Adoption subsidies are available for children with special needs. Federal subsidies were created by Congress (through Public Law 96-272—the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980) to encourage the adoption of special needs children and provide financial incentives to adoption for the families. Children may receive a federally funded subsidy under Title IV-E or a state-funded subsidy as per state guidelines. Below we have outlined information related to definitions of special needs, benefits available, and procedures in your state. Answers to select questions were made available by the Association of Administrators of the Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance (AAICAMA) through the Child Welfare Information Gateway (http://www.childwelfare.gov/). Profiles for each state’s subsidy program are available on our web site at www.nacac.org. If you have additional questions, please call the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) at 651-644-3036 or our subsidy help line at 800-470-6665, or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have state-specific questions, please call your State Subsidy Contact Person or the NACAC Subsidy Representative (listed at right) for more information.
New Jersey State Subsidy Contact Information
Assistant Director / State Adoption Program Manager
Subsidy Program Manager
Department of Children and Families Division of Child Protection and Permanency
50 East State Street, CN 7171
Trenton, NJ 08625
New Jersey’s state-specific medical assistance links:
New Jersey’s adoption subsidy links:
http://www.state.nj.us/njfosteradopt/adoption/path/ (See Adoption Subsidy)
North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) Subsidy Representative (parent/volunteer)
1397 Macopin Rd.
West Milford, NJ 07480-1600
FAQs and More
1: What specific factors or conditions does your State consider to determine that a child cannot be placed with adoptive parents without providing financial assistance? ("What is your State definition of special needs?")
- Ten years of age or older
- Two years of age or older and a member of an ethnic group for whom adoptive homes are not readily available
- Five years of age or older and living with foster parents for at least twelve months and adoption by the foster parents is the most appropriate plan for the child. Note: A child less than five years of age may qualify for adoption assistance under this subsection if s/he is a member of an ethnic group for whom adoptive homes are not readily available
- Member of a sibling group (including half-siblings) of three or more children and it is considered necessary that the group be placed together (may be placed at the same or at different times
- Member of one of two siblings (including half siblings) one of whom is hard to place, and it is considered most appropriate that the children be placed together, although it is not necessary that the children be placed at the same time
- Diagnosed emotional or behavioral problem, psychiatric disorder, serious intellectual incapacity or brain damage which seriously affects the child’s ability to relate to his peers or authority figures, including but not limited to a developmental disability
- Any physical handicap, by reason of physical defect or deformity, whether congenital (present at birth) or acquired by accident, injury or disease, which makes or may be expected to make a child totally or partially incapacitated for education or to secure and hold paid employment
- Any medical or dental condition which will require repeated or frequent hospitalization, or treatment
- Any substantial disfigurement, such as the loss or deformation of facial features, torso or extremities
- Any other condition that may be approved by the Director or their designee of the Department of Child Protection and Permanency
2: What are the eligibility criteria for the State-funded adoption assistance program?
In order to be eligible for state-funded adoption assistance a child must be a special needs child as defined above.
3: The maximum basic monthly adoption assistance maintenance payment in New Jersey is: (as of 1/1/15)
|Monthly Adoption Assistance – Effective 1/1/2015|
|AGE in years||Level "A"|
|0 – 5||763.00|
|6 – 9||845.00|
|10 – 12||872.00|
|Daily Clothing – Effective 1/1/2015|
|0 – 5||2.25||2.43|
|6 – 9||2.25||2.43|
|10 – 12||2.25||2.43|
4: Specialized rates are based on the extraordinary needs of the child, and/or the additional parenting skill needed to raise the child. If New Jersey offers these rates, the criteria used to define them are as follows:
Acuity Level is an evaluation of the provision of health care services provided to a child. DCP&P medical staff will evaluate a child’s medical needs/health care services in order to determine if they qualify for the additional acuity rate.
|Increased Level of Care – Effective 1/1/2015|
|AGE||Level "B"||Level "C"||Level "D"|
|0 – 5||813.00||863.00||913.00|
|6 – 9||895.00||945.00||995.00|
|10 – 12||922.00||972.00||1,022.0|
|ACUITY 5 Rat – Effective 1/1/2015|
|AGE||Level "A"||Level "B"||Level "C"||Level "D"|
|0 – 5||1013.00||1,063.00||1,113.00||1,163.00|
|6 – 9||1,095.00||1,145.00||1,195.00||1,245.00|
|10 – 12||1,122.00||1,172.00||1,222.00||1,272.00|
5: Parents can receive payment or reimbursement for certain nonrecurring adoption expenses directly related to the finalization of an adoption. Below are the allowed expenses and the limit per child.
