Adoption and Guardianship Assistance - Rhode Island

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 factors or circumstances that may be a barrier to placement or adoption without financial assistance. Such factors include:

  • Nine years of age or older
  • Member of an ethnic or racial minority
  • Member of a sibling group of two or more children being adopted into the same home
  • Documented medical condition or a physical, emotional, or mental disability
  • At high risk of developing a medical condition or a physical, emotional or mental disability, based upon family background or history
  • Prior adoption disruption or dissolution

Note: If a child is at high risk of developing a medical condition or a physical, emotional or mental disability, based upon family background or history, he/she may be eligible for deferred adoption assistance. See Question #4 for information on deferred subsidy, which would include a medical subsidy without financial assistance. In the event a disability, based upon family background or history, is diagnosed in the future, the child may then be eligible to receive financial assistance.

 

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.)

$400 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.)

Rhode Island offers deferred adoption assistance. A child at high risk of developing a medical condition or a physical, emotional or mental disability, based upon family background or history, may be eligible for deferred adoption assistance, which would include medical assistance without financial assistance. In the event a disability is diagnosed in the future, the child may then be eligible to receive financial assistance. For a child to be eligible to receive deferred adoption assistance, an adoption assistance agreement must be created, signed, and approved prior to the adoption finalization. The specific background factor(s) or family history that might place the child at risk for future problems must be included in the adoption assistance agreement.

 

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

Adoption assistance payments and benefits may begin in Rhode Island 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?

At any time during the term of the adoption subsidy agreement, adoptive parents or the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) may request an adjustment in the adoption assistance payment at any time during the term of the Adoption Assistance Agreement. To request a change in an adoption assistance agreement, a written request must be submitted to the adoption services unit, Permanency Subsidy Coordinator, with documentation attached that supports the request for change. A request for new or additional post adoption services is a change in the adoption assistance agreement and must be forwarded in writing to the Family Services Unit with supportive documentation attached to the request. Contact the Permanency Subsidy Coordinator by phone: 401.528.3676 or send requests for change to the following address:

Permanency Subsidy Coordinator
101 Friendship Street 4th floor
Providence, Rhode Island 02903

  • In the event the adoptive parent requests an increase in the adoption assistance payment, the adoptive parent shall be responsible to document the changes in the needs of the child or the circumstances of the adoptive family to support the request for an increase in the adoption assistance payment not to exceed the limits set forth in DCYF policy.
  • The department has the right to approve or deny the request by the adoptive parent to increase the adoption assistance payment.
  • In the event the department denies a request to increase the adoption assistance payment, the adoptive parent has a right to request a fair hearing in accordance with DCYF procedure for Complaints and Hearings (see DCYF Policy 100.0055 Complaints and Hearings). The Permanency Subsidy Coordinator provides the rationale for denial and written notification is sent to prospective adoptive parent(s).
  • The Permanency Subsidy Coordinator is responsible for discussing and negotiating any adjustment to the adoption assistance payment with the adoptive parent.

 

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

Postadoption services in Rhode Island are administered and provided by the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF), Division of Family Services, and through community services and parent organizations. If an adoptive parent has questions regarding adoption assistance, the Permanency Services Unit is available to help the family, including assisting with referrals for community services. DCYF provides many of the same services to families adopting older/special needs children as would be provided by private adoption agencies. Information may be found on the Adoption Rhode Island website.

Many private organizations offer a variety of respite options. See the ARCH National Respite Network Respite Locator Service, search by state to locate Rhode Island'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 Rhode Island are administered by the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF), Division of Community Services & Behavioral Health (CSBH) and include the following examples: diagnostic assessment services, day treatment, residential counseling centers, residential treatment, psychiatric hospitalization, educational services, and prescription medication.

CSBH is responsible for the design, implementation, and monitoring of a continuum of therapeutic and clinical services to seriously emotionally/behaviorally disturbed children and youth, as well as providing programs aimed at maintaining healthy family functioning through an array of community-based therapeutic/supportive services. Children who are placed in the custody of the Department due to abuse, neglect, and dependency, as well as children who remain in the custody of their parents or legal guardians, are eligible for these services. Most of these services are delivered in community-based settings and processed through a central referral unit.

The Rhode Island Department of Human Services, Services for Children and Families administers the Medical Assistance Program (Medicaid). When eligible for Medical Assistance, parents or guardians are then given a choice of enrollment in one of two participating health plans. Children who live in a institutional facility are excluded from health plan enrollment. In those situations, children will be enrolled in traditional Medical Assistance Fee-For-Service.

Enrollment in a Health Plan
Health Care Programs
Children who are eligible for medical assistance enroll in a participating health plan unless they live in an institution or residential facility. Participating health plans include: Neighborhood Health Plan of RI, UnitedHealthcare of New England, and Tufts Health plan. All health plans offer large networks of providers and covered benefits and services.
 

Enrollment in Medical Assistance Fee-for-Service
Children with Special Needs
If medically necessary, all children enrolled in Medicaid from birth to age 21 may qualify for additional health services and supports through the Medicaid Early, Periodic, Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment.
 

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?

Rhode Island also offers other services. Services include the following examples: day care, respite, and psychological/emotional/behavioral counseling if included in the adoption assistance agreement.

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 a Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) decision affects their child's adoption assistance benefits. Requests for fair hearing are made by filling out a written request for fair hearing form sent by the DCYF in response to a decision affecting adoption assistance benefits. Parents are directed to complete and return the form to their adoption assistance worker or Adoption Assistance Coordinator. Parents must then be available for the fair hearing when scheduled. A fair hearing will be scheduled and parents will be notified of its date, time, and place. Send written requests to the following address:

Hearing Officer
101 Friendship Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02908

Details may be found in the Appeal Instructions.

 

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? Yes
  • If so, how does it differ? Eligibility requirements are different

 

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

A child is eligible for the subsidized guardianship program if the following criteria are met:

  • Child is removed pursuant to a voluntary placement agreement
  • Judicial determination that remining I the home is detrimental to the child
  • Child has been in the prospective home for 6 months
  • Reunification or adoption are not an appropriate plan
  • Child demonstrates a strong attachment to the prospective parent and the prospective parent has a strong commitment to caring for the child
  • A child who is 14 years or older has been consulted regarding the guardianship agreement

 

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

No.

 

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