London and Middlesex Profile on Adoption Assistance
Updated May 2008
Agency Contact Person
1680 Oxford St. East
P.O. Box 7010
London, ON N5Y 5R8
Phone: 519-455-9000 x714
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ontario’s Adoption Resources on the Web:
Ontario’s Ministry of Children and Youth Services
Federal and Ontario Provincial Nonrefundable Tax Credits
The Adoption Council of Ontario
Children’s Aid Society of London & Middlesex web information:
1. The CAS of London & Middlesex's definition of special needs is as follows:
The Province of Ontario does not provide a definition of eligibility given that local children's aid societies are not obligated (by law) to provide adoption subsidies. Therefore, the decision to provide subsidies is a local one and definitions vary greatly from agency to agency. According to the Province's website:
"Adoptive parents receive support and assistance from adoption social workers at all stages in the process. If the adopted child has special needs, adoption subsidies may be available to assist in meeting these needs until the child's 18th birthday. After the adoption, the CAS will be available to help if problems or issues develop. "
2. If available, the standard adoption assistance rate at the CAS of London & Middlesex is:
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 the CAS of London & Middlesex offers special allowances over and above the standard rate, the criteria used to define the higher rates are as follows:
There are no standard rates in the Province of Ontario.
4. In addition to monthly payments, what sort of post-adoption services (respite, counselling, residential treatment, parent training, etc.) are provided? When available, are these services formally specified in the adoption assistance agreement at the CAS of London & Middlesex?
The Children's Aid Society of London & Middlesex currently holds one post-Adoption support group: "Post-Placement Support group” which is facilitated by staff and adoptive parents. Adoption staff also provide informal post-adoption counseling services sporadically as required. Adoption Subsidy Agreements at our agency often include a list of services for the child that would be covered and to what degree. These, of course, depend upon the needs of the child. Some typical examples would be art/play therapy, tutoring, etc.
5. What medical or dental services are available at the CAS of London & Middlesex?
The benefits vary from agency to agency. Our agency provides dental care services (and other health services) to our foster children. Once children are placed on Adoption Probation; however, all health and dental expenses are incurred by the adoptive parent(s). There are exceptional circumstances though where a child’s extensive dental needs may be included as an approved reimbursable cost in an Adoption Subsidy agreement; e.g. if an adoptive parent does not have a benefits plan.
6. When my child turns 18, which benefits, if any, are available to our family?
Generally speaking, adoption subsidies and other benefits end when children reach the age of 18. However, we do have a number of children (110 at the present time) who are 18 years of age and older and remain under the care of the agency under an "Extended Care and Maintenance" agreement.
7. Do relatives adopting under the program receive the same benefits as non-relatives?
Relatives can receive assistance if they adopt through our Children's Aid Society.
8. Do children adopted from private agencies receive the same subsidies as those children adopted from public agencies?
No, not in the Province of Ontario.
9. When do subsidy payments begin?
The payments generally start once the adoption is finalized. However, there have been some exceptions where they have been started while the child is on Adoption Probation.
10. Will the CAS of London & Middlesex consider my family income to determine my child's benefit package?
Yes, we have a standardized Net Income Guideline Scale that we use to determine a family’s eligibility for an Adoption subsidy. This scale takes into account family size and the family’s net income.
11. Are prospective adoptive families routinely notified of all benefits available to them at the CAS of London & Middlesex?
Our agency routinely advises prospective adoptive families (through pre-service training and ongoing contact with adoption workers) about benefits available to them.
12. Who sets the assistance rates and how are they established?
In the Province of Ontario, they are set locally, in conjunction with the Adoption Supervisor, Adoption Staff and the Manager of Placement, Foster Care, and Adoption and are dependent upon the child and family’s needs.
13. Who makes the final determination of a child's eligibility at the CAS of London & Middlesex? What roles, if any, do workers and administrators at the agency or regional level play in eligibility determination and/or assistance negotiation?
Adoption workers devise an Adoption Subsidy Agreement and submit it to their supervisor after determining a need. This document is reviewed by the Adoption supervisor and the Manager of Placement, Foster Care, and Adoption to make an eligibility determination based on the family’s financial needs and/or the child’s special needs.
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?
At our agency, we match children to families irrespective of the availability of an adoption subsidy (i.e., we do not specifically look for an adoptive family that will accept a placement without assistance).
15. Once eligibility is established, how and by whom are assistance agreements negotiated at the CAS of London & Middlesex?
Adoption Subsidy Agreements are negotiated between the Adoption Supervisor and the adoptive family with final endorsement by the Manager of Placement, Foster Care and Adoption.
16. A child's adoption assistance agreement may be periodically reviewed by the agency. What is the typical process used at the CAS of London & Middlesex?
There is an annual Subsidy review process whereby each family is mailed an Adoption Subsidy Annual Review form. This form is essentially a brief questionnaire asking about any changes in the home as well as their ongoing need for a subsidy. The Adoptive Family mails this form back to the agency to review if any changes have occurred or any request is being made to alter the family’s current subsidy agreement.
17. Can adoption assistance agreements be modified if requested by adoptive parents?
Yes, the adoption supervisor can recommend modifications to subsidy agreements at the request of adoptive families. Again, this is done on a case-by-case basis, largely based on the changing needs of the child. These modifications have to be approved by the Manager of Placement, Foster Care and Adoption.
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 the CAS of London & Middlesex?
The Children’s Aid Society of London & Middlesex does not currently negotiate “deferred or nil” subsidy agreements.
19. What are the exact steps a family must go through to access the appeal process at the CAS of London & Middlesex?
There is no provincial appeal process. In our agency, we have a formal Complaints procedure that families can access.
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.
As mentioned previously, the Province of Ontario does not regulate adoption subsidies. Families would have to go back to their respective Children's Aid Society to see if post-finalization requests would be entertained. The willingness to support these requests varies greatly from agency to agency.
Our agency has entertained and approved a number of these types of post-finalization subsidies. We look at situations on a case-by-case basis, within current budget constraints, etc. As mentioned previously, these would have to be approved by the Manager of Placement, Foster Care and Adoption.
System Operation and Program Funding
21. How is the adoption assistance program operated and funded at the CAS of London & Middlesex?
The Children’s Aid Society of London & Middlesex is regulated provincially but operated locally. The Province of Ontario funds Children’s Aid Societies and, more specifically, a portion of subsidy funding. The Ministry therefore does not fully fund Adoption Subsidy expenditures. Individual Children’s Aid Societies then have to devote funds to providing Adoption subsidies if they are focused on removing the financial barriers to adopt for some families.
22. Below are other programs that may delineate the CAS of London & Middlesex's adoption assistance program from others in Ontario and around the country.