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Mississippi State Subsidy Profile

Updated July 2013

State Subsidy Contact Person

Margie Shelton
Department of Human Services
Family and Children Services
750 North State Street
Jackson, MS 39202
601-359-4499; 800-345-6347 (in state);
800-553-7545 (out of state)
Fax: 601-359-4360
Margaret.Shelton@mdhs.ms.gov

or

Edna McLendon
Phone: 601-359-4753; Fax 601-359-4360
E-mail: edna.mclendon@mdhs.ms.gov


NACAC Subsidy Representative (parent/volunteer)

Currently, there is no Mississippi Volunteer. If you or someone you know would like to volunteer to help families learn more about adoption assistance, please call Josh Kroll at NACAC, 800-470-6665 x15 or e-mail joshk@nacac.org


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 assistance 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 for children adopted from Mississippi. 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.

Adoption resources on the web:
http://www.mdhs.state.ms.us/fcs_howadopt.html

Mississippi’s state-specific medical assistance:
http://www.medicaid.ms.gov/

Mississippi’s adoption assistance:
http://www.mdhs.state.ms.us/fcs_adoptall.html
then scroll down to Adoption Assistance

Mississippi Code, Adoption Supplemental Benefit Law, 93-17-51 through 93-17-69
http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/mscode/

  • click on I Agree,
  • then click on the plus sign in front of Title 93,
  • then click on the plus sign in front of Chapter 17,
  • then click on the Section titled Adoption Supplement Benefit Law,
  • then click on the description of the statute

 


Who is Eligible for Adoption Assistance or Subsidy?

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

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

  • Six years of age or older
  • Member of a sibling group of two or more children placed together for adoption, including fictive siblings
  • Physical disability
  • Mental disability (IQ of 70 or less)
  • Developmental disability
  • Emotional disturbance
  • Medical condition(s)
  • History of abuse that puts a child at risk of having special needs

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

To be eligible for state-funded adoption assistance, a child must meet the special needs definition in question 1 above.  There are no differences in eligibility criteria or monetary benefits.  

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

Only if they are eligible for federal (Title IV-E) adoption assistance.  Very few private agency children qualify because these children typically do not meet the requirement for a judicial removal of the child from the home.


What Supports and Services Are Available?

Monthly Payments

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

Age Rate
0-3 $325
4-5 $335
6-9 $355
10-12 $375
13-15 $390
16-21 $400
SSI Rate $500

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

Children will be assessed for their level of special needs. There are five levels:

  1. Basic Special Needs (see question 4 above)—This rate is for children considered special needs due to age, sibling group membership, or a single developmental, mental health, or medical diagnosis not serious in nature (for example, eczema, speech delays, allergies, etc.).
  2. Special Needs I ($440 per month)—Children qualify for this rate if they have ongoing medical conditions requiring frequent medical attention or daily medications or interventions, and the SSI application is either pending or has been denied.
  3. Special Needs II ($500 per month)—Child is receiving SSI benefits at the time of adoption.
  4. Therapeutic Rate (up to $700 per month)—This rate is for children who have multiple diagnoses (whether mental health or medical or a combination) for which they continue to receive therapeutic intervention. The rate is also used for children who have a single diagnosis that is causing significant impairment in multiple settings (at home, at school, with peers, etc.).
  5. Medically Fragile Rate ($900 per month)—The adoptee has a medical condition or multiple medical diagnoses that:
    • Are life threatening in nature,
    • Require specialized medical care in the home,
    • Will require corrective major surgery/ recurrent surgeries, or
    • Means the prognosis for full recovery is negligible and the child is not expected to ever live independently.

6. When do adoption assistance payments begin?

Adoption assistance payments begin at adoption placement. In the case of adoption by foster parents, payments begin at adoption finalization.

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

Assistance payments terminate when a child reaches age 18. However, the state may choose to extend assistance until children turn 21 if they have a mental or physical disability that warrants continuation.

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

Yes. Medicaid is available for all deferred agreements.


Medical Care

9. What Medicaid services are available in Mississippi?

  • Child health—All children and youth under age 21 who are on Medicaid are eligible for Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment Services (EPSDT).
  • Christian Science sanatoria
  • Dental services—dental exam and cleaning every 6 months, emergency dental extractions, and if necessary, treatment for an acute dental condition; (fillings, crowns, bridges, and dentures are not covered)
  • Vision—exams and one pair of eyeglasses per year
  • Family planning
  • Home health care—50 home health visits each fiscal year when ordered by a physician.
  • Inpatient hospital care—up to 30 days of hospital care each fiscal year (July 1 - June 30); unlimited hospital days will be allowed for children with certain diagnoses or in certain facilities
  • Laboratory services
  • Nursing home care
  • Outpatient hospital care—6 emergency room visits each fiscal year
  • Pharmacy services—5 prescriptions per month if the drugs are on Medicaid's approved list of medicine
  • Physician services—12 visits each fiscal year at doctor's office, rural health clinic, or hospital emergency room
  • Rural health clinic—visits to a rural health clinic are included in the 12-visit limit to a physician
  • Transportation

For more information, parents can call the central state Medicaid office at 601-359-6050.

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.) 

Children adopted with adoption assistance (state or federal) receive a Medicaid card. All children have access to identical medical coverage.

