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?")
A child with special needs is defined as a child that has at least one of the following needs or circumstances that may be a barrier to placement or adoption without financial assistance:
Eight years of age or older African American and two years of age or older Member of a sibling group of three or more children placed at the same time with the same family Documented mental or physical disability Documented emotional disturbance/problem Documented high risk of developing a mental or physical disability
Note: Children must be in the permanent custody state of the Alabama Department of Human Resources to be eligible for adoption assistance. (Title IV-E and state-funded) Children who are SSI-eligible must be in the permanent custody of the Department of Human Resources or a licensed child-placing agency.
2. What are the eligibility criteria for your 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 and in the permanent custody of the state of Alabama Department of Human Resources to be eligible for adoption assistance. (Title IV-E state-funded)
3. What is the maximum amount a family may receive in non-recurring adoption expenses from your State? (Adoptive parents can receive reimbursement of certain approved, "one-time" adoption expenses incurred in the process of finalizing a special needs adoption.) <!--[endif]--><!--[endif]-->
$1,000.00 per child
4. Does your State enter into deferred adoption assistance agreements? (In some States, adoptive parents can enter into an agreement in which they choose to defer the receipt of a Medicaid card, the monthly monetary payment, or both and can elect to receive the Medicaid card and/or monetary payment at another time.)
Alabama offers deferred adoption assistance. Evidence of disability is not necessary at the time of placement, but professional documentation of a high risk of developing a physical, emotional or psychological disability is necessary. The high-risk background is based on the documented emotional or psychological history of the child's biological family.
5. When may adoption assistance payments and benefits begin in your State?
Adoption assistance payments and benefits may begin in Alabama at adoption placement.
6. How are changes made to the adoption assistance agreement in your State?
Adoptive parents can make a request for a change in the adoption assistance agreement at any time when there is a change in the circumstances of the family or the needs of the child. Professional documentation supporting the requested change is required, when/if appropriate. Requests for change must be in writing to the Program Manager, Office of Adoption. If an adoptive parent disagrees with a decision regarding a request for change in the adoption assistance agreement, a fair hearing can be requested through written notice to the Program Manager, Office of Adoption. Send requests for change to the following address:
Program Manager, Office of Adoption
50 Ripley Street
Montgomery, Alabama 36130
7. What types of post adoption services are available in your State and how do you find out more about them?
Post adoption services in Alabama are administered by the Department of Human Resources through contract with outside agencies. Known as the Alabama Post Adoption Connections (APAC) program, services are provided through five offices located throughout the state. Post-adoption services include the following examples:
For more information, contact the Alabama Post Adoption Connection link: http://www.casapac.org or phone: 1.866.803.2722. See also the Alabama Foster and Adoptive Parent Association (APAC) link: http://www.afapa.org or phone 1.888.545.2372. Additional adoption resources link: http://www.dhr.state.al.us.
Note: Not all services may be available in all cases. Contact your adoption assistance worker or post adoption services contact for information regarding process, eligibility, availability, and duration of services.
8. What mental health services are provided by your State?
Public mental health services for children in Alabama are administered through the Alabama Medicaid Agency and include the following examples: mental health services, psychiatric hospital services, physician services, and prescription drugs. Medicaid pays for medically necessary services in a psychiatric hospital for children under twenty-one years of age with prior approval by Medicaid. The services received from a mental health center do not count against regular doctor's office visits or other Medicaid covered services. Alabama's Medicaid link: http://www.medicaid.state.al.us/ABOUT/programs.htm and District Offices link: http://www.medicaid.state.al.us/ABOUT/distoff.htm. A booklet, Beneficiary Guide to Medicaid, outlines Medicaid services and is available in a PDF format at: http://www.medicaid.state.al.us/ABOUT/Guide00.pdf.
Note: Not all services may be available in all cases. Contact your adoption assistance worker or medical assistance specialist for information regarding process, eligibility, abailability, and duration of services.
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?
Alabama offers financial assistance for children who are in medical need of orthodontia at the time of adoptive placement. Financial assistance is available for children receiving counseling services at the time of placement from a therapist who does not accept Medicaid to prevent the disruption of the intervention. All financial assistance is subject to the availability of state funds. Note: Not all services may be available in all cases. Contact your adoption assistance worker for information regarding process, eligibility, availability, and duration of services.
10. What is your State's process for applying for a fair hearing? (A fair hearing is a legal, administrative procedure that provides a forum to address disagreements with agency decisions.)
Adoptive parents have the right to request a fair hearing to review any DHR decision affecting the receipt of their child's adoption assistance benefits. After a request for fair hearing is received, it is forward to the state administraive hearings office. The hearings office will then send a notice giving the date, time, and place of the hearing. This notice will be sent at least ten days before the hearing. The notice also will explain what to do if parents cannot come to the hearing as scheduled. Parents may bring witnesses, friends, relatives, or a lawyer to help present their case. The hearing officer will record the hering so taht the facts are taken down correctl. The hearing officer will listen to both sides but will not make a decision at the hearing. Instead, parents will receive a written decision in the mail, issued by the hearing authority, a few weeks later. Parents should receive a hearing decision within ninety days of the hearing request. The written decision will explain to parents how to ask for an administrative appeal if they do not agree with the decision rendered. Send written requests for a fair hearing to the following address:
Carole Burton, Program Manager
Alabama Department of Human Resources, Office of Adoption
50 North Ripley Street
Montgomery, Alabama 36130-4000
11. What is your State Web address for general adoption information?
12. What is your State Web address for adoption assistance information?
Alabama does not have a specific link to adoption assistance information. See “Who Are Special Needs Children” at the bottom of the page, link: www.dhr.state.al.us/page.asp?pageid=306
13. What is your State Web address for State-specific medical assistance information for children?
Alabama’s state-specific medical assistance link: www.medicaid.state.al.us/ABOUT/index.htm
Credits: Child Welfare Information Gateway (http://www.childwelfare.gov)
Note: Our authors are dedicated to honest, engaged, informed, intelligent, and open conversation about adoption. The opinions expressed here may not reflect the views of Adoption.com.