4. 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.)
Alabama offers deferred adoption assistance. Evidence of disability is not required at the time of placement, but professional documentation of a high risk of developing a physical, emotional or psychological disability is necessary. The high-risk background is based on the documented emotional or psychological history of the child's biological parents.
Alaska offers deferred adoption assistance agreements.
Arizona does not offer deferred adoption assistance. However, an adoption assistance agreement can be negotiated with a $0 maintenance rate.
Arkansas offers deferred adoption assistance.
California offers deferred adoption assistance agreements. If the child is eligible for the Adoption Assistance Program (AAP) and the adoptive family chooses not to apply for the AAP benefits, California requires the responsible public agency to encourage the family to sign a deferred adoption assistance agreement.
Colorado offers deferred adoption assistance. It is known as a 'dormant subsidy' or Medicaid only agreement in which no monetary assistance is immediately given but Medicaid can be received if the parents choose. Documentation of the child’s special needs must be in the service record on file with the county department in order to activate the adoption assistance in the future.
Connecticut does not offer deferred adoption assistance. Connecticut, does, however, have a Subsidy After Finalization.
Adoptive parents may find it necessary to request a subsidy after the adoption has been finalized. Once the “Application for an Adoption Subsidy after Finalization” is filed with all the supporting documentation, a subsidy may be considered at the discretion of the Commissioner for conditions resulting from, or directly related to, the totality of circumstances surrounding the child prior to placement in adoption. A post-finalization subsidy cannot be granted for new conditions or circumstances that occurred following legal adoption.
Delaware offers deferred adoption assistance agreements.
The District of Columbia offers deferred adoption assistance. Deferred agreements are available for children who are at high risk of developing a special need but do not otherwise qualify as special needs. 'High risk' means that a child does not currently evidence a special need but, due to factors in their biological, social, or familial background, are at risk of developing a special need in the future.
Florida offers deferred adoption assistance. If at the time the child is placed for adoption, the adoptive parents choose not to receive adoption assistance for the child, they are encouraged to sign the initial assistance agreement with a payment amount of zero ($0) listed in the agreement. Establishing a deferred adoption assistance agreement preserves future active adoption assistance eligibility for the child in the event that the family needs assistance in meeting the needs of the child.
Georgia offers deferred adoption assistance for children who have been in the permanent custody of the Department of Human Services (DHS). If a child does not meet the definition of a child with special needs prior to adoption finalization and has background factors that may lead to significant medical, physical, or emotional problems in the future, a deferred adoption assistance application is completed by the adopting parent(s). If a significant medical, mental, emotional or physical condition later develops in the child that is related to the background factors, adoption assistance and Medicaid may be instated at the time the condition is known and an agency determination of special needs is made based on documentation from a licensed treatment provider. The benefit would be equal to the amount the child received as a family foster care board rate at the time of the adoptive placement or the foster care maintenance payment amount that would have been paid if the child had been in a family foster home at the time of adoptive placement.
A deferred adoption assistance agreement can also be completed with an adoptive parent(s) who elected to receive supplemental security income (SSI) in lieu of adoption assistance benefits. In these cases, the child was deemed “special needs” prior to adoption finalization, so a subsequent determination of special needs is not required when the parent(s) decides to begin receiving adoption assistance.
Hawaii offers deferred adoption assistance agreements.
Idaho offers deferred assistance. Payments and benefits are established under what is known as 'Agreement Only' assistance where no benefits are paid at the adoptive family’s request. This type of agreement allows families to return to the state at a later date to open the adoption assistance case to obtain benefits and services needed at that time. For children who are eligible for state funded adoption assistance based on the 'at risk' criteria, adoption assistance benefits are not available until such time as the specific disability for which the child is known to be at risk becomes evident. Once an 'at risk' factor becomes evident, the adoptive family must contact the local adoption assistance office to renegotiate/activate the child's adoption assistance agreement.