Families adopting subsidy-eligible special needs children can receive reimbursement for nonrecurring costs associated with finalizing an adoption. Such costs include: court fees, home study and supervision costs, medical examinations, travel, and lodging and food necessary for pre-placement visits.
Applications for reimbursement are given to a family at the time of placement (although the application is not submitted until after finalization). All eligible expenses are directly reimbursed to the adoptive parents (i.e., no direct payments are made to vendors). International adoptees are not eligible.
The reimbursement limit is $2,000 per child.
6: What Medicaid services are available in New Jersey?
- All physician services including inpatient physician services
- Inpatient hospital services
- Outpatient hospital service
- Clinic services at free-standing clinics
- Podiatrist services
- Vision care services (optometrist, ophthalmologist and optician services)
- Optical appliances
- Laboratory and radiology (diagnostic and therapeutic) services
- Prescribed drugs—medically necessary legend and non-legend drugs
- Emergency medical services—24 hours a day/seven days a week
- Chiropractor services
- Home health services
- Psychologist services
- Hearing aids
- Durable medical equipment
- Medical supplies
- Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) services
- Preventive health care and health education services
- Rehabilitation services (physical therapy, occupational therapy, audiologic services, speech/language therapy)
- Mental health services—one visit per six months
- Substance abuse services
- Second surgical opinion consultations
- Certified nurse midwife services
- Physician fee for routine, in-hospital newborn care
- Pediatrician attendance at-risk vaginal deliveries or cesarean sections
- Practitioner fee for normal prenatal, delivery, and postpartum services
- Mental health services which exceed the one visit per six months
- Nursing facility care
- Medical day care
- Prosthetics and orthotics
- Dental services
- Services unique to special waiver programs
- Services unique to demonstration projects
The New Jersey Medicaid hotline is 800-356-1561 or visit http://www.njfamilycare.org/
7: Medical costs of all children will be covered through the New Jersey Medicaid program, regardless of whether they are determined to meet the criteria for Title IV-E. However, if the family moves to another state, and the child is not IV-E eligible, it is the decision of the other state to determine if a child is eligible for Medicaid.
8: What mental health services are provided by your State?
All Post Adoption Counseling Service clinicians specialize in the clinical concerns of adoption including, but not limited to: identity issues; loss and separation; curiosity about origins; and feelings of difference. There is no fee for the any of the PACS services provided to families.
The Division of Children’s System of Care serves children and adolescents with behavioral health care challenges and their families, and children with developmental disabilities.
The Children’s System of Care offers a wide range of services for children up to the age of 21. These services include community-based services, in-home services, out-of-home residential services and family support services.
For questions about or to access behavioral health or developmental disabilities for children and youth, call the 24-hour, toll-free access line at 1-877-652-7624.
9: Does your State provide additional finances or services for medical or therapeutic needs not covered under your State medical plan to children receiving adoption assistance?
New Jersey also offers Clothing Allowances—Children continue to receive a clothing allowance as they did in foster care. Children 0 to 12: regular $2.25 per day; oversize $2.43per day. Youth 13 years and over: regular $2.84 per day; oversize $3.11 per day.
10: What types of post adoption services are available in your State and how do you find out more about them?
Post adoption services in New Jersey are administered by the Office of Adoption Operations through contracted, non-profit agencies. Services provided by the contracted agencies are::
- Pre and Post-Adoption counseling
- In-Home services
- Post-Adoption respite if receiving post adoption counseling
- Support and resources referrals
Additional respite programs may be found at the ARCH National Respite Network Respite Locator website: http:www.respitelocator.org/
New Jersey also funds an Adoption Resource Clearing House, The New Jersey ARCH which provides referral/warm line/advocacy and support programs and everything else that you might know about adoption both in New Jersey and generally. The ARCH is run by a non-profit agency for families to directly access information and services through the Internet or by phone. Clearinghouse: http://www.njarch.org/, or phone: 877-427-2465.
The DCP&P Adoption Registry provides registration, non-identifying background information, limited search services and information and referral services. The Registry can facilitate contact between birth family members and adoptees. Additional information can be found at: http://www.state.nj.us/njadopt (See Registry)
Note: Not all services may be available in all cases. Contact your adoption subsidy worker or post adoption services contact for information regarding process, eligibility, availability, and duration of services.
11: If the additional assistance (listed above in questions #8 -10) is to cover specific services (e.g., counseling/mental health services, respite care, etc.), must these services be explicitly identified in the adoption assistance agreement?
