Adoption and Guardianship Assistance - Texas

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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 one who meets all of the criteria in this section:

  1. At the time the adoptive placement agreement is signed, the child is less than 18 years old and meets at least one of the following conditions:
    • On the day immediately preceding the date of adoption, the child was in the managing conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) or an authorized entity, and:
      • The child is at least 6 years old
      • The child is at least 2 years old and a member of a racial or ethnic group that exits foster care at a slower pace than other racial or ethnic groups
      • The child is being adopted with a sibling or to join a sibling who has been adopted by the parents or for whom the parents already have permanent managing conservatorship or an equivalent arrangement in another State; or
      • The child has a verifiable physical, mental, or emotional handicapping condition, as established by an appropriately qualified professional through a diagnosis that addresses:
        • The condition and the degree to which the condition is disabling
  2. The child has been determined by the Social Security Administration to meet all the medical or disability requirements with respect to eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits;
  3. The State has determined that the child cannot or should not be returned to the home of his/her parents; and
  4. A reasonable, but unsuccessful, effort was made to find an adoptive placement without providing adoption assistance, unless doing so was not in the child's best interests. Proof of such reasonable efforts may include:

    • (A) Documentation that the child was registered on an adoption registry exchange for more than 60 days;
    • (B) Documentation of any ongoing effort, whether through child welfare entities, government or private organizations, to locate an adoptive family; or
    • (C) The fact that one or more adoptive placements did not result in an adoption.

     

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.)

$1,200 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.)

Texas offers deferred adoption assistance only in exceptional circumstances. It is a written agreement between the adoptive parents and the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to negotiate adoption assistance benefits at a future date should the need arise. A deferred agreement for adoption assistance is used when the family can currently provide for the child, but may require future assistance because of the child’s special needs.

Under the terms of a deferred agreement, the child’s eligibility for adoption assistance is already established, and if the family and child require assistance in the future, the family and DFPS will negotiate specific agreements for benefits including Medicaid or monthly financial assistance at that time.

 

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

Adoption assistance payments and benefits may begin in Texas the first month after the month of adoption placement. Medicaid and monthly benefits may begin prior to the finalization of the adoption.

 

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 or the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) can initiate a review of an adoption assistance agreement at any time. A request for a change in the agreement can be made any time there is a change in the needs of the child or the circumstances of the child or the family. The family can always request a fair hearing if their request is denied. Requests must be made in writing to the adoption assistance benefits negotiator. Upon receipt of a request for a change in the monthly payment, the adoption assistance benefits negotiator contacts the adoptive parents within ten working days to negotiate a new payment amount. After the negotiations, the negotiator is responsible for notifying the eligibility specialist of any changes. The adoption assistance eligibility specialist is responsible for updating information reported as a change within 5 days of receipt of the changed information. Any negotiated increase in benefits is effective no earlier than the first of the following month after a new agreement is signed. For more information, please contact the local DFPS agency.

 

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

Postadoption services in Texas are overseen by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) through contracts with outside agencies.

Availability of services is dependent on funding and the individual child and family situation. Access to postadoption services is made through referral. DFPS workers provide the postadoption provider/contractor’s name, address, and/or telephone number in the adoptive family’s region and are usually no longer involved after referral, unless needed. The postadoption program is contracted by region. Specific information about postadoption services, regional contacts, service providers, and liaisons is available on the DFPS website.

Many private organizations offer a variety of respite options. See the ARCH National Respite Network Respite Locator Service, search by state to locate Texas' 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 Texas are administered through the Health and Human Services Commission and include the following examples: psychiatric/psychological/behavioral health services, outpatient counseling for chemical dependency, in-patient hospital services, rehabilitative services and case management for mental illness, and prescription/pharmacy services.

About Medicaid and CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Plan)
Texas Medicaid client hotline: 800-252-8263.

See:
Texas Department of State Health Services, Mental Health Services.

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?

Texas does not have a specific program to provide additional finances or services for medical or therapeutic needs not covered under the state medical plan. Additional services may be available through in its post adoption program.

Note: Not all services may be available in all cases. Contact your adoption assistance worker or post adoption services contact for 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 families can request a fair hearing whenever there is a disagreement with a Department of Social Services decision that affects their child’s adoption assistance benefits. A fair hearing is also available if it is believed that the processing of the adoption assistance application is unreasonably delayed. A request for fair hearing must be made to the adoption assistance worker in writing within ninety days of the effective date of the change in adoption assistance benefits. Families can represent themselves or have another person, including an attorney, represent them at the fair hearing.

Families may contact their local department for information.

 

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 differ slightly, but benefits are the same.

 

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

Texas' guardianship assistance program is called "Permanency Care Assistance". Eligibility criteria may be found in the Department of Family and Protective Services Policy Handbook 1600 Permanency Care Assistance.

 

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

Yes. Specific details may be found in the Services to Kinship Caregivers Resource Guide.

 

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