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Hamilton Profile on Adoption Assistance

Updated January 2008

Agency Contact Person

Lorraine Marshall
Adoption Supervisor
143 Wentworth St. South
P.O. Box 1170 Depot 1
Hamilton, ON L8N 4B9
Phone: 905-522-1121 x 3234
Fax: 905-522-1089


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

Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton web information:

1. CAS of Hamilton's legal definition of special needs is as follows:

A subsidy may be considered if prospective adopters have not been found for a child by reason of one or more of the following conditions:

  • physical and/or mental disability
  • recognized “high risk” of physical and/or mental handicap resulting from a birth injury or physical disease
  • severe emotional disturbance requiring special treatment
  • child’s age
  • the child’s relationship with siblings is such that he/she should not be separated from them
  • racial or ethnic factors

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

None available since there is no funding from the Ministry.

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 CAS of Hamilton offers special allowances over and above the standard rate, the criteria used to define the higher rates are as follows:

Advocate to our director based on the child’s special needs.

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 CAS of Hamilton?

Post adoption support to families is done informally by workers because it is not funded by the Ministry.

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

Parents are allotted a 37-week parental leave.   In individual cases, we have covered the cost of extensive orthodontic work when it was determined that the child requires it.

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

None.  Our adoption subsidies expire once the child is 18 years old.

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


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?

They may begin when the child is placed.  Assistance could also be requested after the adoption is finalized (i.e., funds for counseling).

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

Family income may be considered, but there are no formal scales/guidelines in place at this time.

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


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

Each CAS determines what funds they can allocate from their overall budget to subsidies.

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

The Director of our agency makes eligibility decisions.  The adoption worker provides a written summary of the child’s needs in order to advocate for a subsidy.

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?

Before a subsidy is considered for a child, the Society should make a reasonable effort to find an adoptive family placement that will not require a subsidy.  Long-term foster care placements may be considered for adoption subsidies without efforts being made to place the child in a non-subsidized home. 

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

The adoption social worker negotiates the individual agreement with the family.

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

Annual review.

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

We talk with families annually, or when their circumstances or the child’s needs change.

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 CAS of Hamilton?


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

Adoptive parents could access our agencies’ internal complaint’s process.

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 family should request assistance from the agency.

System Operation and Program Funding

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

The provincial ministry does not specifically fund adoption work with the child welfare funding formula.  Any assistance provided is done so through the agency’s budget, which is limited.

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