Many children with special needs wait for families to offer them a permanent home. Foster care is designed to be a temporary solution for a child's home life. Adoption is intended to help children who have been permanently and legally separated from their birth parents become permanent members of a new family.
The Adoption Assistance Program's purpose is to help incorporate former foster children into their adoptive families by providing a subsidy and medical coverage for their child. It is not a reimbursement for the child's special needs; it is added support for families that are not able meet their child's needs without financial assistance. Adoption assistance is used in conjunction with the family's own income and resources. Services provided by Medicaid coverage, private insurance, public education and all community resources cannot be duplicated in the adoption assistance subsidy.
In order to be eligible for adoption assistance, funded through either Title IV-E federal funds or state funds, a child must be determined to have special needs. A child in the custody of ODHS, a Tribe with at Title IV-E agreement or a licensed adoption agency in Oregon is eligible for adoption assistance when all the following are met:
1. A legal determination that the child cannot or should not be returned to the home of his or her parent or parents
2. The child has at least one of the following factors or conditions that makes adoptive placement difficult to achieve:
- A documented medical, physical, emotion condition or other clinically diagnosed disability or has a documented history of abuse or other identified predisposing factor that placed the child at risk for future problems or needs.
- Is a member of a sibling group which will be placed together and is difficult to place because there are 3 or more children or if in a sibling group of two, at least one of the children is 6 years of age or older
- Is a member of an ethnic, racial or cultural minority
- Is 8 years of age or older.
3. A reasonable but unsuccessful effort to place the child with an appropriate adoptive family for adoption without adoption assistance has been made.
Vendor attorney program for adoptions of children in the care and custody of ODHS
Oregon has a vendor attorney program in which attorneys have agreed to handle the legal aspects of the adoption of children in the care and custody of ODHS. Families are encouraged to use the vendor attorney program to finalize the adoption. ODHS will pay the attorney directly on behalf of the family. Payment to the attorney will be deducted from the $2,000 maximum reimbursement per child allowed for non-recurring expenses. Families outside of Oregon can also use an Oregon vendor attorney and the entire adoption is processed through the mail.
Families who choose not to use the vendor attorney program may use any attorney of their choosing. Payment for non-vendor attorneys will be provided up to the amount that is paid to vendor attorneys. The family will need to pay a non-vendor attorney directly and can request reimbursement as a non-recurring cost.
When to contact the AA program
Please remember to tell your adoption assistance coordinator when a change happens. Some changes you should report right away are:
- Your child is no longer living in your home.
- Your child married, enlisted in the military, was adopted or emancipated.
- Your child is deceased.
- You are no longer legally responsible for your child.
- You are no longer providing financial support to your child.
- Your address or phone number has changed.
Timely notification of a change in a child's living situation or legal status will help prevent an overpayment AND make sure the child will have medical coverage in their new area of residence. If you have any questions regarding your AA or changes to report, please contact your adoption assistance coordinator.
Please visit the Adoption and Guardianship Assistance Program information web page Contact Information section for a list of contacts.
Children who are Title IV-E eligible are also categorically eligible for Medicaid benefits from the state in which the child resides. For example, a child residing in Washington would receive Medicaid benefits directly from that state. The Oregon Adoption Assistance Program will send required information to the state in order to establish Medicaid benefits.
Children determined ineligible for Title IV-E adoption assistance may be eligible for Medicaid benefits from the state in which the child resides. Children who reside in Oregon are eligible for Medicaid benefits. Not all states provide Medicaid benefits to a child ineligible for Title IV-E adoption assistance. However, if your child is not eligible for medical coverage in the state where he or she lives, your child will remain eligible for Oregon Medicaid benefits. You will need to locate providers in your state of residence willing to accept Medicaid benefits and payment from Oregon.
If you have private insurance, you can enroll your child in your health plan. Private insurance is the primary medical benefit and Medicaid is the secondary benefit.
Note: In order to receive Medicaid benefits as secondary coverage, the provider used must accept Medicaid as well as your private insurance.
If your child will be covered by your private health insurance in addition to Medicaid, you must go on-line to report the private health insurance after your insurance company has added your child to your insurance policy. The website for reporting the new private health insurance is http://www.oregon.gov/oha/healthplan/Pages/tpl.aspx
If your private insurance does not have dental or mental health benefits, please let us know. We can add a state managed dental and mental health plan to your child's medical card.
Laws and Rules
Oregon Revised Statute
418.005, 418.330, 418.335, 418.340
Oregon Administrative Rules
OAR 413-130-0000 – 413-130-0130