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New York State Subsidy Profile

Updated April 2013

State Subsidy Contact Person

Vacant
Office of Children & Family Services
NYS Adoption Services
Capital View Office Park
52 Washington St.
Rensselaer, NY 12144
518-474-9406
Web: www.ocfs.state.ny.us/adopt

State NACAC Representative (parent/volunteer)

Susie Collins
NYS Citizens' Coalition for Children, Inc.
Ithaca NY
607-272-0034
info@nysccc.org 
Web: www.nysccc.org

Jody Hansen-Walker
Adoption Professional and Parent
Cell: 716-207-8333
jodyhansenwalker@yahoo.com


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 subsidy 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 in Alabama. 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.

New York adoption resources on the web:
http://www.ocfs.state.ny.us/adopt/
http://www.nysccc.org

New York’s state-specific medical assistance links:
http://www.health.ny.gov/health_care/medicaid/index.htm

New York’s adoption assistance links:
http://www.ocfs.state.ny.us/adopt/subsidy.asp

Adoption Services Guide for Caseworkers
http://ocfs.ny.gov/adopt/adopt_manual/Adoption%20Services%20Guide
%20October%202010%20FULL%20booklet.pdf

 

Who is Eligible for Adoption Assistance or Subsidy?

1. How does New York define special needs to determine eligibility?

A child must be in the guardianship and custody of a voluntary authorized agency or foster parent to be eligible for adoption assistance. A child with special needs is defined as a child who is handicapped or hard to place whose needs or circumstances may be a barrier to placement or adoption without financial assistance.

Handicapped child means a child with a specific physical, mental or emotional condition or disability of such severity or kind, which, in the opinion of the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) would constitute a significant obstacle to the child’s adoption. Such conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • Any medical or dental condition which will require repeated or frequent hospitalization, treatment or follow-up care;
  • Any physical handicap, by reason of physical defect or deformity, whether congenital or acquired by accident injury or disease, which makes or may be expected to make a child totally or partially incapacitated for education or for remunerative occupation, as described in sections 1002 and 4001 of the Education Law; or makes or may be expected to make a child handicapped, as described in section 2581 of the Public Health Law;
  • Any substantial disfigurement, such as the loss or deformation of facial features, torso or extremities; or
  • A diagnosed personality or behavioral problem, psychiatric disorder, serious intellectual incapacity or brain damage that seriously affects the child’s ability to relate to his peers and/or authority figures, including mental retardation or developmental disability.

Hard-to-place child means a child, other than a handicapped child:

  • Who meets any of the following conditions, which the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) has identified as constituting a significant obstacle to a child’s adoption:
    • The child is one of a group of two siblings (including half-siblings) who are free for adoption and it is considered necessary that the group be placed together and

      1. at least one of the children is five years of age or older; or
      2. at least one of the children is a member of a minority group which is substantially over represented in New York State foster care in relation to the percentage of that group to the State’s total population; or
      3. at least one of the children is otherwise eligible for adoption assistance in accordance with the provisions of this subdivision:
    • The child is the sibling or half-sibling of a child already adopted, and it is considered necessary that such children be placed together and
      1. at least one of the children is five years of age or older; or
      2. at least one of the children is a member of a minority group which is substantially over represented in New York State foster care in relation to the percentage of that group to the State’s total population; or
      3. The siblings or half siblings already adopted is eligible for subsidy or would have been eligible for subsidy if application had been made at the time of or prior to the adoption;
    • The child is a member of a minority group that is substantially overrepresented in New York State foster care in relation to the percentage of that group to the state’s total population;
    • The child is one of a group of three or more siblings (including half-siblings) who are free for adoption and it is considered necessary that the group be placed together;
    • The child is at least eight years old and is a member of a minority group which is substantially overrepresented in New York State foster care in relation to the percentage of that group to the state’s total population;
    • The child is at least 10 years old;
    • The child is hard to place with parents other than his/her present foster parent(s) because he/she has been in care with the same foster parent(s) for 12 months or more prior to the signing of the adoption placement agreement by such foster parents and has developed a strong attachment to his/her foster parent(s) while in such care and separation from the foster parent(s) would adversely affect the child’s development.
    • Who has not been placed for adoption within six months from the date his or her guardianship and custody were committed to the social services official or the voluntary authorized agency; or
    • Who has not been placed for adoption within six months from the date a previous placement terminated and the child was returned to the care of the social services official or voluntary authorized agency; or

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 criteria of either handicapped or hard to place as defined above. The child must be in the custody of a social services official or voluntary authorized agency or certified or approved foster parent(s).

