someone makes a written request on behalf of the adoptive parents, there must be a written statement, signed by the adoptive parent(s) authorizing this person to be their representative. An administrative appeals officer will acknowledge the request for the hearing within fifteen days of the request, and will contact the adoptive parents to schedule a hearing not less than fifteen days prior to the hearing. Adoptive parents will receive a written decision in the mail, issued by the administrative appeals office, within ninety days of the hearing request. Send written requests for fair hearing to the adoption assistance worker or the following address (administrative appeals office):
Administrative Appeals Office
1390 Miller Street, Room 106
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Adoptive parents can request a fair hearing when a family receives a written decision denying eligibility or requests for benefits or whenever there is disagreement with a DHW decision that affects their child’s adoption assistance benefits. A written letter detailing the fair hearing process is included with every adverse decision notice sent to the adoptive family and includes an application for fair hearing.
The written request for fair hearing must be filed with the Administrative Hearings Office within 30 days of the mailing of the denial of benefits or services. All information on how to file and request the hearing is included with the fair hearing request form sent with the adverse decision notice. The hearing process itself can be conducted in the local Children and Family Services office or by telephone. The family does not have to appear in person at the hearing if they choose a telephone hearing. Families may represent themselves or may bring an advocate(s) to the hearing if they choose. The hearing officer receives written and verbal testimony from all parties and then renders a decision in writing that is sent to the adoptive family. Requests for fair hearing are made by written request to the following address:
Department of Health and Welfare
Administrative Hearings Section
450 W. State Street, 10th Floor
Boise, Idaho 83720-0036
If a family believes their rights under an adoption assistance or subsidized guardianship agreement have been violated in some way, an Administrative Appeal may be available. Adoptive parent (s) may appeal the Department’s decision to change or terminate assistance in accordance with 90 Ill. Adm. Code, Part 337, Service Appeal Process. A written appeal must be filed within 45 calendar days of the department’s determination.
Administrative Hearings Unit
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
406 E. Monroe Street
Springfield, IL 62701-1495
Applicants for adoption assistance may request an administrative review by completing the Request for Administrative Review form 54348 within 15 days of the date on the Final Eligibility Notification or the date of any letter notifying applicant of the decision for which review is being requested. Families must notify the agency if they are being represented by legal counsel or if there has been a change in address.
Parents should send the Request for Administrative Review and include a copy of the DCFS decision that they are requesting DCS to review to:
Department of Child Services
Hearings and Appeals, Administrative Review – MS 47
302 W. Indiana, Room E306
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
Please allow 45 to 60 days for a response to your request.
To request an administrative hearing concerning a DCS adoption assistance decision a family must have had a Review and received a Notice of Final Administrative Review Decision before requesting a hearing. Parents will need to complete form 54349 Request for Administrative Hearing Indiana Adoption Assistance Program (AAP or SAS). The completed request must be received within 30 days from the date they received the Notice of Final Administrative Review Decision. Families must notify if they are being represented by legal counsel or if there has been a change in address. If the request is not received within 30 calendar days of the date on the Notice letter, parents will give up their right to any DCS Hearing on the decision in the future.
Parents should send Form 54349 and a copy of the Notice of Final Administrative Review Decision to:
Indiana Department of Child Services
Office of General Counsel, Hearings and Appeals – MS47
302 West Washington Street, Room E306
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
Adoptive parents can request a fair hearing whenever there is dissatisfaction with any action or failure to act with regard to an application for adoption services, services that the family is receiving, or because such assistance has been denied, reduced or terminated. The request for fair hearing (also know as an appeal) must be in writing and sent or taken to the DHS office located in the family’s county of residence. There is no specified format required for the appeal request letter. To obtain a hearing the family must file an appeal within thirty calendar days or before the effective date on the notice, whichever is greater. The family may obtain assistance in formulating the appeal request from the local DHS office.
A request is sent to:
Department of Human Services Appeal Section, Hoover Bldg. 5th Floor 1305 East Walnut Des Moines, IA 50319
The DHS will determine whether or not an appeal may be granted hearing. If a hearing is granted, the adoptive family will be notified of the time and place. If a hearing is not granted, the family will be notified in writing of the reason and the procedures for challenging that decision. If an appeal hearing is granted, the family may explain their disagreement or have someone such as a relative or friend explain the disagreement for them. An attorney may represent the family, but this representation is at the family’s expense. The local county DHS office has information about legal services available to families that are based on a family’s ability to pay (known as a “sliding scale fee”). Families may also contact the Legal Services Corporation of Iowa, phone: 800.532.1275. For questions regarding a specific fair hearing, families can call DHS collect, phone: 515.281.8774 or 515.281.3094.
Adoptive parents must submit a written, signed, fair hearing request to the local DCF office or the Office of Administrative Hearing within thirty days of the date of the agency’s notice of action affecting services. Such a request may relate to an agency action or a failure to act with reasonable promptness on a social service case. Examples include undue delay in reaching a decision on eligibility or making a payment, refusal to consider a request for payment, undue delay in adjustment of payment, and rejection or termination of services. An attorney is not required. DCF local staff prepares a response to the request and DCF management staff may review the decision to determine whether proper procedures were followed. A fair hearing is held, sometimes by teleconference, and fair hearing decision is handed down. Adoptive parents can appeal the decision or final action of any agent or employee of the Department for Children and Families.
