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Nevada State Subsidy Profile

Updated April 2008

State Subsidy Contact Person

Trina Hofbauer
Department of Human Services
Division of Child & Family Services
4126 Technology Way, Third Floor
Carson City, NV 89706
Phone: 775-684-4454
Fax: 775-684-4456

NACAC Subsidy Representative (parent/volunteer)

Sherrie Coy
4125 Wendy Lane
Las Vegas, NV 89115
Home: 702-643-7574
Pager: 702-244-8392

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 ( Profiles for each state’s subsidy program are available on our web site at 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 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:

Nevada’s state-specific medical assistance links:

Nevada’s adoption assistance links:

Nevada Revised Statutes, NRS 127.186

Nevada Administrative Code NAC 127.475 to 127.510

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?")

To qualify for assistance, the following requirements must be met regarding each child:

The child has not yet reached the age of 18; and cannot or should not be returned to the home of his parents; and has one or more of the following specific factor(s) or condition(s) that makes locating an adoptive placement resource difficult without recruitment, special services, or adoption assistance, the child:

  1. Is five years of age or older; or
  2. Is a member of a sibling group of two or more children to be placed together; and at least one of the children is age three years or older; or
  3. Has a diagnosed medical, physical, emotional, or mental disability or documented history of abuse/neglect requiring treatment intervention; or
  4. Has documented factors in his/her background that places child at high risk for developing a condition requiring future treatment.  Children meeting this criteria include those genetically related to persons having heritable physical, mental, emotional, or behavioral conditions; prenatal substance abuse exposure; and other factors identified/determined by a treatment professional which will result in child’s need for treatment or special services; or
  5. Is considered difficult to place because of race.

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 in the custody of the State or County agency that provides child welfare services or other Nevada Licensed Child Placing Agency.

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

The monthly adoption assistance rate may be negotiated up to but not exceed the family foster care maintenance rate of:







Note:  The increase of $121.67 in each age category which had been authorized to become effective on July 1, 2008, has been rescinded. The rates listed above are the current rates.

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

Specialized rates are established while children are in foster care.  Special rates may fall into two categories: The Special Rate Setting provides an additional $30, $90, or $150 per month plus the foster care maintenance rate.  The Medically Fragile Rate provides $150, $250, or $500 per month in addition to the foster care maintenance payment.

Specialized rates may be considered for children who are medically fragile, and those with significant emotional, behavioral, physical, or mental challenges. Rates must be negotiated.

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.

Adoptive parents of a special needs child may be reimbursed for nonrecurring expenses incurred in connection with the adoption. Reimbursements are not limited to adoptive parents with children eligible for an ongoing subsidy.

Reimbursements for nonrecurring costs are not paid unless and until the adoption is finalized.  Related expenses may include travel for pre/post placement visits; home study and post-placement service fees; legal fees association with finalizing the adoption.

The reimbursement limit is $250 per child.  

6. What Medicaid services are available in Nevada?

For information and referral, contact the Medicaid Customer Services Information line at 702-486-1550 (southern Nevada) and 775-684-0800 (northern Nevada).

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 inNevada.  Below is information on the Medicaid benefits available for state-funded children.

Yes, both federal IV-E and non-IV-E eligible Nevada children are Medicaid eligible. The benefits are identical.  Children determined eligible for Medical Assistance under the state program, however, must have a medical condition requiring treatment intervention at the time of the adoption.

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

Public mental health services for children in Nevada are administered through the Department of Human Resources (DHR), Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) in northern and southern Nevada and by the Mental Health & Developmental Services Division (MHDSD) in rural Nevada.  Services may include the following: psychiatric and psychological evaluations, acute care inpatient hospitalization, community based residential care, individual/group/family therapy, clinical case management services, rehabilitative services, day treatment services, outpatient services, respite care for severe emotionally disturbed children.

Access mental health services by contacting:

Northern Nevada Child and Adolescent Services (Children’s Behavioral Services), phone: 775-688-1600;

Southern Nevada Child and Adolescent Services, phone: 702-486-6100, and

Rural Clinics, phone: 775-687-1000. 


See also DHR’s Division of Health Care Financing and Policy (Medicaid):

Note: Not all services may be available in all cases. Contact your adoption assistance worker or medical assistance specialist for information regarding the application 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?

Nevada does not have a separate program or funding source to provide additional finances or services for medical or therapeutic needs not covered under the state medical plan (Medicaid) to children receiving adoption assistance.  Children with exceptional medical or behavioral needs may qualify for special payment rates, as determined by the agency, to help cover the cost of a child’s exceptional care.  Parents are directed to contact the adoption assistance worker to determine if their child is eligible for exceptional care rates.

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 Nevada are administered by the Department of Health and Human Services, county child welfare agencies, and through private agencies and parent groups. Post adoption services include the following examples:

  1. Information and referral
  2. Educational programs (parent training)
  3. Support groups
  4. Family Preservation
  5. Case management
  6. Therapeutic intervention/counseling
  7. Respite Care
  8. Search registries

Services are not administered through one central point of contact in Nevada. Services may not be designated as adoption-specific in all areas of the state, but are available to adoptive families.  Families requiring assistance should contact the state or county child welfare agency in their area.  Child welfare staff can help identify and provide referrals to existing service providers able to assist with specific service needs. 

