Adoption and Guardianship Assistance - Mississippi

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:

  • Six years of age or older
  • Membership in a sibling group (or fictive sibling group) of two (2) or more children being placed together – fictive sibling is defined as unrelated children who have resided in the same home for at least 6 months and who have developed significant emotional ties to each other
  • Physical disability
  • Mental disability (I.Q. of 70 or less)
  • Developmental disability
  • Emotional disturbance
  • Medical conditions
  • Factors in a child’s or biological family’s medical history or background that place the child at risk to acquire a medical condition, a physical, mental or developmental disability or an emotional disorder

Children who are determined to have special needs will be further assessed for their level of special needs. There are 6 levels:

  1. Deferred – Includes children under the age of 6 who have documented risk factors for special needs in their background, but currently have no known special needs. This would include documented mental or medical health issues in the family, unknown background history of abuse or neglect, or risk factors documented by the child’s birth records.
  2. Basic Special Needs – Includes age, sibling group membership, a single developmental, mental health or medical diagnosis not serious in nature, i.e. Eczema, speech delays, allergies, etc.
  3. Special Needs I – When a child has ongoing medical conditions requiring frequent medical attention or daily medications or interventions and the SSO application is either pending or been denied
  4. Special Needs II – When a child is receiving SSI benefits at the time of adoption
  5. Therapeutic Rate – When a child has multiple diagnoses (either mental health or medical conditions or a combination) for which he/she continues to receive therapeutic interventions or the adoptee has a single diagnosis which is causing significant impairment in multiple settings
  6. Medically Fragile Rate – When an adoptee has a medical condition or multiple medical diagnoses which are life threatening in nature or require specialized medical care in the home or will require corrective major surgery/recurrent surgeries or the prognosis for full recovery is negligible and the child is not expected to ever live independently


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 $1,000 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.)

Mississippi offers deferred adoption assistance. Deferred means, no adoption assistance payment is provided at the time of the adoption; however, due to the documented risk factors in the child’s medical history or background, or the medical history or background of the child’s biological family; the child is at risk to acquire a medical condition, and/or a physical, mental, developmental or emotional disorder.


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

Adoption assistance payments may begin in Mississippi at adoption placement.


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 may request a change in the adoption assistance agreement at any time. Families can request a fair hearing whenever there is a disagreement regarding an agency action affecting a change in adoption assistance. Parents must submit a written request for change to the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services (MDCPS) administrator and include current documentation of the child’s special needs. The State office administrator approves or disapproves any changes in agreements.


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

Post adoption services in Mississippi are administered by the Mississippi Department of Child Protective Services county departments of human services and through organizations such as the Mississippi Heart Gallery, Families First and Southern Christian Services for Children and Youth.

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


What mental health services are provided by your State?

Public mental health services for children in Mississippi are administered by the Office of the Governor, Division of Medicaid (DOM) and include the following examples: inpatient and outpatient hospital, physician services, prescription drugs, psychiatric residential treatment, and inpatient psychiatric care. The DOM Contact Guide and Services for Medicaid Beneficiaries pages are also available on this site. The Medicaid Central Office may be contacted by calling: (601)359-6050 or toll free: 1-800-421-2408.

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?

Mississippi does not offer additional finances or services for medical or therapeutic needs not covered under their state medical plan to children receiving 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 parent(s) may appeal the department's decision to reduce, change or terminate Adoption Assistance in accordance with rules and procedures of the Administrative Grievance Hearing and Appeal process. Information may be requested to:

Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services
Adoption Unit
P. O. Box 352
Jackson, MS 39205-0352


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

Mississippi does not have a guardianship assistance program.


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



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