Send requests for fair hearing to the following address:
Office of Administrative Hearings
1020 S Kansas Avenue
Topeka, Kansas 66612-1317
At any point after adoption finalization, adoptive parents may request a fair hearing. The request for adoption assistance may be approved if one of the following situations has occurred:
- The State agency failed to notify or advise adoptive parents of the availability of adoption assistance for children with special needs; or
- Assistance was denied based upon an erroneous determination by the state that a child did not meet Special Needs Criteria; or
- Relevant facts, which may have affected a child’s special needs determination, regarding the child, the biological family, or the child’s background were known but not presented to the adoptive parents prior to finalization.
The adoptive parents shall submit a request for a fair hearing in writing of file the DCBS 154 with:
The Quality Assurance Section Cabinet for Families and Children 275 East Main Street, 1E-B Frankfort, Kentucky 40621
A request for a hearing shall be made by the adoptive parents within 30 days of Cabinet action.
The adoptive parents bear the burden of proving extenuating circumstances and adoption assistance eligibility in a fair hearing.
For resolution of a matter not subject to review through an administrative hearing, you may contact the Office of the Ombudsman at 1-800-372-2973. If you do not wish to speak with the Office of the Ombudsman, you may submit your grievance in writing to a Service Region Administrator or designee no later than 30 days from the date of a cabinet action to which you object.
Adoptive parents who are in disagreement with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), Child Welfare (CW) decision relative to their adoption assistance application request, or who feel that their civil rights were violated in the process, may appeal the agency’s decision by requesting a fair hearing. The adoption assistance application and notification of decision provide directions for this process. The fair hearing process is thoroughly reviewed with all adoption assistance applicants by the adoption assistance worker as a matter of agency practice. The adoption assistance application form itself may be used to request a fair hearing appeal. Requests are to be made in writing by the adoptive parent within thirty days from receipt of their written notification of the agency’s final adoption assistance decision. Upon notification of the adoptive parent’s request, the Appeals Section will schedule the fair hearing and notify all concerned parties in writing of the hearing date, time and location. Adoptive parents may represent themselves at the hearing, or they may authorize someone else to assist them, such as legal counsel, relative, friend or other spokesperson. Fair Hearing decisions are binding.
Adoptive parents should send their requests directly to the following address:
Department of Children and Family Services
P.O. Box 2944
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 70821
Any individual who has applied for or is receiving adoption assistance, (or whose application for assistance is not acted upon with reasonable promptness), is entitled to appeal the denial, reduction or termination of adoption assistance made by the Department. To appeal a decision, a written request for a fair hearing must be made to the Commissioner or his designee within 10 days of the decision. The exception to this appeal process is when the Department undertakes a system wide, across the board increase or reduction in the payment systems, rates, or criteria.
You will get a written decision, by mail, from the Hearing Officer approximately 30 days after the hearing is closed.
The decision may take one of two forms. For most hearings, the Hearing Officer's written decision is the final agency action. For some hearings, the Hearing Officer's written decision will be a "Recommended Decision." In this type of case, the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services will have the final say, and will issue a written "Final Decision."
If you do not agree with the final decision of the Hearing Officer, you can appeal the decision within 30 days, to the Superior Court. If you do not agree with the "Recommended Decision" of the Hearing Officer, you have 15 to 20 days (depending on the type of case) to write to the Commissioner to explain your exceptions to the Recommended Decision. If you do not agree with the Final Decision of the Commissioner, you can appeal the decision within 30 days, to the Superior Court.
FOR MORE INFORMATION - WRITE OR CALL
Maine Department of Health and Human Services
Division of Administrative Hearings
244 Water Street
11 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0011
Phone: (207) 624-5350
Adoptive parents can request a fair hearing whenever there is disagreement with a Department decision that affects their child’s adoption assistance benefits.
Each individual who applies for or is receiving an adoption assistance payment, has the right to appeal the denial, reduction, or termination of adoption assistance payment. Additionally, any individual is entitled to an appeal of any decision made by a local department of social services concerning adoption assistance with which he/she disagrees. A request for a Fair Hearing must be made within 10 days from the receipt of the decision. The local department of social services shall provide specific information to the families about the procedures to follow when making an appeal.
Directions for filing for a fair hearing can be found at http://www.oah.maryland.gov/Hearinglocations.aspx. Interested parties also may provide written comments by mail or personal delivery to the:
Office of Administrative Hearings,
11101 Gilroy Road,
Hunt Valley, MD 21031.
For complete information about a fair hearing, link: http://www.dsd.state.md.us/comar/SubtitleSearch.aspx?search=10.01.04.*.
Pre-adoptive and adoptive parents have grounds to appeal decisions related to the adoption subsidy program, including:
- the denial, reduction, suspension or termination of an adoption subsidy, except that there shall be no right to challenge a decision to terminate a subsidy if the child is 21 years of age and has been receiving a Title IV-E subsidy, or the child is 22 years of age and has been receiving a state adoption subsidy;
- the decision to provide a deferred subsidy or to continue a deferred subsidy after a request for redetermination;
- the existence of extenuating circumstances for an adoptive subsidy after finalization of the adoption of a child with special needs
To initiate an appeal, the family shall file a written request for a Fair Hearing with the Hearing Officer of the Department within 30 calendar days from the decision complained of or, if notice of such decision is required under the Department regulations, policy or procedures, then 30 days from such receipts of such written notice.
