While the Federal Government does not have an official definition of "special needs," States define the term "special needs" differently for purposes of children's eligibility to receive Federal Adoption Assistance when adopted from the U.S. foster care system. Although some children with special needs may suffer from physical or mental disabilities, not all children with special needs require special education. Children may also qualify as having special needs if they are an older youth, from a specific ethnic background, part of a sibling group, or have a medical condition. In this section, you will find resources for families that have adopted children who qualify as special needs.
Adopting a Child With Special Needs as a Military Family
Illustrates various options for parents who wish to pursue the adoption of a child with special needs.
Adoption Assistance by State
Administrators of the Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance (AAICAMA) & Child Welfare Information Gateway
Summarizes each State's definition of "special needs," along with other information about State adoption assistance programs.
It Takes a Family: An Analysis of Family Participation in Policymaking for Public Programs Serving Children with Special Health Care Needs in California (PDF - 1,180 KB)
O'Sullivan & Tompkins (2014)
Emphasizes the importance of family participation in the implementation of policies and services for children with special health care needs in California.
Special Needs Adoption
Children's Disabilities Information
Includes a range of adoption articles addressing disability issues.
Understanding Special Needs
The University of Chicago Adoption Center
Features several online videos outlining some of the more common types of special needs adoption.