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What is the Adoption Assistance Program?
The Adoption Assistance Program makes adoption possible for children with special needs who would otherwise remain in foster care, or who meet the criteria for Title IV-E Adoption Assistance outlined in section 473 of the Social Security Act. A child meets the special needs definition if the following criteria are met:
Process for obtaining Adoption Assistance
The county social services agency, licensed child placing agency, or tribal agency responsible for a child, determine whether a child is eligible for adoption assistance. The prospective family and agency staff assess the level of support necessary to meet a child’s special needs. The responsible agency then completes the Adoption Assistance Certification and sends all documents to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Adoption Assistance Program, for approval or denial.
Adoption Assistance Agreement
An Adoption Assistance Agreement is a legal contract that sets forth the rights and responsibilities of each of the parties involved in an Adoption Assistance Agreement. These parties include the adoptive parent(s), a representative of the child placing agency, and an authorized representative of the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). All parties must sign the agreement before an adoption decree is granted. The agreement remains in effect until a child reaches 18 years of age, unless one of the following events occurs:
The Adoption Assistance Agreement may be amended to remain in effect to age 22 if:
Do adoptive parents have the right to appeal an adoption assistance decision?
Yes. The adoptive parent(s) may appeal decisions which deny Adoption Assistance eligibility, discontinue or modify the agreement. The appeal must be in writing to the commissioner of Human Services within 30 days of receiving written notice that the agreement was modified, discontinued, or denied – or within 90 days if the adoptive parent(s) show good cause why additional time was required.
Federal and state dollars fund Adoption Assistance. For children who qualify for reimbursement through the federal Title IV-E program, federal and state funds are used. For children who are not eligible for the federal program, only state funds are used. For more information about a child’s eligibility, see the introductory section of the Adoption Assistance Agreement.
When does the Adoption Assistance Agreement become effective?
The effective date is the date of the adoption decree. The Minnesota Department of Human Services must receive a copy of the decree to open the Adoption Assistance Program. It may take up to two months for the first payment to arrive. The checks are issued the second Wednesday of every month. Electronic deposit is encouraged to assist prompt payments.
Will an Adoption Assistance Agreement remain in effect if a family moves to another state?
Yes. The Adoption Assistance Agreement remains in effect as long as the family complies with the conditions of the agreement; payments from Minnesota will continue.
Can the Adoption Assistance Agreement be re-negotiated?
Yes, adoptive parents may re-negotiate their Adoption Assistance Agreement by mutual agreement with the Minnesota Department of Human Services. To request re-negotiation, contact the county of residence social service agency or the Minnesota Department of Human Services, if residing outside of Minnesota.
What is Medical Assistance?
Federal law requires states to provide Medical Assistance (Medicaid) for children receiving federal Title IV-E Adoption Assistance. Medical Assistance covers medical, dental and mental health services. Adoptive parents must cooperate and abide by the Medicaid program rules and procedures of the state which provides coverage. Contact the local social service agency in the county of residence for all Medical Assistance/Medicaid information.
Will Medical Assistance (Medicaid) remain in effect if a family moves to another state?
Who should be notified about the required changes in the Adoption Assistance Agreement?
Send written notification to the Adoption Assistance Program at the address listed at the end of this document. The Adoption Assistance Program will provide the necessary forms. Adoptive parents must also notify the Medical Assistance worker at the local county social service agency about a change of address. Please note: failure to report these changes could affect receipt of payment.
Are both Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Adoption Assistance available to adoptive families?
When children continue to be eligible for SSI after adoptions are finalized, the adoptive parents are responsible to report the amount of the Adoption Assistance payment to the Social Security Administration, and the SSI payment will be reduced by the amount of the Adoption Assistance payment, as required by the Social Security Administration.
How do adoptive parents request reimbursement for non-recurring adoption expenses? What expenses are allowed?
The Adoption Assistance Agreement allows parents to claim reimbursement for non-recurring adoption expenses up to $2000. This reimbursement is available to all families who have an effective Adoption Assistance Agreement. Parents must file claims for reimbursement within 21 months after the decree of adoption has been issued. Send a statement of expenses and receipts or canceled checks to the Adoption Assistance Program, Minnesota Department of Human Services, within 21 months after the issuance of the decree.
The expenses eligible for reimbursement include:
What post-adoption services are available?
Post-adoption services are special non-medical services discussed in the agreement that include: child care, respite care, special needs camp, family counseling, post-adoption counseling, burial expenses, and alterations to the family’s home or vehicle. Adoptive parents may request to be reimbursed for costs associated with these services. To access post-adoption services, contact the Adoption Assistance Program, or write to the Adoption Assistance Program at the address listed below.
For more information, write or call:
Minnesota Department of Human Services
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