Illinois does not offer deferred adoption assistance. Illinois does offer Conditional Adoption Assistance. Conditional Adoption Assistance is available to children adopted before February 1, 2004. To be eligible for conditional adoption assistance, the child must meet all of the eligibility requirements for adoption assistance and have a documented disability or risk factor not evident at the time of the adoption but that may require intervention, treatment or services in the future.
Indiana offers medical-only adoption assistance agreements or agreements where the monetary amount is zero ($0). The amount of the adoption assistance payment is a negotiable matter and payments can range from zero to the maximum payment. Even with a zero payment, Medicaid is provided to the eligible child and adoption assistance agreements are made with the understanding that dollar amounts can be negotiated upon request by the adoptive parents.
The adoptive family may negotiate an Agreement to Future Adoption Subsidy (Form: 470-0762) with DHS prior to finalization in the following situations:
- The child is eligible for subsidy, but the child or family does not currently need assistance
- The child is “at risk” of being determined a child with special needs by a physician, a qualified mental retardation specialist, or a qualified mental health specialist, or a qualified mental health professional
This includes a written qualifying statement from a specified professional to support the at-risk determination.
If the child meets the special needs criteria in the future, the adoptive family may contact the local DHS office and negotiate an Adoption Subsidy Agreement.
In the Agreement to Future Adoption Subsidy, the adoptive family may request reimbursement up to $500.00 for attorney fees and courts costs for the adoption finalization.
Adoption Subsidy Agreement or Presubsidy Agreement (Form 470-0749). This form verifies that family’s rights and responsibilities in an adoptive placement. The Adoption Presubsidy Agreement is used after a child placed in an adoptive placement and prior to the finalization of the adoption. The Adoption Subsidy Agreement is used after the finalization of the adoption. The Adoption Subsidy Agreement outlines the services the child will receive after the finalization of the adoption.
Kansas offers deferred adoption assistance. A child who has been determined to have a 'Guarded Prognosis' and is not currently being treated for a specific disability or condition, may be eligible for assistance if there are factors his/her genetic, health, and/or social background, which indicate that him/her may develop physical, emotional or developmental problems later.
Kentucky does not offer deferred adoption assistance.
Louisiana does not offer deferred adoption assistance. However, there are situations where a family adopts a “special needs” child without a subsidy and later decides that they should have received a subsidy based on a known or unknown pre-existing condition. After it has been determined that the condition would have made the child difficult to place in an adoptive home without the aid of a subsidy, the child would be eligible for a subsidy after the adoption had been finalized. The State Office Adoption Subsidy Program Manager will review request and make the eligibility determination.
Retroactive Adoption Assistance which refers to adoption assistance approved by the Department for special needs children who are adopted without adoption assistance and are later determined to be eligible.
One Payment Assistance which is a one-time, not recurring payment to meet a special need of the child. Examples of not recurring items are payment for an operation necessitated by a medical condition of the child, payment of legal fees for adoption, and payment for special orthopedic devices for a child.
Maryland offers deferred adoption assistance. Deferred adoption assistance is for 'at risk' special needs designations and requires documentation that a potential special needs condition existed at the time of adoption finalization. The request must be related to the condition that would have made the child eligible for adoption assistance but was unknown at the time of adoption.
Massachusetts offers deferred adoption assistance.
The department may defer the financial assistance of a Tile IV-E or state adoption subsidy when a child meets the other adoption criteria, but she/he is at an age that makes it difficult to diagnose a special need impairment, disorder or condition or she/he is at risk of such an impairment, disorder or condition due to her/his birth history or family history prior to placement. The child is initially provided with the medical assistance benefit, but not the financial assistance benefit. The adoptive family may in the future receive a financial assistance benefit if they request a re-determination of the adoption subsidy decision and submit to the Department’s Subsidy Unit documentation from a qualified professional diagnosing the child’s special needs that the child meets the special needs criteria. The deferred subsidy agreement terminates on the child’s 18th birthday unless otherwise amended.
Michigan does not offer deferred adoption assistance.
