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Kansas State Subsidy Profile

Updated April 2009

State Subsidy Contact Person

Karen Wahlmeier
Department for Children and Family Services (DCF)
Prevention and Protection Services (PPS)
411 Washington Rd, Newton KS 66612
316-283-3015 ex 201
Karen.Wahlmeier@dcf.ks.gov

NACAC Subsidy Representative (parent/volunteer)

Pam Robbins
827 N. Arroyo Drive
Olathe, KS 66061
Phone: 913-768-1840
E-mail: pamelarob@sbcglobal.net


Adoption subsidies are available for children with special needs. Federal subsidies were created by Congress (through Public Law 96-272—the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980) to encourage the adoption of special needs children and remove the financial disincentives to adoption for the families. Children may receive a federally funded subsidy under Title IV-E or a state-funded subsidy as per state guidelines. Below we have outlined information related to definitions of special needs, benefits available, and procedures in your state. 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 each state’s subsidy program are available on our web site at www.nacac.org. If you have additional 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. If you have state-specific questions, please call your State Subsidy Contact Person or the NACAC Subsidy Representative (listed above) for more information.


Adoption Resources on the Web:

http://www.srskansas.org/services/adoption.htm

Kansas’ state-specific medical assistance:

https://www.kmap-state-ks.us/Public/Beneficiary.asp

Kansas’ adoption assistance:

http://www.srskansas.org/services/adoption_subsidy.htm

1. What specific factors or conditions does your State consider to determine that a child cannot be placed with adoptive parents without providing financial assistance? ("What is your State definition of special needs?")

A child with special needs is defined as a child that has at least one of the following needs or circumstances that may be a barrier to placement or adoption without financial assistance:

  1. Twelve years of age or older (if age is the only special needs factor)
  2. Member of a sibling group of two or more children placed for adoption together, where one of the siblings has one of the special needs factors or conditions listed here
  3. Member of a sibling group of three or more children placed for adoption together (no other factors are necessary)
  4. Medically diagnosed physical disability that requires professional treatment, impairs normal functioning, requires assistance in self-care or the purchase of special equipment. The disability is to be diagnosed by a physician, hospital, clinic or other qualified medical practitioner
  5. Significant developmental disabilities and/or delays with demonstrated need for intensive adult supervision beyond chronological age, determined through an evaluation by a licensed psychologist, diagnostic center, special education services, or other qualified professional individual
  6. Diagnosed as having a behavioral or emotional disability (psychiatric condition) that impairs the child’s intellectual, behavioral or social functioning. A physician, psychologist or clinical social worker must establish diagnosis and prognosis.
  7. Factors in the child’s genetic, health, and/or social background exist that are indicators that the child may develop physical, emotional or developmental problems at a later date (“guarded prognosis”).

Note 1: Children’s eligibility for federal adoption assistance (Title IV-E) must be established during the foster care episode that resulted in the adoptive placement or established at the initial removal from the home.

Note 2: The presence of one or more of these factors does not, in and of itself, render a child a special needs child. It is the linking of one or more of these factors with the conclusion that it is reasonable to believe such child cannot be placed without providing adoption support.        

Note 3: When a child’s eligibility for adoption subsidy is based on the high risk of developing a physical, development, or emotional disability, a monthly subsidy payment may not be made unless and until the potential disability manifests itself as documented by an appropriate health care professionals, physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, clinical social worker, or diagnostic center.

2. What are the eligibility criteria for the State-funded adoption assistance program?

In order to be eligible for state-funded adoption assistance a child must be a special needs child as defined above and legally free for adoption.  Eligible children in custody of SRS or a licensed nonprofit child placing agency may receive one or more of the following types of adoption assistance: medical assistance, Title XIX (Medicaid), monthly adoption assistance payment, special adoption assistance payment, and non-recurring adoption expenses.  Children placed by the courts, adoption brokers, parents, and other individuals are rarely eligible for adoption assistance, even if they were previously in state custody. These children may be eligible for non-recurring adoption expenses.  The following criteria must be met when determining a child’s eligibility for state-funded adoption assistance:

  • There has been a Judicial Determination that the child cannot or should not be returned not to the home of the parents and the child is legally free for adoption;
  • The State has made reasonable efforts to place the child without assistance, unless the child is being adopted by a relative or resource parent with whom a significant relationship has already been established; and
  • It has been determined that, based on a specific factor or condition, it is reasonable to conclude that a child cannot be placed without adoption assistance.

