Adoption and Guardianship Assistance - Michigan

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 is considered a child with special needs if the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has determined all of the following:

  • The child is under age 18
  • The parental rights to the child have been terminated
  • The child has one of the following specific factors or conditions:
    • The child is at least age 3
    • The child is being adopted by a relative (within the 5th degree of consanguinity);
    • The child is being adopted by the parent(s) of his/her previously adopted sibling
    • The child is a member of a sibling group being adopted together and at least one sibling group member has been determined eligible for adoption support subsidy as an individual.
    • An effort to place the child without providing adoption support subsidy is demonstrated by the adoptive parent(s) signature(s) in Section 1 of the DHS-4081, Adoption Assistance Intent Statement

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. The adoptive parent’s must claim expenses within 2 years of the child’s final order of adoption date.


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.)

Michigan does not offer deferred adoption assistance.


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

If the adoption assistance agreement is signed before the adoptive placement date, the adoption assistance payment is effective the date of the Order Placing Child After Consent. If the Adoption Assistance Agreement is signed after the adoptive placement date, but prior to or on the date of the adoption finalization, the adoption assistance payment is effective the date the adoption and guardianship assistance program manager or the department's designee signs the agreement.


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 ongoing daily adoption support subsidy payment may not exceed the maximum daily rate determined prior to the final order of adoption. The rate may include any increases to the base adoption support subsidy rate due to legislated or age-appropriate increases.

If adoptive parent(s) agree to an ongoing daily payment that is less than the maximum daily rate they may request a renegotiation of the payment at a later date by writing to the address below.

If the adoptive family’s circumstances change and the family decides that the ongoing daily adoption support subsidy payment may be reduced, they may request a renegotiation of the ongoing daily adoption support subsidy payment by writing to the address below.

Adoption Subsidy Office
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS)
Grand Tower Building
235 S. Grand Avenue, Suite 612
P.O. Box 300437
Lansing, MI 48909

The effective date of a renegotiated rate is based on the date of the department approval, but no more than 30 calendar days after the date the written request for renegotiation was received by the adoption subsidy office.

The child is not eligible for an increased payment prior to the effective date. The renegotiated rate is activated when both the adoption subsidy program manager or DHS designee and adoptive parents have signed the new agreement.

If the parent(s) disagree with a denial, they may request an administrative hearing within 90 days of the written notice of the denial decision by the adoption subsidy office. In an administrative hearing, the administrative law judge (ALJ) must first address whether an error has occurred.


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

Post-adoption services in Michigan are administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Children’s Services Administration, and through contracted agencies and parent organizations.

For information related to post adoption resources, please visit the postadoption parent resources on the DHHS website.

Postadoption resource centers provide individuals under the age of 21 who were adopted from Michigan's foster care system or who were adopted in Michigan through an international adoption or direct consent/direct placement adoption and their families with support, education, training, advocacy, information, service coordination, and case management services. Services are also available to children under the age of 18 who were placed in guardianship from Michigan's foster care system and who are eligible for Michigan's guardianship assistance program.

DHHS has eight Post Adoption Resource Centers (PARC) for families who have adopted children from the Michigan public child welfare system. Find support in your area on the: DHHS website.

The Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE), funded by DHHS, is also a resource for families. See at: The MARE.

Support groups also offer adoption support services. The following are examples of support groups available in Michigan:

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


What mental health services are provided by your State?

Public mental health services for children in Michigan are administered through the Department of Community Health (DCH), Division of Mental Health Services to Children and Families and are coordinated through local Community Mental Health Services Programs (CMHSPs). Services include the following examples: respite care, physician visits, in patient and outpatient hospitalization, medical supplies, prescription drugs, mental health care, personal care services, and substance abuse services.

The website provides information on a myriad of issues that impact the development and implementation of services and supports for children and their families.

Locate mental health services for children/youth and their families’ on the county map. See also The Bureau of Children's Coordinated Health Policy & Supports and Community Mental Health Services Programs and/or contact the Michigan Medical Assistance Hotline: 800.642.3195.


