What to Know About Adoption Assistance for Special Needs Children
Federal adoption assistance is officially referred to as Title IV-E. State adoption subsidies are generally called non-IV-E. The type of assistance that a child is eligible for depends on that child’s history of care. The details of the special needs eligibility categories are subject to change based on how available adoptive families are, so it’s important to check in regularly to see the most up-to-date version of these regulations.
Adopting a child with special needs is expensive and often takes extra care. It requires a special kind of person, the finances to back it up and a New Jersey adoption attorney. Parenting special needs children encompasses a wide variety of responsibilities that must be learned and taken on all at once. These subsidy programs are designed specifically to serve the needs of the adoptive parents of children with special needs.
The type and amount of assistance that adoptive parents receive depends on which state the child was receiving foster care in prior to being adopted. It is helpful to know that the New Jersey assistance program for state-only funded adoption works identically to the Title-IV-E program, so you don’t have to learn two sets of guidelines.
Defining Special Needs
Categorizing and defining the various reasons why a child needs extra assistance necessary to determine who is eligible for adoption subsidies. As defined legally in the state of New Jersey, a child who has special needs must have at least one care requirement, or “special need,” in the following categories.
- Dental or medical issues that would have to be treated regularly and require frequent visits to the hospital
- A physical deformity or defect from being injured, a disease, or an accident, making it impossible or at least partially impossible for the child to work or go to school
- Disfigurement to a substantial degree, when parts of the face, torso and extremities are lost or have become deformed
- Children in foster care who have reached at least 10 years of age
Additionally, adoption assistance is available when a professional has diagnosed a child with problems relating to mental, behavior, emotion, or a psychiatric disorder or intellectual incapacity that significantly limits the child’s relationship with both those in their age group as well as their teacher, parents and other adults in authoritative roles. Developmental disabilities are the most common but not the only issue in this category.
Keeping the Children Together
Adoptive kids are also eligible when there are at least three siblings grouped together if it has been deemed that the children cannot be separated. This also applies to half-siblings.
Another situation addressed in this category is when a child is the third in a group of siblings that goes to live in one home or the additional child. They are eligible regardless of whether or not any of the siblings are the recipients of adoption assistance.
Children are eligible for an adoption subsidy when they are in a group of two siblings and one of them falls into any of the mentioned criteria for special needs once it has been decided that the best thing for both children is that they are kept together. This rule also applies to children who are the additional sibling who goes to live in a home where a sibling is receiving assistance.
Assisting Minority Groups
Adoptive homes are unfortunately not as available to all minority and ethnic groups equally. That’s why adoption assistance is there for children at least two years old who are part of one of these demographics.
Assistance is also available if the child is part of one of these groups, is already five years old and has been under the care of the resource parents who will be adopting as long as the best plan for this child is to have the resource parent adopt them.
You should learn what adoption assistance encompasses and the guidelines for eligibility to better prepare for your adoptive child’s future. Call Cofsky & Zeidman at (856) 429-5005 for all your adoption questions. Donald Cofsky is an experienced New Jersey adoption attorney who is prepared to help you through every step of this challenging but rewarding process.