DCFS Regional Service Area contact:

See also the Adoption Exchange:

Parent groups offer a variety of post adoption supports.  A current grant to the Nevada’s Children’s Center provides adoption services and support to families of special needs children.  The Center is located at 5615 South Pecos, Las Vegas, Nevada 89120, phone: 702-736-8100. E-mail:

Respite Care—Families may be referred to other agencies that offer respite care.  General information about respite care program services may be obtained from Desert Regional Center, 1391 South Jones, Las Vegas, NV (702-486-6200), or Sierra Regional Center, 605 South 21st Street, Sparks, NV (775-688-1930), when available. Funding may be provided to parents or providers to cover respite care costs.

Finally, see the ARCH National Respite Network Respite Locator Service, search by state to locate Nevada’s respite programs, link:

Note: Not all services may be available in all cases.  Contact your adoption assistance worker or service provider 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?

No, not if services are otherwise available through Medicaid or other funded service providers of an eligible child.

Yes, if payment for the service falls outside the scope of Medicaid or state approved service provider.

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

Information regarding availability and payment for the services can be obtained from the Southern Nevada Child and Adolescent Services Program (702-486-6100) or the Northern Nevada Child and Adolescent Services (775-688-1600), or Nevada Medicaid.

The Adoption Subsidy Program does not provide separate or direct funding to pay for out-of-home care.

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

Yes, adoptive parents may elect to defer financial or medical assistance for an otherwise eligible special needs child until assistance is needed.  Eligible children must meet the special needs criteria outlined above at the time of adoption.

14. Does Nevada operate a subsidized guardianship program?

Yes, the program is available to relatives (age 62+) who take guardianship.  Payment assistance for this program is provided by the Nevada State Welfare Division.

Programmatic Procedures

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

The family and the social worker together complete an application packet that is submitted to the local county or state DCFS office for eligibility determination and final approval. Applications must include professional documentation of children's special needs.           

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

Income is one of several factors considered when determining payment amount. A means test is not applied.  Income is looked at to determine the extent to which the family is able to contribute to the child’s care and support.  Finances are a part of the negotiation process.

17. When do subsidy payments begin?

At the time of finalization.

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

Yes, the application process and benefits are similar.

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

None.  Benefits terminate at age 18.  Families are encouraged to investigate and apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) through the Social Security Administration (SSA) for children who appear eligible.

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

Assistance renewal applications must be signed by adoptive parents annually. Forms are mailed by the division staff approximately 45 days before the renewal deadline to verify the child’s need for continued assistance, changes in the family circumstances, or needed changes in the agreement.

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

Adoptive parents may request a change in the adoption assistance agreement whenever there is a change in the circumstances of the family or the needs of the child.  Modifications to the agreement can be made at the time of annual review or any time.  The written request must be made on the annual adoption assistance review form that is sent to the family each year.  The form is an annual opportunity to update the adoption assistance worker of any changes in the living or school arrangements, family circumstances, or needs of the child. If the change is needed at a time other than at the annual review, families may contact their adoption assistance worker to request a form.  Written explanation of the change in the family’s circumstances and/or documentation of child’s needs must accompany the review form.  An adoption assistance worker will contact the family to discuss the request, negotiate payment amounts, and address any other service related needs.  When the negotiation process is complete, an amended adoption assistance agreement containing the new terms and effective date of the benefits is prepared by the agency for the family’s review, approval, and signature.

If the request for assistance is denied, the parent may request a conference with the adoption assistance staff to discuss the basis of the agency’s decision.  If the parents continue to be dissatisfied with the decision after the conference, they may request an administrative review by the agency hearing officer.  The written request for the hearing must be received by the agency, or postmarked if mailed, no later than thirty calendar days after the date on which the denial notice is received by the parent.  Written requests for hearings must be directed to the state or county agency handling the family’s adoption assistance request. DCFS Regional Service Area contact:

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

Adoptive parents can request a fair hearing whenever there is disagreement with a DHR or County Child Welfare Agency decision that affects their child’s adoption assistance benefits.  An adoptive parent may appeal the state or county agency’s decision to deny, reduce or terminate adoption assistance.  To do so, the parent must submit a written request to the state or county agency handling their adoption assistance agreement to initiate the process.  The request must be received by the agency, or postmarked if mailed, no later than thirty calendar days after the date on which the written decision to deny, reduce or terminate assistance is received by the parent.  The agency will schedule a hearing within thirty calendar days of receipt of the parent’s request; and a decision will be rendered by the agency within thirty days after the hearing is held.  For fair hearing information, contact your local DCFS Regional Service Area:

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 contact the state or county adoption assistance specialist in their area for eligibility information.

System Operation and Program Funding

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

The program is county administered/state supervised.  This means that personnel at the state office are responsible for making policy decisions regarding the adoption assistance program, and provide guidance to county offices.  The counties make decisions related to children’s eligibility.

Federal and state funds are used to support the program. The federal contribution to Title IV-E-eligible children is 63.10% in Nevada. This is known as the Federal Financial Participation (FFP) rate. The remaining cost of the program is funded entirely with state funds.

25. Below are other programs that may differentiate Nevada's adoption assistance program from others around the country.

Nevada Education and Training Voucher (ETV) Program—You may be eligible for funding of up to $5000 per year while you are in college or a vocational or technical training program!  You may qualify if:

  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:

Emma Byrd, Independent Living Coordinator/Specialist
Division of Children and Family Services
4220 S. Maryland Pkwy.
Las Vegas, NV 89119

North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC)
970 Raymond Avenue, Suite 106
St. Paul, MN 55114
phone: 651-644-3036
fax: 651-644-9848