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New Mexico State Subsidy Profile

Updated July 2008

State Subsidy Contact Person

Jason DeHerrera
Children, Youth & Families Department
Adoption Subsidy Supervisor
P.O. Drawer 5160
Santa Fe, NM 87502
Phone: 505-827-8413
Fax: 505-476-5490

NACAC Volunteer

Currently, there is no New Mexico 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

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:

New Mexico’s state-specific medical assistance: and

New Mexico’s adoption assistance:
(see Costs and Financial Assistance and Is Additional Financial Assistance Available?)

New Mexico Statute 32A-5-43 through 32A-5-45

  1. In left menu bar, click on New Mexico Statutes and Court Rules
  2. In main part of page, scroll to 32A Children's Code and click on it.
  3. Click on 5. Adoptions, 32A-5-1 through 32A-5-45
  4. Scroll down to 32A-5-43 through 32A-5-45

New Mexico Administrative Code Subsidized 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?")

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:

a.   Five years of age or older

b.   Member of a minority group

c.   Member of a sibling group of two or more children to be placed together

d.   A diagnosis of an emotional, physical, psychological or mental condition requiring medical intervention

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.

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

Basic Rates:









Specialized 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 New Mexico offers these rates, the criteria used to define them are as follows:

The child must:

  • Be on medication for behavioral or emotional disturbance.
  • Be on Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
  • Be involved in a professionally prescribed treatment program at home that is carried out by the foster/adoptive parent.
  • Be of low enough intellectual functioning to demand extra structure and follow-through. Low intellect must be documented by psychological/ diagnostic testing.
  • Have a professionally diagnosed communication disorder, demanding extra structure and follow-through.
  • Have experienced multiple home placements or hospitalizations because of severe behavior and/or attachment problems.
  • Be “acting out,” including sexually oriented behaviors. The behaviors must be to the level where the child is in therapy and the special needs certification must be recommended by a therapist and foster parent experienced with children in Department custody. Acting out behaviors requires that the foster parents learn and practice special skills to manage the behavior effectively.
  • Have a mental or physical condition that warrants the learning and practicing of special skills on the part of the foster parent. For example: failure to thrive, heart disorder, severe asthma or diabetes, crippled limbs, cystic fibrosis, bronchial dysplasia, seizure disorders, or be drug-affected.

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.

Expenses can include: (a) attorney fees and court costs; (b) adoption home study and placement supervision; (c) required exams; (d) transportation; (e) lodging and/or meals.

A child does not have to be Title IV-E eligible to be eligible for reimbursement for nonrecurring costs.           

The reimbursement limit is $2,000 per child.

6. What Medicaid services are available in New Mexico?

  • Physician services
  • Hospital services
  • Care in skilled nursing facility and intermediate care facility
  • Home health agency services
  • Laboratory and X-ray services
  • Clinic services
  • Drug services
  • Durable medical equipment and medical supplies
  • Dental services
  • Vision care services
  • Podiatry services
  • Hearing Aid and related evaluations
  • Family planning services
  • Rehabilitation medical services
  • Psychiatric and psychological services
  • Transportation services
  • Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment Services (EPSDT)
  • Rural health clinic services
  • Midwife services
  • Coordinated community in-home care services
  • Dialysis services
  • Ambulatory surgical center services
  • Medically fragile individuals in-home care program
  • Coordinated community in-home care program for person with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) or with AIDS-related conditions
  • Prosthetics and orthotics
  • Hospice care services
  • Anesthesia service
  • Case management for the chronically mentally ill
  • Certified nurse practitioner services
  • Case management for pregnant women and their infants
  • Case management for children up to age three
  • Case management for adults with developmental disabilities
  • Nutrition services

The Medicaid general information number is 505-827-3100, and the Client Services Bureau is 888-997-2583.

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

Non-IV-E children do not receive Medicaid benefits.

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

Public mental health services for children in New Mexico are administered by the Human Services Department (HSD), Medical Assistance Division (MAD), Behavioral Health Services Division (BHSD) and include the following examples: physician services, hospital services, psychological and psychiatric services (out-patient counseling, in-patient treatment), residential treatment care, case management, and drug services.  Contact the Behavioral Health Services Division at the Harold Runnels Building, address: 1190 Saint Francis Drive, Room North 3300, Santa Fe, NM 87505-6110. DOH, BHSD Behavioral Health Resources: or phone: 505-827-2601 or 800-362-2013 (Warm Line).

See also the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA), National Mental Health Information Center for New Mexico Resources:

Phone the Medicaid general information line: 505-827-3100 or the Client Services Bureau: 888-997-2583.

Note: Not all services may be available in all cases. Contact your local placement services social worker 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?

New Mexico offers what is known as a Medical Subsidy. Funding is available to cover a child’s pre-existing special medical conditions that are not covered by the adoptive family's private medical insurance or by the state medical plan (Medicaid).

New Mexico also offers a program known as Psychological, Occupational, Physical, and Speech Therapy Subsidies. Funding is available only if the adoptive family’s private medical insurance or the state medical plan (Medicaid) does not cover the needed therapy for a pre-existing condition. Adoptive families must secure prior written substantiation for the need of treatment from therapists.  Parents must receive and submit reports documenting the child’s progress and semi-annual re-evaluations of the child’s condition are required. Payment for Therapy Subsidies services is dependent on the receipt of children’s progress reports.