The family is encouraged to use the form provided by the Department’s Hearing Office to request a Fair Hearing, but a request which contains the following information is sufficient: the name, address and telephone number of the family, the date the alleged action occurred, the name and address of the office which made the decision being appealed, the decision being appealed, and a request for review of the decision. The family must provide a copy of the request to the Director of Ares of the office where the challenged decision was made.
Massachusetts has a grievance process that is intended to supplement the Fair Hearing procedure. The grievance procedure, like the Fair Hearing procedure, is designed to offer an informal dispute resolution process. Any matter, except as excluded in 110 CMR 10.37, may be subject of a grievance. The grievance process is not available to complain of conduct which can be the subject of a Fair Hearing. If a family files a grievance involving such conduct, the grievance shall be treated as a request for a Fair Hearing.
To initiate the grievance procedure, the family must file a written complaint with the Area Office, Regional Office or Foster Care Review Unit whose decision was complained of or which employs the employee whose conduct is complained of, within 30 days of the action or inaction complained of. The Director of Areas, Regional Director or Director of Foster Care Review shall assign the complaint to a Regional Clinical Director, Area Clinical Manager, Area Program Manager or to the Assistant Director of Foster Care Review as the case may be.
Upon completion of the review, the assigned party will send a written notice of his/her decision to the family and to the employee(s) in question. The notice shall recite the grounds of the complaint, the facts of the case, and any action taken by the Department or Provider.
Send requests for fair hearing to the following address:
Director of the Fair Hearing Unit
24 Farnsworth Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02110
The Michigan Administrative Hearings System (MAHS) is the state’s central agency that provides impartial administrative law judges to conduct administrative hearings for the MDHHS. The office is located with the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). Contact information for MAHS is listed below.
Michigan Administrative Hearing System (MAHS)
P.O. Box 30763
Lansing, MI 48909
Phone: (517) 335-7519
MDHHS has an administrative hearing process to provide for the right to dispute a department decision when an individual believes a decision and/or action is contrary to law or MDHHS policy. The applicant, adoptive parent, or guardian must prove that an error occurred in his or her case that would substantially affect the determination at an administrative hearing.
A hearing requested signed by a petitioner may name an authorized hearing representative (AHR) who may represent the petitioner in the hearing process.
Prior to adoptive placement by the court, an administrative hearing may be requested by an adoption assistance applicant or his or her AHR. After adoptive placement by family court order, the adoptee, the adoptive parent or legal guardian or and AHR has the right to request a hearing.
Hearing request must be in writing, signed and submitted to the:
Adoption and Guardianship Assistance Office
Hearings Coordinator, MDHHS
235 S. Grand Avenue, Suite 612
P.O. Box 30037
Lansing, MI 48909
For all denials and other appeals, an individual has the right to request a hearing within 90 calendar days from the date of the written decision notice by the Adoption and Guardianship Assistance Office.
Issues stated in the hearing request should be resolved whenever possible through an informal conference with the petitioner or AHR (which includes the parties’ attorneys of record) rather than through a hearing. The conference (either in person or by phone) must be scheduled within 30 calendar days after the Adoption and Guardianship Assistance Office receives the hearing request unless the petitioner or AHR chooses not to participate in the informal conference or a conference was held prior to the receipt of the hearing request, the issue in dispute is clear, and MDHHS staff fully understands the positions of the petitioner.
MAHS will schedule an in-person hearing upon receipt of a hearing summary/request for hearing from MDHHS as standard practice, unless the hearing summary/request for hearing specifically requests that a telephone hearing be scheduled.
If the MDHHS director determines in a final decision and order that a specific error occurred and the child met the adoption assistance eligibility requirements, the adoption assistance will be paid retroactive to the date the first payment would have been made if an error had not occurred.
A rehearing is a hearing which is granted on the MDHHS director’s final decision and order when the original hearing record is inadequate for purposes of judicial review or there is newly discovered evident that could affect the outcome of the original hearing.
The request for a rehearing of the MDHHS director’s final decision and order must be received by the department within 60 calendar days of the mailing date on the final decision and order.
Appeals from administrative hearings decisions must be filed in the probate court in which the adoption petition was filed or the probate court of the county in which the adoptee resides. For families living out-of-state, appeals must be filed in the probate court in which the adoption petition was filed.
Adoptive parents have the right to request a fair hearing any time they experience a denial, modification, or termination of the adoption assistance agreement. The request for fair hearing must be in writing within thirty days after receiving written notice of the contested action or decision from the Department, or within ninety days if the parents can show good cause why the request was not given within the thirty-day time limit. Requests for fair hearing are made in writing by letter to the following address:
Minnesota Department of Human Services
P.O. Box 64941
St. Paul, MN 55164-0941
Requests for fair hearing in Mississippi can be made whenever there is a disagreement regarding an agency action affecting an application for or receipt of adoption assistance. Adoptive parents must file a written grievance requesting a fair hearing with the Department of Human Services (DHS). The written request must be sent to DHS within ten working days of the date of the contested agency decision. Fair hearings are held within sixty calendar days of the receipt of the written request and notices of the proposed hearing shall be sent to all involved parties at least thirty calendar days prior to the fair hearing.
