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Prescott-Russell Services to Children & Adults Profile on Adoption Assistance

Updated June 2008

Agency Contact Person

Helene Fournier
173 Ancienne Route 17
(Old Highway 17)
Plantagenet, ON K0B 1L0
Phone: 613-673-5148
Fax: 613-673-4371
E-mail: HFournier@seapr.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

Prescott-Russell Services to Children & Adults web information:
http://www.seapr.ca/


1. Prescott-Russell's definition of special needs is as follows:

Special needs are defined by a condition or a combination of conditions documented by an assessment of a professional, from the medical field, the mental health field, or the social work field:

  • Physical handicap and/or intellectual
  • Severe emotional problems necessitating a lot of care and supervision
  • Sibling group placed in the same family

2. If available, the standard adoption assistance rate at Prescott-Russell is:

Maximum adoption subsidy is $4.50 per day.

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 Prescott-Russell offers special allowances over and above the standard rate, the criteria used to define the higher rates are as follows:

Although the subsidy rate is $4.50 per day, a rate above this amount can only be offered in the case of a child with special needs that will result in exceptional expenses. This subsidy must be pre approved by the residential Director of Service. The amount of subsidy must not exceed the amount of per diem rate paid to foster parents (minus the family allowance)

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 Prescott-Russell?

Adoptive parents are welcomed to attend training through the Valor institute. During a subsidy agreement a worker will visit the family to determine if a subsidy agreement is still necessary and to review the progress and renew the adoption subsidy if necessary.

A family may be eligible for a special needs subsidy, where a monthly rate is not provided but a service is needed and can be paid by the Agency such as:

  • Medical services not reimbursed by the Ontario Health Insurance
  • Dental and Orthodontics treatment
  • Renovation of the home or purchase of special equipment to accommodate the child’s physical or mental handicap
  • Hearing and language reeducation services
  • Daycare subsidy
  • Subsidy for frequent transportation required to go to attended services
  • Leisure and training

Other services or post adoption services not covered through a subsidy are as followed:

  • Provide non-identifying information to adoptive parents
  • Assistance in getting professional services in the community
  • Provide assistance and services to parents where a child has certain issues (see last question)
  • Provide parenting training if a parent refers himself to the agency asking for assistance.
  • Support to the Adoptive family in a situation where the child passes away
  • Helping the family to send gifts to sibling or other family members if not adopted

5. What medical or dental services are available at Prescott-Russell?

See Question 4 (above).

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

If a young adult turns 18 and if s/he has special needs (mentally handicapped or physically handicapped), the young adult can access the Ontario Disability Services Program (ODSP). An assessment to determine the young adult’s limitation should be made prior to the 18th birthday (17 and a half) and if the young adult qualifies then s/he may receive financial assistance as well as assistance with medication and dental cost. Other services could be available through this same program (ex, if the young adult is incontinent, financial assistance may be provided for diapers and bed lining). Our agency can help a young adult and his or her family access some of these services and help connect with other services within the community if we do not provide them.

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

Not necessarily in the case of the monthly subsidy. It has been our experience that with the new legislation, a lot of relatives are opting for legal custody and will maintain contacts with birth family on a more regular basis than an openness order would in the case of an adoptive family who has no ties to the birth family.

Relatives who wish to adopt rather than obtain custody would be eligible to receive internal services if required or referred to community resources if we do not provide them. In regards to a monthly subsidy, each case would have to be evaluated according to its own merit.

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

Our agency has only offered subsidies for the children we have in care and who were either adopted through our agency or whom we placed in a family from another agency.

When another public agency wants a child to be adopted by one of our families, the parent agency has the responsibility to assess if a subsidy is necessary and such a subsidy should be made prior to the adoption being completed. Such arrangements are the responsibilities of the parent agency and will be paid by the parent agency. Prescott-Russell can provide support by facilitating the renewal agreement and by assessing the child’s needs and progress and provide the parent society with documentation to support annual renewal.

When another agency wants to place a child for adoption purposes (or for foster care), the working relationship should be established by using the interagency protocol. We have not yet worked with a private agency.


Programmatic Procedures

9. When do subsidy payments begin?

A decision to provide a subsidy needs to be decided before the end of the adoption probation and may start during the probation period or just before the finalization of the adoption. This is a clinical decision between the worker and supervisor.

