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Anishinaabe Abinoojii Profile on Adoption Assistance

Updated January 2008

Agency Contact Person

Sherry Copenace
20 Main Street
Kenora, Ontario P9N 1S7
Phone: 807-468-6224
Fax: 807-468-6643
E-mail: Sherry.Copenace@aafs.ca


NACAC Representative (Parent/Volunteer)

Currently, there is no Ontario Representative. If you or someone you know would like to volunteer to help families learn more about adoption assistance, please call Jeanette Wiedemeier Bower at NACAC, 651-644-3036 or 800-470-6665.


Adoption assistance may be available for children with special needs. Often, assistance is provided to encourage the adoption of special needs children and remove the financial disincentives to adoption for the families. If you have 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 adoption.assistance@nacac.org.


Ontario’s Adoption Resources on the Web:

Ontario’s Ministry of Children and Youth Services

http://www.children.gov.on.ca/mcys/english/programs/
child/adoption/index.asp

Federal and Ontario Provincial Nonrefundable Tax Credits

http://www.cga-ontario.org/contentfiles/
publications_promotions/ptp/federal.aspx

The Adoption Council of Ontario

www.adoptontario.ca

Anishinaabe Abinoojii Family Services web information:

http://www.aafs.ca/homen.htm


1. Anishinaabe Abinoojii Family Services' definition of special needs is as follows:

Special needs includes children that are identified with developmental, emotional, medical or physical exceptionalities.  Assessments and reports regarding the child’s needs are documented on file.  This also includes the risk of developing such conditions.

2. If available, the standard adoption assistance rate at Anishinaabe Abinoojii Family Services is:

There is no set rate.  This is determined on a case-by-case basis.

3. Specialized rates, if available, are based on the extraordinary needs of the child, and/or the additional parenting skill needed to raise the child.  If Anishinaabe Abinoojii Family Services offers special allowances over and above the standard rate, the criteria used to define the higher rates are as follows:

Specialized rates are based on special needs of a child (child who is physically or mentally challenged), and if the needs of the child require specific skills of the adoptive parents to care for the child.  Rates are established on a case-by-case basis.

4. In addition to monthly payments, what sort of post-adoption services (respite, counseling, residential treatment, parent training, etc.) are provided?  When available, are these services formally specified in the adoption assistance agreement at Anishinaabe Abinoojii Family Services?

Adoptive parents are encouraged to seek counseling and assistance at any time following the finalization of an adoption.  It is recognized that the adjustment of a child within a family will be an ongoing and sometimes difficult process.  The Agency will make every effort to support the placement.

5. What medical or dental services are available at Anishinaabe Abinoojii Family Services?

Possible subsidies are available for counseling, referral services, and Orthodontics.  Indian & Northern Affairs (INAC) covers the average medical costs (glasses, dental), as well OHIP.  Documentation is needed immediately why the cost is not covered by INAC-OHIP.

6. When my child turns 18, which benefits, if any, are available to our family?

Adoptive Indian children may be entitled to Band per capita payments resulting from Land Claim settlements or mediation monies.  Funds are held in trust until the child turns 18, or they may be paid out prior to the child reaching 18 only if it can be shown that the interest of the child will suffer if any early release of any or all of the money is not provided.  These funds will not be released unless the child asks for them.

7. Do relatives adopting under the program receive the same benefits as non-relatives?

Yes.

8. Do children adopted from private agencies receive the same subsidies as those children adopted from public agencies?

No.


Programmatic Procedures

9. When do subsidy payments begin?

Subsidies commence on the date of placement on Adoption probation.

10. Will Anishinaabe Abinoojii Family Services consider my family income to determine my child's benefit package?

The family is required to complete a financial statement.

11. Are prospective adoptive families routinely notified of all benefits available to them at Anishinaabe Abinoojii Family Services?

Benefits and assistance are explained during the pre-adoptive service training.

12. Who sets the assistance rates and how are they established?

The Agency has a rate and placement committee that may look at the rates.  At this time, there is no established rate; rates are set on a case-by-case basis.

13. Who makes the final determination of a child's eligibility at Anishinaabe Abinoojii Family Services? What roles, if any, do workers and administrators at the agency or regional level play in eligibility determination and/or assistance negotiation?

The final approval is given by the Executive Director.  Once approval is received, it is the responsibility of the Agency Worker, in consultation with the Supervisor, to prepare all members of the “adoptive family” to receive the child into his/her home.

14. Once a child is determined eligible for assistance, is there any requirement to look for an adoptive family who will accept a placement without assistance?

No, AAFS considers the best interest of the child.  The financial situation of the adoptive family is not the deciding factor.

15. Once eligibility is established, how and by whom are assistance agreements negotiated at Anishinaabe Abinoojii Family Services?

The worker forwards a memo to the Director of Services outlining why a subsidy is necessary for the family.  The Director of Services will then seek the approval of the Executive Director.

16. A child's adoption assistance agreement may be periodically reviewed by the agency. What is the typical process used at Anishinaabe Abinoojii Family Services?

Ongoing subsidies must be reviewed on an annual basis.

17. Can adoption assistance agreements be modified if requested by adoptive parents?

Yes, if it is recommended by the Permanency Planning supervisor.

18. A deferred or nil agreement is one in which the initial monthly assistance payment is $0.  If a child's needs are listed as high risk and symptoms later manifest, the payment is renegotiated.  Are deferred agreements offered at Anishinaabe Abinoojii Family Services?

It is possible that deferred agreements are renegotiated.

19. What are the exact steps a family must go through to access the appeal process at Anishinaabe Abinoojii Family Services?

  1. Meeting with the worker and supervisor.
  2. File review and personal interview with Director of Services.
  3. A file review by the Executive Director.
  4. An appeal to the Board of Directors or Committee of the Board.
  5. Request to the Ministry of Youth and Services for a Director review.

20. Families may request assistance after the finalization of an adoption under certain circumstances. Below is the process by which families access adoption benefits after finalization.

The Financial Subsidy may be a one-time amount, may be limited, or may be ongoing, depending on the needs of the child.  Prior to placement, the Executive Director must approve the subsidy agreement.  If approved, a formal agreement is completed and placed on file.  Copies are forwarded to Finance, MCYS, and the Permanency Planning supervisor; the agency maintains a separate subsidy file, and a copy is given to the adoptive family.


System Operation and Program Funding

21. How is the adoption assistance program operated and funded at Anishinaabe Abinoojii Family Services?

AAFS receives general funds from the Ministry (clients needs, budget line).  There is no budget specifically allocated for adoption assistance.

22. Below are other programs that may delineate Anishinaabe Abinoojii Family Services's adoption assistance program from others in Ontario and around the country.

None.


North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC)
970 Raymond Avenue, Suite 106
St. Paul, MN 55114
phone: 651-644-3036
fax: 651-644-9848
e-mail: info@nacac.org
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