11. What mental health services are available?

Public mental health services for children in Mississippi are administered by the Division of Medicaid (DOM) and may include inpatient and outpatient hospital care, physician services, prescription drugs, psychiatric residential treatment, and inpatient psychiatric care. For more information, parents can visit http://www.medicaid.ms.gov or call the Medicaid central office at 601-359-6050.

Other Benefits

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

Families may receive reimbursement, of up to $1,000 per child, of the one-time expenses incurred in adoption, including attorney fees, court costs, criminal records clearance, the adoption home study performed by a licensed child-placing agency, costs of amending a birth certificate, required medical and psychological evaluations, transportation costs for placement and pre-placement, and the reasonable costs of lodging and food necessary for the child and adoptive parents to complete the adoption process.

Families adopting children with special needs through licensed child-placing agencies or independent adoptions may also be eligible for reimbursement of nonrecurring expenses. To be eligible, an adoption assistance agreement must be signed by DHS before finalization. Means tests are not permitted, and children need not be IV-E eligible.

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

Child care is currently not available.

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

All adopted children are eligible for respite care, which can be accessed through Partners in Permanency (601-354-0983 or 800-748-3005).

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

The Adoption Assistance Program does not include a provision for the payment of residential treatment. DHS will help families who adopted through DHS explore funding options for residential care. There are a number of residential treatment programs that are approved Medicaid providers and can be accessed for youth who have Mississippi Medicaid. There is also a MYPAC program which is an intensive in-home therapeutic intervention available through Medicaid and is designed to keep the child in his/her own home or community.

Families who need residential treatment services must apply through the Medicaid program.  They should:

  • call the central state Medicaid office (601-359-6050) to request contact information for the regional Medicaid office;
  • call the regional office and request for residential treatment; set up an appointment, and determine the appropriate steps to take; and
  • bring documentation to the regional office appointment stating the doctor's recommendation for the child to receive residential treatment.

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

Post-adoption services in Mississippi are administered by DHS Family and Children’s Services Resource Family Units, which are located in each region.  Parentrs should contact the local Department of Family and Children’s Services office to access services or contact the regional office.  A list of the regional offices is available at http://www.mdhs.state.ms.us/fcs_rd.html or from 601-359-4999.
Partners in Permanency (PIP), a program administered through a private adoption agency, also provides post-adoption services to all adopted children in Mississippi. PIP can be contacted at 1-800-748-3005.
Services may include the following:

  • Information and referral
  • Educational materials
  • Support groups
  • Therapeutic intervention (limited)
  • Counseling
  • Retreats
  • Respite care

Please note that not all services may be available in all cases. The families’ adoption assistance worker or post-adoption services contact will have more information about process, eligibility, availability, and duration of services.

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

No.

What Should Families Know About Applying for Subsidy?

18. Who initiates the adoption assistance agreement?

The adoption assistance agreement is initiated by the adoption specialist in the area where the adopting family resides.

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

The state office administrator (or a designee) makes final determination.

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

Families must submit a written request with any supporting documentation to:

Margie Shelton
Department of Human Services
Family and Children Services
750 North State Street
Jackson, MS  39202
601-359-4499; 800-345-6347 (in state); 800-553-7545 (out of state)
Margaret.Shelton@mdhs.ms.gov
Fax: 601-359-4360


How Can a Family Adjust an Adoption Assistance Agreement?

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

Adoptive parents may request a change in the adoption assistance agreement at any time.  Parents must submit a written request to the DHS administrator (see contact information in question 20 above) along with current documentation of the child’s special needs. The administrator approves or disapproves any changes in agreements.

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

Requests for a fair hearing in Mississippi can be made whenever there is a disagreement regarding an agency action affecting adoption assistance. 

Adoptive parents must file a written grievance requesting a fair hearing with DHS within 10 working days of the date of the agency decision. Fair hearings are held within 60 calendar days of the receipt of the written request, and notices of the proposed hearing will be sent to all involved parties at least 30 calendar days before the fair hearing.


What Else do Families Need to Know?

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

The program is state supervised/state administered, which means policy and eligibility decisions are made by staff at the state office.

In Mississippi, the federal contribution for Title IV-E-eligible children is 73.05 percent (the Federal Financial Participation or FFP rate). The remaining cost of the program is state funded.

24. Does Mississippi operate a subsidized guardianship program?

No.

25. Does Mississippi offer a tuition waiver program?

No, but Mississippi does have an Education and Training Voucher (ETV) program.  The ETV program provides financial assistance to meet the cost of attendance in eligible post-secondary educational and vocational training programs for all youth who aged out of custody or who were adopted from foster care after their 16th birthday.  (Youth who are adopted into Mississippi after their 16th birthday from another state may qualify to receive ETV funds from the state that had legal custody of the youth.)

For more information, parents or youth can contact Mario Johnson at 601-359-4983 or mario.johnson@mdhs.ms.gov

26. Does Mississippi offer a state adoption tax credit?

Mississippi established a Child Adoption Credit of up to $2,500 for qualified adoption expenses. Qualified applicants can apply for the credit the year the adoption is finalized, and unused credit may be carried forward for three years. Please visit www.dor.ms.gov for more information.

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

Mississippi will assist in the re-adoption of the child by providing the courts with a home study and covering non-recurring adoption expenses.

28. What else differentiates Mississippi’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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