Michigan State Subsidy Profile
Updated July 2007
State Subsidy Contact Person
Dawn Ritter, Adoption Subsidy Manager
Michigan Department of Human Services
235 S. Grand Ave, Ste 412
Lansing, MI 48909
NACAC Subsidy Representatives (parent/volunteer)
6460 Middle Lake Rd
Twin Lake, MI 49457
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 firstname.lastname@example.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:
Michigan’s state-specific medical assistance links:
http://www.michigan.gov/mdch/0,1607,7-132-2943---,00.html and http://www.michigan.gov/mdch/0,1607,7-132-2943_4860---,00.html
Michigan’s adoption assistance links:
http://www.michigan.gov/fia/0,1607,7-124-5452_7116-14711--,00.html and http://www.michigan.gov/fia/0,1607,7-124-5452_7116-23522--,00.html.
See the DHS publication, Adopting a Child in Michigan, under Section F, "Assistance in Adoption,"
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?")
The minimum requirements for certification of eligibility for a state-funded support subsidy are: (a) the child has been in foster care for at least 4 months immediately prior to the certification request; (b) a reasonable effort has failed to locate a family willing to adopt without support subsidy or a particular family is determined to be the only placement in the child's best interest; (c) the certification request is filed before the child's eighteenth birthday; (d) certification is approved before the petition for adoption is filed.
In addition to these criteria, eligibility for federally funded Title IV-E adoption assistance requires the existence of specific factors or conditions because of which it is reasonable to conclude that the child in question cannot be placed without assistance. These specific factors or conditions may include:
- three years of age or older and under eighteen years of age,
- ethnic or family background,
- member of a minority or ethnic group,
- member of a sibling group of two or more children being placed together,
- physical, mental, or emotional disability, handicap or condition,
- medical condition, or
- length of time waiting for an adoptive home.
2. What are the eligibility criteria for your 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 in state foster care for at least four months immediately prior to the eligibility determination for adoption assistance is made.
3. The maximum basic monthly adoption assistance maintenance payment in Michigan is:
$443.83 (effective 10-1-01)
$546.65 (effective 10-1-01)
Difficulty of Care Supplements (included in adoption assistance payment if paid in foster care):
Rates above Level III are granted by exception only.
4. Specialized rates are based on the extraordinary needs of the child, and/or the additional parenting skill needed to raise the child. If Michigan offers these rates, the criteria used to define them are as follows:
“Difficulty of Care (DOC) Supplements for Foster Care.” Difficulty of care rates were standardized in Michigan’s foster care program effective 10-1-94. Adoption assistance rates fully match the difficulty of care rates that the child received in foster care.
Assessment of Difficulty of Care for children in foster care (age one day through 12 years, and age 13 and over) is based on age and the child’s level of medical or behavioral needs.
The supplement must be based on one or more of the following case situation where additional care is required of the foster parents/relative or an additional expense exists:
- Physically handicapped children for whom foster care parents must provide measurably greater supervision and care.
- Children with special psychological or psychiatric needs which require extra time and measurably greater amounts of child care and attention in the home.
- Children requiring special diets that are more expensive than a normal diet and which require extra time and work to obtain and prepare.
- Children whose severe acting out or antisocial behavior requires a measurably greater amount of care and attention.
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 are reasonable and necessary fees directly related to the legal adoption of a child with special needs that cannot be reimbursed from other sources. Nonrecurring expenses may include court filing fees, birth certificate fees, medical (i.e., adoption physicals) and required psychological evaluations of adoptive family members, transportation and reasonable costs of food and lodging for the child or adoptive family if necessary to complete the adoption process, and fees associated with Michigan children adopted in other states (e.g., adoption home study, adoption supervision, and attorney fees).
The signed and dated eligibility application must be received in the Adoption Subsidy Program office on or before the date the adoption is finalized. International adoptees may apply. They must meet the eligibility requirements. The claim for expenses must be received in the Adoption Subsidy Program Office within two years of the adoption finalization order. The reimbursement limit is $2,000 /child.
6. What Medicaid services are available in Michigan?
Michigan’s Medicaid program is administered by the Department of Community Health. Information about Medicaid covered services may be obtained by calling the MA Hotline (800-642-3195).
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 inMichigan. Below is information on the Medicaid benefits available for state-funded children.
Children receiving state-funded subsidies whose adoptions were finalized after December 1, 1997 and whose special needs for medical, mental health, or rehabilitative care were documented prior to the adoptive placement receive the same coverage as IV-E children.
8. What mental health services are provided by your State?
Public mental health services for children in Michigan are administered through the Department of Community Health (DCH), Division of Mental Health Services to Children and Families and are coordinated through local Community Mental Health Services Programs (CMHSPs). Services include the following examples: physician visits, in patient and outpatient hospitalization, medical supplies, prescription drugs, mental health care, personal care services, and substance abuse services.
