What Is An Adoption Subsidy?

Adoption subsidies… if you have been around the adoption world for a bit you have probably heard this term used. Adoption subsidies, also known as adoption assistance, are fairly common in domestic adoptions, especially adoptions through foster care. So, what are they?

Adoption subsidies are federal and/or state programs designed to help families who adopt children with special needs. These special needs can be anything from prenatal drug exposure, medical needs, physical needs, emotional needs, the fact that they are part of the sibling group, or that they are an older child. The first thing that you need to know about adoption subsidies is that there are options for both state and federal subsidies, and state subsidies will vary greatly from state to state.

That being said, here is what to know about adoption subsidies in general. They are available for any child who is in the custody of an agency (foster care agency or private adoption agency). Adoption subsidies are more commonly known in the foster care adoption world. Every child adopted through foster care is eligible and typically comes with some time of adoption subsidy/assistance.

If the child you are considering adopting through foster care does not come with an adoption subsidy or if the agency is trying to negotiate you out of an adoption subsidy, you need to stand your ground. The adoption subsidy is the child’s right and offers a lot of added protection for them. 

What people often don’t know is that adoption subsidy is also available if you adopt an infant or younger child that is in the custody of a private child placing agency. This is something that you will need to research for your state as I cannot guarantee that every state offers this, but most states do. Typically, adoption subsidy or adoption assistance must be negotiated and all documents signed prior to the child’s adoption finalization. If this does not happen, then you cannot go back and do it in the future, so, make sure that everything is wrapped up prior to that final order of adoption being signed.

So, what comes with adoption subsidies? Again, this can vary from state to state, but typically the child has Medicaid as a secondary insurance until the child turns 18. This is a great benefit for the child and the family as Medicaid often covers things that private insurance will not cover. There is also typically a monthly stipend for the child. The amount you will receive each month varies on the needs of the child and on the amounts that different states can provide (this will vary greatly from state to state). It could be anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars a month to a couple of thousand. It is also important to know that the amount can be re-negotiated as the child gets older and may have more needs than they did when they were younger.

Adoption subsidies are an important part of the adoption process if you are considering adopting a child with special medical needs, who is older, or who is part of a sibling group. Make sure to do your research, ask your questions, and don’t back down from going through this process. It is something that your child deserves to have in order for your child to have every opportunity afforded to him or her.