Adoption and Guardianship Assistance - Minnesota

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

  • A documented physical, mental, emotional, or behavioral disability, including Supplemental Security Income-eligible disabilities
  • A member of a sibling group being adopted at the same time by the same parent
  • Being adopted by a parent who previously adopted a sibling for whom the parent receives adoption assistance
  • At risk of developing one or more physical, mental, emotional, or behavioral disabilities

Note: When a child’s eligibility for adoption assistance is based on being at risk of developing physical, mental, emotional, or behavioral disabilities, it is known as “at-risk adoption assistance.” A child eligible for at-risk adoption assistance does not receive a payment unless and until the potential disability manifests itself, as documented by an appropriate health care professional.

 

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

 

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.)

Minnesota offers deferred adoption assistance payments for children at risk of developing physical, mental, emotional, or behavioral disabilities. When a child’s eligibility for adoption assistance is based on this criterion, a child is categorically eligible for Medicaid, but cash payments are not made under the adoption assistance agreement unless and until the potential disability manifests itself, as documented by an appropriate health care professional.

 

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

Adoption assistance payments and benefits may begin in Minnesota after adoption finalization. The adoption assistance agreement is effective on the date the final decree of adoption is issued.

 

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?

A request for a change in the adoption assistance agreement can be made at any time if the child’s condition or circumstances change. Adoptive parents are directed to contact, in writing, their adoption assistance worker at the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) to complete their request. If a child eligible for at-risk adoption assistance develops a disability, the adoption assistance agreement can be amended to include cash payments and reimbursement for home and vehicle modifications made as a result of the child’s disability. Documentation of the disability from a qualified expert must accompany the request under this circumstance.

If a parent does not receive the change they request, or if he or she disagrees with a decision made by DHS, the parent can appeal by requesting a fair hearing.

 

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

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) contracts with agencies to provide permanency support services to help families support and care for children and youth in adoptive placements.

The MN ADOPT HELP program, under contract with DHS, assists individuals and families involved or interested in adoption with an array of services. The HELP Program offers short-term intervention and support services for adoptive families in crisis. It also connects adoptive families to a system of statewide therapists and mental health professionals and streamlines the referral and payment process to get immediate assistance. For more information about adoption support, training, and referral, contact MN ADOPT by calling 1.855.670.HELP or 612.746.5137.

The North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC), also under contract with DHS, helps adoptive families by offering a range of services. For more information, contact NACAC at 651.646.5082.

DHS contracts with the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare at the University of Minnesota to subsidize the Permanency and Adoption Competency Certificate (PACC) program. You may access the PACC Professional Directory to search for adoption-competent providers. DHS also contracts with the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare at the University of Minnesota to subsidize the Permanency and Adoption Competency Certificate (PACC) program. You may access the PACC Professional Directory to search for adoption-competent providers.

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

 

What mental health services are provided by your State?

Public mental health services for children in Minnesota are administered by the Mental Health Division, through the Community Supports Division of DHS. Children’s mental health services include: case management, respite care, crisis intervention and stabilization, in-home therapy, out-patient therapy, school-linked mental health services, day treatment, intensive treatment in foster care, partial hospitalization, first episode psychosis treatment, and children’s residential treatment. See: Children's mental health programs and services.

Note: Not all services may be available in all cases. Contact your adoption assistance worker or medical assistance specialist for 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?

Reimbursement is available for special non-medical services, items, or equipment as provided in Minnesota Statutes, section 259A.20, and section 256N.26, that are periodically required to meet the special needs documented at the time the child was certified as eligible for adoption assistance. The adoptive parent(s) must obtain written authorization for the expense from the Adoption Assistance Program of the Department of Human Services at least thirty days before making the expenditure. The request for authorization must include documentation to support the request and three bids for the cost of items, services, or equipment. Failure to obtain prior authorization will result in denial of payment for the expense. Examples of such special non-medical services and items include: childcare, family counseling, post-adoption counseling, respite, specialized camps, specialized communication equipment, alterations to the family home or vehicle to accommodate a child’s special physical need(s), and burial expenses under certain circumstances up to a set maximum.

Note: Not all services may be available in all cases. Several services are only available for children receiving Northstar Adoption Assistance.

 

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 any time they experience a denial, modification, or termination of the adoption assistance agreement. The request for fair hearing must be in writing within thirty days after receiving written notice of the contested action or decision from the Department, or within ninety days if the parents can show good cause why the request was not given within the thirty-day time limit. Information about how to file an appeal may be found on the website of the Appeals Division of the Department of Human Services.

 

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. There is no difference in benefits or eligibility between IV-E and State/territorial/tribal guardianship programs.

  • Does the guardianship assistance program differ from the adoption assistance program? Yes
  • If so, how does it differ? Specific details may be found on the Minnesota Department of Human Services website.

 

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

Information may be found on the Minnesota Department of Human Services Program Resources.

 

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

Yes. A person related to a child by blood, marriage or adoption; the legal parent, guardian, or custodian of a child’s siblings; or an individual who is an important friend with whom a child has resided or had significant contact. For an Indian child, a relative means a person who is a member of the Indian child’s family as defined in the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978.

 

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