Kentucky State Adoption Subsidy Profile

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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:

  • Two years of age or older and African American
  • Seven years of age or older with a significant emotional attachment or psychological tie to her foster family and the Department has determined that it would be in the child’s best interest to remain with the family
  • A member of a sibling group of two or more children placed at the same time in the same family
  • A physical or mental disability
  • An emotional or behavioral disorder
  • A documented risk of physical, mental or emotional disorder
  • A previous adoption disruption or multiple placements

Note: Children must be legally free for adoption and in the custody of the state of Kentucky to be eligible for adoption 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, legally free for adoption, and in the custody of the state. DCBS staff must also determine that a reasonable, but unsuccessful effort was made to place the child without providing adoption assistance.

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.)

Kentucky does not offer deferred adoption assistance.

5. When may adoption assistance payments and benefits begin in your State?

Adoption assistance payments and benefits may begin in Kentucky at adoption placement or adoption finalization. When begun at placement, known as pre-adoptive placement, the payments are called pre-adoptive payments. When begun at finalization, they are called post-adoptive payments and are approved prior to finalization and begin at the time of finalization.

6. How are changes made to the adoption assistance agreement in your State?

  1. When can a parent request a change in the adoption assistance agreement?
  2. How does a parent request a change in the adoption assistance agreement?
  3. What if a parent does not receive the change they request in the adoption assistance agreement?

A request or renegotiation can be made at any time when there is a change in the child's special needs or the circumstances of the family. In rare instances, where a significant change in the family’s situation may negatively affect the stability of the placement, renegotiation may be warranted. Requests are made to the family’s Social Services Worker (SSW) and forwarded through supervisory and administrative channels for approval by the Service Region Administrator or designee. Requests can be verbal or written. Parents are directed to phone, e-mail, or send requests to their local Social Service Worker (SSW). A new adoption assistance agreement form (DSS-1258) must be completed to incorporate the requested change, if approved. The SSW will obtain documentation from the parents concerning the change in the child’s special needs or conditions or the circumstances of the family. Parents can request a change in the adoption assistance agreement before or after adoption finalization when they can show a significant change in the family’s situation that may negatively affect the stability of the adoptive placement. Increases and decreases in the adoption assistance payment and benefits are possible and requested changes take effect no earlier than the date of the request. When a family requests an increase the Social Services Worker will:

  • Evaluate the situation
  • Obtain documentation concerning special needs or conditions
  • Negotiate the adoption assistance agreement with the family
  • Prepare an Adoption Assistance Renegotiation Form
  • Forward the Form through supervisory and administrative channels for approval by the Service Region Administrator or designee
  • After approval of the Form, obtain the adoptive family’s signature and distribute to the adoptive family, Children’s Benefit’s Worker, and Regional Billing Clerk

If adoptive parents disagree with the agency’s answer to the requested change, they can file a service appeal request form (DPP-154), which initiates a fair hearing. 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 Kentucky are administered by the Cabinet for Families and Children, Department for Community Based Services (DCBS), and largely contracted through outside agencies. Post-adoption services include the following examples:

  1. Information, resource/referral
  2. Education/training programs
  3. Education material
  4. Support groups
  5. Support groups (Adoption Support Network)
  6. Mentoring (Resource Parent Mentor Program)
  7. Therapeutic intervention
  8. Respite

Kentucky has several organizations dedicated to adoption. Contact your adoption assistance worker or local DCBS office about the Foster/Adoptive Support and Training (FAST) Center, Adoption Support for Kentucky, and the Kentucky Foster/Adoptive Care Association. Contact the Kentucky CFHS offices, link:

The Special Needs Adoption Program (SNAP) Supporting Services link: Or phone SNAP at 800.432.9346. Many private organizations offer a variety of respite options. See the ARCH National Respite Network Respite Locator Service, search by state to locate Kentucky’s respite programs, link:

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 in Kentucky are administered by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), Department for Medicaid Services and include the following examples: inpatient psychiatric hospitals, pshchiatric residential treatment facilities, targeted case management for children, community mental health center care, and prescription drugs. Community Mental Health Centers provide publicly-funded community mental health, mental retardation, and substance abuse services through fourteen Regional MH/MR Boards. IMPACT Plus is a multi-disciplinary mental health program for children. The program is a collaborative effort of the Departments for Medicaid Services, Community Based Services and Mental Health and Mental Retardation Services designed to help provide community-based services for Medicaid (and KCHIP) eligible children with complex treatment needs. The goal of IMPACT Plus is for parents or caregivers to be able to understand both their child's needs and the systems involved, so that they will have the knowledge in the future to weave in and out of service systems as their child's needs indicate.

CHS mental health services link: and and Medicaid services link: Or phone 502.564.2147

Note: Not all services may be available in all cases. Contact your adoption assistance worker or medical assistance specialist for information regarding process, eligibility, availability, 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?

Kentucky offers therapeutic services in addition to the Medicaid services offered under their state plan. Funding is available for Extraordinary Medical Expenses. Reimbursements for medical expenses not covered under medical assistance or the family’s private insurance are available for services related to the special need for which adoption assistance was granted. An income assessment is sometimes done to determine whether the family has a co-payment responsibility. Services covered under this program include the following examples: physical, speech and behavioral therapies, tutoring, customized equipment, and daycare. Funding is available for reimbursements up to $10,000 for intensive in-home services to prevent institutionalized care or out-of-home placement.

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 any time the Cabinet for Families and Children (CFC), Department of Community Based Services (DCBS) makes a decision affecting their child’s adoption assistance benefits. Requests for fair hearing must be made in writing within thirty days from the date of the disputed agency decision or action. If a client files a timely appeal of a substantiation of abuse or neglect (CAPTA Appeal), and the appeal meets acceptance criteria, the matter is referred for an administrative hearing. If substantiation is overturned by agreement or by judgement, the SSW or other Cabinet staff notifies the alleged victims' parents that the substantiation has been overturned. A client’s complaint regarding actions of DPP may also be submitted for an administrative hearing. Such complaints are known as service appeals. A hearing officer conducts the hearing and any pre-hearing conferences (an opportunity for mediation and possible settlement). The following is are example reasons for request for fair hearing:

  • Failure by the Cabinet to approve a prospective adoptive parent who meets the requirements of 922 KAR 1:100, Agency Adoptions, and 922 KAR 1:350, Family Preparation, for the placement of an adoptive child.
  • Failure by the Cabinet to place an adoptive child in an approved adoptive parent’s home with reasonable promptness.
  • Except as otherwise provided by law, failure by the Cabinet to provide an adoptive parent with known relevant facts regarding the child, child’s background prior to finalization of the adoption, or biological family.
  • Failure by the Cabinet to advise an adoptive parent of the availability of adoption assistance as described by 42 U.S.C. 673 and 922 KAR 1:050, Approval of Adoption Assistance.
  • Determination by the Cabinet that an adoptive parent is ineligible for adoption assistance upon execution of an adoptive placement agreement as described by 922 KAR 1:050, Approval of Adoption Assistance.
  • Denial of a request for a change in payment level due to a change in an adoptive parent’s circumstances at the time of renewal of an adoption assistance agreement as described by 922 KAR 1:050, Approval of Adoption Assistance.

For V/TDD services, please call the Office of the Ombudsman at 800.372.2973. Send requests for fair hearing to the following address:

The Office of Performance Enhancement,
Quality Initiatives Branch
275 East Main Street, 3E-K
Frankfort, Kentucky 40621

11. What is your State Web address for general adoption information?

Kentucky’s general adoption links:, including Frequently Asked Questions on adoption.

12. What is your State Web address for adoption assistance information?

Kentucky’s adoption assistance links:

Special Needs Adoption Program, SNAP, link: and the state legal code, Section 199.555, “Payment of subsidy to adoptive parents- Conditions” link:

13. What is your State Web address for State-specific medical assistance information for children?

Kentucky’s state-specific medical assistance link: and Medicaid information, link:

Credits: Child Welfare Information Gateway (

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