Adoption Subsidy for Adopting a Child with Special Needs
For individuals who adopt a child with special needs, there will often be challenges. Frequently, overcoming those challenges requires significant funds. However, through federal law and state adoption assistance programs, parents who adopt a child with special needs can obtain adoption subsidies to help pay for those expenses.
The term “special needs” refers to several different conditions. A child may be at risk of developmental, behavioral, or learning issues due to prenatal exposure to drugs or alcohol, or because his or her biological parents had an inheritable psychiatric illness. For purposes of adoption subsidies, Illinois law defines special needs as a child who has one of the following needs or circumstances that may be a barrier to placement or adoption without financial assistance:
- One year of age or older;
- Part of a group of siblings who are being adopted together where at least one of the children meets the criteria listed here;
- Being adopted by parents who, utilizing financial assistance, have adopted another child from the same mother and father;
- Physical, mental, or emotional disability; or
- Physical, mental, or emotional disability correctable through surgery, treatment, or other specialized services.
The adoption subsidies for children with special needs were created by federal law; however, subsidies are administered by each state. State adoption assistance programs are intended to help parents meet their children's various needs. In Illinois, the program is administered through the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Qualifying for an adoption subsidy is dependent upon a child's history. Therefore, a child must meet one of the following requirements:
- The child was eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (formerly known as Aid to Families with Dependent Children;
- The child was eligible at the time the adoption petition was filed for foster care maintenance payments;
- Prior to the finalization of the adoption, the child was eligible for Supplemental Security Income; or
- The DCFS was legally responsible for the child at the time the petition was filed.
In order to obtain a subsidy, an application must be made to the DCFS. A non-recurring payment of up to $1,500 is available to help with the costs of the adoption of a special needs child.
Alternatively, an applicant can request monthly payments. The payment is negotiated between the adoptive parents and DCFS. If a child is deemed qualified, adoption subsidy payments may begin at the finalization of the adoption. In cases where a child is mentally, emotionally, intellectually, or physically disabled, the payments may continue until the child reaches the age of 21.
Illinois Family Law Attorneys
Adopting any child is a momentous occasion, as it welcomes another member into a family. For more information about the adoption process, speak with an experienced Illinois family law attorney today. MKFM Law is proud to use our legal experience and knowledge to help parents complete an adoption. Call 630-665-7300 today. We look forward to hearing from you.