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Alaska State Subsidy Profile

Updated April 2011

State Subsidy Contact Person

Yvonne Hill
Adoption Program Coordinator
Resource Family Section
State of Alaska Office of Children’s Services (OCS)
Dept. of Health & Social Services (DHHS)
P.O. Box 110630
Juneau, AK 99811
907-465-3209 • fax: 907-465-2061
Yvonne.hill@alaska.gov
http://hss.state.ak.us/ocs

NACAC Subsidy Representative (parent/volunteer)

Vickie Green
Anchorage AK
907-227-7543
vlgreen04@yahoo.com


What Is Adoption Subsidy?

Parents who are thinking about or are in the process of adopting a child with special needs from foster care should know about adoption assistance (also known as adoption subsidy). Federal (Title IV-E) and state (often called non-IV-E) adoption assistance programs are designed to help parents meet their adopted children’s varied, and often costly, needs. Children can qualify for federal adoption assistance or state assistance, depending on the child’s history. Adoption subsidy policies and practices are, for the most part, dependent on the state in which the child was in foster care before the adoption.

Below is information related to definitions of special needs, benefits available, and procedures in Alaska. Answers to select questions were made available by the Association of Administrators of the Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance (AAICAMA) through the Child Welfare Information Gateway (www.childwelfare.gov). Profiles for other states’ subsidy programs are available. If you have additional questions, please contact NACAC at 651-644-3036, 800-470-6665, or adoption.assistance@nacac.org. If you have state-specific questions, please call your State Subsidy Contact Person or the NACAC Subsidy Representative (listed above) for more information.

For more information on Title IV-E eligibility, view our fact sheet Eligibility and Benefits for Federal Adoption Assistance.

Alaska adoption resources:
http://hss.state.ak.us/ocs/Adoptions/aboutAdoption.htm

Alaska’s state-specific medical assistance information:
http://hss.state.ak.us/dpa/programs/medicaid/

Alaska’s adoption assistance information:
http://hss.state.ak.us/ocs/Adoptions/aboutSubsidies.htm

Alaska Statute: AS 25.23.190 – 25.23.230
http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/folio.asp

Click on 2010 Alaska Statutes
Click on the item that looks like a page with an arrow on it.
Click on the cross before Title 25.
Click on the cross before Chapter 25.23 Adoption
Click on the item that looks like a page with an arrow on it.

Alaska Administrative Code: 7 AAC 53.200 – 7 AAC 53.299
http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/folioproxy.asp?url=http://wwwjnu01
.legis.state.ak.us/cgi-bin/folioisa.dll/aac

Click on the plus sign before Title 7
Then click on the plus sign before Part 4
Then click on the plus sign before Chapter 53
Then click on Article 2 Subsidized Adoption and Subsidized Guardianship Payments

Child Protection Service Manual: Section 6.2.2.6 Subsidies
http://hss.state.ak.us/ocs/Publications/CPSManual/cps-manual.pdf


Who is Eligible for Adoption Assistance or Subsidy?

1. How does Alaska define special needs to determine eligibility?

A child is determined to have special needs if there is a specific factor or condition that makes it reasonable to conclude that the child cannot be placed for adoption without adoption assistance. Such factors or conditions may include:

  • ethnic background
  • age
  • membership in a minority or sibling group
  • the presence of factors such as medical conditions or physical, mental, or emotional disabilities
  • high risk of the above facts (for example, due to alcohol or cocaine being present when the child was born or mental illness of the child’s parent(s)

2. Does the state-only funded adoption assistance program differ in any way from the Title IV-E program?

No.

3. Are children adopted from private agencies in Alaska eligible for adoption assistance?

Yes, but only if the children are Title IV-E eligible. The private agency worker is responsible for providing documentation of IV-E eligibility. Reimbursement for nonrecurring expenses is also available for these children.


What Supports and Services Are Available?

Monthly Payments

4. What is the maximum basic monthly adoption assistance maintenance payment in Alaska?

Rates differ from region to region, with the per diem rates ranging from $24.59 to $52.38.

5. Does Alaska provide specialized rates (based on the extraordinary needs of the child or the additional parenting skill needed to raise the child)?

Alaska has specialized rates in its foster care program, which allows specialized rates in the adoption assistance program. Adoption assistance cannot exceed the amount the child would have received in foster care. The augmentation for Specialized Foster Care is $7.50 per day, and for Structured Foster Care is $15 per day. Augmented rates are available on a case-by-case basis and depend on the child’s documented special needs.

