Adoption and Guardianship Assistance - New Mexico

Date:

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:

  • Over the age of 5 years
  • From a minority ethnic background
  • Part of a sibling group of three or more brothers and sisters
  • Diagnosed with moderate to severe developmental, psychological or physical disabilities

 

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.)

Not to exceed $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.)

New Mexico offers deferred adoption assistance.

 

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

Adoption assistance payments and benefits begin in New Mexico 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 the adoption assistance agreement?

A family may request a change in the maintenance subsidy at the annual review based on the child’s needs; the family’s ability to meet those needs; and whether the child’s subsidy has reached the maximum amount allowed for his/her age and level of care. The family must submit a request for changes in the subsidy in writing to the subsidy specialist and provides written documentation of the justification for the change in subsidy. There is no automatic increase in the subsidy amount with changes in the child’s age as is done for foster care payments. A maintenance subsidy cannot be increased beyond the maximum amount payable for foster-care maintenance or the maximum paid for substitute care to the treatment foster care agency. If that amount has been reached, the maintenance subsidy cannot be increased, regardless of the documentation of need that the family presents. The subsidy specialist reviews the request for subsidy and the documentation and makes a determination whether to approve the increase in subsidy.

If approved, the subsidy specialist sends written verification of the change in the subsidy and prepares a new annual agreement form for the family’s signature. There is no retroactive payment for increases in subsidy maintenance. If the increase is not approved, the subsidy specialist notifies the adoption manager and the family of the right to an administrative hearing. Adoptive parents may send requests for changes to an adoption assistance agreement to the Adoption Subsidy Specialist.

 

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

Postadoption services in New Mexico are administered by the Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD), Protective Services Division, through CYFD and private and parent organizations.

State funds are used to provide needed postadoption services not covered under the State’s Medicaid program. Local placement services social workers are available to adoptive families to discuss resources and provide information regarding process, eligibility, availability, and duration of services. Adoption assistance does not pay for respite but there are many private organizations that do offer a variety of respite options.

Additional information about the CYFD post-adoption services and related contacts may be found on the Heart Gallery of New Mexico website.

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

Note: Not all services may be available in all cases. Contact your local placement services social worker for information regarding process, eligibility, availability, and duration of services.

 

What mental health services are provided by your State?

The New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department provides an array of prevention, intervention, rehabilitative and after-care services to New Mexico children and their families.

See also the MentalHealth.gov for New Mexico treatment resources and general information about mental health.

To learn more about what is offered by New Mexico's Medicaid programs please contact the New Mexico Medicaid Call Center by calling 1-888-997-2583.

Note: Not all services may be available in all cases. Contact your local placement services social worker 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?

Adoptive parents may request payment for other medical or psychological expenses related to the child’s needs. The family requests the payment in writing with justification for the payment. The family first requests payment through either Medicaid or private insurance before requesting payment from Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD). The family submits verification of the denial of benefits with the request for payment by CYFD. CYFD considers payment for the following:

  • A pre-existing medical cost not covered by Medicaid or insurance that is necessary to meet the needs of the child as verified by a physician
  • Out-patient therapy for behavioral, emotional, or psychological needs that are necessary to meet the needs of the child as verified by a physician or therapist
  • Residential Treatment Center (RTC) or group home placements, with the following conditions:
    • The statewide entity has approved this level of treatment; and
    • The family is participating in the therapy; and
    • The child’s plan is reunification with the family; and
    • The child remains in the family’s legal custody; and
    • The family is providing for the child (clothing, school expenses, allowances, daily living needs, etc.)

If approved, the subsidy specialist sends written verification of the payment change in the subsidy and prepares a new annual agreement form for the family’s signature. Upon receipt of the signed agreement, the subsidy specialist enters the changes in FACTS effective on the date of the signature. There is no retroactive payment for increases in subsidy maintenance. If the increase is not approved, the subsidy specialist notifies the adoption manager and notifies the family of the right to an administrative hearing of the decision. The adoption manager makes arrangements with the regional manager to assign a placement worker for the purpose of meeting with the family to assess the child’s needs and identify any resources in the community necessary to assist the family and child.

Note: Not all services may be available in all cases. Contact the local placement services social 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 have the right to request a fair hearing whenever a decision by the Children, Youth and Family Department affects their child’s adoption assistance benefits. Requests for a fair hearing must be in writing and can be a written letter from an adoptive parent. Parents can also phone 800.432.2075 for assistance in making a request for fair hearing to address disagreements with a Department decision. Upon receipt of a request to appeal a decision, the adoption assistance specialist sends the request for a hearing to the Office of General Counsel and a hearing officer is appointed. The hearing officer notifies the adoptive family of the date, time and place for the hearing. The hearing is scheduled as soon as possible but no later than ninety days from the date of the request. Witnesses may be called and an attorney can represent the parents. The hearing officer issues written findings and conclusions for the Cabinet Secretary’s review no later than thirty days from the date of the hearing. The Secretary reviews the hearing officer’s decision within fifteen days of receipt. The Secretary’s review and signature represent the final action of CYFD. The hearing officer provides notice of the final action to all parties by certified mail as soon as practical, but no later than thirty days after the Secretary’s decision. Send requests for fair hearing to the following address:

Attn: Adoption Subsidy Specialist
Children, Youth and Families Department, Protective Services
P.O. Drawer 5160
Room 254
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87502

 

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

New Mexico does not offer a guardianship assistance program.

 

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

N/A

 

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

N/A

 

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