The Adoption Assistance and Guardianship Assistance Programs are federal- and state-funded programs that may include medical assistance, reimbursement for costs incurred to legally finalize the adoption/guardianship or financial assistance paid on behalf of an eligible child to an adoptive parent or guardian.
Types of assistance
- Agreement only – No cash subsidy or medical insurance needed at this time. Agreement required assuring assistance if needed in the future.
- Medical only – Medical coverage is provided through Oregon or the child’s state of residence. It may be possible to use the medical card as a supplement to private insurance.
- Payment only – A negotiated monthly cash subsidy plus level-of-care payment, if applicable, have been established with no medical coverage provided.
- Cash and medical – A negotiated monthly cash subsidy plus current level-of-care payment, if applicable, with medical coverage through Oregon or the child’s state of residence.
- Non-recurring expense payment – One-time payment for costs incurred in legally finalizing the adoption or guardianship.
Note: Nonrecurring costs are those expenses directly related to legally finalizing the adoption or guardianship, such as attorney legal fees, court costs and pre-placement visits. A maximum of $2,000 per child is allowed. Receipts for costs must be received and a signed agreement in place before the adoption or guardianship is finalized. The expenses will be reimbursed after finalization.
Adoption Assistance and Guardianship Assistance Application and Negotiation Process
Once determined eligible for adoption/guardianship assistance, your caseworker will discuss your child’s needs and review your family circumstances in order to assist you with completing the application for adoption/guardianship assistance. Your request for adoption/guardianship assistance is based on your current out of pocket expenses incurred to meet your child’s needs. Specific expenses must be listed on the application form. Things to consider when requesting adoption/guardianship assistance benefits:
- What are the ordinary and special needs of the child?
- What items or services are the parents currently providing to meet the needs of their child and what is the cost to provide each item?
Examples include extracurricular activities that are intended to address the child’s special needs by building social skills, motor skills or enhancing self-esteem; adaptive equipment recommended by treatment providers for children with particular needs (weighted vests, orthopedic shoes, special foods or utensils).
- How much financial support are you able to provide for your child?
- How much financial support are you requesting from the Adoption/Guardianship Assistance Program?
- Adoption/guardianship assistance benefits must be negotiated and agreed upon before the adoption finalizes.
- Federal law mandates that adoption/guardianship assistance cannot exceed the foster care maintenance payment a child is receiving or would receive in a foster family home. The foster care payment is determined by the child's age combined with, if applicable, the level of care payment as determined by a CANS screening.
- The Adoption/Guardianship Assistance Program is not intended to reimburse parents/guardians for being parents. Rather, financial assistance focuses on helping families provide for the needs of the child that the family would have difficulty providing without financial assistance. It is not intended to fully cover the cost of raising a child.
- There are no automatic or annual increases in the Adoption/Guardianship Assistance Program such as cost of living increases.
- The family can request a renegotiation of the adoption/guardianship assistance subsidy payment amount if the family’s circumstances or the child’s needs change. However, the same process and subsidy limitation as described above will apply in negotiating the new subsidy.
- The Adoption/Guardianship Assistance Agreement automatically expires when the child reaches the age of 18. A new agreement extending adoption/guardianship assistance past age 18 is only possible if the adoption/guardianship assistance became effective after the child’s 16th birthday and the child is involved in a qualifying activity, or for child with a disability who is eligible for developmental disability services or Social Security income at the time they are turning age 18. The extension is only possible under these circumstances and ends on or before the young adult’s 21st birthday.
- In some cases, the adoption/guardianship assistance subsidy might affect other state and federal benefits the adoptive parent/guardian is receiving. If you have questions about continued eligibility or if the benefits you are receiving will be affected by the adoption/guardianship assistance subsidy, contact the provider responsible for administering the other benefits.
There are federal, state and program requirements that restrict and define the Adoption Assistance and Guardianship Assistance Programs. Within those guidelines, the adoption/guardianship assistance coordinator works with each family to help offset out-of-pocket expenses incurred to incorporate the special needs child into the family.
Specific information about each program
- Oregon DHS adoptive families
- Oregon Assisted Guardianship families
- Oregon families who have adopted through any state’s child welfare system
Local child welfare office:
Adoptive parents and guardians may be eligible for Family Support Services through their local child welfare office when a goal-oriented, time-limited, individualized plan for the child and the child's family is needed to identify and address the child's needs and service goals in order to acheive safety and well being.
Adoption Assistance & Guardianship Assistance Program
Department of Human Services
Adoption Assistance and Guardianship Assistance Program
500 Summer Street, NE E-71
Salem, Oregon 97301-1068
Post Adoption Services Manager
Coordinates and assigns new applications based on the last name of the guardian/adoptive family
Adoption/Guardianship Assistance Coordinators
Adoption/Guardianship Assistance Support Staff