3. Are children adopted from private agencies in New York eligible for subsidies?

Yes. The same application must be completed and approved prior to finalization.  There is no distinction between the subsidy amount and services available to children in the guardianship and custody of the local social service district and the voluntary authorized agencies.


What Supports and Services Are Available?

Monthly Payments

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

Age

 

Monthly

Maintenance Per Diem

Clothing Replacement
Per Diem**

0-5

Metro*
Upstate

$497
$453

$16.57
$15.09

0.95
0.95

6-11

Metro*
Upstate

$586
$545

$19.53
$18.18

1.33
1.33

12 & over

Metro*
Upstate

$678
$631

$22.59
$21.04

2.07
2.07

16 & over

Metro*
Upstate

$678
$631

$22.59
$21.04

2.53
2.53

*Metro Region: New York City, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, and Rockland Counties

**Some social services officials will pay a diaper allowance up to age four.  The maximum per diem for the diaper allowance is $1.74

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

Because each social service district establishes its rates, not to exceed the maximum set by the state, the criteria for a specialized rate vary accordingly. The maximum specialized and exceptional per diem rates are:

Specialized per diem rates: $36.33 (Metro and Upstate)
Exceptional per diem rates: $55.07 (Metro and Upstate)

The New York State Citizen’s Coalition for Children (NYSCCC) has more specific information about rates paid throughout the state. For more information, call 607-272-0034 or visit www.nysccc.org.

6. When do subsidy payments begin?

Adoption assistance payments and benefits begin at adoption finalization for the majority of children. Payments may begin earlier if the child was placed directly in the custody of a voluntary authorized agency by the birth parent(s), or if the prospective adoptive parents are not licensed foster parents.

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

Subsidy maintenance payments are available to all eligible children until the age of 21.

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

No.

Medical Care

9. What Medicaid services are available in New York?

• Prenatal Care
• Other Health Services
• Clinic Services
• Family Planning
• Hospital Inpatient and Outpatient
• Laboratory and X-ray
• Care in a Nursing Home
• Care through Home Health Agencies and Personal Care
•  Treatment and Preventive Health and Dental Care (Doctors and Dentists)
• Treatment in Psychiatric Hospitals—(for persons under 21 or those 65 and older), mental health facilities, and facilities for the mentally retarded or the developmentally disabled.
• Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSTD) for children under 21 years of age
• Medicine, Supplies, Medical Equipment, and Appliances (wheelchairs, etc.)
• Transportation to Medical Appointment—including bus tokens and car mileage
• Emergency Ambulance Transportation to a Hospital

New York does not provide additional medical services to children receiving adoption assistance in addition to federally mandated Medicaid services. The same services are provided to children receiving adoption assistance as any other Medicaid recipient.

New York’s state-specific medical assistance information is available at http://www.health.ny.gov/health_care/medicaid/

10. What medical benefits are available for state-funded children? (Children who have federally funded/Title IV-E subsidy are automatically eligible for Medicaid benefits.)

All children eligible for Title IV-E adoption assistance receive medical assistance (MA/Medicaid).  Children receiving state-funded adoption assistance receive the same benefits as children who receive Title IV-E adoption assistance.

Children who receive adoption subsidy, but are not Title IV-E eligible, generally receive medical assistance.  The child must either qualify as handicapped or have received medical assistance while in foster care for the three month period prior to the signing of the Adoption Subsidy agreement.

Other Benefits

11. What mental health services are provided by New York?

Mental health services for children and adolescents in New York State are administered by the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH), which has a strong commitment to meeting the mental health needs of children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbance (SED).