3. The maximum basic monthly adoption assistance maintenance payment in Kansas is:

Basic rate:

zero to $500 (effective July 1, 2006)

Children receiving SSI:

zero to SSI rate

Policy exceptions may be made pursuant to Section 6270 of the PPM. Exceptions to the amount of the monthly subsidy payment require the approval of Children and Family Services.

Read more about the types and amounts of subsidy payments in Kansas.

4. Specialized rates are based on the extraordinary needs of the child, and/or the additional parenting skill needed to raise the child. If Kansas offers these rates, the criteria used to define them are as follows:

Specific criteria for subsidy are listed above.  Exceptions based on extraordinary needs of the child may be granted on a case-by-case basis.

5. Parents can receive payment or reimbursement for certain nonrecurring adoption expenses directly related to the finalization of an adoption. Below are the allowed expenses and the limit per child.

Nonrecurring adoption expenses mean reasonable and necessary adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, and other expenses directly related to the legal adoption of an eligible child. Other expenses directly related to the legal adoption of a special needs child mean the costs incurred for the adoption study (including health and psychological examinations), as well as transportation costs and the reasonable costs of lodging and food for the child and/or adoptive parents when necessary to complete the adoptive process.

The child must be a Kansas child. The child is considered a Kansas child if the petition to adopt is filed in a Kansas court or the adopting parents are Kansas residents, and adoption assistance is not being provided by another state.

International children are not eligible for reimbursement.  The reimbursement limit is $2,000 per child and is payable upon finalization of the adoption.

6. What Medicaid services are available in Kansas?

Traditional Medical Services                  

(KAN Be Healthy Screening Required):

  1. Office visits
  2. Prescriptions
  3. Therapy (drug and alcohol)
  4. Durable goods (wheelchairs, etc.)
  5. Hearing aids
  6. Prostheses
  7. Outpatient therapy
  8. Mental Health Treatment
  9. Regular Dental

For more information on Medicaid, refer to https://www.kmap-state-ks.us/Public/Beneficiary.asp

7. Children who have federally funded (Title IV-E) subsidy are automatically eligible for Medicaid benefits.  However, it is the state's decision whether state-funded (non-Title IV-E) children are eligible for Medicaid benefits inKansas.  Below is information on the Medicaid benefits available for state-funded children.

Non-IV-E eligible children are eligible for Medicaid. Benefits for IV-E and non-IV-E children do not differ.  Benefits cover a broad range of medical services, therapy, and treatment.

8. What mental health services are provided by your State?

Kansas public mental health services are administered through the Department of Social and Rehabilitative Services (SRS) and include the following examples: outpatient clinical services, 24-hour emergency services, consultation and education, screening, aftercare, case management, prescription drugs, medication management, residential treatment, and in-home family treatment. See “Community Mental Health Services” under Child Services for SRS Children’s Mental Health: http://www.srskansas.org/services_list_category.htm#children

See also DSRS's Access Points by County: http://www.srskansas.org/locations.htm

Note: Not all services may be available in all cases. Contact your adoption assistance worker or medical assistance contact for information regarding process, eligibility, availability, and duration of services.

9. Does your State provide additional finances or services for medical or therapeutic needs not covered under your State medical plan to children receiving adoption assistance?

Kansas offers additional payments known as Special Service Payments. Payments are usually offered on a one-time-only basis and/or for time-limited services, and are made if a specific need cannot be met by another available resource, such as Medicaid, or the monthly support payment.  One-time-only lump sum payments may be approved for unmet needs and are offered and assessed on a case-by-case basis.   Services or items must be identified in the adoption assistance agreement to be eligible for Special Service Payment.  There is a limit of six months and a maximum of $1,000.  Plans of longer duration or over $1,000 require Children and Family Services approval.

10. What types of post adoption services are available in your State and how do you find out more about them?

Post adoption services in Kansas are for children previously in Kansas state custody, administered by SRS and contracted through outside agencies. Services may include the following examples:

  1. Advocacy
  2. Case management
  3. Support groups
  4. Parenting education
  5. Family preservation

Aftercare services are provided for state custody children for twelve months after adoption finalization and are available on an on-going basis, and are not limited to crisis situations. After the twelve-month period is over, families are directed to the local social service office for any needed services.