Department of Community Health, Children and Families mental health: http://www.michigan.gov/mdch/0,1607,7-132-2941_4868_7145---,00.html.
Community mental health services programs locator: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/cmh_8_1_02_37492_7.PDF.
Or phone the Michigan Medical Assistance Hotline: 800-642-3195.
Note: Not all services may be available in all cases. Contact your adoption assistance worker or medical assistance specialist 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?
The Michigan Department of Human Services, through the state Adoption Medical Subsidy program, can supplement payment for certain services to the extent that the services are not available through other public and private resources available to the child. Other resources that must first be utilized include: Medicaid, the Intermediate School District, Community Mental Health Centers, Children’s Special Health Care Services, or the parent’s private insurance.
Application for the Adoption Medical Subsidy program may be made either before or after adoption. The program is available to children who were in Michigan’s foster care system prior to adoption or whose adoptions were finalized in a Michigan court prior to June 28, 1992.
Note: Not all services may be available in all cases. Contact your adoption assistance worker for information regarding process, eligibility, availability, and duration of services.
9. In addition to monthly payments and health coverage, Michigan has indicated that the following services are available for children with special needs.
Michigan has a separate Medical Subsidy program that requires separate application and agreements. The program is intended to assist in paying for medical costs for adopted children who have an identified physical, mental, or emotional condition which existed, or the cause of which existed, prior to the adoption. It does not cover routine expenses or typical childhood illnesses. Application may be made either before or after adoption. The program is available to children who were in Michigan’s foster care system prior to adoption or whose adoptions were finalized in a Michigan court prior to June 28, 1992.
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 Michigan are administered by the DHS, Child and Family Services Administration through DHS, contracted agencies, and parent organizations. Post adoption services include the following examples:
- Information and referral
- Educational programs
- Educational materials
- Support groups
- Therapeutic intervention
- Confidential Intermediary Program
- Tuition incentive program
- Recreation and training programs
The DHS provides Regional Post Adoption Support Services (PASS) through seven regional PASS Centers for families who have adopted children from state foster care. PASS information is available at: http://www.postadopt.msu.edu/links.asp
The Adoption Services of the Michigan Department of Human Services runs a cooperative project with the Michigan State University School of Social Work. Link to PASS information on Michigan State’s Post Adoption Website under the For Parents section for more information on services and eligibility requirements at: http://www.postadopt.msu.edu
Parent groups also offer adoption support services. The Clinton County Council Foster/Adoptive Youth Support Group offer additional support programs, e-mail email@example.com or phone: 517-668-0185.
Respite—Respite care is not provided or funded. Families with Medical Subsidies may be eligible for payment for some in-home services for medically fragile children and children with severe behavior problems. Also, short-term out-of-home care (weekends) can be funded as part of a plan to prevent long-term residential placement.
However, Michigan’s county community mental health boards do administer respite care programs for families with special needs children. These programs are available to all families who meet eligibility criteria, including adoptive families.
However, many private organizations offer a variety of respite options. See the ARCH National Respite Network Respite Locator Service, search by state to locate Michigan’s respite programs, http://www.respitelocator.org See also the Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE), http://www.mare.org and its listing of service providers, http://www.mare.org/Info/postadoptdir.pdf
Note: Not all services may be available in all cases. Contact your adoption assistance worker or post adoption services contact 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?
With regard to the Medical Subsidy Agreement, it is separate from the adoption assistance agreement. The Medical Subsidy Agreement does not identify services; it specifies medical conditions. Medical Subsidy pays for treatment related to certified conditions.
12. How are residential treatment costs covered (if at all) for adoptive families? What procedures must a family follow to receive these services?
Residential treatment may be covered under the Medical Subsidy program if the child has been certified eligible. Payment must be authorized prior to treatment, and authorization is time-limited.
13. A deferred adoption assistance agreement is one in which the initial monthly maintenance amount is $0. Does Michigan offer such agreements?
No. Michigan law does not provide for deferred agreements.
14. Does Michigan operate a subsidized guardianship program?
15. Who makes the final determination of a child's subsidy eligibility in Michigan? What roles, if any, do workers and administrators at the county, district, or regional level play in eligibility determination and/or assistance negotiation?
Requests for a determination of eligibility and the required documentation are submitted by local adoption workers. The final determination is made by the Adoption Subsidy Unit in the State Office.
16. Will Michigan consider my family income to determine my child's eligibility for an adoption subsidy?
Neither eligibility nor rate of subsidy is related to the income of the adoptive parents.
