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Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto Profile on Adoption Assistance

Updated July 2008

Agency Contact Person

Brenda McNeely
26 Maitland Street
Toronto, ON M4Y 1C6
Phone: 416-395-1645
Fax: 416-395-1616
E-mail: b.mcneely@torontoccas.org

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

Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto web information:

http://www.ccas.toronto.on.ca/


1. Catholic CAS of Toronto’s legal definition of special needs is as follows:

We consider adoption subsidies for children with special needs. We have a broad definition of a “special need.” It is not a legal definition. The Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto will consider adoption subsidies for:

  • Children with significant special needs, which require specialized services. The special needs may include, but are not limited to developmental delays, emotional or medical issues, and prenatal risk factors, such as exposure to drugs or alcohol or genetic disorders. Services may include, but are not limited to attachment therapy, counselling or occupational therapy.
  • Children whose adoptive parents do not have the financial resources to independently purchase the required services;
  • Children who would benefit from the continuity of care provided by an adoption placement with a sibling, relative and/or foster family and the viability of the adoption plan is dependent on financial assistance
  • Children who would benefit from an adoption placement with a specific family and the viability of the adoption plan is dependent on financial assistance

2. If available, the standard adoption assistance rate at the Catholic CAS of Toronto is:

There is no standard assistance rate. We assess each case individually and base our assistance on each child’s needs and the family’s financial circumstances. We are guided by the Ontario Permanency Funding Guidelines, 2007. We are in the process of reviewing our current subsidy practices (July 2008).

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

Episodic or ongoing assistance may be provided to assist with specific costs or with cost sharing that provides for services to address a child’s special needs. We assess each case individually and base our assistance on each child’s needs and the family’s financial circumstances.

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 Catholic CAS of Toronto?

The availability of post adoption services is limited. We provide consultation and referrals to community services for adoptive families who contact us for assistance after the adoption is finalized. Adoption subsidy funding may be used to assist adoptive parents in obtaining community services such as respite care and counselling. We do not fund residential services through adoption subsidies.

5. What medical or dental services are available at Catholic CAS of Toronto?

For medical services, families have access to the same free health services provided to all Ontario residents, including access to funding provided by various government and/or community services, such as the Ontario Assistive Devices Program and Ontario Easter Seals. The OAD covers a major portion of assistive devices such as wheel chairs, prostheses, incontinence supplies, etc.

An adoption subsidy may be provided to cover a portion of medical and/or dental services not funded by any government, community, or employer/employee plan.

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

Depending on the nature of the child’s special needs, residential or other care may be available through government-funded services. Adoption subsidy funds are not available after 18 years of age.

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

Yes, if they adopt the child through our agency.

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?

Written subsidy agreements generally commence at the time of adoption placement but may occur at any time prior to the child’s 18th birthday. Payment may occur at any time after the adoption placement, depending on the nature of the payment required. They may contact us for additional funding if there is a change in the child’s needs, the family’s finances or the community resources available to meet the child’s needs.

Each subsidy must be reviewed on an annual basis, in accordance with the Ontario Permanency Funding Guidelines, 2007. Families are required to contact us if their financial or family circumstances change significantly.

10. Will Catholic CAS of Toronto consider my family income to determine my child's benefit package?

Yes. We consider the family’s income, employee benefits and expenses as part of our application process. Families must provide financial statements that set out income and expenses in some detail.

11. Are prospective adoptive families routinely notified of all benefits available to them at Catholic CAS of Toronto?

Currently, we discuss adoption subsidies with adoptive families after a potential match has been made with a child and the child and/or family appear to meet the eligibility requirements (set out in Q 1) or when an inquiry is made. Our adoption subsidy practices are under review (July 2008).

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

The Ontario Permanency Funding Guidelines, 2007, provide general guidelines. Each Children’s Aid Society in Ontario determines the amount they will fund.

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

The eligibility for funding is determined in the context of a potential or actual adoption placement. Generally, the current or former adoption worker knows there is a potential need for an adoption subsidy and may initiate the discussion. If the adoption order has been granted, a request may come directly to the adoption supervisor responsible for reviewing adoption subsidies.

Each request for a subsidy is reviewed with the assigned adoption worker, supervisor and Manager of Foster Care & Adoption Services. The Executive Director makes the final determination about funding.

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?

The Society first attempts to recruit a family who does not need a subsidy. However, sometimes a subsidy for a sibling group of three or four children, for instance, can make the difference to a family being able to commit to all the children.

15. Once eligibility is established, how and by whom are assistance agreements negotiated at Catholic CAS of Toronto?

Each request for a subsidy is reviewed with the assigned adoption worker, the adoption supervisor and the Manager of Foster Care & Adoption Services. The Executive Director makes the final determination about funding. The Manager of Foster Care & Adoption Services, the Executive Director, and the adoptive parents sign the written agreement.

16. A child's adoption assistance agreement may be periodically reviewed by the agency. What is the typical process used by Catholic CAS of Toronto?

Each agreement is reviewed annually. The Society or the adoptive parents may request a review by making a written request.

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

Yes. The Society may agree to modify an agreement based on changed circumstances.

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 by Catholic CAS of Toronto?

Yes.

19. What are the exact steps a family must go through to access the appeal process at Catholic CAS of Toronto?

There is no formal appeal mechanism at present. Families can contact the adoption supervisor or Manager of Foster Care & Adoption Services to discuss concerns.

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.

Families may request assistance after the finalization process by contacting the their former adoption worker or the adoption supervisor responsible for reviewing subsidy requests. Each case will be considered individually.


System Operation and Program Funding

21. How is the adoption assistance program operated and funded at Catholic CAS of Toronto?

The Ministry gives us a specific amount of money for adoption subsidies.

22. Below are other programs that may differentiate Catholic CAS of Toronto's adoption assistance program from others around the province or 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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