All families can access services on an as-needed basis in their home communities via the local area social service office.  County SRS offices: http://www.srskansas.org/locations.htm. Free training for foster/adoptive parents can be found at: http://www.childally.org/ and resources can found be through the Kansas Children’s Service League at https://www.cominghomekansas.org/resources.html

Respite Care— If respite care is needed it is normally included as a part of the subsidy payment to the family.  When respite care is needed in order to prevent an out-of-home placement, it may be funded through Family Service Funds.  In addition, some private organizations offer a variety of respite options.  See the ARCH National Respite Network Respite Locator Service, search by state to locate Kansas’s respite programs: http://www.respitelocator.org/

Note: Not all services may be available in all cases. Contact your adoption assistance worker or regional SRS office for information regarding process, eligibility, availability, and duration of services.

11. If the additional assistance (listed above in questions #8 -10) is to cover specific services (e.g., counseling/mental health services, respite care, etc.), must these services be explicitly identified in the adoption assistance agreement?

Yes, the specific service payment must be identified in the adoption subsidy agreement.

12. How are residential treatment costs covered (if at all) for adoptive families? What procedures must a family follow to receive these services?

Residential care is not covered under adoption subsidy, although any child with a medical card may access mental health services through the local Mental Health Center.  Residential treatment may or may not be a part of the treatment plan that is developed for each child.

13. A deferred adoption assistance agreement is one in which the initial monthly maintenance amount is $0. Does Kansas offer such agreements?

Yes, Kansas offers deferred adoption assistance.  If a child has been determined to have a “Guarded Prognosis” and may need assistance at a later date, eligibility for assistance may be determined with a zero payment and a medical card need not be issued unless a problem arises later.  Normally, children in the “Guarded Prognosis” category are not currently being treated for a specific disability or condition but have factors in their genetic, health, and/or social background that indicate the child may develop physical, emotional or developmental problems at a later date.

14. Does Kansas operate a subsidized guardianship program?

Yes, Kansas has limited funding for permanent custodianship subsidy to assist families willing to assume this responsibility, but it is only for those children who have been in custody of the State of Kansas.  For information, contact Children and Family Services at 785-296-4653.


Programmatic Procedures

15. Who makes the final determination of a child's subsidy eligibility in Kansas? What roles, if any, do workers and administrators at the county, district, or regional level play in eligibility determination and/or assistance negotiation?

The regional SRS social worker makes the determination, which is then approved by the supervisor. Central Office approves exceptions and reviews disputed cases if needed.  As such, Central Office staff serve basically as “consultants” in the process.

16. Will Kansas consider my family income to determine my child's eligibility for an adoption subsidy?

There are no established income guidelines to be applied in determining whether an adoptive family is eligible for any type of adoption assistance.  Regardless of the extent of family resources, the child in question remains eligible.  The family's resources are considered when determining the amount and type of assistance.

17. When do subsidy payments begin?

Adoption assistance payments and benefits may begin at adoption placement, following the signing of the adoption placement agreement.

18. Do children adopted from private agencies in Kansas receive the same subsidies as those children adopted from public agencies?

Yes. An application and procedures have been developed for licensed nonprofit child placing agency staff to document eligibility requirements for adoption assistance.

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

Adoption subsidy shall not continue beyond the time the adopted child reaches age 18—unless the child has a specific mental or physical handicap that warrants continuation until age 21.  For those youth not meeting the above qualifications, payments may continue beyond age 18 with state money until the youth completes high school.           

20. A child's adoption assistance agreement may be periodically reviewed by the state. What is the typical process used in Kansas?

All adoption subsidy cases are reviewed annually to determine if the family continues to be legally and financially responsible for the child.            