Most children and adolescents who receive public mental health services in New York are served in community-based settings, with others served in inpatient settings. Services may include home and community-based services, case management, school support projects, functional family therapy, common sense parenting®, home-based crisis intervention, and inpatient and residential treatment.

For more information on specific services, see the OMH Statewide Comprehensive Plan for Mental Health Services at http://www.omh.ny.gov/ call the Medicaid Helpline at 518-486-9057.

Not all services may be available in all cases or communities. Parents should contact their adoption assistance worker or the county Department of Mental Health to learn more about process, eligibility, availability, and duration of services.

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

Nonrecurring expenses that may be reimbursed are reasonable and necessary adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, the costs of an adoption study (including health and psychological examinations and consultations), the cost of supervising an adoptive placement, transportation costs, and the reasonable costs of lodging and food for a child and his or her adoptive parent(s), which are incurred by or on behalf of the adoptive parent(s) and not otherwise reimbursed from other sources, which are directly related to the legal adoption of a child with special needs and which are not incurred in violation of federal laws or the laws of New York or any other state.

An application for these expenses must be signed prior to finalization of the adoption by the adoptive parent(s) and the social services official or an official of the authorized voluntary agency having custody of the child. Documentation of nonrecurring expenses must be in the form of receipts or written verification of services received and paid for, or services rendered or being rendered but for which payment has not been made. This documentation must be received within two years of the date of the final adoption decree. This must be a single application, not several submissions for the same child as receipts are gathered.

The maximum reimbursement is $2,000 per child.

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

Children who receive child care while in foster care through the Bridges 2 Health program can continue to receive child care for the child as long as they reside in New York State. There are no other programs that provide child care specifically for adopted children.

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

Many private organizations offer respite options. Search the ARCH National Respite Network Respite Locator Service (http://archrespite.org/respitelocator) to locate New York’s respite programs:

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

If an adopted child requires residential treatment services, the family would follow the same legal procedures as the family of a child who had not been adopted. It is the responsibility of the residential treatment facility to determine how costs are covered. Parents may or may not be charged for the services provided.

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

Post-adoption services in New York are provided by the local social services district or a voluntary authorized agency whose services have been purchased by the local social services district in which the adoptive parents reside. These services may include:

  • Information and referral
  • Support groups (parent/family)
  • Counseling
  • Respite Care
  • Therapeutic/crisis intervention
  • Walk-in centers

To search for post-adoption services, visit http://www.ocfs.state.ny.us/adopt/post_adoption/ or contact the New York Parent Connection at 800-345-KIDS (800-345-5437).

New York has numerous adoption support organizations:

New York State Citizens Coalition for Children
http://www.nysccc.org/; 607-272-0034

Parents should contact their adoption assistance worker or local post-adoption services contact for information regarding process, eligibility, availability, and duration of services.

17. If the assistance listed above in questions 11 to 14 is 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 child’s adoption worker, either at the Local DSS or the voluntary authorized agency.

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

Subsidy agreements are reviewed and approved at the local/county level and subsequently by NYS Adoption Services.  Social service districts may apply to conduct final reviews. 

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

Parent(s) may apply for a post-finalization subsidy only in cases where the child has a disabling condition that:

  • a a doctor certifies existed prior to finalization,
  • was not known to the adoptive parent(s) at the time of the finalization, and
  • was diagnosed after finalization.

Documentation is required. Parent(s) should use the standard adoption subsidy forms. 


How Can a Family Adjust an Adoption Assistance Agreement?