6. When do adoption assistance payments begin?

Adoption assistance payments and benefits may begin at adoption placement, or the month of finalization of the adoption.

7. When a child turns 18, which benefits, if any, continue?

Adoption and guardianship assistance payments end when a child reaches 18. If the child entered guardianship or adoption after age 16, resources may be available through the OCS Independent Living Program. More information can be found at http://www.hss.state.ak.us/ocs/IndependentLiving.

8. Does Alaska offer deferred adoption assistance agreements (agreements with initial monthly maintenance amount is $0 for children at risk of developing special needs later)?

Yes.


Medical Care


9. What Medicaid services are available in Alaska?

  • Inpatient Hospital Services
  • Outpatient Hospital Services
  • Rural Health Clinic Services
  • Other Laboratory and X-Ray Services
  • Skilled Nursing Facilities Services
  • Home Health Services
  • Nurse Midwife Services
  • Physician Services
  • Medical Transportation
  • Family and Pediatric Advance Nurse Practitioner Services
  • Federally Qualified Health Center Services
  • Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment Services (EPSDT)
  • Private Duty Nursing Services
  • Hospice Services
  • Nutrition Services for High Risk Children
  • Podiatry Services
  • Full Dental Services
  • Skilled Nursing Facility Services
  • Inpatient Psychiatric Services
  • Case Management Services for High-Risk Pregnant Women
  • Nutrition Services for High Risk Pregnant Women
  • Personal Care Services in a Recipient's Home
  • Emergency Hospital Services
  • Medical Supplies and Equipment
  • Clinic Services
  • Prescribed Drugs
  • Physical Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Chiropractic
  • Treatment of Speech, Hearing, and Language Disorders
  • Prosthetic Devices
  • Eyeglasses
  • Optometrists' Services
  • Intermediate Care Facility Services, including services for the Mentally Retarded
  • Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Psychologists and Psychological Associates

More information is available from Alaska’s Medicaid helpline at 800-780-9972.

10. What medical benefits are available for state-funded children? (Children who have federally funded/Title IV-E adoption assistance are automatically eligible for Medicaid benefits.)

Medicaid is available to state-funded children who have an assistance agreement in place and who were eligible for Medicaid before execution of the agreement. Eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis. Once a child is determined eligible for Medicaid, the same coverage applies to both IV-E and non-IV-E children.

11. What mental health services are provided by Alaska?

Public mental health services for children in Alaska are administered by Health and Social Services, Behavioral Health, and may include individual, group and family therapy; home-based therapy; case management; residential services; activity therapy; family and community education; and day treatment.

Not all services may be available in all cases. Parents should contact their adoption assistance worker or medical assistance specialist for information regarding process, eligibility, availability, and duration of services.


Other Benefits

12. In Alaska, what nonrecurring adoption expenses directly related to the finalization of an adoption may be reimbursed?

Parents may be reimbursed for nonrecurring expenses of up to $2,000 per child, including legal and court costs, costs of pre-placement visitation and travel, adoption home study fees, and other one-time expenses related to the adoption. Application for reimbursement should be made before the adoption is finalized. The agreement for reimbursement can either be included in the adoption assistance agreement or in a separate agreement for nonrecurring expenses only.

13. Is child care available? If yes, who is eligible and how do families access child care?

Families must locate their own childcare options and may apply for financial assistance through the childcare assistance program. Childcare subsidies are based on the needs of the individual child and family.

14. Is respite care available? If yes, who is eligible and how do families access respite care?

There is no formal respite care program, but a family may be able to increase their adoption assistance monthly payment to help meet the costs of respite care (unless the family is already receiving the maximum payment). The family would be responsible for finding a respite care provider.

Families may also access respite through their local developmental disabilities office. Respite care is provided for developmentally delayed children through the Division of Senior and Disabilities Services.

15. Is residential treatment available? If yes, who is eligible and how families access residential treatment services?

Residential treatment costs that are not covered by Medicaid are the responsibility of the adoptive parents.

16. What other post-adoption services are available in Alaska and how do families find out more about them?

Post-adoption support services are available to any adoptive parent who resides in Alaska. The services include crisis management, case management, information and referral, and support groups. The services are provided on a statewide basis, through the nonprofit Alaska Center for Resource Families (ACRF). ACRF has offices in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau, and Mat-su, as well as online information, services and supports at www.acrf.org. (Public mental health services are described above in question 11.)