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 medical subsidy is a reimbursement program that assists in paying for medical or treatment costs for children adopted from the public child welfare system who have an identified physical, mental or emotional condition which existed, or the cause of which existed, before the adoption petition was filed. Routine expenses for typical childhood illnesses and over-the-counter medical supplies are not covered. Eligibility may be determined before and/or after the adoption but must be made prior to the child’s 18th birthday. This subsidy is payment of last resort after all other medical coverage options are exhausted.

Adoption subsidy staff contacts can be found on the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

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.)

The Michigan Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules (MOAHR) within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). MOAHR holds administrative hearings for a variety of departments when decisions are contested. is the State’s central agency that provides impartial administrative law judges to conduct administrative hearings for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Contact information for MOAHR is listed below.

The Michigan Office of Administrative Hearing and Rules (MOAHR)
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services P.O. Box 30763
Lansing, MI 48909
Phone: (517) 335-7519

MDHHS has an administrative hearing process to provide for the right to dispute a department decision when an individual believes a decision and/or action is contrary to law or MDHHS policy. The applicant, adoptive parent, or guardian must prove that an error occurred in his or her case that would substantially affect the determination at an administrative hearing.

A hearing requested signed by a petitioner may name an authorized hearing representative (AHR) who may represent the petitioner in the hearing process.

Prior to adoptive placement by the court, an administrative hearing may be requested by an adoption assistance applicant or his or her authorized hearing representatives (AHR). After adoptive placement by family court order, the adoptee, the adoptive parent or legal guardian or and AHR has the right to request a hearing.

Hearing request must be in writing, signed and submitted to the:

Adoption and Guardianship Assistance Office
Hearings Coordinator, MDHHS
235 S. Grand Avenue, Suite 612
P.O. Box 30037
Lansing, MI 48909

For all denials and other appeals, an individual has the right to request a hearing within 90 calendar days from the date of the written decision notice by the Adoption and Guardianship Assistance Office.

Issues stated in the hearing request should be resolved whenever possible through an informal conference with the petitioner rather than through a hearing. The conference (either in person or by phone) must be scheduled within 30 calendar days after the Adoption and Guardianship Assistance Office receives the hearing request unless the petitioner or AHR chooses not to participate in the informal conference or a conference was held prior to the receipt of the hearing request, the issue in dispute is clear, and MDHHS staff fully understands the positions of the petitioner.

The Michigan Administrative Hearing System (MAHS) will schedule an in-person hearing upon receipt of a hearing summary/request for hearing from MDHHS as standard practice, unless the hearing summary/request for hearing specifically requests that a telephone hearing be scheduled.

If the MDHHS director determines in a final decision and order that a specific error occurred and the child met the adoption assistance eligibility requirements, the adoption assistance will be paid retroactive to the date the first payment would have been made if an error had not occurred.

A rehearing is a hearing which is granted on the MDHHS director’s final decision and order when the original hearing record is inadequate for purposes of judicial review or there is newly discovered evident that could affect the outcome of the original hearing.

The request for a rehearing of the MDHHS director’s final decision and order must be received by the department within 60 calendar days of the mailing date on the final decision and order.

Appeals from administrative hearings decisions must be filed in the probate court in which the adoption petition was filed or the probate court of the county in which the adoptee resides. For families living out-of-state, appeals must be filed in the probate court in which the adoption petition was filed.


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? Eligibility criteria vary


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

The following eligibility criteria must be met:

  • Child has been removed from his or her home as a result of a judicial determination that allowing the child to remain in the home would be contrary to the child’s welfare
  • Child has resided in the home of the prospective guardian for, at a minimum, 6 consecutive months
  • Reunification and placing the child for adoption are not appropriate permanency options
  • Child demonstrates a strong attachment to the prospective guardian and the guardian has a strong commitment to caring permanently for the child until the child reaches 18 years of age
  • Child has reached 14 years of age, he or she has been consulted regarding the guardianship arrangement

For additional information on juvenile guardianship assistance eligibility, see the Department of Health and Human Services, Juvenile Guardianship Assistance Eligibility, Child Guardianship Policy Manual.


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

No definition required.


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