Adoption and Guardianship Assistance - Oregon

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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 factors or conditions that make adoptive placement difficult to achieve:

  • A documented medical, physical, mental, or emotional condition or other clinically diagnosed disability, or a documented history of abuse or neglect or other identified predisposing factor that places the child at significant risk for future problems that need treatment
  • Member of a sibling group that will be placed together and is difficult to place because there are three or more children, or if in a sibling group of two, at least one of the children is 6 years of age or older
  • Member of an ethnic, racial, or cultural minority (such as African American, Hispanic, Asian, Indian, or Pacific Islander)
  • Eight years of age or older

 

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.)

$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.)

Oregon offers deferred adoption assistance. Deferred adoption assistance agreements provide assurance that the family can request a change in benefits if the need or circumstance arises in the future. The adoptive parents, through the caseworker, must submit an adoption assistance application for what is known as “agreement only” which must be signed by the adoptive parents and the agency prior to adoption finalization.

 

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

Adoption assistance payments and benefits may begin in Oregon at adoption placement. The adoption assistance agreement must be complete prior to 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?

The department or adoptive family may request renegotiation of an adoption assistance agreement. When the adoptive family has previously signed an adoption assistance agreement only and requests adoption assistance at a later date, it is considered a renegotiation.

A request for renegotiation of the adoption assistance agreement made by a pre-adoptive family or adoptive family must:

  • Be in writing in a format provided by the Department to the pre-adoptive family or adoptive family
  • Document changes in the circumstances of the pre-adoptive family or adoptive family, when applicable
  • Document the needs of the child or young adult
  • Provide information about the financial expenses of the pre-adoptive family or adoptive family in meeting the needs of the child or young adult
  • Provide written documentation of the child's or young adult's current behaviors

Disputes over renegotiation of the adoption assistance agreement are resolved through the appeal procedures. Contacts and Adoption and Guardianship Assistance Program information may be found on the Oregon Department of Human Services website.

 

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

Adoptive families residing in Oregon have access to the Oregon Post-Adoption Resource Center (ORPARC) which provides information/referral services, support/advocacy to adoptive families, training, and a lending library of books, videos and audiotapes. For more information, please contact ORPARC by phone (1-800-764-8367) or via e-mail: orparc@nwresource.org.

Parents of adopted children residing in Oregon can reach the local child welfare office intake unit to request voluntary services to help support the adoptive placement. Contact information for local offices is available on the Department of Human Services website.

Many private organizations offer a variety of respite options. See the ARCH National Respite Network Respite Locator Service, search by state to locate Oregon'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. Provision of services is dependent upon community and state resources.

 

What mental health services are provided by your State?

Public mental health services for children in Oregon are administered by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA).

Oregon’s Children Mental Health System partners:

Portland State University, the Oregon Department of Human Services, and the Oregon Post Adoption Resource Center (ORPARC) joined together to create a statewide Postgraduate Training Certificate in Therapy with Adoptive and Foster Families. The objectives of this program are to increase accessible, affordable, adoption-competent and foster-competent mental health support for children and their families throughout Oregon and to reduce the risk of adoptive or foster family dissolution. Find a Directory of Professionals with a Post-Graduate Training Certificate in Therapy with Adoptive & Foster Families.

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?

Oregon may provide one-time payments for services approved in exceptional cases as negotiated between Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) and the adoptive family. ODHS may authorize these expenses for a limited duration, subject to the agency’s discretion and availability of resources. If necessary, the family will be requested to provide documentation substantiating the need for assistance to ODHS. Payment is made to the adoptive family who is then responsible for reimbursing the provider for services.

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.)

Adoptive parents can request a fair hearing whenever they disagree with a Department of Human Services (DHS) decision that affects their child’s adoption assistance benefits. First, a resolution is sought with the Adoption Assistance Coordinator. If the family and the Adoption Assistance Coordinator cannot reach an agreement, the family may verbally request a review of the case by the Adoption Assistance Review Committee. If adoptive parents are not satisfied with the recommendation of the Review Committee, they may request, in writing, that the Post Adoption Program manager or designee review the case file and make a decision within 30 days. If the family remains unsatisfied, they may then appeal, in writing, this decision to a contested case hearing under Child Welfare Policy Oregon Administrative Rules before an administrative law judge. There is no mandatory form that adoptive parent(s) must use to request a fair hearing. Requests must be made within thirty days of the receipt of notification of an adverse decision. Hearings are conducted by Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) from the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH). The Department of Human Services is represented legally by the Oregon State Attorney General’s Office. Adoptive families have the right to be represented by legal counsel and to bring witnesses to support their case before the ALJ.

The ALJ will make a legal determination about the action taken (denial, reduction, termination, or suspension) and send you a formal response. This is called a Final Order.

 

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. State funded benefits are only available for children in DHS custody.

 

  • Does the guardianship assistance program differ from the adoption assistance program? Yes
  • If so, how does it differ? Eligibility requirements are different but subsidy amounts are negotiated in the same way

 

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

A child in the care or custody of the Department or participating tribe is eligible for Title IV-E guardianship assistance payments when all the following requirements are met:

  • The child must have been removed from the home pursuant to a voluntary placement agreement or as a result of a judicial determination to the effect that continuation in the home would be contrary to the welfare of the child
  • The child is eligible for Title IV-E foster care payments
  • The child is a United States citizen or qualified alien and is placed in the United States or a possession thereof
  • The child is placed with a potential guardian who is considered a relative as defined by the Department The child must have resided in the home of the potential guardian for a period of at least six consecutive months during which the potential guardian was fully licensed, certified or approved by the state or a participating Tribe
  • The Department determined that returning home or adoption are not appropriate permanency options for the child
  • The child demonstrates a strong attachment to the potential relative guardian
  • The child has special needs or is placed with a potential guardian who indicates an economic need to care for the child Specific information about eligibility for State funding assistance and additional details about the program may be found on the Oregon Department of Human Services website.

     

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

Yes. Definitions may be found on page 8 of the Oregon Child Welfare Policy Manual.

 

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