Is There Financial Assistance for Tennessee Adoptions?Building your family through adoption is exciting, but it can be expensive. We know that you know that not everyone who adopts is required to be well off, and that it’s more important that a child experience a loving family than take weekly winter ski trips or attends a private school. Still, even if you can manage the financial end of raising a child, the cost of the adoption process can put a dent in funds you know would be better spent on your new family.

But don’t worry! There is financial assistance out there that can help reduce the costs of adoption, so that your new family can grow as soon as possible. We wanted to discuss some of those options with you, so that you can take a deep breath and relax a bit, and fully enjoy the experience.

Assistance for private adoptions

Gift of Adoption is just one organization that provides grants to those wishing to adopt a child without restriction based on race, religion, age, marital status, or sexual orientation. Benefits of this organization are that it:

  • Provides the prospective adoptive parent(s) up to $10,000 if they qualify.
  • Takes applications on a rolling basis with no deadline and issuing awards monthly.
  • Requires a valid home study from a Hague accredited agency or licensed social worker as part of the application process.
  • Is open to those looking into both domestic and foreign adoptions.

The goal of this non-profit is to prevent high risk children from entering Foster care, to promote stability by keeping siblings together, and giving children loving homes before they age out of the orphanage system.

Minimizing the cost of state agency adoptions

When you consider adopting a special needs child through the Foster care system, you may have opportunities available to receive aid to help with the costs of raising your child. Through programs established for the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) there are two types of Adoption Assistance that individuals or couples may be able to benefit from:

Active Adoption Assistance

This program provides monthly payments for children who meet the definition of special needs, which will cut off once your child reaches the age of 18 or 21. In addition to the monthly financial aid, you may be eligible to receive help with the adoption expenses themselves.

Whether your child is eligible for IV-E Adoption Assistance (Federal Adoption Assistance) or state-funded Adoption Assistance, they will receive Medical Assistance/Medicaid through Tenncare once it has been determined that he or she has a qualifying medical or rehabilitative need that would have made adoption otherwise financially prohibitive for most parents.

Deferred Adoption Assistance

Under this program, adoptive parents of children deemed high risk for forming significant medical, psychological, emotional, and/or behavioral issues as a direct result of their traumatic background are eligible for Federal Adoption Assistance and Tenncare to provide care for their child just as with Active Adoption Assistance.

State-funded Adoption Assistance is available to children who have been diagnosed with a medical or rehabilitative care need that made adoption assistance necessary to move forward with the adoption.

How much adoption assistance will I receive?

Knowing there is help available to make raising an adoptive child affordable is great but without having an idea of just how much of the financial strain will be relieved can still be scary. Prospective parents need to be able to determine a budget to know whether it’s still possible before getting attached to a child, and vice versa.

DCS has the power to take the child’s needs and your own financial circumstances into consideration and negotiate the Adoption Assistance payment amount with you. The following help may be provided:

  • Daily rate amount. You will typically receive $25.21 per day for a child age 0-11 or $28.91 for a child age 12 and up. That’s approximately $9,201 to $10,552 per year to help with expenses like food, clothing, and incidentals for your child.
  • Adoption fees. Payment of your adoption expenses as they relate to the child who meets special needs criteria will be provided.
  • Health coverage. Depending upon the child’s assessed needs, you will receive one or more forms of medical coverage through Title XIX Medical Assistance, TennCare, and

Post-adoption financial assistance may be available

Additionally, families who have already adopted a child from the Foster care system who feel they need ongoing assistance to meet the special needs of their child can apply for help after the fact provided that they and their child meet the qualifications.

This requires going through an appeal process that can be nerve-wracking if you don’t understand the requirements. Hiring a Maryville family law attorney who is well versed in adoption issues is your best chance for obtaining a successful outcome for you and your child.

Some of the reasons you may choose to seek an appeal include:

  • The agency withheld relevant information about the child’s health until after the adoption was finalized.
  • You disagree with the determination made by the State that your child doesn’t meet the special needs criteria to obtain adoption assistance.
  • You were never informed that adoption assistance was available to you and your child.
  • The agency made a unilateral decision to decrease the amount of adoption assistance you receive.
  • You were denied an increase in aid despite showing a change in circumstances.

If you live East Tennessee and are considering growing your family through the help of Foster care or another agency, the caring Maryville adoption attorneys at Shepherd & Long, P.C. are here to guide you through the process to make the transition as seamless as possible.  To schedule your free consultation today we invite you to call a dedicated member of our legal team at 865-982-8060, or reach out to us through our contact form.