In a few cases, we have provided subsidies to families who had adopted through our agency a few years after the finalization of adoption and where there was no subsidy agreement. Such agreement provided with a one-time assistance of payment for a service that the family could not afford.

10. Will Prescott-Russell consider my family income to determine my child's benefit package?

Yes and will look at other services that can be provided within the community or through the Ministry such as:

  • Assistive devices program from the Ministry of Health
  • Specialized home services through the Ministry of Community and Social Services
  • Allocation for handicapped children (MCSS)
  • Community programs (such as War amputees)

11. Are prospective adoptive families routinely notified of all benefits available to them at Prescott-Russell?

Prospective adoptive families are asked to attend the PRIDE training when we identify a possible placement. They are also provided with the adoption policies that specify in which instance we may grant subsidies, and they are also informed of other types of services provided within our own agency.

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

The rates are established based on a provincial average.

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

The worker and supervisor determine if an agreement would be necessary, but an agreement cannot be entered into without the Director of Service’s approval. The final determination is made after a review of the family situation based on the child’s best interest and the availability of funding. The executive director takes part in the final decision if the amount required surpasses the $4.50 per diem.

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?

Our adoption subsidy policy stipulates that, before offering a subsidy, we should have made all efforts to identify a family who is willing to adopt without a subsidy, either within our own network of adoptive families or from other agencies. Our policy also specifies that we may grant a subsidy as an additional means of recruiting an appropriate adoptive family for a child with special needs or for the adoption of sibling groups.

15. Once eligibility is established, how and by whom are assistance agreements negotiated at Prescott-Russell?

If the amount exceeds the $4.50 rate, the rate is set by the worker, supervisor, and the director of service.

16. A child's adoption assistance agreement may be periodically reviewed by the agency. What is the typical process used at Prescott-Russell?

Before renewing a subsidy, the adoptive parents must confirm that the original circumstances justifying the needs for a subsidy are still present (child’s special need and family’s financial statement). Adoptive parents must provide all required documentation to the worker prior to time of review.

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

Yes. The adoptive parents or agency can request a revision of subsidy at any moment if the original circumstances have changed. All changes necessitating an increase must be approved by the Director of Service. The accounting services are notified of the changes.

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 Prescott-Russell?

We have never made any deferred or nil agreement. We have, however, agreed to provide a subsidy to some families many years after finalization of adoption, where there were no agreement made at time of adoption probation. We will also provide other support services to such families, such as Child and Youth Services, to provide help in dealing with specific issues (behaviour problems, couselling or assessment, helping to get financial assistance through the Ministry if appropriate, working with parents to provide them with different techniques on how to deal with specific issues, encouraging adoptive parents to access the group training offered through our community workers on a variety of issues.)

19. What are the exact steps a family must go through to access the appeal process at Prescott-Russell?

If a family wants to appeal a decision, they need to inform their worker who will provide them with the complaint policy and pamphlet explaining steps to be taken.

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.

Every request goes through the intake department. The family situation will be assessed and the intake worker and supervisor will ask for assistance from the residential services team. A case conference may be called to determine what can be done to help the family and child in times of need.

Some families have contacted the worker or supervisor who was involved during the finalization process. If possible, the worker will be reassigned to work with the family since he/she has a good understanding of the child’s needs and background information at time of placement and is aware of difficulties and adjustment of the child in the home.


System Operation and Program Funding

21. How is the adoption assistance program operated and funded at Prescott-Russell?

The adoption assistance program is operated and funded as part of our operational budget. We do not receive any additional funding to cover the amount of subsidies provided to families in the Prescott-Russell region. The workers, supervisor, director of services in discussion with the executive director and financial manager are responsible to operated the program.

22. Below are other programs that may differentiate Prescott-Russell's adoption assistance program from others in Ontario and around the country.

  • Training institute where adoptive parents can access various training
  • Specialized services team (on call Child and Youth workers who will be called to assess a situation in times of crisis or suicidal ideation, they will help de escalate a crisis and help determine what safety plan needs to be put in place)
  • A consultant psychiatrist
  • A medical safeguard team (evaluating the medication and other health issues)
  • A specialized team (Child and youth workers providing behaviour modification programs, attachment assessment, a consultant psychologist, access to teleconferencing with different specialists according to issue at stake, a nurse, a medical consultant (Doctor))
  • Volunteer program
  • Group training on various issues (parenting teenagers, parenting hyperactive children…)

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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