Minnesota offers deferred adoption assistance payments for children at risk of developing physical, mental, emotional, or behavioral disabilities. When a child’s eligibility for adoption assistance is based on this criterion, a child is categorically eligible for Medicaid, but cash payments are not made under the adoption assistance agreement unless and until the potential disability manifests itself, as documented by an appropriate health care professional.
Mississippi offers deferred adoption assistance. Deferred means, no adoption assistance payment is provided at the time of the adoption; however, due to the documented risk factors in the child’s medical history or background, or the medical history or background of the child’s biological family; the child is at risk to acquire a medical condition, a physical, mental, developmental or emotional disorder. Families will need to submitted current documentation to the agency.
All children who are adopted or children who are placed for legal guardianship with an eligible relative or qualified close nonrelated person through the Children’s Division are eligible for the following basic subsidy services:
- Maintenance (daily living expenses including room and board, clothing and incidentals) at base rate to age 18;
- MO HealthNet coverage to age 18 or maximum of age 21 on a yearly negotiated 18+ Agreement; and
- Child Care to age 13 – if both parent(s) /guardian(s) and the single parent/guardian is working
- Respite for the same length of time that maintenance has been approved and consistent with policy units which correspond to the maintenance level approved.
Adoptive parent(s) may decline any or all of these services; guardian(s) may decline services as well, however are required to receive maintenance of at least one dollar.
In the event that services are declined, the parent(s) or guardian(s) must sign a dated statement indicating specifically which services they are declining. This statement is to be filed in the subsidy record and documented in the explanation section of the agreement.
Basic services declined cannot be approved at a future date. All basic subsidy services must be addressed in the explanation section in some manner.
Montana offers deferred adoption assistance.
Nebraska does not offer deferred adoption assistance.
Nevada offers deferred adoption assistance agreements. Adoptive parents may elect to defer financial or medical assistance for an otherwise eligible special needs child until assistance is needed. Eligible children must meet the special needs criteria and Medicaid eligibility criteria at the time of adoption.
New Hampshire offers deferred adoption assistance.
An adoptive family may re-apply for adoption subsidy on behalf of a child placed by CP&P and initially found ineligible for the subsidy benefit. The adoptive family may apply for adoption subsidy at any time after finalization if the child develops problems traceable to his or her genetic heritage or pre-adoptive experiences.
If the child is determined to have special needs, the subsidy is effective retroactive to the date of the date of the re-application, unless the family caused an undue delay (three months or longer) by not providing sufficient documentation in a timely manner.
New Mexico offers deferred adoption assistance.
New York does not offer deferred adoption assistance.
North Carolina offers deferred adoption assistance.
North Dakota offers deferred adoption assistance. A monthly payment may be deferred if agreed upon by the adoptive family and the county. Payment for nonrecurring expenses may be made and Medicaid offered for a family who defers the monthly subsidy. A monthly amount may be negotiated at any point the child’s needs warrant reconsideration.
Ohio offers deferred adoption assistance.
Oklahoma offers deferred adoption assistance. It is referred to as “Agreement only” adoption assistance. “Agreement only” children must meet the special needs criteria or be at risk of developing a special need, and the adoptive family must apply prior to adoption finalization. The application process is the same for deferred adoption assistance as it is for adoption assistance, except that the family indicates on the application that they are requesting “Agreement only” adoption assistance. This means that the family will not receive benefits at the present time but is eligible to receive benefits in the future if needed.
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.
Pennsylvania does not have deferred adoption assistance agreements. However, if an adoption assistance payment is not required at the time the agreement is signed or negotiated, a $0 payment may be specified in the Adoption Assistance Agreement. This practice allows for renegotiation if the circumstances of the child or adoptive family should change.
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, based upon family background or history, 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 finalization of the adoption. 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.
South Carolina offers deferred adoption assistance. If a child does not meet the definition of a child with special needs prior to adoptive placement, but is at risk of developing such special needs due to his/her genetic history or trauma prior to entering foster care, an adoption assistance agreement may be signed with the adoptive parent(s) for a zero dollar amount of assistance. If a medical, physical, or mental condition develops at a later date which could be related to the risk determined prior to the adoption, adoption assistance may be instated at the time the agency determines these conditions meet the special needs criteria. The payment may begin and is based upon the child’s previous eligibility for foster care board payment at the time of the adoptive placement.
