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:
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.
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.)
$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.)
Florida offers deferred adoption assistance. If at the time the child is placed for adoption, the adoptive parents choose not to receive adoption assistance for the child, they are encouraged to sign the initial assistance agreement with a payment amount of zero ($0) listed in the agreement. Establishing a deferred adoption assistance agreement preserves future active adoption assistance eligibility for the child in the event that the family needs assistance in meeting the needs of the child.
5. When may adoption assistance payments and benefits begin in your State?
Adoption assistance payments and benefits may begin in Florida at adoption placement.
6. How are changes made to the adoption assistance agreement in your State?
Adoptive parents may request modifications to adoption assistance agreements at any time, either verbally or in writing. The amount of the subsidy may be readjusted periodically up to the maximum allowable payment for the child, or reduced, with the concurrence of the adoptive parents, to fit the changing needs of the child and the circumstances of the adoptive parents. To start this process, families are directed to contact the adoption unit or private adoption agency through which they adopted the child. Families are directed to contact (1) the social worker or department through which they receive their adoption assistance check, (2) the unit through which they finalization the adoption or (3) the district administrator at their local Children and Family Services office.
Adoptive parents may appeal any decision of the department with which they disagree. They may seek redress through levels of the departmental administration up to and including the district administrator. If an issue is not resolved to a family’s satisfaction, they may request a fair hearing pursuant to Florida statute. See Question #10 for information regarding fair hearings.
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 Florida are administered by the Department of Children’s Services, Family Safety and Preservation Program Office. The DCF and contracted agencies provide various services, depending on location. Post-adoption services include the following examples: