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Ohio 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:

  • Six years of age or older
  • Member of a minority or ethnic group
  • Member of a sibling group of two or more children who should be placed together
  • Medical condition, physical impairment, mental retardation or developmental disability
  • Emotional disturbance or behavioral problem
  • Social or medical history or biological family background which includes a social or medical history that may place the child at risk of acquiring a medical condition, a physical, mental or developmental disability or an emotional disorder
  • In the permanent custody of a public children services agency or private child -placing agency for more than one year
  • Previous adoption disruption or multiple placements
  • In the home of his/her prospective adoptive parents as a foster child for at least one year and would experience severe separation and loss if placed in another setting due to his/her significant emotional ties with these foster parents as determined and documented by a qualified mental health professional

Note: Children must be legally free for adoption and in the custody the state of Ohio/public children services agency or private child-placing agency 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 a public children services agency or private child-placing agency. The child must also be under the age of eighteen, or between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one with a mental or physical disability as diagnosed by a qualified professional, placed in an adoptive home approved by a public children services agency, private child placing agency or private non-custodial agency. Additionally, the adoptive family must undergo a resource analysis often referred to as a means test. The analysis is conducted to determine if the adoptive family’s resources exceed state eligibility requirements. The adoptive family must have the capability of providing the permanent family relationships needed by the child in all areas except financial need, in need of services beyond the economic resources of the adoptive family and that it would not be in the best interest of the child to place the child with the prospective adoptive parent(s) without providing 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.)

$2,000 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.)

Ohio offers deferred adoption assistance.

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

Adoption assistance payments and benefits may begin in Ohio at adoption placement.

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?

Adoptive parents can request a change in the adoption assistance agreement at any time by contacting the DJFS office that administers the adoption assistance agreement. Changes are made by amendments to the agreement or modification of existing amendments in the adoption assistance agreement. An adoptive parent that does not receive a requested change may request a fair hearing pursuant to division level designation of the Administrative Code. 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?

Ohio offers a program known as Post Adoption Special Services Subsidy (PASSS). PASSS may be applied for after adoption finalization and provides funding to families for the reasonable costs of allowable services to address a child’s physical, developmental, mental, or emotional handicap or condition. A child’s condition may have existed before the adoption petition was filed or can have developed after the adoption petition was filed. The condition can be attributed to factors in a child’s pre-adoption background, medical history, or the biological family’s background or medical history. Limitations include eligibility criteria and the availability of state funding. Funding is only available when the assistance sought exceeds the adoptive family’s private resources and assistance is capped at $10, 00 per fiscal year. Applications for assistance are reviewed by a Review Committee and can be approved in whole or in part, based on the needs of the child and the circumstances of the adoptive family. If assistance is not granted, or is not granted in the amount requested, adoptive parents can request a fair hearing. See Question #10 for more information on the fair hearing process in Ohio.

Ohio’s post placement services link: http://jfs.ohio.gov/oapl/bk08.htm, post legalization/post finalization services link: http://jfs.ohio.gov/oapl/bk10.htm, and adoption support groups’ link: http://jfs.ohio.gov/oapl/groups.htm.

Many private organizations offer a variety of respite options. See the ARCH National Respite Network Respite Locator Service, search by state to locate Ohio’s respite programs, link: http://www.respitelocator.org/.

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 Ohio are administered by the Department Jobs and Family Services through their Medicaid program and other sources. Mental health services include the following examples: hospitalization, physician services, prescription drugs, and mental health services. Specific mental health services include:

  1. Medical and surgical services, including respite care if required
  2. Psychiatric, psychological, and counseling services, including respite if required
  3. Maintenance costs as part of a residential treatment program

PASSS may also be used as another source of funding for children’s mental health services in Ohio. PASSS provides funding to families for the reasonable costs of allowable services to address the child's physical or developmental handicap or mental or emotional condition. The child’s condition may have existed before the adoption petition was filed; or developed after the adoption petition was filed and can be attributed to factors in the child's pre-adoption background or medical history or the biological family's background or medical history.

