Adoption and Guardianship Assistance - Ohio

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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 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
  • Member of a minority or ethnic group
  • Member of a sibling group that should be placed together
  • A medical condition, physical impairment, or developmental disability
  • In the permanent custody of a public children services agency (PCSA) or private child-placing agency (PCPA) for more than 1 year
  • Previous adoption disruption or multiple placements while in the care of a PCSA or PCPA
  • At risk of acquiring a medical condition, physical impairment, or mental or developmental disability based on his/her family's social or medical history
  • In the home of his/her prospective adoptive parents as a foster child for at least six months and would experience severe separation and loss if placed in another setting due to his/her significant emotional ties with these foster parents (as determined and documented by a qualified mental health 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.)

$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.)

Ohio offers deferred adoption assistance.

 

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

Adoption assistance payments and benefits may begin in Ohio 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 can request a change in the adoption assistance agreement at any time by contacting the Public Children Services Association (PCSA) office that administers the adoption assistance agreement. The PCSA and the adoptive parent negotiate a new agreement and changes existing adoption assistance agreement. If the PCSA and the adoptive parent(s) cannot agree on a mutually acceptable monthly payment amount, the PCSA and the adoptive parent(s) may complete a JFS 01453 for a mutually acceptable level of payment while negotiations continue through the state mediation conference or the adoptive parent(s) requests a state hearing. See Question #10 for information regarding fair hearings.

 

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

State Adoption Maintenance Subsidy (SAMS) program provides financial assistance to families based on children’s special needs at the time of the adoptive placement. Application for SAMS must be made prior to the final decree of adoption. Once an adoption has been finalized, a child will not be eligible for SAMS but may be eligible for Post Adoption Special Services Subsidy (PASSS), a program designed to assist eligible families, after adoption finalization, to receive allowable services. PASSS provides funding to families for the reasonable costs of services to address a child’s physical, developmental, mental, or emotional handicap or condition. Specific information is available on the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services website, Office of Children and Family Services. Applications for assistance are reviewed by a review committee and can be approved in whole or in part based on the needs of the child and the circumstances of the adoptive family.

If assistance is not granted or is not granted in the amount requested, adoptive parents can request a fair hearing. See the Ohio’s Adoption Guide for more information.

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

Note: Not all services may be available in all cases. Contact your adoption assistance worker or post adoption services contact for information regarding process, eligibility, availability, and duration of services.

 

What mental health services are provided by your State?

Public mental health services for children in Ohio are administered by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. Mental health services include the following examples: hospitalization, physician services, prescription drugs, and mental health services. Specific mental health services include:

  1. Medical and surgical services, including respite care if required
  2. Psychiatric, psychological, and counseling services, including respite if required
  3. Maintenance costs as part of a residential treatment program

The Post Adoption Special Services Subsidy Program (PASSS) is intended to pay for services not covered by other adoption subsidy programs, insurance programs or Medicaid. PASSS funds may be used to cover medical or psychological services that are deemed necessary to meet the needs of the child. PASSS may also be used as another source of funding for children’s mental health services in Ohio. PASSS provides funding to families for the reasonable costs of allowable services to address the child's physical or developmental handicap or mental or emotional condition. The child’s condition may have existed before the adoption petition was filed; or developed after the adoption petition was filed and can be attributed to factors in the child's pre-adoption background or medical history or the biological family's background or medical history.

The following websites highlight State resources on mental health issues:

Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services

Ohio Department of Medicaid program

The National Institute of Mental Health

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?

Post Adoption Special Services Subsidy (PASSS) program limitations include eligibility criteria and state funding ability. Funding is only available when the assistance sought exceeds the adoptive family’s private resources and assistance is capped at $10, 000 per fiscal year. The limit of $10,000 may be increased up to five thousand dollars a total of fifteen thousand dollars per child per state fiscal year if Medical and surgical services, including respite care is required, if:

  1. The family’s income and resources substantial decrease due to involuntary loss of employment and
  2. A qualified professional recommends residential treatment, in-patient hospitalization, or therapeutic foster care to prevent disruption of adoption

To receive additional PASSS funding, the family must complete the Application for Additional Post Adoption Special Services Subsidy (PASSS) Funding for Extraordinary Circumstances. The benefit application must be made at the county department of job and family services or the local Benefit Bank Site.

State Adoption Maintenance Subsidy (SAMS) program provides financial assistance to families based on children’s special needs at the time of the adoptive placement. Application for SAMS must be made prior to the final decree of adoption. Once an adoption has been finalized, a child will not be eligible for SAMS but may be eligible for Post Adoption Special Services Subsidy (PASSS).

The benefits of the SAMS program are a monthly adoption assistance payment and/or a Medicaid card. Medicaid cards are available to children with mental, physical or rehabilitative needs. The benefit application must be made at the county department of job and family services or the local Benefit Bank Site.

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.)

If an adoptive family receives a notice denying, reducing or terminating assistance or services, the notice will contain a form to request a fair hearing. Parents are directed to fill out the request form and mail it to State Hearings at the address listed below. Families may also fax hearing requests to State Hearings at 614.728.9574. Requests for fair hearing must be received within fifteen days of the mailing date on the notice. If an adoptive parent receives a notice that assistance or services will be reduced, restricted, or terminated, the action will not be taken until the hearing is decided if the hearing request is received within the fifteen days. To request a fair hearing, a family may call or write the local agency or write to the following address:

Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) Bureau of State Hearings
P.O. Box 182825
Columbus, Ohio 43218-2825
Phone: 1-866-635-3748

Further Information:

When will the hearing be held?

After the Bureau of State Hearings receives a request for a fair hearing, the adoptive family is sent a notice giving the date, time, and place of the hearing. This notice will be sent at least ten days before the hearing. The notice also will tell parents what to do if they cannot come to the hearing as scheduled.

Where are hearings held?

Hearings are usually held at the local agency. If parents are unable to go there, the hearing may be held some other place convenient to the family and to the other people involved. If parents want the hearing held somewhere other than the local agency, they are directed to inform the agency of this on the hearing request.

What Happens at the Hearing?

The Hearing Officer will listen to both sides and recommend a decision, and the hearing authority will issue a decision. The decision will be sent in the mail. Parents that disagree with a Hearing Officer decision, may file an administrative appeal with the ODJFS Office of Legal and Acquisition Services.

 

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

No. Ohio does not have a guardianship assistance program but the State offers a Kinship Permanency Incentive program which provides temporary financial support for minor children in the legal and physical custody of grandparents, relatives or other kinship caregivers.

 

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