Alaska OCS makes all efforts to grant requests for additional services on a case-by-case basis when the child’s need and the family’s circumstances are well documented. However, not all services may be available in all cases. Parents should contact 907-465-3204 for more information.

17. If the assistance listed above in questions 13 to 16 is for specific services, must these services be explicitly identified in the adoption assistance agreement?

In Alaska, specific services are not explicitly identified in the agreement. However, explicit information is contained in the child’s adoption assistance file.


What Should Families Know About Applying for Subsidy?

18. Who initiates the adoption assistance agreement?

Before negotiations with the family begin, a permanency planning conference is held to determine if the child is eligible for adoption assistance.

19. Who makes the final determination on an adoption assistance agreement?

After negotiation with the family, the worker makes a recommendation for the amount of the adoption assistance. The regional adoption specialist reviews the request and approves it on a regional level. The request is then sent to the adoption coordinator, who reviews the request for eligibility and submits it to the deputy commissioner for final review.

20. How do families request adoption assistance after finalization of an adoption?

Alaska can provide subsidies after finalization if there are extenuating circumstances. Families should contact the OCS Adoptions Unit to start the process. OCS will provide families the appropriate forms, and will determine if the child is IV-E eligible by researching the child’s records.

The fair hearing process must be used when the child is federally funded (IV-E). A fair hearing is not required for state-funded (non-IV-E) children. In these cases, if extenuating circumstances are met, DHSS presents facts and research findings to the deputy commissioner.


How Can a Family Adjust an Adoption Assistance Agreement?

21. Can adoptive parents ask to change an adoption assistance agreement?

Alaska permits changes to the adoption assistance agreement when the change will best meet the child’s special needs. All changes to the agreement are based on a child’s current, individual needs so conditions for change will thus vary from child to child. Parents must make a request in writing and must include documents demonstrating the need for the change. Alaska will evaluate any documentation that supports the family’s request, including medical/mental health/school reports and other documentation from the family, current service providers, and other resources. Final changes are negotiated between OCS and the family and require the family’s concurrence.

Parents can find the contact for requesting changes on their monthly adoption assistance warrants.

Families have the right to request a fair hearing to reconsider or appeal a decision received in response to their request for change. See Question 22 for more information.

22. What steps does a family go through to appeal an adoption assistance decision in Alaska?

Adoptive parents may request a fair hearing when they disagree with a decision regarding their child’s adoption assistance benefits. Parents must submit a completed Grievance Procedure Form to the OCS Adoptions Program in Juneau:

Department of Heath and Social Services
Office of Children’s Services
Adoptions Program
P.O. Box 110630
Juneau, Alaska 99811-0630

A Grievance Procedure Form is available from an OCS Supervisor or through the OCS Publications page at http://hss.state.ak.us/ocs/Publications/default.htm

See the OCS grievance resolution procedure web page for a complete description of the application and process for fair hearing: http://hss.state.ak.us/ocs/Publications/grievance_procedure.htm


What Else do Families Need to Know?

23. How is the adoption assistance program operated and funded in Alaska?

The program is state supervised/state administered, which means that both policy and eligibility decisions are made by state personnel.

In Alaska, the federal contribution to Title IV-E-eligible children is 50 percent (known as the Federal Financial Participation or FFP rate). The remaining cost of the program is funded with state funds.

24. Does Alaska operate a subsidized guardianship program?

Yes, guardianship subsidies are available to children who are 10 or older. Requirements are similar to those in the adoption assistance program, except that Medicaid is not available. However, most guardians can apply and receive benefits through Medicaid’s Under 21 program, depending on the child's income and resources. The guardianship subsidy does not count against the child as income or resources. The guardianship assistance program is fully state funded. Beginning in Spring 2011 Title IVE federal guardianships may be available in Alaska.

25. Does Alaska offer a tuition waiver program?

No. However, there are some educational funding opportunities available through the OCS Independent Living Program. In addition, the University of Alaska offers five tuition waivers per year for children who have been in foster care. More information is available at http://www.hss.state.ak.us/ocs/IndependentLiving.

26. Does Alaska offer a state adoption tax credit?

No, Alaska does not have state income taxes.

27. Does Alaska have any program to support an adoptee whose adoptive parents die until the child is adopted again?

If there is not a plan for the child to have alternate caregivers, the OCS may petition the court for custody if needed to keep the child safe.

28. What else differentiates Alaska’s adoption assistance program from others around the country?

n/a


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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