Adoptive parents can request a fair hearing whenever they disagree with any Children’s Division decision related to an adoption assistance agreement. Requests must be made in writing within ten days from the date of the contested Children’s Division action notification and sent to the local Children’s Division office. Requests are referred to fair hearing staff after a supervisory review process. A fair hearing request may be made when a child is determined to be ineligible for adoption assistance, when a request for assistance made by the family is denied and family is notified through receipt of a CD-87, or when services have been removed, prior to then end date on the adoption assistance agreement. The request for a fair hearing is to be made to the family’s Adoption Specialist in writing. A fair hearing form (CD-53) may be requested through the Adoption Specialist, or the Specialist’s supervisor, and is to be completed either by the family’s Adoption Specialist or by the family.
Adoptive parents who have applied for or been granted adoption assistance for their child can appeal a denial or other negative or adverse determination pertaining to the amount, duration or continuation of adoption assistance benefits. Adoptive parents who wish to contest any negative or adverse decision must send a written request for hearing received by the Office of Fair Hearings within ninety days of the mailing date of the notice of the contested action.
After the request for a hearing is received, the Office of Fair Hearings will assign a hearing examiner and send a notice giving the date, time and place of the hearing. The hearing may be held by telephone or in person. The notice will also provide additional information on what is needed to prepare for the hearing and who to contact if the family needs to change the date or time of the hearing. Parents can represent themselves or have a lawyer or another individual assist them in presenting their case and are permitted to bring witnesses. The hearing examiner will record the hearing so that the facts are taken down correctly. Parents can request a free copy of the tape by contacting the Office of Fair Hearing after the hearing decision is issued. The written decision will explain how to appeal if the family disagrees with the decision. Send requests to the following address:
Office of Fair Hearings
2401 Colonial Drive, 3rd Floor
Helena, Montana 59620-2953
Adoptive families have the right to request a fair hearing any time a Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) action or inaction affects adoption assistance eligibility, the amount of payment, and/or the Department fails to act with reasonable promptness. Requests must be made to the DHHS Director in writing within ninety days of the contested action or inaction. The Director will forward this request to the Legal Division. A hearing officer will conduct the fair hearing and listen to both sides, but will not make a decision at the hearing. Parents will receive a written decision in the mail from the hearing authority within ninety days of the hearing request. Send fair hearing requests to the following address:
Director, Division of Children and Families
P.O. Box 95026
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509
Adoptive parents can request a fair hearing whenever there is disagreement with a Department of Human Resources (DHR) or County Child Welfare Agency decision that affects their child’s adoption assistance benefits. An adoptive parent may appeal any state or county agency’s decision affecting their child's adoption assistance. To do so, the parent must submit a written request to the state or county agency handling their adoption assistance agreement to initiate the process. The request must be received by the agency, or postmarked if mailed, no later than thirty calendar days after the date on which the written decision is received by the parent. The agency will schedule a hearing within thirty calendar days of receipt of the parent’s request; and a decision will be rendered by the agency within thirty days after the hearing is held. For fair hearing information, contact your local Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) Regional Service Area, link: http://dcfs.nv.gov/Programs/CWS/CWS-PhoneDirectory/.
Adoptive parents may appeal, within 30 days, any decision by the Division for Children, Youth and Family that affects their child’s adoption assistance benefits. Appeals relative to a decision or the termination or failure to renew the adoption assistance may be made upon written request. Address the appeal to:
Administrative Appeals Unit
Department of Health and Human Services
105 Pleasant Street
Concord, New Hampshire 03301
Adoptive parents can make a written request for an administrative hearing to the DCF Administrative Hearings Unit within fifteen calendar days of a decision which adversely affects their child's adoption assistance benefits. The Hearings Unit will transmit requests for hearings to the Office of Administrative Law, which conducts all such hearings. Following receipt of the Initial Decision from the Office of Administrative Law, the Division Director will issue a Final Decision that accepts, rejects, or modifies the Initial Decision. The Adoptive parents will receive a copy of the Final Decision. Send requests for fair hearing to the following address:
Department of Children and Families
Administrative Hearings Unit
222 South Warren Street
P.O. Box 717
Trenton, New Jersey 08625
Adoptive parents have the right to request a fair hearing whenever a decision by the Children, Youth and Family Department affects their child’s adoption assistance benefits. Requests for a fair hearing must be in writing and can be a written letter from an adoptive parent. Parents can also phone 800.432.2075 for assistance in making a request for fair hearing to address disagreements with a Department decision. Upon receipt of a request to appeal a decision, the adoption assistance specialist sends the request for a hearing to the Office of General Counsel and a hearing officer is appointed. The hearing officer notifies the adoptive family of the date, time and place for the hearing. The hearing is scheduled as soon as possible but no later than ninety days from the date of the request. Witnesses may be called and an attorney can represent the parents. The hearing officer issues written findings and conclusions for the Cabinet Secretary’s review no later than thirty days from the date of the hearing. The Secretary reviews the hearing officer’s decision within fifteen days of receipt. The Secretary’s review and signature represent the final action of CYFD. The hearing officer provides notice of the final action to all parties by certified mail as soon as practical, but no later than thirty days after the Secretary’s decision. Send requests for fair hearing to the following address:
Attn: Adoption Subsidy Specialist
Children, Youth and Families Department, Protective Services
P.O. Drawer 5160
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87502
Adoptive parents have the right to request a fair hearing when a decision or lack of a decision by the Office of Children and Family Services or local department of social services affects their child’s adoption assistance benefits. Any person affected by a decision of a social services official not to approve an adoption assistance payment, or by an inadequate or inappropriate payment amount, or the failure to issue a written disapproval of the completed agreement within thirty days after it was filed, may make a request to the OCFS for a fair hearing. The request must be made within sixty days after receipt of the written notice of disapproval of the adoption assistance or approval at a lower rate, or when more than thirty days have elapsed without a decision from the State Adoption Services. The following issues may be raised at such hearings:
- Whether the social services official has improperly denied an application for payments to be made, including the failure of the social services official to issue a determination of an application within thirty days of its filing;
- Whether the social services official has determined the amount of payment to be made in violation of the law; or
- Whether the social services official has improperly discontinued payments made in the agreement.
