Subsidies for deadbeat adoptive parents

02/09/14 at 4:16 pm

dnHundreds of adoptive parents in New York City are continuing to receive monthly subsidies of up to $1,700 even if they have sent the children elsewhere – to the streets or in foster care. Nick Nehamas, Stabile’14, found this out while researching his master’s project, which was published today by the New York Daily News.

“Because of a confusing tangle of bureaucratic rules and a lack of city oversight,” Nehamas wrote,  “the parents can continue receiving the government subsidies for months, and even years, until the child turns 21.” 

This means, he said, that “taxpayers are often double-paying for the kids’ care — first to the absentee parent, then anywhere from $29,000 to $123,000 a year per child for foster care.” 

In 1980, Congress enacted a law to encourage parents to adopt “hard-to-place” children from foster care by providing financial support for those adoptions. In the last fiscal year, New York City’s Agency for Children’s Services sent $294 million in checks  to help cover parenting costs for 22,686 children, but the agency told Nehamas it didn’t know how many of those parents were receiving money for children no longer in their care.

Nehamas cited the case of 18-year-old Desiree Smith who was given to foster care when she was still an infant. Smith was adopted by a woman who later sent her to another relative. Smith wasn’t given any money for clothes or food and had to fend for herself even as her adoptive mother received the monthly subsidies for her care.



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