Adoption and Guardianship Assistance - Indiana

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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?")

There must exist a specific factor or condition that makes it reasonable to conclude that the child cannot be adopted without providing financial assistance or Title XIX Medicaid, and one of the following criteria exists:

  • A child 2 years of age or older
  • A child who is a member of a sibling group of two or more children, of which at least one is 2 years of age or older and who will be placed with the sibling group in the same home
  • A child with a qualifying medical condition or a physical, mental or emotional disability, that is expected to require continuous or long-term medical treatment, as determined by a physician or psychiatrist licensed to practice in Indiana or another State or territory

 

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.)

Up to $1,500 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.)

Indiana offers medical-only adoption assistance agreements or agreements where the monetary amount is zero ($0). The amount of the adoption assistance payment is a negotiable matter and payments can range from zero to the maximum payment. Even with a zero payment, Medicaid is provided to the eligible child and adoption assistance agreements are made with the understanding that dollar amounts can be negotiated upon request by the adoptive parents.

 

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

Adoption assistance payments and benefits may begin for children receiving Federal adoption assistance (IV-E) at adoption placement. For children receiving state-funded (county subsidy) adoption assistance, assistance begins on the date the adoption was finalized.

 

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?

The Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) will process a request for modification of a current adoption assistance agreement providing ongoing financial assistance through the Indiana Adoption Assistance Program. An adoptive parent who has signed an agreement and is receiving periodic payments may, during the term of the agreement, submit a request to the change the periodic payment amount.

The request must be submitted to the DCS local office that handled the Child in Need of Services (CHINS) or Juvenile Delinquency (JD) case at the time the child was adopted. If there was no CHINS or JD case when the original adoption assistance agreement was signed, the request must be sent to the DCS local office that serves the county of the child’s residence. The request must include the information and documentation required, or that the adoptive parent would consider relevant for an initial Payment Request Information (PRI) response. The request shall also include a detailed explanation of the change in circumstances of the child or adoptive family that was not known or anticipated at the time the current periodic payment was negotiated or most recent amendment to the agreement was determined.

A request for modification may not be submitted more frequently than once in a consecutive 12 month period.

The Indiana DCS will process a request for administrative review when a prospective adoptive parent disagrees with a decision made by DCS.

More information is available by contacting the adoption consultant in the region where the child resides.

 

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

For postadoption services information, families must contact the adoption consultant in the region where they live or call 1-888-25-ADOPT. The adoption consultant can complete a referral to the service provider so that the family may receive an assessment and create a service delivery plan.

Additional resources are available on the Indiana Adoption Program website.

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

Indiana’s mental health care is administered through the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) and its Hoosier Assurance Plan (HAP) the primary system used by the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration's Division of Mental Health and Addiction (DMHA) to fund public mental health and addiction services. HAP is intended to ensure service availability to the Indiana population in greatest need of mental health and addiction services. Services include the following examples: out-patient and in-patient hospital care, psychological, inpatient psychiatric care, prescription drugs, and case management.

Hoosier Healthwise is a health care program for children up to age 19 covering medical care like doctor visits, prescription medicine, mental health care, dental care, hospitalizations, and surgeries at little or no cost to the member or the member's family.

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?

No, Indiana does not offer any additional finances or services for medical or therapeutic needs not covered under the State medical plan.

 

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.)

Applicants for adoption assistance may request an administrative review by completing the Request for Administrative Review form 54348 within 15 days of the date on the Final Eligibility Notification or the date of any letter notifying applicant of the decision for which review is being requested. Families must notify the agency if they are being represented by legal counsel or if there has been a change in address.

Parents should send the Request for Administrative Review and include a copy of the DCFS decision that they are requesting DCS to review to:

Department of Child Services
Hearings and Appeals, Administrative Review – MS 47
302 West Washington Street, Room E306
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
E-mail: HearingsAndAppeals@dcs.in.gov
Please allow 45 to 60 days for a response to your request.

To request an administrative hearing concerning a DCS adoption assistance decision a family must have had a review and received a Notice of Final Administrative Review Decision before requesting a hearing. Parents will need to complete form 54349 Request for Administrative Hearing Indiana Adoption Assistance Program (AAP or SAS). The completed request must be received within 30 days from the date they received the Notice of Final Administrative Review Decision. Families must notify if they are being represented by legal counsel or if there has been a change in address. If the request is not received within 30 calendar days of the date on the Notice letter, parents will give up their right to any DCS Hearing on the decision in the future.

Parents should send Form 54349 and a copy of the Notice of Final Administrative Review Decision to:

Indiana Department of Child Services
Office of General Counsel, Hearings and Appeals – MS47
302 West Washington Street, Room E306
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
E-mail: HearingsAndAppeals@dcs.in.gov

 

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

Yes. Assistance is available regardless of the child’s title IV-E eligibility.

  • Does the guardianship assistance program differ from the adoption assistance program? Yes
  • If so, how does it differ? The requirements for guardianship assistance differ from the requirements for adoption assistance. Guardianship should be considered as the permanency option when reunification or adoption are not feasible.

 

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

Children who are a ward of the Department of Child Services or Juvenile Delinquency/Juvenile Status (JDJS) must meet the following criteria:

  • Child is age 13 or older
  • Child has been placed in a licensed relative home for at least 6 consecutive months
  • Child demonstrates a strong attachment to the prospective relative guardian
  • Court finds and states in an order compelling reasons for guardianship being the preferred permanency option

 

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

Yes. Relative is defined in any of the following in relation to a child: a parent, a grandparent, a brother, a sister, a stepparent, a stepbrother, a stepsister, a first cousin, an uncle, an aunt, and any other individual with whom a child has an established relationship. Other Relative is defined as "an individual who is not related by blood, marriage or adoption may be considered a relative for purposes of placement and the Guardianship Assistance Program when the individual has an established and significant relationship with the child". Former long-term resource parents may be considered as relative placements in cases where the child is the victim of repeat maltreatment or returning to out-of-home care. Consideration should be given to the child’s report of the relationship and the potential for permanency. Placement with a suitable and willing relative related by blood, marriage, or adoption must be ruled out before considering any other out-of-home placement, with the first consideration being given to a suitable and willing noncustodial parent.

 

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