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

Both the adoptive parents and the regional agency worker may request to renegotiate terms of the adoption assistance agreement.  Kansas Social and Rehabilitative Services (SRS) or the parents may request a renegotiation any time significant changes in the circumstances of the child or family are reported. Adoptive parents may request an increase in the adoption assistance payment amount at any time to correspond to changes in the needs of the child, or when the needs of the child were underestimated during the initial negotiations. Parents must provide the adoption assistance worker with documentation substantiating the changes in the needs of the child.  The terms of the agreement cannot be terminated, suspended or changed without the concurrence of the adoptive family and SRS.  A change in the terms of the agreement requires a new agreement be signed.

22. What are the exact steps a family must go through to access the fair hearing/appeal process in Kansas?

Adoptive Adoptive parents must submit a written, signed, fair hearing request to the local SRS office or the Office of Administrative Hearing within thirty days of the date of the agency’s notice of action affecting services, an additional 3 days shall be allowed if this notice of final decision is mailed.  Such a request may relate to an agency action or a failure to act with reasonable promptness on a social service case.  Examples include undue delay in reaching a decision on eligibility or making a payment, refusal to consider a request for payment, undue delay in adjustment of payment, and rejection or termination of services.  An attorney is not required.  SRS local staff prepares a response to the request and SRS management staff may review the decision to determine whether proper procedures were followed.  A fair hearing is held, sometimes by teleconference, and fair hearing decision is handed down.  Adoptive parents can appeal the decision or final action of any agent or employee of the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services.

Send requests for fair hearing to the following address:

Office of Administrative Hearings
1020 S Kansas Avenue
Topeka, Kansas 66612-1311

The fair hearing process and the state laws outlining the process can be accessed at: http://www.da.ks.gov/hearings/faqs-other.htm. A fair hearing request form can be accessed at: http://www.da.ks.gov/hearings/request.htm

23. Families may request a subsidy after the finalization of an adoption under certain circumstances. Below is the process by which families access a subsidy after finalization.

Families should request in writing an adoption subsidy, which is later denied by the agency based on federal guidelines.  Parents then submit a written request for an administrative fair hearing.  Hearings are usually non-adversarial and handled via telephone.  In order to start the process, families should contact their local SRS office.  Case records are maintained in the SRS office where the family resides.  Out-of-state families may contact Tina Anthony, Children and Family Services (785-368-8171).


System Operation and Program Funding

24. How is the subsidy program operated and funded in Kansas?

The program is state administered, with considerable local SRS level decision making.

The federal contribution to Title IV-E-eligible children is 56.91% in Kansas. This is known as the Federal Financial Participation (FFP) rate. The remaining cost of the program is funded entirely with state general funds.

25. Below are other programs that may delineate Kansas' adoption assistance or post-adoption program from others around the country.

The adoption assistance program has the option of “purchasing” services from other state funds.

Kansas has a Special Service Payment Program that is a one-time only payment or a payment made on a time-limited basis if the specific need cannot be met by another available resource, such as Medicaid, the monthly support payment, etc. The program has a limit of six months and a maximum cost of $1,000.  Plans of longer duration or over $1,000 require central office approval.

Kansas offers a 25 percent tax credit (up to $1,500) for adoption expenses for a Kansas resident who adopts a child in the custody of the secretary of social and rehabilitation services or a child with special needs, whether or not such individual is reimbursed for all or part of qualified adoption expenses or has received a public or private grant therefore.  For more information, see the website: http://www.kslegislature.org/legsrv-statutes/getStatuteFile.do?number=/79-32,202.html
or tax form K-47: http://www.ksrevenue.org/pdf/forms/k-47.pdf

Kansas ETV Program—Youth may be eligible for funding of up to $5000 per year while in college or a vocational or technical training program. 

Qualifications include:

  1. You are 18, 19 or 20 years old.
  2. You are in foster care or you were in foster care as a teenager and you are a US citizen or qualified non-citizen
  3. You aged out of the foster care system at age 18 or were adopted from foster care with adoption finalization after your 16th birthday.
  4. You have been accepted into or are enrolled in a degree, certificate or other program at a college, university, technical or vocational school and you show progress towards that degree or certificate.

To find out more about the specific eligibility requirements for your state, contact your caseworker or:

Jaymee Metzenthin
Independent Living Manager
Children and Family Services
Docking State Office Building
919 SW Harrison, 5th Floor
Topeka, KS 66612
Phone: 785-368-8192
Fax: 785-368-8159
Email: Jaymee.Metzenthin@srs.ks.gov


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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