A written notice of the hearing is sent to the prospective adoptive parents and their representatives at least six working days prior to the scheduled date of the hearing. OCFS must make a decision within thirty days after the fair hearing. Requests for a fair hearing in New York must be made in writing and addressed to:
Attn: Beth Mancini
Special Hearing Bureau
Office of Children and Family Services
52 Washington St.
Rensselaer, New York 12144
Note: The OCFS must uphold the denial if:
- The child for whom payments would be made is not a handicapped or hard-to-place child; or
- There is/was another approved adoptive parent(s) who is/was willing to accept the placement of the child without payment within 60 days of such denial and placement of the child with the other parent(s) would not be contrary to the best interests of the child.
Adoptive parents have the right to appeal a decision any time adoption assistance benefits have been denied, reduced, or terminated. Requests for a fair hearing or appeal of a decision must be made in writing to the local department of social services. Within five days of receiving notification of the request, the county department of social services must notify the parents that a hearing will be held and hold the hearing. A local hearing officer will review the case and render a decision. If the decision is unfavorable to the parents, the agency will advise parents that they can appeal to the state. Parents have fifteen days of the mailing of the agency’s letter to request a State appeal. If parents wish to appeal the agency’s decision, the agency will submit required materials to the State Hearings and Appeals Section. The Hearing Officer will make arrangements with the parents and agency for the date and time of the hearing. Following the hearing, the Hearing Officer will notify the parents of the parents of the decision. If parents are dissatisfied with the decision, their appeal for review can be submitted to the Chief of the Hearings and Appeals Section. If the final decision of the Hearing and Appeals Section is unfavorable to the parents, they can then appeal to North Carolina’s Superior Court, provided such appeal is filed within thirty days of the receipt of the final decision. Contact the local county office, directory link: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/dss/local-county-social-services-offices.
Adoptive families have the right to request a fair hearing any time they wish to appeal county or state decisions affecting the receipt of benefits under the adoption assistance agreement. Parents must make a written request to the county social service office administering the adoption assistance or the North Dakota Department of Human Services to initiate the process. North Dakota’s county social services locator link: http://www.nd.gov/dhs/locations/countysocialserv/index.html.
The NDDHS or county social service agency must receive the hearing request within thirty days of the mailing date of the notice of contested DHS action. If someone else makes a written request for the adoptive parent, it must include a written statement, signed by the parent, informing DHS that the person named is the family’s representative. After a timely request for a hearing is received, and if the issue is an appealable one, the office of administrative hearings will send a notice giving the date, time, and place of the hearing. This notice will be sent to the family at least ten days before the hearing. The notice also will inform parents what to do if they cannot come to the hearing as scheduled. The family may bring witnesses, friends, relatives, and a lawyer to assist in presenting the case.
The hearing officer will listen to both sides but will not make a decision at the hearing. Instead, the hearing officer will issue a recommended decision to the NDDHS after the hearing. Then, the NDDHS will either accept or reject the hearing officer’s recommended decision. Families will receive the NDDHS written decision in the mail a few weeks later. Parents should receive a decision within ninety days of the hearing request. The hearing officer will record the hearing so that the facts are taken down correctly. After the NDDHS decision is issued, parents can obtain a copy, for a fee, of the tape by contacting the NDDHS. If parents disagree with the decision, they may appeal to the district court.
If an adoptive family receives a notice denying, reducing or terminating assistance or services, the notice will contain a form to request a fair hearing. Parents are directed to fill out the request form and mail it to State Hearings at the address listed below. Families may also fax hearing requests to State Hearings at 614.728.9574. Requests for fair hearing must be received within fifteen days of the mailing date on the notice. If an adoptive parent receives a notice that assistance or services will be reduced, restricted, or terminated, the action will not be taken until the hearing is decided if the hearing request is received within the fifteen days. To request a fair hearing, a family may call or write the local agency or write to the following address:
Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, State Hearings
30 East Broad Street, 31st Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215-3414
When will the hearing be held?
After the bureau of state hearings receives a request for a fair hearing, the adoptive family is sent a notice giving the date, time, and place of the hearing. This notice will be sent at least ten days before the hearing. The notice also will tell parents what to do if they cannot come to the hearing as scheduled.
Where are hearings held?
Hearings are usually held at the local agency. If parents are unable to go there, the hearing may be held some other place convenient to the family and to the other people involved. If parents want the hearing held somewhere other than the local agency, they are directed to inform the agency of this on the hearing request.
Postponement of the hearing
If a parent cannot come to the hearing as scheduled, or if they need more time to prepare, they can ask the hearings section for a postponement. In the adoption assistance program, parents must present a good reason in order to postpone a hearing.
