October 2020

Below you can find information about the adoption assistance benefits that may be available to families who adopt children from foster care in Idaho. Adoption subsidy policies and practices are, for the most part, dependent on the state where the child was in foster care before the adoption.

State Contact

Stephanie Miller
Idaho Department of Health & Welfare
450 West State St, 5th floor
Boise, ID 83702

NACAC Volunteer

NACAC doesn’t currently have a volunteer in Idaho.  If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for NACAC for the state of Idaho, contact Josh Kroll at joshk@nacac.org or 800-470-6665 x115.  

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 Idaho. 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:
Adoption information—http://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/Children/AdoptionFosterCareHome/Adoption/tabid/1911/Default.aspx
Wednesday’s Child—http://www.idahowednesdayschild.org/

Idaho’s adoption assistance information:
http://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/Children/AdoptionFosterCareHome/BecomingaFosterorAdoptiveParent/tabid/1905/Default.aspx (Under Frequently Asked Questions, see Is financial assistance available?)

Idaho statutes related to adoption:
Title 56 Public Assistance and Welfare, Chapter 8, Hard-to-Place Children 56-801 to 56-806.

Title 16 Juvenile Proceedings, Chapter 15 Adoption of Children:

Idaho Administrative Code 16.06.01-900:

Who is Eligible for Adoption Assistance?

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

A child with special needs is a child who cannot or should not be returned to the parents’ home and who has at least one of the following needs or circumstances that may be a barrier to placement or adoption without financial assistance:

  • The child has a physical, mental, emotional or medical disability, or is at risk of developing such disability based on known information regarding the birth family and child’s history;
  • The child’s age makes it difficult to find an adoptive home; or
  • The child is a member of a sibling group that must not be separarted.

The state must make a reasonable but unsuccessful effort to place the child without a subsidy, except in cases where it is not in a child’s best interests due to significant emotional ties with foster parent(s) or relative(s) who are willing to adopt the child.

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

Children must be in the custody of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare and meet special needs criteria to qualify for the state funded program.

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

Children who are eligible for Title IV-E and who meet the state’s definition of special needs may be eligible for adoption assistance.

What Supports and Services are Available?

Monthly Payments

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

Age Rate
0-5 $329
6-12 $366
13-18 $487

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

Specialized rates are established while children are in foster care based upon a ongoing assessment of the child’s circumstances that necessitate special rates as well as the care provider’s ability, activities, and involvement in addressing those special needs. The specialized rates provide $90, $150, or $240 per month in addition to the basic rate.

6. When do adoption assistance payments begin?

Adoption assistance payments and benefits may begin once the Adoption Assistance Agreement is fully executed between the adopting family and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. The adoption assistance agreement must be fully executed prior to adoption finalization. In most cases, for children adopted within Idaho, adoption assistance payments and benefits begin at adoption finalization. For those children who are placed outside of Idaho through an interstate adoption, Idaho may negotiate and sign the adoption assistance agreement at the time of placement so that adoption assistance benefits, specifically Medicaid, are immediately available to the child in the new state.

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

No benefits are available to children over age 18.

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

Yes. Payments and benefits are established under what is known as “Agreement Only” assistance. This type of agreement allows families to return to the state at a later date to open the adoption assistance case for benefits and services needed at that time. For children who are eligible for adoption assistance based on the “at risk” criterion, adoption assistance benefits are not available until such time as the specific disability for which the child is known to be at risk becomes evident. Once an “at risk” factor becomes evident, the adoptive family must contact the local adoption assistance office to renegotiate/activate the child’s adoption assistance agreement.

Local offices can be found at:

Medical Care

9. What Medicaid services are available in Idaho?

  • Braces and Artificial Limbs
  • Case Management Services
  • Chiropractic Services
  • Counseling Services
  • Dental Services
  • Developmental Disability Services
  • Doctor and Nurse Office Visits
  • Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) Checks
  • Family Planning and Related Services
  • Home Health Services
  • Hospice Care
  • Hospital Inpatient Services
  • Immunizations
  • Medial Equipment and Supplies
  • Mental Health Services
  • Nursing Homes
  • Personal Care Services
  • Podiatry
  • Pregnancy Related Services
  • Prescription Drugs
  • Service Coordination
  • School-Based Services
  • Substance Abuse Detoxification and Rehabilitation
  • Therapy
  • Transportation (non-emergency)
  • Traumatic Brain Injury Services
  • Vision Services
  • Wheelchairs

There are some limits to these services, and some may require prior authorization from Medicaid first. For more information, parents can contact the Idaho CareLine at 211 or (800) 926-2588

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.)

