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Orange County Foster Care Network

Adoption Subsidies

What are Adoption Subsidies?

Adoption subsidies are monthly maintenance payments that may be available based on the special needs of a child. Adopted children may also be eligible for the federal Medical Assistance program or for state-funded Medical Subsidy. Review of all adoption subsidies is based on presentation and approval of documentation that meets statutory and regulatory requirement. Except for unknown preexisting conditions, adoption subsidy agreements must be approved before completion of the adoption. An adoption subsidy agreement is a contract between the prospective adoptive parent(s) and the local department of social services.

Maintenance subsidies continue until the child is 21, unless the adoptive parent is no longer legally responsible for the support of the child or the child is no longer receiving any support from the adoptive parent. Medical Assistance and Medical Subsidies continue for handicapped children within these same parameters. Medical Assistance for hard-to-place children is not continued past the 18th birthday unless there is a determination of need.

Why are Adoption Subsidies available?

Subsidies are provided to help meet the special needs of caring for handicapped and hard-to-place children and to encourage and facilitate their adoption. Subsidies help children who are no longer able to remain with their birth family gain a warm and supportive family.

Who qualifies?

Adoption subsidies are available for handicapped and hard-to-place children who are in the custody and guardianship of the local commissioner of social services, or a voluntary authorized agency in New York State, or a certified or approved foster parent. Not every child in the guardianship and custody of a commissioner or a voluntary agency in New York State is eligible for a subsidy.

Eligibility Determination

Eligibility for adoption subsidies is based on federal and state statutes and regulations. Eligibility determination requires verification that the child meets regulatory standards as supported by provision and approval of required documentation. Rates for maintenance payments are generally based on severity of child need. For an adoption subsidy to be approved, the child need must fall within the rate category established by each social service district. Documentation that requirements for rate eligibility are satisfied must be provided.

What about risk of future problems?

Many children have a risk of developing problems in the future that are not evident at the time of the initial adoption subsidy application. The risk may be noted with the initial subsidy request documentation, and if related problems cause an increased child need, an application for an upgrade may be appropriate in the future. Children developing other types of problems not related to preexisting conditions or directly attributable to preadoptive circumstances will not qualify for post-adoptive assistance.

Post-finalization requests

Adoptions of New York State children that occur without subsidy may be eligible for a post-finalization request for subsidy under very limited circumstances. Children who have a preexisting condition unknown to the parent at the time of the finalization and diagnosed after the adoption is finalized may qualify for Maintenance and/or Medical Subsidies. The application process requires the same quality of documentation as the initial application and must also contain certification that the request covers a preexisting condition. Additionally, the medical or mental health professional must verify the date of diagnosis.

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