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Wyoming State Subsidy Profile

Updated June 2006

State Subsidy Contact Person

Maureen Clifton
Department of Family Services (DFS)
130 Hobbs Avenue
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Phone: 307-777-3570
Fax: 307-777-3693
E-mail: maureen.clifton@wyo.gov


NACAC Volunteer

Currently, there is no Wyoming 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.


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 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.


Adoption Resources on the Web:

http://dfsweb.state.wy.us/adoption.html

Wyoming’s state-specific medical assistance links:

http://wdh.state.wy.us/main/index.asp and http://wdh.state.wy.us/main/programs.asp

Wyoming’s adoption assistance links:

Wyoming has no link specific to adoption assistance information.


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:

  1. Six years of age or older
  2. Member of a racial minority
  3. Member of a sibling group that needs to be placed in the same home
  4. Irreversible or non-correctable physical or mental disabilities
  5. Physical, mental or emotional disabilities correctable through surgery, treatment or other specialized services
  6. Residing in the same foster family home for a lengthy period of time where emotional ties have been developed with the foster family and adoption assistance is necessary to facilitate an adoption

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 the child must also meet the following conditions at the time of adoption placement:

  • Legally free for adoption
  • In the legal custody of the Wyoming Department of Family Services (DFS) or a child placement agency certified by the State of Wyoming
  • The financial responsibility of the Wyoming Department of Family Services or a Wyoming certified, private child placement agency
  • DFS has determined the adoptive parent can provide for the non-financial needs of the child
  • Reasonable efforts to place the child without adoption assistance have proven unsuccessful

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

Maximum rate:  $399

There are no “specialized” or “exceptional” rates available.

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

None authorized.

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 expenses are defined as reasonable and necessary adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees and other expenses that are directly related to the adoption of a special needs child.  The reimbursement limit is $2,000 per child.

6. What Medicaid services are available in Wyoming?

For Medicaid eligibility questions, call Dana Pepmeier, 307-777-6074

For questions regarding Medicaid services call “Consultec,"800-251-1269

The state contact person is Ms. Dana Pepmeier, 307-777-6074.

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

Non-IV-E eligible children receive Medicaid.

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

Public mental health services for children in Wyoming are administered by the Department of Health, Mental Health Division. Community mental health and physician outpatient mental health services are available. Contact Lisa Brockman at 307-777-7326 for more information regarding mental health services. Children may be eligible for services under the Children’s Special Health Program (CSH). Phone the CSH at 1-800-438-5795 or 307-777-7941 or: http://wdh.state.wy.us/csh/index.asp

See also Wyoming’s Department of Health (WDH) link: http://wdhfs.state.wy.us/main/index.asp and Comprehensive Program List: http://wdh.state.wy.us/main/programs.asp

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?

Wyoming does not provide additional finances or services for medical or therapeutic needs not covered under their state medical plan to children receiving adoption assistance.

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 Wyoming are administered by the Department of Family Services (DFS), Protective Services Division through DFS, contracted agencies, and parent/private organizations. Post-adoption services to include the following examples:

  1. Information and referral
  2. Educational materials
  3. Support groups
  4. Therapeutic intervention
  5. Advocacy
  6. Intermediary search program
  7. Respite Care

Many private organizations offer a variety of respite options in the more populous regions of the state.  See the ARCH National Respite Network Respite Locator Service, search by state to locate Wyoming's respite programs: http://www.respitelocator.org/.  Information on access to adoption records: http://dfsweb.state.wy.us/access.htm

Respite care is funded through “service dollars,” a combination of Title XX, IV-E, and Economic Assistance funds.

  1. Family should contact the social worker that helped finalize the adoption, or that persons' supervisor.
  2. The family will be required to state need and give details as to the severity of need.
  3. The decision to grant respite is made on a case-by-case basis by the social worker and his/her supervisor.
  4. Sometimes respite is built into adoption assistance agreements if the child has severe special needs.

Another option for respite is the “Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities.”  (This program is separate from state and county child welfare offices.)   Call 307-777-7230 for more information.

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?

N/A

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

For the Department to place a child in residential treatment, the following situation must exist for a post-finalized child—Adjudication of custody through court: Child must be declared “in need of supervision” or a delinquency petition or an abuse and neglect petition must be filed.

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

Wyoming does not offer deferred adoption assistance.  However, if the child was adopted from the State of Wyoming foster care system, a minimal adoption assistance agreement is already in place and can be adjusted in the future if necessary.  Also, children are able to receive "Medicaid only" adoption assistance agreements.  Under such agreements, Medicaid is received without a monthly monetary payment.

14. Does Wyoming operate a subsidized guardianship program?

Yes. In circumstances where the child or children are not available for adoption, or adoption is not an option for other reasons, guardianship may be the best available choice.  If family financial concerns are the only barrier to processing legal guardianship, DFS may negotiate a subsidy with the family.  This subsidy is to be for no more than $340 per month for each child.  The amount of the subsidy will be negotiated between the family and the local field office staff, similar to an adoption subsidy.  The subsidy may be initiated once the guardianship is ordered.


Programmatic Procedures

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

The worker and his/her supervisor make the eligibility determination.  Officials at the state level are only consulted if an approval outside of policy is required.

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

This is a fairly important consideration.  County supervisors and social workers have flexibility in making these decisions.  Income is not a disqualifier.  There is also great variation county to county with regard to family income.  Some counties offer subsidies to all families regardless of income; some do not.

17. When do subsidy payments begin?

Adoption assistance payments and benefits may begin at adoption placement if certain requirements are met.  In the case of foster parent adoptions, adoption assistance payments and benefits begin at adoption finalization.

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

Yes.

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

All benefits terminate at age 18, unless the adopted child is classified as “disabled.”

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

All agreements shall be reviewed at least annually.

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

Wyoming reviews adoption assistance agreements on an annual basis and parents can request a change at the annual review.  Parents can speak to the state adoption assistance worker and Supervisor at the local Department of Family Services (DFS) office where the adoption agreement was made and explain their child’s needs.  Parents can also contact the Manager of the local DFS office to further discuss any change to the adoption assistance agreement. Wyoming DFS district contact locator:

http://dfsweb.state.wy.us/districts/base2.htm

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

Adoptive parents have the right to request a fair hearing any time a DFS decision affects their child’s adoption assistance benefits.  Requests for reviews in Wyoming are made by contacting the Manager of the local Department of Family Services office.  DFS district contact locator:

http://dfsweb.state.wy.us/districts/base2.htm

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 submit their request in writing to the county agency.  The county office will then “deny” the request and the family may request a “fair hearing” in writing.  A review of the child’s file will be made to determine if the child was Title IV-E eligible.  If the IV-E eligibility is confirmed and the situation warrants, the Department will recommend negotiation of an adoption subsidy between the adoptive family and the county office.


System Operation and Program Funding

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

The program is state supervised/county administered.  This means that both policy and eligibility decisions are made by personnel at the state office.  All adoptions and adoption subsidies are done by county offices using state guidelines.

The federal contribution to Title IV-E-eligible children is 50.00% in Wyoming. 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 Wyoming's adoption assistance program from others around the country.

College Scholarship—Wyoming does not have specific programs for adoptive children's college tuition.  However, we do have a new scholarship program called the Hathaway Scholarship which is accessible to all seniors whom graduate from a Wyoming high school and attend a Wyoming college.  For More information, go to http://www.hathawayscholarships.com

 


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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