What is an Adoption Assistance Program?

Adoption assistance is also known as adoption subsidy. This program helps financially and provides services for children with disabilities and their adoptive parents. In order to qualify for adoption subsidy, you must be a parent or primary caregiver of an adopted child with special needs. While every state has a different definition of the term “special needs,” the general definition is that a child with special needs is a member of a minority group, has a medical condition, siblings who should not be separated, or a child with handicaps. A child with handicaps will have a physical, mental or emotional disability. So now that you know what an adoption assistance program is, you need to know how to apply for it, right? Read on to find out.

In order to apply to receive adoption assistance, you must first contact the adoption assistance specialist in your state. Once you have contacted the specialist, he or she can determine your eligibility and give you more information. If you are accepted to receive help, the state may provide monthly maintenance payments, medical assistance, and other support up until your child turns 18 or 21. You may also be eligible for a one-time reimbursement to cover expenses related to the adoption. These expenses can include adoption fees, agency supervision of the adoptive placement, court costs, attorney fees, travel, food and lodging expenses. If your child qualifies for assistance, the state must enter into an agreement with you as the adoptive parents. Assistance is provided based on the child’s background and special needs. Assistance can be either federal or state. A child cannot qualify for both federal and state assistance. A child must meet three criteria to qualify for federal assistance: the state has determined that the child cannot return to the birth parent’s home, the state has found a specific factor or condition (or a combination) that make it difficult for the child to be placed for adoption, and the state has made a reasonable but unsuccessful effort to place the child without support.  

If you believe that you qualify for adoption assistance, contact your local department of social services. For more information, visit: