Due to the traumatic circumstances of their lives, most adoptive children fall in the adoption category of Special Needs. As defined for the purpose of adoption, Special Needs includes:
– A child who has been in the care of a public or private agency or individual other than the legal or biological parent for more than 24 consecutive months.
– A child with physical, mental, or emotional disability, as validated by a licensed physician or psychologist.
– A child who is a member of a sibling group of 2 or more placed in the same home.
The Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) utilizes adoption assistance funding to facilitate the adoption of children with special needs who might otherwise not be adopted. The federal law requires efforts be made to place the child without adoption assistance, except when doing so is not in the child’s best interest. Adoption assistance is provided on behalf of an eligible child to offset the costs associated with adopting and meeting the ongoing needs of the child. Adoption assistance can be provided in the form of payments, medical coverage and reimbursement of non-recurring expenses.
– Adoption assistance payments are monthly payments made by DFCS to the pre-adoptive family or adoptive family on behalf of an eligible child.
– Medical coverage is provided through Medicaid, which provides assistance with the costs associated with medical care. Medicaid is a joint federal and state health insurance program; and
– Non-recurring adoption assistance is a one-time payment up to $1,500 per child, which DFCS will pay to an adoptive family to assist with the reasonable and necessary adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees and other expenses directly related to the legal adoption of a child with special needs.
Adoption assistance is not intended to replace the legal responsibility of the adoptive parent(s) to support his/her child. Families are responsible for using their personal resources to help them provide for the child’s needs. These resources may be considered when determining a family’s receipt of adoption assistance.