South Dakota offers deferred adoption assistance. South Dakota will write an adoption assistance agreement prior to finalization which will be held inactive until the adoptive parent requests a review to activate it.
Tennessee offers deferred adoption assistance. Children who are recognized as high-risk and have the potential to develop significant medical, psychological, emotional, or behavioral issues due to their history are eligible for deferred adoption assistance. High-risk considerations include:
- Any child whose genetic/medical background or birth parent’s medical history indicates potential for developing physical/psychological problems;
- An infant who was exposed to alcohol/drugs where such exposure is documented in the child’s birth record;
- A child who has a history of multiple (three or more) disrupted foster or adoptive placements that are documented; or
- A child who meets the definition of Safe Haven (See Child Protective Services Work Aid 5-Protocol for Anonymous Voluntary Abandonment of Unharmed Newborn Infant)
- A child diagnosed with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)
Texas offers deferred adoption assistance only in exceptional circumstances. A deferred agreement for adoption assistance 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. The existence of a deferred agreement eliminates the need for a fair hearing in the event that a need arises in the future for adoption assistance.
Utah offers deferred adoption assistance.
Vermont offers deferred adoption assistance. Children must meet the special needs criteria or be in the high risk category and the adoptive family must apply prior to adoption finalization. Termination of parental rights on both parents must be complete and documentation of efforts to place the child without assistance must be made by the placing agency. Eligibility determinations for deferred assistance are made on a case-by-case basis and children must meet Title IV-E/SSI eligibility criteria.
Virginia offers an adoption assistance agreement with a zero dollar payment. Adoptive parents may enter into an adoption assistance agreement, but decline financial assistance and services until they are needed. The agreement is executed with a zero dollar payment. Medicaid may be included for an eligible child. This agreement enables the adoptive parents to request an addendum to the agreement during the duration of the agreement to address the child’s special needs and family circumstances of the adoptive parents. This agreement shall be used when the child solely has the special need factors of hereditary tendency, congenital problem (including substance exposure), or birth injury and there is no evidence the child currently has a disability. The adoptive parents may request assistance if the child’s problem or disability manifests in the future.
Washington offers deferred adoption assistance. Adoptive parents can enter into an adoption assistance agreement with a zero amount (no payment) in the same way they enter into an Adoption Assistance agreement.
West Virginia offers deferred adoption assistance. The child must be in the custody of the Department or a licensed West Virginia Child Placing Agency and at risk of developing a special need in the future. The Deferred Adoption Assistance Agreement allows the adoptive parent(s) who is not presently requesting assistance or who is not approved for assistance to receive assistance in the future if the child should develop a condition directly related to the birth parents’ history or congenital in nature. In order to qualify for this deferral, there must be factors in the child’s background or birth parent’s histories that could predispose the child to future special needs. The parent must request the deferral prior to the adoption finalization.
If a condition develops in the child, the adoptive parent(s) may submit a written request with medical documentation to the Bureau for Children and Families to activate the child’s adoption assistance. Medicaid, cash assistance, and/or a conditional subsidy may be requested. Any assistance will not be retroactive; rather, it will become effective when the child’s eligibility for special needs assistance has been established.
In Wisconsin, a child in the guardianship of an adoption agency who does not have a known special need, but who is at high risk of developing special needs may have an adoption assistance agreement in the amount of $0.00. The amount specified in the agreement is effective the month of adoption finalization.
If special needs can be documented twelve months or more from the date of adoption a new, time-limited, rate may be established via an amendment to the adoption assistance agreement. Questions regarding adoption assistance amendments may be directed to the Adoption Assistance Program Specialist, Bureau of Permanence and Out-of-Home Care, Division of Safety and Permanence, toll-free at 866-666-5532.
Wyoming does not offer deferred adoption assistance. However, if the child was adopted from the State of Wyoming 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 and 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.