CSS may be required for this site to function properly.
Javascript may be required for this site to function properly.
Adoption Questions and Answers
  1. What is Adoption Assistance?
  2. Adoption assistance provides permanency for special needs children in foster care by providing ongoing financial and medical assistance to families who adopt them. This subsidy should combine with the parents' resources to cover the ordinary and special needs of the child.

  3. When is a child eligible for Adoption Assistance?
  4. Pennsylvania's children must meet the following criteria to be eligible for Title IV-E Adoption Assistance:

    1. Under 18 years of age.
    2. Have an adoption assistance agreement in place.
    3. Legally free for adoption.
    4. Reasonable but unsuccessful efforts were made.
    5. Have one of the following special needs characteristics:
      • Physical, mental or emotional disability;
      • Genetic condition which indicates a high risk of developing a disability;
      • Member of a minority group;
      • Member of a sibling group; or
      • Five years of age or older.
    6. Meet one of the following circumstances:
      • Eligible for Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC),
      • Eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI),
      • Child of a minor parent, or
      • Received adoption assistance in a previous adoption.

    Pennsylvania's children must meet the following criteria to be eligible for State-Only Adoption Assistance:

    1. Under 18 years of age.
    2. Legally free for adoption.
    3. In custody of private/public agency.
    4. Have one of the following special needs characteristics:
      • Physical, mental or emotional disability;
      • Genetic condition which indicates a high risk of developing a disability;
      • Member of a minority group;
      • Member of a sibling group; or
      • Five years of age or older.

  5. What benefits may a child receive?
  6. Children may receive any combination of the following benefits:

    • A subsidy that may not exceed the payments a foster parent would receive for caring for the child.
    • Medical Assistance benefits provided through Pennsylvania's Medicaid Program.
    • Other services necessary to address the child's special needs.
    • Non-recurring adoption expenses, one-time expenses, which are reasonable and necessary, cost directly related to the legal adoption of a child. These expenses include adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, and other expense directly related to the adoption, such as health and psychological examinations, consultations with medical providers, transportation, lodging, or food.

  7. Is a family's income considered when determining if a child can receive adoption assistance?
  8. Eligibility for Pennsylvania's Adoption Assistance Program is based on the special needs of the child and the adopting family's ability to support those needs and incorporate the child into their household in relation to their lifestyle, standard of living and future plans. A "means test" cannot be used to determine the subsidy amount the family will receive.

  9. How does a family receive adoption assistance for the child they are adopting?
  10. The county children and youth agency determines a child eligible for adoption assistance. Once determined eligible an adoption assistance agreement is negotiated between the county children and youth agency and the prospective adoptive family. The family will receive a monthly subsidy from the county children and youth agency.

Additional information found within the featured topics listed below