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The basic goal of the Adoption Subsidy Program is to encourage the adoption of children with special needs. More specifically, this program is intended to assist families who could not otherwise afford, through their own income and resources, to meet the cost of adopting a "special needs" child. Assistance for eligible children may consist of monthly cash payments, medical coverage and/or other special services.
Subsidy payments are made to help meet the needs of the adopted children. Thus, while the resources and circumstances of the adoptive parents are considered in determining the services needed and the amount of the subsidy, no family is determined to be ineligible for special services subsidies for health-related expenses as a result of the child's pre-existing medical or mental condition, if applicable.
Adoption subsidy payments are available for an eligible child who is under the age of 18 at the time of the child's placement for adoption. Such payments may continue until the child is 18 years old. In addition, if a child is placed in another state, or if a child moves from Louisiana with his adopted family, the subsidy payment will continue.
CRITERIA FOR CHILD'S ELIGIBILITY FOR ADOPTION SUBSIDY:
A "special needs" child is one with a pre-existing condition or specific factor such that it is reasonable to conclude that it is difficult to place the child in an adoptive home without the aid of a subsidy. The condition or factor may be any one or combination of the following:
- All children, age 5 or older
- Ethnic background;
- Severe/chronic medical condition;
- Physical, mental or emotional disability;
- Membership in a sibling group of two or more which should not be separated.
- Significant, chronic, genetically pre-disposed medical or mental health risk factors in a child's family history.
The existence of any of these conditions does not automatically define the child as "Special Needs."
The rationale is based on the specific, individual needs of the child. The eligibility criteria consider the difficulty in recruitment and placement of children of a certain age and race.
Provision for exceptions to the definition of Special Needs Children is made for children on a case-by-case basis.
Federal guidelines define separate conditions for children adopted through private non-profit agencies.
THE ROLE OF THE ADOPTIVE PARENTS:
- Participate in developing the subsidy plan for the child at the time of placement and annually thereafter.
- Sign an Adoption Subsidy Agreement provided by the Department of Children and Family Services.
- Report any changes that would change the conditions of the subsidy agreement.
- Assume all the rights and privileges of parenting a child adopted by them.
TYPE OF SUBSIDIES:
Maintenance - includes an allowance for room and board, the child's personal incidents, and clothing. The maximum rate is based on the age of the child and will not exceed 80% of the regular foster care board rate which would have been paid if the child had remained in foster care.
Special Services Subsidy Payments - pre-existing health-related expenses not covered by other sources (Note: Subject to the prior approval of the Department of Children and Family Services).
Special Board Rates - provides additional financial assistance when the level of care required is above and beyond that which is ordinarily needed for a child of a similar age.
Non-recurring Adoption Expenses - fees of an attorney, court costs associated with finalizing the adoption and the cost of a revised birth certificate. Other special services determined to be necessary for the care of the child.