Adoption and Guardianship Assistance - Wyoming

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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 racial minority
  • Member of a sibling group that needs to be placed in the same home
  • Irreversible or non-correctable physical or mental disabilities
  • Physical, mental or emotional disabilities correctable through surgery, treatment or other specialized services
  • Residing in the same foster family home for a lengthy period of time where emotional ties have been developed with the foster family and adoption assistance is necessary to facilitate 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.)

$2,000

 

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.)

Wyoming does not offer deferred adoption assistance. However, if the child was adopted from the State foster care system, a minimal adoption assistance agreement is already in place and can be adjusted in the future if necessary. Also, children are able to receive "Medicaid only" adoption assistance agreements. Under such agreements, Medicaid is received without a monthly monetary payment. It is acceptable for an adoption assistance agreement to start at $0 cash payment with Medicaid. By including Medicaid as a minimum initial subsidy agreement, it allows for the agreement to be amended, as negotiated, if there are changes in the circumstances of the child(ren)/youth or the family.

 

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

Adoption assistance payments and benefits may begin in Wyoming at adoption placement if certain requirements are met. The adoption assistance subsidy may commence prior to the finalization of the adoption, if the child/youth has been placed in the pre-adoptive home, the child/youth has been determined eligible for adoption assistance/subsidy, and the adoption assistance agreement (has been signed by the adoptive parent(s) and the Department of Family Services.

 

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?

Wyoming reviews adoption assistance agreements on an annual basis and parents can request a change at the annual review. Adoption subsidies can be renegotiated whenever there is a change is circumstances. Adjustments may be made only by mutual agreement between the adoptive parent(s) and the Department of Family Services (DFS) in writing based on the needs of the child and the circumstances of the adoptive parent(s). A new adoption assistance agreement shall be completed and marked as "adjusted agreement” to reflect the change and signed by all parties.

Parents can discuss specific concerns related to their child's needs with the State adoption assistance worker and supervisor at the applicable Department of Family Services (DFS) office. Parents can also contact the manager of the local DFS office to further discuss any change to the adoption assistance agreement.

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

Postadoption services in Wyoming are administered by the Department of Family Services, Protective Services Division, through DFS contracted agencies and parent/private organizations.

Many private organizations offer a variety of respite options. See the ARCH National Respite Network Respite Locator Service, search by state to locate Wyoming'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 Wyoming are administered by the Department of Health, Mental Health Division. Community mental health and physician outpatient mental health services are available. Children may be eligible for services under the Children’s Special Health Program (CSH) Program. Phone the CSH Program Manager at 1.800.438.5795 or 307.777.6921.

The Medicaid Care Management Entity acts as a central accountable hub to deliver community-based intensive care coordination services for children and youth with complex behavioral health needs.

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?

Wyoming does not provide additional finances or services for medical or therapeutic needs not covered under their state medical plan to children receiving adoption assistance.

 

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 any time a Department of Family Services' decision affects their child’s adoption assistance benefits. Requests for reviews in Wyoming are made by contacting the Wyoming Department of Family Services.

 

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? No, the only difference is in the relationship and the court status.

 

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

The following requirements need to be met before the legal guardianship is finalized:

  • Child(ren)/youth is under 18 years of age and has been in the legal custody of DFS immediately prior to establishing the legal guardianship
  • Child(ren)/youth has resided with the prospective legal guardian for at least 6 months immediately prior to filing the petition for legal guardianship and entering into a legal guardianship; however, the 6 months placement requirement may be waived for sibling groups when at least 1 sibling meets all legal guardianship requirements
  • Reunification of the child(ren)/youth with his/her parent(s) and adoption has been ruled out as permanency goals despite reasonable efforts have been made to reunite the family or to seek adoption of the child(ren)/youth
  • Child(ren)/youth has a strong attachment to the prospective legal guardian(s) and the prospective legal guardian(s) has a strong commitment to caring permanently for the child(ren)/youth
  • Child(ren)/youth age 14 years of age and older has participated in creating the legal guardianship arrangement and signed the Family Service Plan
  • The legal guardian(s) is able to support the child(ren)/youth financially or is able to with the assistance of a subsidy or other resources which may be available to the child(ren)/youth

Eligibility criteria are addressed in the Wyoming Department of Family Services Protective and Juvenile Services Manual.

 

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

No.

 

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