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What is the North Dakota Adoption Assistance Program?

North Dakota provides an adoption assistance program to help and encourage families who adopt children who are in our foster care system who may not otherwise be able to find a permanent home. This assistance, in the form of a subsidy, helps families provide the medical, social and financial support needed by these children. It can be used for the child's everyday needs, special needs, medical care and also adoption expenses.

Parents may be eligible for the subsidy when they adopt "special needs" children through a county or state social service office, any child-placing agency licensed by the state or through a North Dakota Tribe. Private adoptions do not qualify.

When many people hear "special needs," they think of children who have physical, mental or other types of disabilities. However, as detailed in the "North Dakota Adoption Assistance Program Guide for Parents," it has a much broader meaning when determining which North Dakota adoptive parents qualify for a subsidy. The designation does include children either diagnosed with or considered to be at high risk for mental, emotional or physical disability. However, it also includes children above 7 years-old, children of a minority race and siblings who are adopted together.

The amount of the subsidy is based on the needs of the child as well as the financial resources of the parents. It is agreed on by the parents and county social services.

Parents are generally paid the subsidy and medical costs until the child reaches 18. However, in some cases it is continued until the child is 21 or older if he or she has a physical or mental disability that requires additional care, such as a full-time educational program. The amount of the subsidy may be adjusted over the years as the child's needs or the family's circumstances change.

Adoption is a big step, whether it's done through a government agency or a private entity. It's essential to consult with legal and financial advisors to help ensure that everything is handled properly and that you've made all necessary arrangements for this new member of your family.

Source: North Dakota Department of Human Services Children and Family Services Division Adoption Unit, "North Dakota Adoption Assistance Program - A Guide for Parents" Aug. 24, 2014

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Commandments of Family Law

  1. The only truth your children need to know is that you both love them unconditionally, and that this isn't their fault.
  2. Take the high road — everyone wins when you do what's best for your kids.
  3. Negotiate but don't capitulate — if you are being pushed toward something detrimental for your children, stand your ground.
  4. You can only control yourself and how you respond. Don't engage.
  5. Do set up rules and responsibilities. Kids feel better when routine is continued.
  6. You are still their parent — don't be afraid to be one.
  7. Disneyland is in California, not in your home. Don't set up unreasonable expectations.
  8. It is not their job to take care of you. Repeat that to them. Often.
  9. Yelling is for sports — not court. Good lawyers strongly advocate without being disrespectful to opposing parties.
  10. Fair is a place you go to get cheese curds. Aside from that, nothing in life is fair.

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