Adoption assistance programs are available to encourage adoption of certain children who are considered special needs cases. This assistance comes in the form of programs that are overseen by the South Carolina Department of Social Services. Parents who are considering adopting a child should know about this assistance. An experienced Greenville, SC adoption attorney can work with you on applying for these programs.
In order to qualify for adoption assistance, the adoptive child must currently be in foster care and available for placement. These are cases in which reasonable efforts have been made to place the child without the use of assistance programs. In addition, the adoptive child has to meet one of the following criteria:
- African American or blended racial heritage and also age 6 or older
- Caucasian and also age 10 or older
- Member of a sibling group, one of whom is also a special needs child under this definition
- Has a physical, mental or emotional disability
- At risk of developing a physical, mental, or emotional disability due to a condition existing prior to adoption
There are also eligibility rules for children who are members of sibling groups without special needs. If you’re unsure about what the criteria mean or simply have questions, a Greenville, SC adoption attorney can assist.
These programs are only available for children who have been placed by the South Carolina Department of Social Services. In other words, they don’t apply to children available for adoption through private agencies. For those children, the adoptive parents may be able to receive federal assistance as opposed to state. But the adoptive children must meet very strict eligibility criteria, and few do. If you are considering adoption, speak with a Greenville, SC attorney to find out how you may qualify for help.
Adoption assistance programs require you to sign an agreement with the state Department of Social Services. And this must be done prior to the adoption being finalized. The maximum amount of monthly assistance you can receive will depend on the age range of the child. Currently, those amounts and ranges are as follows:
- Age 0-5: $404/month
- Age 6-12: $469/month
- Age 13-21: $535/month
You can even receive specialized rates based on extraordinary needs or additional parenting skill needed to raise a child. These rates are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. One example is Supplemental Benefits for Medical Assistance (SBMA). Available for children with conditions that existed prior to adoption, SBMA must be requested when the assistance agreement is signed. In particular, children with medical, rehabilitative, and psychological counseling expenses may be eligible. The actual SBMA benefit amount is negotiated, a step with which a Greenville, SC adoption attorney can assist.
Monthly payments can begin as soon as the child is placed for adoption. You may even be eligible to receive one-time reimbursement of up to $1500 for reasonable and necessary adoption expenses. These include:
- Adoption fees
- Court costs
- Attorney fees
- Mileage and lodging expenses (incurred to visit the child prior to adoption)
The amount to be reimbursed must be stated on the adoption assistance agreement.
These are not the only assistance programs for which you and your adoptive child may be eligible. Explore all options before you finalize any adoption paperwork. And be sure to ask a Greenville, SC adoption attorney if you have questions.
Helping Greenville, SC Parents With Adoption Assistance Programs
Adopting a child is no small task. Adopting a special needs child takes a special degree of dedication. We know the process can be challenging. We also know you’re considering adoption because you’re ready to change a child’s life. Let our Greenville, South Carolina family law office help you on that journey. Give us a call today to find out what we can do.