Starting a family can be a costly endeavor. As a matter of fact, it was estimated that raising a child until the age of 18 can cost the average American somewhere around $240,000, which can be a bit exorbitant for some people. What’s more, the figure quadruples when it comes to children with special needs. Consequently, it comes as no surprise that many Americans think twice before adopting a child, regardless of how much they may wish to start a family.
Presence of Subsidies
Fortunately, if you’re considering adopting a child with special needs, you have a few options that can make your life easier. Through its Adoption Subsidy Program, the state of New Jersey offers different subsidies geared toward aiding those who need it. Furthermore, these subsidies tend to go out to approximately 98 percent of the children adopted with the help of the Division of Child Protection and Permanency, or DCP&P for short. However, before discussing subsidies, we need to talk about to whom these subsidies apply: special needs children.
Special Needs Children
In order to resolve any ambiguity that may surround the term “special needs children,” the state of New Jersey defines them as follows:
- Any child who faces difficulty finding an adoptive home due to his or her age, race, or ethnicity.
- Any child struggling with a physical, intellectual, or emotional handicap that impedes his or her everyday life as well as his or her integration into society.
- Any child who, for the time being and possibly the foreseeable future, is in need of costly medical treatment, unique services, customized equipment, or special training.
- Any child who belongs to a group of siblings that should be kept together.
- Any child who’s older than 5 years old, lives with a foster family for more than a year, and stands to benefit from being adopted by said foster family.
The Benefits of Subsidies
Naturally, the next question you should be asking is how much these subsidies can help you and your loved ones:
1. These subsidies can come in the form of a monthly payment that chips in the clothing allowance, among other things. Simply put, the subsidies can get families that much closer to meeting their everyday needs.
2. For parents who might struggle with the legal fees pertaining to the adoption process, they can receive a one-time payment that foots the bill for them.
3. In the event that the adopted child has a medical condition, which could be physical or psychological, that can’t be provided for with the family’s insurance, then the subsidies can come in the form of Medicaid coverage.
4. If the family requires out-of-state medical treatment, then the subsidies can cover it.
5. Disabled children can be given access to special services that cater to a particular medical need. Nevertheless, these kinds of subsidies are approved on a case-by-case basis.
6. Children who are eligible for subsidies can also be granted preschool child care services, which get their funding from the Department of Human Services, Division of Family Development. These services are offered so as to help adoptive parents who hold a full-time job or attend school.
7. Parents can receive counseling support services after their adoption so as to make the whole process go by as smoothly as possible.
8. Starting from 2003, parents who adopted children with special needs were given the right to request the adoption tax credit, which they could do without having to resort to incurring or documenting expenses.
Duration of These Subsidies
It should come as no surprise that neither the state nor the federal government can afford to pay these subsidies indefinitely. Ergo, the family is entitled to the entire subsidy payment until one of the following happens:
1. The child becomes 18.
2. The child finishes high school or any other similar program.
It’s important to point out that in either case, it’s necessary that these subsidy payments don’t exceed the original cost that would have been incurred had the child remained in foster care. Once the adopted child reaches 21, there are other state services that may be able to help.
The process of adoption can be complicated, especially since the state needs to do what’s best for the children. On the other hand, it’s easy for prospective parents to get confused by the proceedings or to let misinformation dictate their actions. Therefore, it’s advisable that anybody considering adopting a child reach out to a New Jersey adoption lawyer who’s well-versed in the ins and outs of the process. And, should you be concerned that you can’t afford an attorney, just remember that there’s a subsidy for that too, and you may be eligible for it.
Contact Our Office
To set up an appointment with an NJ adoption lawyer or a PA adoption lawyer, contact the law office of Cofsky & Zeidman today. You can call our office in Haddonfield at 856-429-5005 or in Woodbury at 856-845-2555. We can also be reached in Philadelphia at 215-563-2150.