Ohio’s Medicaid program, Healthy Families link: http://jfs.ohio.gov/ohp/bcps/hshf/hf_fact.stm and the National Institute of Mental Health children’s mental health link: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/healthinformation/childmenu.cfm. Ohio Medicaid Programs factsheet link: http://jfs.ohio.gov/ohp/bcps/FactSheets/MedicaidPrograms.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, 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?

Ohio offers a program known as Post Adoption Special Services Subsidy (PASSS). PASSS is negotiated after adoption finalization and provides funding to families for the reasonable costs of allowable services to address the child's physical or developmental handicap or mental or emotional condition. The child’s condition may have existed before the adoption petition was filed; or developed after the adoption petition was filed and can be attributed to factors in the child's pre-adoption background or medical history or the biological family's background or medical history. Limitations include eligibility criteria and state funding ability. Funding is only available when the assistance sought exceeds the adoptive family’s private resources and assistance is capped at $10, 000 per fiscal year. Applications for assistance are reviewed by a Review Committee and can be approved in whole or in part, based on the needs of the child and the circumstances of the adoptive family.

Ohio also offers a program known as Special Services Subsidy. Funding is available for services related to a child’s special needs. Funding is only available when no other resource or benefit, either private or public, exists to meet the needs of the child. Services include the following examples: psychological/psychiatric therapy (individual or family counseling), speech therapy, remedial education, customized physical equipment/devices, medical supplies, rehabilitative services, and surgical costs. If assistance is not granted, or not granted in the amount requested, adoptive parents may request a fair hearing. See Question #10 for information regarding fair hearings.

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.)

If an adoptive family receives a notice denying, reducing or terminating assistance or services, the notice will contain a form to request a fair hearing. Parents are directed to fill out the request form and mail it to State Hearings at the address listed below. Families may also fax hearing requests to State Hearings at 614.728.9574. Requests for fair hearing must be received within fifteen days of the mailing date on the notice. If an adoptive parent receives a notice that assistance or services will be reduced, restricted, or terminated, the action will not be taken until the hearing is decided if the hearing request is received within the fifteen days. To request a fair hearing, a family may call or write the local agency or write to the following address:

Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, State Hearings
30 East Broad Street, 31st Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215-3414

Further Information:

When will the hearing be held?

After the bureau of state hearings receives a request for a fair hearing, the adoptive family is sent 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 tell parents what to do if they cannot come to the hearing as scheduled.

Where are hearings held?

Hearings are usually held at the local agency. If parents are unable to go there, the hearing may be held some other place convenient to the family and to the other people involved. If parents want the hearing held somewhere other than the local agency, they are directed to inform the agency of this on the hearing request.

Postponement of the hearing

If a parent cannot come to the hearing as scheduled, or if they need more time to prepare, they can ask the hearings section for a postponement. In the adoption assistance program, parents must present a good reason in order to postpone a hearing.

If a parent does not attend the hearing

The Bureau of State Hearings will issue adoptive parents a dismissal notice if they do not come to the hearing. If a parent wishes to continue with a hearing request, they must contact the hearings section within ten days and explain why they did not come to the hearing. The hearings section will decide whether the adoptive parent had a good reason (show good cause) that prevented them from attending the hearing. If a parent does not call within ten days and show good cause, the hearing will be dismissed and the adoptive parent will lose the hearing. The local agency will then go forward with the action it was planning to take. If an adoptive parent disagrees with the dismissal, the dismissal notice will inform the parent how to ask for an administrative appeal of the dismissal.

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

Ohio’s general adoption link: http://jfs.ohio.gov/oapl/index.htm

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

Ohio’s adoption assistance link: http://jfs.ohio.gov/oapl/bk11.htm (See title, Financial Issues)

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

Ohio’s state-specific medical assistance links: http://jfs.ohio.gov/ohp/ and Consumer Information: http://jfs.ohio.gov/ohp/consumer.stm

Credits: Child Welfare Information Gateway (http://www.childwelfare.gov)

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