Adoption and Guardianship Assistance - Alabama

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What specific factors or conditions does your State consider to determine that a child cannot be placed with an adoptive family without providing financial assistance? ("What is your State definition of special needs?")

A child with special needs is defined as a child who has at least one of the following needs or circumstances that may be a barrier to adoption without financial assistance:

  • Certain documented physical, mental, or emotional disability
  • A background of parental substance abuse, mental illness or mental retardation that places child at risk of physical, mental, or emotional difficulties
  • Age 5 or older
  • Racial or ethnic factors
  • Member of a sibling group of two or more children being placed for adoption in the same home at the same time

To be eligible for adoption assistance, a child must first be in the care and custody of the Department of Human Resources or an Alabama licensed child-placing agency or be eligible to receive SSI at the time of placement.

More information may be found in the Requirements and Procedures for Adoption Subsidy.

 

What is the maximum amount a family may receive in non-recurring adoption expenses from your State? (Adoptive parents can receive reimbursement of certain approved, "one-time" adoption expenses incurred in the process of finalizing a special needs adoption.)

$1,000 per child

 

Does your State enter into deferred adoption assistance agreements? (In some States, adoptive parents can enter into an agreement in which they choose to defer the receipt of a Medicaid card, the monthly monetary payment, or both and can elect to receive the Medicaid card and/or monetary payment at another time.)

Alabama offers deferred adoption assistance. Evidence of disability is not required at the time of placement, but professional documentation of a high risk of developing a physical, emotional or psychological disability is necessary. The high-risk background is based on the documented emotional or psychological history of the child's biological parents.

 

When can adoption assistance payments and benefits begin in your State?

Adoption assistance payments and benefits may begin in Alabama at adoption placement.

 

How are changes made to the adoption assistance agreement in your State?

  • When can a parent request a change in the adoption assistance agreement?
  • How does a parent request a change in the adoption assistance agreement?
  • What if a parent does not receive the change they request in an adoption assistance agreement?

Adoptive parents can make a request for a change in the adoption assistance agreement at any time when there is a change in the circumstances of the family as it pertains to meeting the needs of the child. Professional documentation supporting the requested change is required, when appropriate. Requests for change must be in writing to the program manager, Office of Permanency If an adoptive parent disagrees with a decision regarding a request for change in the adoption assistance agreement, a fair hearing can be requested through written notice to the program manager, Office of Adoption. Send requests for change to the following address:

Program Manager, Office of Permanency
Alabama Department of Human Resources
50 North Ripley Street
Montgomery, Alabama 36130-4000

 

What types of postadoption services are available in your State, and how do you find out more about them?

Postadoption services in Alabama are administered by the Department of Human Resources (DHR) through contract with outside agencies. Known as the Alabama Pre/Post Adoption Connections (APAC) program, APAC is a collaborative effort between Children's Aid Society and DHR. Services are provided through four locations statewide: Birmingham, Huntsville, Montgomery, and Mobile. For more information, visit the APAC website or call 1.866.803.2722.

Many private organizations offer a variety of respite options. See the ARCH National Respite Network Respite Locator Service, search by state to locate Alabama's respite programs.

Note: Not all services may be available in all cases or in all areas. Contact APAC for information regarding process, eligibility, availability, and duration of services.

 

What mental health services are provided by your State?

Financial assistance is available for children receiving out-patient counseling services at the time of placement from a therapist who does not accept Medicaid to prevent the interruption of the therapeutic intervention. All financial assistance is subject to the availability of state funds.

See the Medicaid Mental Health section for services for eligible children and adults, and community-based and inpatient services that are provided.

Note: Not all services may be available in all cases. Contact your adoption assistance worker or medical assistance specialist for information regarding process, eligibility, availability, and duration of services.

 

Does your State provide additional finances or services for medical or therapeutic needs not covered under your State medical plan to children receiving adoption assistance?

Alabama offers financial assistance for orthodontia services that have been documented as medically necessary at the time of adoptive placement and is in progress or set to begin within ninety (90) days of adoptive placement. Financial assistance is available for children receiving out-patient counseling services at the time of placement from a therapist who does not accept Medicaid to prevent the interruption of the therapeutic intervention. All financial assistance is subject to the availability of state funds. All financial assistance is subject to the availability of state funds.

Note: Not all services may be available in all cases. Contact your adoption assistance worker for information regarding process, eligibility, availability, and duration of services.

 

What is your State's process for applying for a fair hearing? (A fair hearing is a legal, administrative procedure that provides a forum to address disagreements with agency decisions.)

Any subsidy decision by the State Department of Human Resources, which the placement agency or the adoptive parents deem adverse to the child, is reviewable by the Office of Adoption, Alabama Department of Human Resources. The placement agency or the adoptive parents may request a review by writing to the Office of Adoption. If the adoptive parents are dissatisfied with the results of the review, they may request a fair hearing within 30 days or receipt of notice by writing to the Administrative Hearings Officer in accordance with the Alabama Administrative Procedure Act.

 

Does your state, territory, or tribe offer a guardianship subsidy or assistance (monthly payments and medical coverage) program?

Yes, for children who are IV-E eligible.

  • Does the guardianship assistance program differ from the adoption assistance program? Yes
  • If so, how does it differ? Difference is the relationships and court status.

 

What are the eligibility criteria for a child to receive guardianship assistance?

Third degree of kin, licensed foster parent at least six months.

 

Do families have to meet a kinship definition to receive guardianship assistance? If yes, how is kinship defined?

Yes. Third degree of kin, licensed foster parent at least six months.

 

If a specific question is not displayed, the State or Territory did not provide a response to that question.