Adoption and Guardianship Assistance - Nevada

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:

  • Five years of age or older
  • Member of a minority ethnic group
  • Member of a sibling group of two or more children to be placed together and at least one of the children is 3 years of age or older,
  • Diagnosis of a medical, physical, emotional, or mental disability or documented history of abuse/neglect requiring treatment intervention
  • Documented factors in his/her background that places the child at high risk for developing a condition requiring future treatment


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.)

A one-time payment of up to $250


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.)

Nevada offers deferred adoption assistance agreements. Adoptive parents may elect to defer financial or medical assistance for an otherwise eligible special needs child until assistance is needed. Eligible children must meet the special needs criteria and Medicaid eligibility criteria at the time of adoption.


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

Adoption assistance payments and benefits begin in Nevada at adoption finalization.


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 an adoption assistance agreement?

Adoptive parents may request a change in the adoption assistance agreement whenever there is a change in the circumstances of the family or the needs of the child. Modifications to the agreement can be made at the time of annual review or any time. The written request must be made on the annual adoption assistance review form that is sent to the family each year. The form is an annual opportunity to update the adoption assistance worker of any changes in the living or school arrangements, family circumstances, or needs of the child. If the change is needed at a time other than at the annual review, families may contact their adoption assistance worker to request a form. Written explanation of the change in the family’s circumstances and/or documentation of the child’s needs must accompany the review form. An adoption assistance worker will contact the family to discuss the request, negotiate payment amounts, and address any other service related needs. When the negotiation process is complete, an amended adoption assistance agreement containing the new terms and effective date of the benefits is prepared by the agency for the family’s review, approval, and signature.

If the request for assistance is denied, the parent may request a conference with the adoption assistance staff to discuss the basis of the agency’s decision. If the parents continue to be dissatisfied with the decision after the conference, they may request an administrative review by the agency hearing officer. The written request for the hearing must be received by the agency, or postmarked if mailed, no later than 30 calendar days after the date on which the denial notice is received by the parent. Written requests for hearings must be directed to the State or county agency handling the family’s adoption assistance request.

The Nevada Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) directory of county child welfare services may be found on the Nevada DCFS website.


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

Post-adoption services in Nevada are administered by the Nevada Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) Division of Child & Family Services and separately through private agencies and parent groups.

The postadoption section of the DHHS website lists the addresses and telephone numbers for the public and private adoption agencies in Nevada and information on parent support groups, resources for special needs children, adoptive search organizations, and other issues involving adoption can be found on this page. Additional information maybe found in Guide to Adoption in Nevada - Subsidized Adoption Assistance Program for Special Needs Children.

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


What mental health services are provided by your State?

Nevada Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) provides a wide range of mental health services to children, adolescents and their families.

DCFS’ mental health services include Community-Based Outpatient Services, Residential and Day Treatment Services and Contracted Services.

DCFS provides mental health treatment services for children with significant emotional and/or behavioral problems. Children are referred by parents, schools, child welfare, juvenile justice, private mental health providers, adult mental health providers, etc. to mental health services. Services are provided in a strengths-based approach that respects family decision-making about their children and honors the family’s cultural values and practices. Services are individualized for each child and family.

Specific information about mental health services for children may be found on the DFCS website.

A directory of Child Mental Health Services phone numbers and contacts is available.

The Mobile Crisis Response Team was created to provide crisis intervention and support to Nevada families dealing with a behavioral or mental health crisis. For more information visit the Nevada Mobile Crisis Response Team website.


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?

Nevada does not have a separate program or funding source to provide additional finances or services for medical or therapeutic needs not covered under the state medical plan (Medicaid) to children receiving adoption assistance. Children with exceptional medical or behavioral needs may qualify for special payment rates, as determined by the agency, to help cover the cost of a child’s exceptional care. Parents are directed to contact the adoption assistance worker to determine if their child is eligible for exceptional care rates.


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 can request a fair hearing whenever there is disagreement with a Department of Health and Human Resources or county child welfare agency decision's that affects their child’s adoption assistance benefits. An adoptive parent may appeal any State or county agency’s decision affecting their child's adoption assistance. To do so, the parent must submit a written request to the state or county agency handling their adoption assistance agreement to initiate the process. The request must be received by the agency, or postmarked if mailed, no later than thirty calendar days after the date on which the written decision is received by the parent. The agency will schedule a hearing within thirty calendar days of receipt of the parent’s request; and a decision will be rendered by the agency within thirty days after the hearing is held. For fair hearing information, contact your local Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) Regional Service Area.


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?
  • If so, how does it differ?


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

The State of Nevada illustrates its KinGAP Policy in the Division of Child and Family Services State Policy and Procedures Manual.


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

Yes. A person who is willing to provide a suitable home for the child, able to ensure the child’s safety, able to meet the child’s needs, while providing a positive and nurturing relationship to the child on a permanent basis.

  • Relative: A person related to the child through blood, adoption, marriage, or law or custom of an Indian Child’s Tribe
  • Fictive Kin: A person who is not related by blood to a child but has a significant emotional and positive relationship with the child
  • ICWA Considerations: For any child falling under the Indian Child Welfare Act requirements, proposed guardians may be extended family members, as defined by law or custom of the Indian Child’s Tribe or in the absence of such law or custom, shall be a person who has reached the age of eighteen (18) and who is the Indian Child’s grandparent, aunt or uncle, brother or sister, brother-in law or sister-in-law, niece or nephew. First or second cousin or step-parent also fall into this definition.


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