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 New Mexico are administered by the Children, Youth and Families Department, Protective Services Division through CYFD and private and parent organizations. Post adoption services include the following examples:

  1. Information and referral
  2. Support groups
  3. Therapeutic intervention
  4. Specialized equipment
  5. Residential treatment
  6. Mediation/search services
  7. Psychological services

State funds are used to provide for needed post adoption services not covered under the state’s Medicaid program.  Local placement services social workers are available to adoptive families to discuss resources and have information regarding process, eligibility, availability, and duration of services.  Adoption assistance does not pay for respite but there are contractor organizations that do offer a variety of respite options.  Many private organizations offer a variety of respite options. See the ARCH National Respite Network Respite Locator Service, search by state to locate New Mexico’s respite programs, link:

See also the New Mexico Children’s Medical Services Medical Home Project for children with special health care needs (CSHCN) links:

Note: Not all services may be available in all cases. Contact your local placement services social worker 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?


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

Costs are covered through the Medicaid program if children are IV-E eligible. State-funded subsidy will cover costs at New Mexico Medicaid rates for non-IV-E children.

Children must be reviewed by the Office of Managed Care, rated, and approved for placement before payment will be made. New Mexico is currently participating in the Medicaid 032 Program. Those children who are not IV-E eligible will qualify for this program if they are in a group home or residential treatment.

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


14. Does New Mexico operate a subsidized guardianship program?

No, the demonstration waiver ended December 31, 2006.

Programmatic Procedures

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

A Title IV-E eligibility determination must be completed for all children.  Final determinations are made by local placement workers and their supervisors.

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


17. When do subsidy payments begin?

Adoption assistance payments and benefits begin at adoption finalization.

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

Yes, if the children are IV-E eligible.

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

Subsidies may be continued until the child's 18th birthday. If a child is certified medically fragile by the Department of Health, the child can continue to receive subsidy until their 21st birthday.

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

Subsidy agreements will be reviewed annually to verify that the child remains in the home and that there is ongoing need for assistance.

Requests for changes in adoption assistance can be made during the annual review. Requests should be in writing and sent to the Central Adoptions Unit.

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

Adoptive parents can request a change in the adoption assistance agreement at the time of the annual review and renewal of the agreement if there is a change in the circumstances of the family or the needs of the child. Adoption assistance agreements are renewed annually and it is then that parents have the opportunity to request a modification in the agreement. Parents are directed to submit a written request for change in the agreement to the central adoption assistance specialist and substantiate the need for change with documentation supporting the changed family circumstances or increased/decreased needs of the child. The source of the required documentation depends on the needs of the child. The request for a change in the assistance maintenance payment cannot exceed the maximum amount the child would have been eligible for in foster care. The adoptive parents can appeal a decision they disagree with regarding adoption assistance benefits. The request needs to come in writing to the Adoption Subsidy Supervisor at the address given below. The appeal request is directed to the CYFD Office of General Counsel and a hearing officer is appointed. The hearing officer notifies the adoptive parents of the day, time and location of the hearing. Send requests for changes to an adoption assistance agreement to the following address:

Attn: Adoption Subsidy Supervisor
Children, Youth and Families Department
Protective Services
P.O. Drawer 5160
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87502

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

Adoptive parents have the right to request a fair hearing whenever a decision by the Children, Youth and Family Department affects their child’s adoption assistance benefits. Requests for a fair hearing must be in writing and can be a written letter from an adoptive parent. Parents can also phone 800.432.2075 for assistance in making a request for fair hearing to address disagreements with a Department decision. Upon receipt of a request to appeal a decision, the adoption assistance specialist sends the request for a hearing to the Office of General Counsel and a hearing officer is appointed. The hearing officer notifies the adoptive family of the date, time and place for the hearing. The hearing is scheduled as soon as possible but no later than ninety days from the date of the request. Witnesses may be called and an attorney can represent the parents. The hearing officer issues written findings and conclusions for the Cabinet Secretary’s review no later than thirty days from the date of the hearing. The Secretary reviews the hearing officer’s decision within fifteen days of receipt. The Secretary’s review and signature represent the final action of CYFD. The hearing officer provides notice of the final action to all parties by certified mail as soon as practical, but no later than thirty days after the Secretary’s decision. Send requests for fair hearing to the following address:

Attn: Adoption Subsidy Supervisor
Children, Youth and Families Department
Protective Services
P.O. Drawer 5160
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87502

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 must contact the Adoption Subsidy Supervisor in writing with a request for subsidy. The case will be assigned to a Placement Worker in the appropriate county office for negotiation. Families can contact Central Adoption Unit (505-827-8413) to start the process.

System Operation and Program Funding

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

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 69.20% in New Mexico. 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 New Mexico's adoption assistance program from others around the country.

When a child has been classified as a “difficult to place” or special needs child, the Placement Services Unit shall certify in writing to the adoptive parent(s) that they are eligible to apply for a New Mexico state income tax exemption. For more information, families can contact the office of Taxation and Revenue, or they can obtain a certificate of special needs from:

Children, Youth & Families Department
P.O. Box 630
Santa Fe, NM 87504

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