Toronto Profile on Adoption Assistance
Updated February 2008
Agency Contact Person
Janie E. Ryan
4211 Yonge Street, 4th Floor
Toronto, ON M2P 2A9
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 email@example.com.
Ontario’s Adoption Resources on the Web:
Ontario’s Ministry of Children and Youth Services
Federal and Ontario Provincial Nonrefundable Tax Credits
Toronto Children’s Aid Society web information:
1. The CAS of Toronto’s definition of special needs is as follows:
The Children’s Aid Society of Toronto considers the following children as eligible for adoption subsidy:
- Children with significant special needs such that an adoptive family will need to purchase services to adequately meet those needs and they do not have the financial resources to independently purchase the required services;
- To facilitate an adoptive placement for older children and/or sibling groups;
- To facilitate cultural or racial match adoptive placement for a child;
- To preserve continuity of relationships (i.e. foster parent adoptions)
In general, children who have special needs may include, but are not limited to, those with developmental delays, medical issues, prenatal exposure, those with significant risks in family history (congenital mental health issues), or children with emotional adjustment issues. A child’s special needs are determined on a case-by-case basis.
2. If available, the standard adoption assistance rate at the CAS of Toronto is:
No, there is no standard rate. However, we do act within some broad guidelines. We do not pay more than the foster home rate, but there is always opportunity for flexibility in exceptional situations. Rates are set for each family based on the needs of the child(ren) and the family’s individual financial situation.
We are able to provide the following kinds of assistance:
- per diem payments
- monthly payments
- purchase of agreed upon services
- future needs agreements— an agreement to consider covering the costs of future services for the child
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 CAS of Toronto offers special allowances over and above the standard rate, the criteria used to define the higher rates are as follows:
Each permanency funding agreement is developed based upon the assessed needs of the child and the adoptive family’s available resources.
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 the CAS of Toronto?
We currently provide consultation and referral for adoptive families and frequently will assist them with the purchase of required services though our permanency funding agreements. Examples of purchased services include: counselling; speech, physical, and occupational therapy; programs to address child's developmental, etc. We will not however fund residential services as part of our permanency funding agreements.
Our post adoption support services include both adult and child support groups and an annual post adoption family picnic. Adoptive parents are also encouraged to take advantage of all relevant training offered by our agency.
5. What medical or dental services are available at the CAS of Toronto?
Yes, we do provide medical and dental services in circumstances where the family cannot access a publicly funded service in a timely manner and the service need is urgent in nature. We also will also consider covering dental care if the family does not have an insurance plan with this coverage.
6. When my child turns 18, which benefits, if any, are available to our family?
There are no benefits 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?
9. When do subsidy payments begin?
Generally, they begin at the time of placement.
10. Will the CAS of Toronto consider my family income to determine my child's benefit package?
We do consider the family income and expenses as part of our process. Families must provide a financial statement annually that sets out income and expenses in some detail. They can also be in contact with the agency at any time if there has been a significant change in their financial situation requiring a review of the funding amount that had been previously negotiated.
11. Are prospective adoptive families routinely notified of all benefits available to them at the CAS of Toronto?
This issue is reviewed with adoptive applicants as part of the adoption home study process. The specifics of whether a family will be eligible for permanency funding and, if so, what amount, etc is determined when a child has been tentatively matched to the family.
12. Who sets the assistance rates and how how are they established?
Each agency sets its own rates. The guidelines for rate setting are approved by the agency’s executive team, including the Executive Director, Associate Executive Director (Service), Director of Finance, and the Director of Human Resources.
13. Who makes the final determination of a child's eligibility at the 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 decision to grant permanency funding is made by the Director of Foster Care & Adoption Services.
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?
We generally look for a suitable adoptive family first and then address the permanency funding question based on the family’s ability to meet the “extra costs” of parenting the particular child.
15. Once eligibility is established, how and by whom are assistance agreements negotiated at the CAS of Toronto?
The adoption worker, in consultation with the supervisor, negotiates the terms of a proposed permanency funding agreement with the adoptive family. This proposal is then forwarded to the Director of Foster Care & Adoption Services for approval. Each agreement is reviewed annually.
16. A child's adoption assistance agreement may be periodically reviewed by the agency. What is the typical process used by the CAS of Toronto?
Children’s Aid Society of Toronto requires all families receiving permanency funding to submit the following documents on an annual basis: a financial statement and a completed review questionnaire verifying that the circumstances requiring a subsidy continue to be present.
17. Can adoption assistance agreements be modified if requested by adoptive parents?
We regularly modify permanency funding agreements at the request of families. The annual review process provides families with an opportunity to request a review. Families can also request a review at other times if circumstances arise necessitating a more urgent response.
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 the CAS of Toronto?
Yes, once a child has been placed we can now enter into a permanency funding agreement.
19. What are the exact steps a family must go through to access the appeal process at CAS of Toronto?
Families can access the agency’s 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.
Children’s Aid Society of Toronto will consider such requests ongoing and on an exceptional basis.
System Operation and Program Funding
21. How is the adoption assistance program operated and funded at the CAS of Toronto?
The agency receives its funding from the government based on certain bench marked activities. There is no benchmark established for adoption subsidy. Therefore, the agency funds this assistance out of its overall budget.
22. Below are other programs that may delineate the CAS of Toronto's adoption assistance program from others around the province or country.