Adoption Subsidies

Federal or State adoption benefits (also known as Adoption Assistance) designed to help offset the short- and long-term costs associated with adopting children who need special services. To be eligible for the Federal IV-E subsidy program, children must meet each of the following characteristics:

  • a court has ordered that the child cannot or should not be returned to the birth family
  • the child has special needs, as determined by the state's definition of special needs
  • a "reasonable effort" has been made to place the child without a subsidy
  • the child must have been eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) at the time of the adoption, or the child's birth family must have been receiving - or eligible to receive - Aid for Families with Dependent Children (AFDC).

Benefits available through subsidy programs vary by State, but commonly include:

  • Monthly Cash Payments - up to an amount that is $1 less than the foster care payment the state would have made if the child were still in basic family foster care
  • Medical Assistance - through the federal program (and some state programs), Medicaid benefits
  • Social Services - post-adoption services such as respite care, counseling, day care, etc.
  • Nonrecurring Adoption Expenses - a one-time reimbursement (depending upon the state, between $400 and $2,000) for costs such as adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, physical and psychological examinations, and other expenses related to the legal adoption of a child with special needs.

Before adopting a child with special needs, ask your agency about the availability of federal and state subsidies.

Source: Children Welfare Information Gateway