17. When do subsidy payments begin?
Payment of a Support Subsidy begins the date that the child is placed in adoption by the order of the court if the parent(s) and the Director of DHS have signed a written assistance agreement before that date. If the assistance agreement is signed after the adoptive placement (but before the adoption is confirmed), support subsidy will begin on the date the agreement is signed by the Agency director or designee.
18. Do children adopted from private agencies in Michigan receive the same subsidies as those children adopted from public agencies?
Yes. However, private agency wards must meet the same eligibility criteria as children in the public child welfare system.
19. When my child turns 18, which benefits, if any, are available to our family?
Subsidy payments may continue until the child reaches age 18. However, if sufficient funds are appropriated, subsidy may be extended for an adoptee until 21 years of age if the office determines that the adoptee is a student regularly attending a high school, college, university, or course of vocational training in pursuance of a course of study leading to a high school diploma, college degree, or gainful employment. Currently, the legislature has appropriated funding only for high school students.
20. A child's adoption assistance agreement may be periodically reviewed by the state. What is the typical process used in Michigan?
The adoptive parent(s) must file a report at least once each year as to the location of the adoptee and other matters relating to his/her continuing eligibility.
Note: A parent must notify the Adoption Subsidy Program office within two weeks of any changes occurring which might affect subsidy eligibility.
21. Can adoption assistance agreements be modified if requested by adoptive parents?
Families can request modification in support subsidy at any time provided the request does not exceed the maximum allowable rate in the agreement. Typically, families choose to receive the maximum allowable rate at adoptive placement.
Changes to the adoption assistance agreement are possible when state legislative changes are made to the foster care maintenance rates for children the same age of the child receiving adoption assistance. Adoption assistance rates can increase to reflect increases in the foster care maintenance rates. Adoption assistance rates are capped at the rate the child would receive were they in state foster care.
22. What are the exact steps a family must go through to access the fair hearing/appeal process in Michigan?
Adoptive parents can request a fair hearing any time a Department of Human Services decision affects their child’s adoption assistance benefits. Parents are directed to send a written request for fair hearing to:
Fair Hearing Coordinator, Adoption Subsidy Program
Michigan Department of Human Services
P.O. Box 30037, Grand Tower Building
Lansing, Michigan, 48909
After adoptive placement the adoptee or the family may appeal decisions regarding subsidy whenever they believe the decision is incorrect. The Department provides an administrative hearing to review the decision and determine its appropriateness. Families must submit hearing requests in writing within 90 days of being notified or informed of the decision regarding approval or denial of a certification request or a negative decision regarding payment of a subsidy or case closure. Persons requesting a hearing may represent himself/herself at the hearing, or he/she may be represented by an attorney, relative, friend or other spokesperson. However, the Department will not pay for the costs of an attorney or other representative. An appeal request shall not stay any action taken or decision by the Agency unless the request is submitted within 10 days of being informed of the decision.
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.
Michigan law does not allow for support subsidy after finalization unless an error has occurred. A written request for support subsidy would be required identifying the child and pertinent information related to the adoption. The subsidy unit would investigate the request and respond in writing to the family.
Families should contact:
Michigan Department of Human Services
Adoption Subsidy Unit
P.O. Box 30037
Lansing, MI 48909
System Operation and Program Funding
24. How is the subsidy program operated and funded in Michigan?
The program is state supervised/state administered. This means that both policy and eligibility decisions are made by personnel at the state office.
The federal contribution to Title IV-E-eligible children is 66.32% in Michigan. This is known as the Federal Financial Participation (FFP) rate. The remaining cost of the program is funded with TANF and state funds. Counties are not responsible for funding any portion of the adoption subsidy program.
25. Below are other programs that may differentiate Michigan's adoption assistance program from others around the country.
Michigan offers the Tuition Incentive Program (TIP) that helps pay college tuition and mandatory fees for students from low-income families. Eligibility includes students who: (1) are identified as Medicaid eligible by the Department of Human Services; (2) apply before graduation from high school or receiving a GED; and (3) are under age 20 at the time of graduation or GED completion. Families should call 877-323-2287 for more information. The TIP web site is www.MI-StudentAid.org.
The Michigan Department of Human Services provides Regional Post Adoption Support Services (PASS) for families who have adopted a support subsidy eligible child from a state foster care program. The Regional PASS Centers, developed with the input of adoptive parents, provide and assist adoptive families in locating support services in their community. For more information, contact the DHS Adoption Services Division at 517-373-3513.
In past years, Michigan has used limited federal funding to provide up to $300 per child to provide camp scholarships for summer camp for children who are covered by the adoption subsidy program. Approximately 3,000 children and their families have accessed this program during the first two years.