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Adoption Subsidies for Foster Care Adoptions: What is Reasonable and How to Negotiate

Highlights from November 30, 2011 Creating a Family radio show

adoptionsubsidies You may be eligible for a monthly cash subsidy, health care coverage, and college tuition for your children when adopting from foster care, but how do you know what you are eligible for and how to get it. Our guests are Josh Kroll,Project Coordinator with the Adoption Subsidy Resource Center at the North American Council on Adoptable Children and Seth A. Grob, adoption and reproductive law attorney and one of the top legal experts on adoption subsides in the US.  He has published extensively about adoption and the rights of children and foster parents. Foster care adoption, special needs adoption, adopting a child with special needs

  • What is an adoption subsidy?

  • What type of benefits are available as part of a subsidy?  Monthly cash payment, psychological counseling, medical, orthodontia, college education

  • How do you reconcile the child’s current needs and expenses with unknown future needs and expenses of the child.  How willing are states to consider future costs that may or may not be needed when developing an amount for the subsidy?

  •  If a cash supplement, is provided, do the parents have to justify or send in documentation of how the money is spent?

  • What qualifies as a special need eligible for a subsidy?

  • What age child is considered old enough to make them hard to place and thus eligible for a subsidy absent other identified SNs?

  • States are required to try to find a family for a child without offering a subsidy.  So, if you find a child or are fostering a child that you want to adopt, are you lessening your chances of being the family chosen for this child if you request a subsidy?

  • What percentage of children adopted from foster care receive a subsidy?

  • Can you still get the adoption subsidy if you move to another state?

  • Do subsidies vary by state in terms of amount and other things that might be included?

  • Can you get an adoption subsidy if you adopt a child independently?

  • Can you get an adoption subsidy if you adopt a child with special needs from an adoption agency rather than foster care.

  • If a relative adopts a child with special needs can they receive an adoption subsidy?

  • Are subsidies available for special needs international adoptions?

  • Are subsidies available if you adopt from a private agency that has a contract to place kids in foster care for adoption?

  • Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 was a federal law that encouraged states to provide incentives.

  • Can you get a subsidy even if you make an adequate income?

  • If the child is already receiving a SSI benefit, is it usual to get an adoption subsidy on top of SSI?

  • How to best negotiate for a subsidy.  So often, it may not be apparent what the child’s special needs really are.  Or the proper testing has not been done.

  • When should you negotiate for an adoption subsidy?

  • What if after the adoption, the child’s needs increase.  Can you renegotiate the amount of the subsidy or what is included?

  • Does the subsidy follow the child if the parents die?  Let’s say a single mom adopts a child and receives a monthly subsidy. The mom dies and has selected her sister as guardian for the child. Would the subsidy go with the child?

  • Most subsides continue until a child reaches 18. can the family renegotiate to continue the subsidy until the child is 21? 

  • Will subsidies cover the cost of residential care if it is ever necessary.

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