12: How are residential treatment costs covered (if at all) for adoptive families? What procedures must a family follow to receive these services?
Residential treatment costs are not covered through subsidy. Families must receive these services through the Children’s System of Care, just as birth family would do. If a child enters a treatment based out of home placement, the subsidy may continue if the family continues to provide financial support and maintains a parental relationship with the child. However, if the family is no longer involved with the child and not providing financial support, then the subsidy may be terminated.
13: A deferred adoption assistance agreement is one in which the initial monthly maintenance amount is $0. Does New Jersey offer such agreements?
No, New Jersey does not offer deferred adoption assistance. A family may return after adoption finalization and request consideration for adoption assistance if the child develops a condition that may make him/her eligible. See Question # 23 for further information.
14: Does New Jersey operate a subsidized guardianship program?
The Kinship Legal Guardianship Subsidy Program provides financial assistance to kin caregivers, which includes a monthly board rate equal to the foster care rate, clothing and New Jersey Medicaid. The caregiver’s income is not a factor in determining subsidy. In order to receive federal reimbursement, the home must be licensed for at least 6 months, the child must live with the caregiver for 6 months and a subsidy Agreement between the Division and the caregiver must be signed prior to the court order granting KLG. The subsidy can continue until the child reaches age 18 or graduates from High School, whichever comes later. By Federal and State regulations, subsidy can not continue beyond the age of 21 years, even if the youth is still completing high school.
15: Who makes the final determination of a child's subsidy eligibility in New Jersey? What roles, if any, do workers and administrators at the county, district, or regional level play in eligibility determination and/or assistance negotiation?
The Assistant Division Director or her designee makes the determination of a whether a child meets the eligibility criteria for subsidy. Special conditions may be approved by the Director upon consideration of individual circumstances.
16: Will New Jersey consider my family income to determine my child's eligibility for an adoption subsidy?
The income of the adoptive parent(s) shall not be considered in determining whether or not assistance will be granted, nor is it a factor in determining the amount of the subsidy.
17: When do subsidy payments begin?
Adoption assistance payments and benefits may begin at adoption placement. In private agency cases, if approved for subsidy, assistance begins the date DCP&P receives the application for adoption assistance from the private agency, or the date of placement, whichever is later.
18: Do children adopted from private agencies in New Jersey receive the same subsidies as those children adopted from public agencies?
Yes. The private agency worker must process the application for subsidy through the Division.
19: When my child turns 18, which benefits, if any, are available to our family?
Subsidy will continue until a child’s 18th birthday. However, subsidy continuations may be granted for those children between the ages of 18 and 21 who are enrolled in a secondary school (high school) curriculum. This does not include enrollment in college.
20: A child's adoption assistance agreement may be periodically reviewed by the state. What is the typical process used in New Jersey?
By receipt of the letter, the adoptive parent(s) affirms that:
- His or her adopted child continues to be eligible to receive adoption subsidy by meeting all requirements including:
- His or her adopted child is under age 18;
- He or she continues to have legal responsibility for financially supporting the adopted child;
- He or she is providing financial support for the adopted child; and
- The adopted child continues to attend school.
- He or she agrees to immediately contact the Office of Adoption Operations should any of the above circumstances change.
21: Can adoption assistance agreements be modified if requested by adoptive parents?
Adoptive parents can request a change in the adoption assistance agreement if the child develops a condition that requires a higher level of care. However, this condition must be traceable to his or her genetic heritage or pre-adoptive experiences. To request a change, the parents must submit a written request and professional supporting documentation that provides current evaluations and diagnosing reports. Together, the adoptive parent and the subsidy specialist will complete the rate assessment in order to determine the rate based on current level of care. The Assistant Director of the Office of Adoption Operations makes the final decision regarding approval for a rate increase.
22: What are the exact steps a family must go through to access the fair hearing/appeal process in New Jersey?
Department of Children and Families
Office of Legal Affairs
50 East State Street – 5th Floor
P.O. Box 717
Trenton, New Jersey 08625
ATTN: Administrative Hearings Unit
23: Families may request a subsidy after the finalization of an adoption under certain circumstances. Below is the process by which families access a subsidy after finalization.
Families may request a subsidy after the finalization of an adoption under certain circumstances. Below is the process by which families access a subsidy after finalization.
System Operation and Program Funding
24: How is the subsidy program operated and funded in New Jersey?
If a child meets the Title IV-E criteria, the federal government reimburses the state for 50% of the subsidy costs. If the child is not determined to be Title IV-E eligible, the subsidy is fully funded by the state. The federal contribution to Title IV-E-eligible children is 50.00% in New Jersey.