Adoption and Guardianship Assistance - Delaware

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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?")

The child must have “special needs” which are conditions or child characteristics that make it difficult to place a child for adoption without providing adoption assistance or medical assistance to prospective adoptive parents. There must be documentation that a child has at least one of the following, physical, mental, emotional or handicapping characteristics:

  • Eight years of age or over
  • Member of a minority race or ethnic culture
  • Member of a sibling group to be adopted by the same family
  • A diagnosed physical handicap or chronic disease requiring medical attention
  • A mental or emotional condition requiring treatment

 

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.)

$2,000 per placement

 

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.)

Delaware offers deferred adoption assistance agreements.

 

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

Adoption assistance payments may begin in Delaware after adoption finalization.

 

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 the adoption assistance agreement?

Adoptive parents can request a change in an adoption assistance agreement at any time. Requests for change should be made in writing with accompanying documentation supporting the request. The adoptive family must request the necessary documentation from a physician, psychologist, or other professional to substantiate the need for the change. This information is then presented to the Adoption Program Manager or designee for review and approval. Agreements can be renegotiated by the family and the adoption assistance specialist at any time upon request.

If parents do not receive a requested change in the adoption assistance agreement, they can appeal the decision. Appeals or requests for fair hearing should be made in writing within thirty calendar days of the date of an adverse decision or notice. In the request for fair hearing, adoptive parents should explain the reason for the request and the relief they are requesting. Send requests for change to the following address:

Substantiation Hearing Coordinator
Division of Family Services
1825 Faulkland Road
Wilmington, Delaware 19805
 

 

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

Post adoption services in Delaware are administered by Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families (DSCYF) through contracted agencies.

A Better Chance for Our Children provides post-adoption services to children and families statewide.

For emergency help for a child's emotional problem call 1-800-969-HELP.

Adoptive families can call Delaware 211 for information and support services.

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

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

 

What mental health services are provided by your State?

Public mental health services for children in Delaware are administered by the Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families (DSCYF), Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health (DPBH). DPBH’s mental health services include the following examples: outpatient care, support and crisis services, day and residential treatment, and hospital treatment services. More information may be found on the Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health website.

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?

Delaware does not provide additional finances or services for medical needs. Families should contact their family insurance provider or Medicaid for additional services as needed.

Delaware offers an assistance known as a Psychological Subsidy. The program provides financial assistance for treatment of an identified psychological problem, either existing or potential. Assistance is limited to $3,000 per year for expenses not covered by the family medical insurance plan or by Medicaid.

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.)

Adoptive parents have the right to request a fair hearing whenever they wish to appeal a Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families (DSCYF) decision affecting their child’s adoption assistance benefits. Requests for fair hearing are made by submitting a written request to the Department of Family Services (DFS) Director within thirty days of the date of the decision or notice. Requests should explain the reason that parents are requesting a fair hearing and what relief (benefits) they are seeking. Denial of an application for assistance or of a request for the continuation of adoption assistance may be appealed by the adoptive parent(s) or by the agency submitting the application by requesting an administrative review of the case and the decision. The Division Director will conduct the review or appoint a member of their staff to do so. Families can be represented and bring witnesses and substantiating documentation of their claim with them to the hearing. The Director’s office will review the request to determine if the appeal was made timely and to determine that the request is being made by the person affected by the decision. A Hearing Officer is assigned to hear the appeal. The Hearing Officer is an impartial fact finder and decision maker who will create a respectful, non-adversarial environment to which to discuss the case. The Hearing Officer performs the following functions: schedules the fair hearing (appeal), ensures that all parties have been notified of the date, time, and location of the hearing, decides which evidence and witnesses will be considered, mediates the hearing, decides the merits of the appeal (reasons for the adoptive parent’s claims), writes an appeal decision, and ensures that all parties receive a copy of the decision within thirty calendar days of the final hearing date. Send requests for fair hearing to the following address:

Substantiation Hearing Coordinator
1825 Faulkland Road
Wilmington, Delaware 19805

See Delaware’s Fair Hearing process.

 

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

No. Delaware does not have a guardianship assistance program. It does, however, offer a Kinship Care Program which provides assistance for relative caregivers during the 180-day transition period when a child first moves into the non-parent caregiver's home (relative caregivers are non-parental relatives, such as grandparents or aunts and uncles, who take on the responsibility of caring for a relative child). The program assists in meeting immediate needs for clothing, shelter, health, safety, and educational supplies.

 

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

N/A

 

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

N/A

 

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