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Elgin Profile on Adoption Assistance

Updated February 2008

Agency Contact Person

Marilyn Provenzano
410 Sunset Drive
St. Thomas, ON N5R 3C7
Phone: 519-631-1492

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

Ontario’s Adoption Resources on the Web:

Ontario’s Ministry of Children and Youth Services

Federal and Ontario Provincial Nonrefundable Tax Credits

Elgin Family & Children’s Services web information:

1. Elgin Family & Children’s Services's definition of special needs is as follows:

Provincial Policy (AD-0303-03) states that subsidies may be considered for two reasons:

  1. The child has been in a foster home and the child has developed positive emotional ties over time, and though the foster parents can provide for the child’s well-being, they are in need of financial assistance to cover special services and maintenance; and 
  2. The child has not found prospective adopters through all resources available by reason of one or more of the following conditions: 
    • Physical and/or mental disability;
    • Recognized “high risk” of physical and/or mental handicap.  This is limited to disease or disability, and thus excludes social, environmental, or status factors;
    • Severe emotional disturbance requiring special treatment; and
    • Mental handicap.

2. If available, the standard adoption assistance rate at Elgin Family & Children’s Services is:

There is no standard rate.  Ontario has a provincial manual (1985) that refers to a maximum basic rate, which at present is $25.71.  However, the manual precedes a funding formula, which pays foster parents a basic per diem ($25.71) plus a rate assessed to the individual child.  Allowances for special needs vary considerably.

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 Elgin Family & Children’s Services offers special allowances over and above the standard rate, the criteria used to define the higher rates are as follows:

Rates are based on the special needs of the child, and determined through the use of a child in care rate tool.

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 Elgin Family & Children’s Services?

Post-adoption services are not offered or funded by the province.  Elgin Family and Children’s Services may provide counseling services through the agency, or through a subsidy.

5. What medical or dental services are available at Elgin Family & Children’s Services?

None are provided provincially, over and above what all Ontario residents receive.

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

Only those offered to all provincial citizens.

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

If the child was in agency care, eligibility would be determined on a case-by-case basis.

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


Programmatic Procedures

9. When do subsidy payments begin?

Payments can start when the child is placed and take the form of an ongoing monthly payment.  Or, payments can be episodic if the type of assistance requires it (i.e. play therapy, special physical appliances).

10. Will Elgin Family & Children’s Services consider my family income to determine my child's benefit package?

If a family is requesting assistance based on financial need, we request a Notice of Income Tax Assessment for the parent(s), as well as a financial statement of income and expenses.

11. Are prospective adoptive families routinely notified of all benefits available to them at Elgin Family & Children’s Services?

There are no standard benefits, but all families are made aware of the policies for subsidies.

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

Rates are determined by the local (county) agency.  Rates are established after assessing the family’s and child’s needs.

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

Eligibility determinations are made by the Executive Director of the local agency upon recommendation by the child’s worker and manager.

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 best interests of the child are paramount.  If the child has formed an attachment with a family that would accept him/her, the agency would not look further for a placement that does not require assistance.  If we were to actively recruit a special family, the need for assistance may influence the decision if all things were equal, however, the match between a child and a family takes precedence.

15. Once eligibility is established, how and by whom are assistance agreements negotiated at Elgin Family & Children’s Services?

Rates are established through consultation between the adoptive family’s worker, the child’s worker, the managers and Executive Director, after assessing the family’s and child’s needs.

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

There is no formal provincial procedure.  There is a requirement to review each subsidy on an annual basis, and this agency has a follow-up system.

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

Yes.  Changes can be made during the annual review at the time when an existing agreement is reviewed by the adoption worker and the adoptive parents.  All changes need the approval of the Executive Director.

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 Elgin Family & Children’s Services?

All subsidies are reviewed annually, according to the provincial manual.  At this time, subsidy amounts could change (in either direction).

19. What are the exact steps a family must go through to access the appeal process at Elgin Family & Children’s Services?

The agency has a policy that outlines the client complaint process.  The client complaint process is a mechanism wherein clients can address their concerns regarding the agency’s services.  If the client is not satisfied with the response to their concerns they are able to proceed to another step in the client complaint process, up to and including the agency’s board of directors.   The goal of the client complaint process is to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution to the identified service concern.

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.

Elgin Family and Children’s Services will consider such requests on an exceptional basis.

System Operation and Program Funding

21. How is the adoption assistance program operated and funded at Elgin Family & Children’s Services?

The program is locally supervised and administered, and the agency reports to the Provincial Ministry (regional office).  Funding for adoption assistance comes from the general agency budget.

22. Below are other programs that may differentiate Elgin Family & Children’s Services's adoption assistance program from others in Ontario and around the country.


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