If a parent does not attend the hearing
The Bureau of State Hearings will issue adoptive parents a dismissal notice if they do not come to the hearing. If a parent wishes to continue with a hearing request, they must contact the hearings section within ten days and explain why they did not come to the hearing. The hearings section will decide whether the adoptive parent had a good reason (show good cause) that prevented them from attending the hearing. If a parent does not call within ten days and show good cause, the hearing will be dismissed and the adoptive parent will lose the hearing. The local agency will then go forward with the action it was planning to take. If an adoptive parent disagrees with the dismissal, the dismissal notice will inform the parent how to ask for an administrative appeal of the dismissal.
Adoptive parents can request a fair hearing, at any time, whenever an Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS), Children and Family Services Division (CFSD) decision affects their adoption assistance application or their child’s adoption assistance benefits. Parents are provided with documentation of the Agency's decision and are given the opportunity to request either a fair hearing, or an administrative review of the decision.
Fair hearing requests regarding adverse decisions on adoption assistance payments are filed within 30 days of the date of the written notice of the adverse action per Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:75-15-128. The appellant is given access, prior to the date of the hearing, to any information to be used in the hearing. Any information acquired after the notice of the adverse decision and after the request for the fair hearing may be used in the hearing process provided the appellant is notified of this information and of the intent to use it. Such information is made available to the appellant ten days prior to the hearing date. For more information, please see Oklahoma’s Library: Fair hearings link: http://www.okdhs.org/library/policy/pages/oac340075010012006.aspx.
Adoptive parents can request a fair hearing whenever they disagree with a Department of Human Services (DHS) decision that affects their child’s adoption assistance benefits. First a resolution is sought with the adoption assistance coordinator. If the family and the adoption assistance coordinator cannot reach agreement, the family may verbally request a review of the case by the Adoption Assistance Review Committee. If the family is not satisfied with the recommendation of the Review Committee, they may request, in writing, that the Adoption Program Manager review the case file and make a decision. If the family remains unsatisfied, they may then appeal, in writing, this decision to a Fair Hearing before an administrative law judge. There is no mandatory form that adoptive parent(s) must use to request a fair hearing. Requests must be made within thirty days of the receipt of notification of an adverse decision. Hearings are conducted by what are known as Administrative Law Judges (ALJs). The Department of Human Services is represented legally by the Oregon State Attorney General’s Office. Adoptive families have the right to be represented by legal counsel and to bring witnesses to support their case before the ALJ. Requests for fair hearing must be written and sent to the following address:
Department of Human Services
Adoption Program Manager
500 Summer Street, NE
Salem, Oregon 97301
Contact information for the Department of Human Services, link: http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/Offices/Pages/Child-Welfare.aspx.
The adoptive family can request a fair hearing whenever a Department of Human Services (DHS), county Children and Youth Agency decision affects their child’s adoption assistance benefits. If the adoptive parents feel they have been wrongly denied benefits on behalf of an adoptive child, they have the right to a fair hearing at any time. Allegations that constitute grounds for a fair hearing include:
- Relevant facts regarding the child were known or should have been reasonably known by the public or private agency and were not presented to the adoptive parents prior to the finalization of the adoption.
- Denial of assistance based upon a means test of the adoptive family.
- Adoptive family disagreement that a child is ineligible for adoption assistance.
- Failure by the CCYA to advise potential adoptive parents about the availability of adoption assistance for children in the state foster care system.
- Decrease in the amount of adoption assistance without the concurrence of the adoptive parents.
- Denial of a request for a change in payment level due to a change in the adoptive parents’ or child’s circumstances.
An appeal must be filed by the family in writing within fifteen calendar days of receiving written notice of an adverse decision from the County Children and Youth Agency (CCYA). Upon receipt of the appeal, the CCYA shall date stamp the appeal and submit the appeal with a copy of the agency action that is being appealed to the DHS Bureau of Hearing and Appeals within three working days. They have exclusive authority to grant or dismiss the appeal. Any existing benefit in an adoption assistance agreement continues during the appeal process. The CCYA is responsible for the following:
- Explaining to parents the process of filing an appeal (fair hearing request).
- If necessary, helping the parents to complete the written appeal request.
- Explaining that all oral appeal requests must be put in writing within three days of the oral request.
- Assuring that the appellant has signed the appeal.
- Date-stamping the appeal when it is received and reviewing it to determine if its actions were in accordance with DHS regulations and policies.
- Taking steps to arrive at a settlement that can be approved by the DHS Bureau of Hearings and Appeals without a hearing.
- Forwarding any appeals that are not resolved at the CCYA level within three working days from the date the written appeal request was received and date stamped to:
Department of Human Services
Bureau of Hearings and Appeals
2330 Vartan Way
Harrisburg, PA 17110
Phone: 717.705.0436 or 2260
If the appeal is denied by the Bureau of Hearings and Appeals, the family may request, within fifteen days of the denial, that the Secretary of Public Welfare reconsider the decision. The family may also file a Petition for Review with the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court within thirty days of the mailing of the Bureau of Hearings and Appeals decision. Both of these options may be pursued at the same time.
Adoptive parents can request a fair hearing whenever a Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) decision affects their child's adoption assistance benefits. Requests for fair hearing are made by filling out a written request for fair hearing form sent by the DCYF in response to a decision affecting adoption assistance benefits. Parents are directed to complete and return the form to their adoption assistance worker or Adoption Assistance Coordinator. Parents must then be available for the fair hearing when scheduled. A fair hearing will be scheduled and parents will be notified of its date, time, and place. Send written requests to the following address:
101 Friendship Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02908
DCYF policy, link:
(See page 2 for information on the first step in the hearing process, known as Supervisory and Divisional Appeals, and pages 4 - 6 for information on the second step in the hearing process, The Formal Hearing,.)
