Adoption and Guardianship Assistance - Kansas

Date: September 2023

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 that has at least one of the following needs or circumstances that may be a barrier to placement or adoption without financial assistance:

  • Twelve years of age or older
  • Member of a sibling group of two or more children placed for adoption together. For a sibling group of two, one of the siblings shall have one of the special needs factors or conditions. Sibling groups of three or more placed together do not need to meet any other special needs criteria
  • Medically diagnosed physical disability that requires professional treatment, impairs normal functioning, or requires assistance in self-care or the purchase of special equipment. The disability is to be diagnosed by a physician, hospital, clinic or other qualified licensed medical practitioner qualified to make disability determinations
  • Significant developmental disabilities and/or delays with demonstrated need for intensive adult supervision beyond chronological age, determined through an evaluation by a licensed psychologist, diagnostic center, special education services, or other qualified professional individual
  • Diagnosed as having a psychiatric condition that impairs the child’s intellectual, behavioral or social functioning. Diagnosis and prognosis shall be established by a licensed physician, psychologist or clinical social worker
  • With a guarded prognosis and not currently being treated for a specific disability or condition but presenting factors in his/her genetic, health, and/or social background that indicate that child may develop physical, emotional or developmental problems at a later date


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 $2,000 per child for the expenses associated with the pre-placement of each child and finalization of the adoption.


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.)

Kansas offers deferred adoption assistance. A child who has been determined to have a 'Guarded Prognosis' and is not currently being treated for a specific disability or condition, may be eligible for assistance if there are factors in his/her genetic, health, and/or social background, which indicate that he/she may develop physical, emotional or developmental problems later.


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

Adoption assistance payments and benefits may begin in Kansas at adoption placement, following the signing of the adoption placement agreement and prior to the finalization of adoption.


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 adoptive family or the Department for Children and Families may request a renegotiation of the agreement if there are significant changes in the needs of the child or the circumstances of the family. If the child has a special need which cannot be met through the monthly subsidy payment, Medicaid, family or community resources, the adoption assistance agreement may be renegotiated. The renegotiated amount may be for a time limited period. The renegotiated amount cannot exceed the limits set in Kansas Policy Manual, sections 6202 A and B. A new adoption assistance agreement shall be signed by all parties. For children temporarily placed in a Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility (PRTF) a portion of the cost for treatment will be paid through Medicaid, provided the child meets the eligibility criteria. The portion which is not Medicaid funded shall be the responsibility of the adoptive parents. When a child is placed in a PRTF for over thirty (30) days, the agency shall renegotiate the terms of the adoption assistance agreement to help pay the cost of the treatment or placement.

Title IV-E and State guidelines allow exception to the requirement of the adoption assistance agreement being signed prior to the finalization of the adoption. Factors to be considered when establishing post-finalization eligibility are:

  • Failure by DCF staff and/or child welfare case management or adoption provider staff involved to advise the adoptive parents of the availability of adoption assistance for a child with special needs
  • Erroneous determination that a child did not meet eligibility requirements
  • There existed, unknown or undiagnosed, conditions of the child at the time of placement, which if known, would have created eligibility for assistance
  • Relevant facts regarding the child, or the child’s background, were known but were not presented to the adoptive parents prior to the finalization of the adoption

The same factors are considered for State funded adoption assistance.


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

The Kansas Post Adoption Resource Center is a project provided by the collaboration of the Department for Children and Families (DCF) and Adopt Kansas Kids. The projected is dedicated to strengthening adoptive families.

Aftercare services are provided through KVC Behavioral HealthCare, Inc. Aftercare treatment is offered for 1 year following reintegration, permanent custodianship, or finalization of adoption. All families can access services on an as-needed basis in their home communities via the regional DCF office.

Access free training for foster/adoptive parents on the Children’s Alliance website. For additional resources, contact the Kansas Children’s Service League.

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


What mental health services are provided by your State?

Kansas public mental health services are administered through the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS). For a listing of resources, please see: programs and 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?

The Adoption and Safe Families Act requires health care coverage be provided for any special needs child for whom there is an adoption assistance agreement. It is important that the family understand the benefits and limitations of the Kansas Medicaid Program. Adoptive families shall be encouraged to add adoptive children to their health insurance policies to assure optimal coverage. They shall be informed their insurance will be considered primary if they choose to do so. A special service payment may be authorized on a time limited or one-time only basis if the child has a specific need which cannot be met through Medicaid, the monthly subsidy payment or another resource. Services are limited to a maximum of six (6) months. Plans totaling $1,000.00 or more, require prior approval from PPS Administration. Requests for approval are to be submitted in writing. The specific service payment must be identified on the adoption assistance agreement. Specify the length of service and the amount to be paid. The PPS Administration Medicaid liaison shall be consulted for information regarding Medicaid services. Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Division Health Care Services will assist in obtaining information regarding available medical services for specific children. Booklets and brochures are available through that Division for families. Additional information can be found in the Kansas Family Medical Assistance Manual (KFMAM).

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 must submit a written, signed, fair hearing request to the local DCF office or the Office of Administrative Hearing within thirty days of the date of the agency’s notice of action affecting services. Such a request may relate to an agency action or a failure to act with reasonable promptness on a social service case. Examples include undue delay in reaching a decision on eligibility or making a payment, refusal to consider a request for payment, undue delay in adjustment of payment, and rejection or termination of services. An attorney is not required. DCF local staff prepares a response to the request and DCF management staff may review the decision to determine whether proper procedures were followed. A fair hearing is held, sometimes by teleconference, and fair hearing decision is handed down. Adoptive parents can appeal the decision or final action of any agent or employee of the Department for Children and Families.

Send requests for fair hearing to the following address:

Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH)
1020 S Kansas Avenue
Topeka, Kansas 66612-1317

The fair hearing process is described on the OAH website where you may also find links to State Fair Hearing Forms.


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? Permanent custodianship subsidy (up to $300) can be granted to the custodian. Parental rights do not have to be terminated. Adoptive parents may be reimbursed up to $500 per child and parental rights need to be terminated.


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

Permanent custodianship subsidy may be considered if one of the following criteria is met:

  • The child is age 14 and over
  • The child is part of a sibling group being placed together and one child is age 14 and over
  • The child has an approval for an exception from the Director of Prevention and Protection Services or designee for other extenuating circumstances making adoption not a reasonable option.


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

For purposes of notification of custody and placement, the Department of Children and Families defines a relative as follows:

  • A person who can trace a blood tie to a child; persons related by blood may include, but is not limited to, a parent, grandparent, sibling, great-grandparent, uncle or aunt, nephew or niece, great-great grandparent, great uncle or aunt, first cousin, great-great-great grandparent, great-great uncle or aunt, or similar relation. (termination of parental rights does not alter or eliminate the blood relationship to relatives)
  • A person who is or was related to the child through marriage or previous marriage (terminated by death or divorce); this includes, but is not limited to, step-parents, step-grandparents, step-aunts, step-uncles or similar relation
  • Legally adoptive parents and other relatives of adoptive parents as designated in groups (1) and (2)
  • Grandparents of siblings and birth parents and grandparents of half-siblings
  • Adoptive parents and grandparents of siblings or half-siblings
  • A court-appointed guardian or permanent custodian of a sibling or half-sibling


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