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

An adoptive parent may make a written request to the social services district or to the voluntary authorized agency making the subsidy payment for any of the following reasons/conditions:

  1. Following final approval of an adoption assistance application by the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) New York State Adoption Service (NYSAS), and prior to finalization of the adoption, if there is a change in the child’s medical condition and/or medical documentation verifying a change that warrants adoption assistance payment at a higher rate. Upon approval a new agreement will replace the previous agreement.
  2. Following finalization of the adoption where the child is receiving adoption assistance, if there is a worsening of a condition or a pre-existing condition is identified that was not known by the adoptive parent(s) prior to finalization of the adoption. The Upgrade Amendment Request, for an increase in amount, is an “amended” adoption subsidy agreement along with documentation of the child’s disabilities and documentation that subsequent to the adoption being finalized, there had been a worsening of an adoption assistance-eligible condition which may now qualify the child for a higher adoption assistance level.
  3. Following finalization of the adoption where the subsidy was not previously requested or where a previous request was never approved (see question 19 above).
  4. Following a change in the marital status of the adoptive parent(s) or a legal transfer of guardianship due to death of the adoptive parent(s), an adoptive parent or court appointed guardian may request a Technical Amendment to the approved adoption assistance agreement be submitted to change the name of the adoptive parent(s) or to acknowledge the transfer of guardianship.

Both the local social services official and OCFS must review all requests for approval. If a request for change to the adoption assistance agreement is denied, the adoptive parent can request a fair hearing (see question 22).

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

Adoptive parents have the right to request a fair hearing when a decision by OCFS or the local department of social services affects their child’s adoption assistance benefits. Any person affected by a decision of a social services official not to approve an adoption assistance payment, or by an inadequate or inappropriate payment amount, or the failure to issue a written disapproval of the completed agreement within 30 days after it was filed with the social services agency, may make a request to the OCFS for a fair hearing.

The request must be made within 60 days after receipt of the written notice of disapproval of the adoption assistance or approval at a lower rate, or when more than 30 days have elapsed without a decision from the State Adoption Services. The following issues may be raised at such hearings:

  • Whether the social services official has improperly denied an application for payments to be made, including the failure of the social services official to issue a determination of an application within 30 days of its filing;
  • Whether the social services official has determined the amount of payment to be made in violation of the law; or
  • Whether the social services official has improperly discontinued payments made in the agreement.

OCFS must uphold the denial if:

  • The child for whom payments would be made is not a handicapped or hard-to-place child; or
  • There is/was another approved adoptive parent(s) who is/was willing to accept the placement of the child without payment within 60 days of such denial and placement of the child with the other parent(s) would not be contrary to the best interests of the child.

A written notice of the hearing is sent to the prospective adoptive parents and their representatives at least six working days prior to the scheduled date of the hearing. An adoption assistance case may be Title IV-E eligible even if adoption assistance is not granted before finalization when an administrative hearing decision determines that an adoption assistance application was wrongfully denied. OCFS must make a decision within 30 days after the fair hearing.

Requests for a fair hearing must be made in writing and addressed to:

New York State Office of Children and Family Services
Bureau of Special Hearings
52 Washington Street
Rensselaer, New York 12144


What Else do Families Need to Know?

23. How is the subsidy program operated and funded in New York?

The program is state supervised/county administered.  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.

The federal contribution to Title IV-E-eligible children is 50% in New York. This is known as the Federal Financial Participation (FFP) rate.  For non-IV-E children, the state bears 75 percent and the local district 25 percent of the costs.  In the case of non-IV-E children in the custody of a voluntary agency, the subsidy is 100 percent state-funded.

24. Does New York operate a subsidized guardianship program?

No.

25. Does New York offer a tuition waiver program?

The New York Education and Training Voucher Program offers funds to foster youth and former foster youth, who are adopted after their 16th birthday, to enable them to attend colleges, universities, and vocational training institutions. Students may receive up to $5,000 a year for four years as they pursue higher education. The funds may be used for tuition, books or qualified living expenses. These funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis to students out of the New York foster care system.  For more information, go to http://www.fc2sprograms.org/new-york/

26. Does New York offer a state adoption tax credit?

No.

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

Upon the death of the person(s) who adopted the child prior to his/her 21st birthday, payments must be made to the legal guardian or custodian of the child until the child has reached the age of 21.  If the death of a parent occurs between the adopted child’s 18th and 20th birthdays, payment must continue to the guardian of the adopted child with the child’s consent, or the adopted child may apply to receive the subsidy payment directly.

28. What else differentiates New York’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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