Adoptive parents can request a fair hearing whenever there is disagreement with a Department of Social Services (DSS) decision that affects their child’s adoption assistance benefits. Requests for fair hearing must be in writing and sent to the Office of Administrative Hearings and Individual and Provider Rights (OAH) within thirty days of a family’s receipt of an adverse DSS decision. OAH will usually schedule a hearing within ninety days (between thirty and ninety) after the initial request for fair hearing. A three-member committee consisting of a hearing officer and two members appointed by the State DSS Director conducts hearings. Final decisions are issued within thirty days from the conclusion of the hearing and sent by certified mail to the adoptive parents.
See South Carolina’s fair hearing application form, link: https://dss.sc.gov/resource-library/forms_brochures/files/2633.pdf.
See South Carolina’s fair hearing information document, link: https://dss.sc.gov/resource-library/forms_brochures/files/2418.pdf.
Send written requests for fair hearing to the address below or phone: 800.311.7220 or TTY 800.311.7219 for information.
South Carolina Department of Social Services
Individual and Provider Rights
Office of Administrative Hearings
P.O. Box 1520
Columbia, South Carolina 29202-1520
Adoptive parents can request a fair hearing whenever there is disagreement with a Department of Social Services decision that affects their child’s adoption assistance benefits. Requests for fair hearing in South Dakota are made by submitting a written request to:
Department of Social Services
Office of Administrative Hearings
700 Governors Drive
Pierre, South Dakota 57501
Adoptive parents can request a fair hearing whenever there is disagreement with a Department of Children’s Services (DCS) decision that affects their child’s adoption assistance benefits. “Appeal for Fair Hearing” forms are available through the Permanency Specialist in the local DCS office. The completed form is returned to the Permanency Specialist who forwards the form to the Appeals Hearing Officer. The hearing is then scheduled by the Hearing Officer. If the parents disagree with the hearing decision, they can request a reconsideration of the decision. The adoptive parents may, as a final recourse, file an appeal in Chancery Court. Additional information can be received by contacting the Tennessee DCS Administrative Procedures Division at:
Administrative Procedures Division
1268 Foster Avenue
Nashville, TN 37243
DCS Tennessee Regional contact information link: https://www.tn.gov/dcs/about-us/regional-offices.html.
Adoptive families can request a fair hearing whenever there is a disagreement with a Department of Social Services decision that affects their child’s adoption assistance benefits. A fair hearing is also available if it is believed that the processing of the adoption assistance application is unreasonably delayed. A request for fair hearing must be made to the adoption assistance worker in writing within ninety days of the effective date of the change in adoption assistance benefits. Families can represent themselves or have another person, including an attorney, represent them at the fair hearing.
Contact DFPS, link: https://www.dfps.state.tx.us/Contact_Us/Default.asp.
Adoptive parents may send a written request for a fair haring to the Utah Department of Human Services any time an adoption assistance application is not acted upon promptly, a family is denied adoption assistance, adoption assistance is reduced, or adoption assistance is not funded at the requested rate. Notification of the right to a fair hearing (also known as an appeal) and an explanation of the hearing process are sent to the family. Parents are directed to read the notification and send it back to the agency indicating they wish to request a fair hearing. See the Utah Administrative Code (state law) for a complete outline of fair hearing process and procedures under UT Admin Code. Appeal Procedures, link: https://rules.utah.gov/publicat/code/r497/r497-100.htm.
Adoptive parents can request a fair hearing when an Agency of Human Services’ decision affects their child’s adoption assistance benefits. Parents are sent letters informing them of intended Agency action that will affect their child’s benefits and the letter provides information and contacts to appeal the decision through fair hearing heard by the Human Services Board. A letter requesting a fair hearing must be received by the Human Services Board within 10 days of a denial of a benefit. Link: https://mybenefits.ahs.state.vt.us/Fair_Hearing.aspx.
There are three levels of appeal: Agency Conference, Appeal, and Administrative Review. Adoptive parents can request a fair hearing at any time they believe the local Department of Social Services (DSS) agency has taken inappropriate action in the application of a policy or law. Parents can request to have an Agency Conference, which is an opportunity for the parent and agency to discuss the problem. If the parents are not satisfied, they can ask to send a written request to regional hearing authorities. Parents are assigned an impartial hearing officer who will review the case, hear their concerns, and make a decision in the matter. Hearing officers are located in the Richmond Central Office, four regional offices (Virginia Beach, Warrenton, Roanoke, Abingdon), and the Lynchburg Child Support Enforcement District Office. Cases are assigned to one of the three appeal categories: child support, benefits and services (including adoption assistance), and child protective services.
DSS link to Appeals and Fair Hearings information: http://www.townhall.state.va.us/l/GetFile.cfm?File=E:\townhall\docroot\GuidanceDocs\765\GDoc_DSS_4159_v3.pdf.
For more information concerning the appeal of a specific local agency decision, contact the local office of the Virginia Department of Social Services DSS. Local offices are listed in the Government Listings in the phone book under 'Social Services.' DSS local office locator link: http://www.dss.state.va.us/localagency/.
