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How do I request or adjust an adoption assistance agreement?

A previous blog post discussed additional forms of post-adoption support for North Dakota residents who adopt special needs children. In addition to the North Dakota state-funded adoption assistance program and the federal adoption assistance program (Title IV-E), families may also qualify for other benefits including Medicaid, public mental health services, residential treatment costs and nonrecurring fees such as court costs.

To receive such adoption assistance after a family has finalized their adoption, adoption assistance must be requested from the child placement agency that facilitated the adoption. The application will be accepted if the child is diagnosed with a congenital, genetic or predisposed condition by a qualified diagnostician. The agency will also ensure that the cost of caring for the child exceeds the family's income and ability to pay and that the applicant is not eligible for other financial benefits, such as social security.

Adjustments of the adoption assistance agreement may be requested if there is a change in the child's needs or the family's circumstances. The written request must be made to the county social service office who administers the adoption assistance. It must include the reasons for the requested change and an explanation for the amount requested. Also, adoption assistance decisions in North Dakota may be appealed by sending a written request to the North Dakota Department of Human Services.

There are many factors to be taken into account when making the decision of whether to adopt a special needs child. Adoption assistance programs were created to encourage the adoption of special needs children by providing a variety of assistive services to meet the children's needs. Adoptive parents may be more likely to adopt a special needs child if they are aware that they may receive assistance, including monthly subsidies, Medicaid and public mental health services to help them cover the costs associated with the child's disability.

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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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