It is no secret that adoption is expensive. Many families wish they could adopt but simply cannot afford the additional expenses that are tied to adoption. According to Child Welfare Information Gateway, private agency adoptions can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $40,000. This price tag does not include any of the costs associated with raising a child, which can steer couples hoping to start a family away from considering adoption. Foster care adoption is the most financially-friendly option available to potential parents. In many cases, the adoption gets funded by the state, with few fees involved aside from an attorney’s assistance in the legal process. There are even some instances that allow adopting couples to qualify for continued compensation.
What is Title IV-E Adoption Assistance?
Unfortunately, foster children get adopted at a much lower rate, especially those with special needs. The medical expenses or other costs that are unique to a special needs child can keep couples from considering taking them in. What many do not realize is that adoption assistance is available to parents of special needs children adopted through the foster system. Federal adoption assistance is known as Title IV-E, whereas state assistance is non-IV-E. Both forms of assistance can provide monthly maintenance payments, medical assistance, and other support until the child turns 18 or, in some cases, 21 years old. There are three criteria that must be met to qualify for special needs determination:
- The state determines that the child cannot or should not return to their birth parents’ home;
- A specific factor, condition, or a combination of the two has made the child more difficult to place for adoption; and
- Unsuccessful efforts have been made to place the child without using adoption assistance.
What Makes a Child Eligible for Title IV-E?
The eligibility listed above must be met before a child will be considered to receive Title IV-E adoption assistance. There are five qualifications tied to Title IV-E; however, only one must be met to qualify for the assistance:
- If the child’s birth family meets the income guidelines for Aid to Families of Dependent Children assistance during the month in which the child was placed in foster care, they become eligible for the financial help.
- Children who have been in care for at least 60 consecutive months and have special needs qualify for the assistance.
- If the special needs child qualifies for Title XVI Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, they also meet the requirements for Title IV-E.
- If the infant is born to a minor in the foster care system and the minor parent is receiving Title IV-E for their child, adoptive parents would also receive that assistance.
- If a child is adopted and receives Title IV-E assistance but the adoptive parents die or the adoption dissolves, subsequent adoptive parents would still receive the financial help.
Contact a DuPage County Adoption Lawyer for Help
Adopting a child with special needs reminds a child that they are more than their disability. That being said, the financial responsibility that this brings on can make anyone wary. In order to help lift this monetary burden, Illinois offers potential parents various options for a more economical lifestyle. At A. Traub & Associates, we have years of experience with all forms of adoption, including signing subsidy agreements. If you would like to know your options with adoption, contact our Lombard, IL, adoption attorneys at 630-426-0196 for assistance.