Adoptive parents have the right to request a fair hearing to contest decisions made by the Department of Social and Health Services that affects their child’s adoption assistance benefits. Adoptive parents are asked to contact the Office of Administrative Hearings or their adoption assistance worker to request a fair hearing, or phone 800.562.5682 for further information. Either the parent or their representative may request a hearing. The request must be made within in 90 days of the date of the decision. Decisions regarding the timeliness of a hearing request are the responsibility of the ALJ. All hearing requests should be forwarded for scheduling regardless of the date of the request. The request does not need to be in any particular form and can be made verbally or in writing. The request can be made to any responsible department employee. The request should include the decision being appealed and why the client is dissatisfied with the decision. However, any request indicating dissatisfaction with a department decision should be treated as a hearing request. Send requests to the following address:
Office of Administrative Hearings
P.O. Box 2465
Olympia, WA 98504-2465
The above information and further explanation of the fair hearing process can be found at the following links: https://www.dshs.wa.gov/sites/default/files/SESA/publications/documents/22-1211.pdf (see page 17) and http://apps.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=388-02.
Adoptive parents can request a fair hearing whenever there is disagreement with a DHHR decision that affects their child’s adoption assistance benefits. Parents are advised of their right to a fair hearing and may request a fair hearing if they are denied or dissatisfied with any service. The adoption assistance/DHHR worker will provide a hearing request form that the parent must complete and return to the worker. Parents are initially offered a pre-hearing conference with the supervisor and the worker. If the issue not resolved at the pre-hearing conference, the completed fair hearing form is then forwarded to the Board of Review for assignment to a hearing officer. Family Assistance Complaints and Fair Hearings link: http://dhhr.wv.gov/bcf/Services/familyassistance/PolicyManual/Documents/Chapter%206/DFA_FH_1.pdf
The right to a fair hearing is explained verbally by the home finders and adoption workers during the home study and placement process and is also on all the social service forms that the adoptive parents sign, including the adoption assistance agreement, and on any denial notification. The chairman of the board registers the grievance and then notifies the appropriate program specialist in the Division of Children and Adult Services of a request for a fair hearing. A conference is arranged to review the case to determine whether policy and procedures were appropriately applied in the situation raised by the grievance. If policy or procedure was not followed then the state concedes. If it was followed then the Chairman will assign the case to the appropriate State Hearing officer. The hearing is usually scheduled within thirty days of the request and all parties are notified at least ten days prior to the date of the hearing. The hearing will be conducted and after all information is presented the hearing officer will attempt to reconcile the differences. If no agreement is reached, the hearing officer will make a decision in the form of a summary with a cover letter within fifteen working days. An adoptive parent may make a grievance within ninety days of a perceived adverse action regarding treatment by departmental personnel, any concern related to social services received or denied, denial of cash or medical assistance or an increase thereof, or denial of a post-finalization application for adoption assistance.
The initial fair hearing request is sent to the staff person whose decision resulted in the adoptive parent’s dissatisfaction. The staff person and their supervisor review the situation with the parent to resolve the problem. If no solution is achieved the supervisor will assist the parent in completing the grievance form. The form is submitted immediately to the Chairman of the Board of Review. Parents may also submit this form themselves or may make a complaint in the form of a letter to the Chairman of the Board of Review. The Supervisor must submit a grievance form after the grievance is assigned to a hearing officer. Parents must call or write their social service adoption worker, their supervisor, or contact the Board of Review directly to request a fair hearing. The Department must receive the hearing request within ninety days of the mailing date of the notice of action being protested. The Board of Review will send the parent a notice giving the date, time, and place of the hearing after the request for a hearing is received. This notice will be sent at least ten days before the hearing. The notice also explain to parents what to do if they cannot come to the hearing as scheduled. Parents may bring witnesses, friends, relatives, or a lawyer to assist in the presentation of their case. Everyone presenting testimony will be sworn in. The hearing officer will record the hearing and listen to both sides but will not make a decision at the hearing. Instead, parents will receive a written decision and transcript in the mail, issued by the hearing officer within fifteen days of the hearing. If a parent disagrees with the hearing decision, the written decision will explain how to contest the decision through an appeal.
There are two sets of procedures for parents seeking a fair hearing regarding adoption assistance in Wisconsin. One set is the appeal process before adoption finalization and the second set is after adoption finalization.
If an applicant for adoption assistance is not satisfied with the action taken by the Department on the application prior to adoption finalization, or if the applicant who has been approved for or is receiving adoption assistance is not satisfied with the conditions governing the award, the applicant may request a review of the decision by the Division Administrator.
This request must be submitted prior to adoption finalization.
A request for review of a decision should be addressed to the following address:
Department of Children and Families
P.O. Box 8916
Madison, WI 53708-8916
After adoption finalization, an adoptive parent may appeal to the Division of Hearings and Appeals regarding a contested department decision such as a denial of adoption assistance benefits or a failure of the department to inform adoptive parents of the availability of adoption assistance. A request for a hearing should be addressed to the following address:
Division of Hearings and Appeals
P.O. Box 7875
Madison, WI 53707
For a complete listing of reasons for appeal link to Wisconsin Administrative Code DCF 50, Facilitating the Adoption of Children with Special Needs – 50.065 at: http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/code/admin_code/dcf/021_099/50/_1.
Adoptive parents have the right to request a fair hearing any time a DFS decision affects their child’s adoption assistance benefits. Requests for reviews in Wyoming are made by contacting the Manager of the local Department of Family Services office.