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