State-funded children receive the same coverage as IV-E children.

11. What mental health services are available?

Public mental health services for children in Idaho are administered by the Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) through the Division of Behavioral Health and the Division of Medicaid. Services may include assessment and evaluation, clinical case management, family support, respite care, outpatient services, day treatment, prescription medication, therapeutic foster care, residential treatment, inpatient hospitalization, crisis/emergency intervention.

Medicaid finances the majority of children’s public mental health services, including services under the Clinic Option, the Rehabilitation Option and Inpatient Services. The Division of Behavioral Health’s children’s mental health program has the 10 core services listed above, which are available for children with serious emotional disturbance (SED) and their families. Idaho uses the least restrictive theory of service delivery to maintain children in their homes whenever possible. Families, children and mental health clinicians work collaboratively to determine the appropriate mix of services necessary to meet the child and family’s needs.

For more information visit:

Children’s Mental Health: http://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/Medical/MentalHealth/ChildrensMentalHealth/tabid/314/Default.aspx

Council on Children’s Mental Health:

Not all services may be available in all cases. Parents should contact their adoption assistance worker or medical assistance specialist for information regarding process, eligibility, availability, and duration of services.

Other Benefits

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

Parents may be reimbursed up to $2,000 per child in nonrecurring adoption costs such as legal fees to finalize the adoption, agency fees (placement and supervision, home study costs, criminal history costs), and travel/meals/lodging expenses. International adoptions are not eligible.

Parents must file an application and negotiate a reimbursement agreement before finalization. For cases where the child has not been in the custody of the Department of Health and Welfare, Idaho will not cover legal expenses to complete the termination of parental rights. Once parental rights are terminated and a child is legally free for adoption, legal expenses can be applied to the nonrecurring adoption expenses reimbursement.

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

Residential treatment is not covered through the adoption assistance agreement. A child may qualify for residential treatment services if they meet the criteria set by Children’s Mental Health.

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

Idaho does not provide additional finances or services for medical or therapeutic needs not covered under the state medical plan to children receiving adoption assistance. Medical or therapeutic needs not covered under the state medical plan must be negotiated as part of the adoption assistance agreement, or as an amendment to the agreement. Benefits must be authorized by the State Adoption Assistance office before service delivery.

Post-adoption services are administered by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Division of Family and Community Services, with services provided based on resources available. Services are provided by the state’s seven regions. For more information, parents should contact Stephanie Miller (see contact information at top of page 1) or their local DHW office (see contact information in question 8).

15. If the assistance listed above in questions 13 and 14 are for specific services, must these services be explicitly identified in the adoption assistance agreement?


What Should Families Know About Applying for Adoption Assistance?

16. Who initiates the adoption assistance agreement?

Workers submit documentation to the Resource Development Unit, which then determines a child’s eligibility once the termination of parental rights is complete. Workers then directly negotiate contracts with families. Supervisory approval is required.

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

Final signature authority is given by the Permanency Program Specialist.

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

Families submit an application for post-legal adoption assistance consideration. An eligibility determination is requested to document if the child was eligible for either a federal- (IV-E) or state-funded adoption subsidy. For children who are determined to have been IV-E eligible at the time of adoption (with no adoption assistance agreement negotiated at time of adoption), a denial of benefit, which is a federal requirement, is issued along with the notice of fair hearing and an explanation of the process.

Families should contact the regional adoption staff in the region where they currently live (see contact information in question 8).

How Can a Familiy Adjust an Adoption Assistance Agreement?

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

Adoptive parents can request a change in the adoption assistance agreement whenever there is a change in the family’s circumstances or the child’s needs. Adoption assistance benefits can be modified at any time before the child’s 18th birthday. Parents must make requests in writing to the regional Children and Family Services office if the family resides in Idaho. If the family resides outside of the state, they must make the request to the state adoption assistance office. Request for changes must include information detailing the change in the child’s needs along with supporting documentation from professional service providers. If the change is due to a change in family circumstance, families must provide written documentation of changes in family income or circumstances. Adoption assistance agreements are reviewed annually in March to provide a yearly opportunity for adoptive families to determine if they need to request changes. Families are able to request a fair hearing if they disagree with the response to a requested change.

To find the regional DHW office, see question 8.

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

Adoptive parents can request a fair hearing whenever they disagree with a DHW decision that affects their child’s adoption assistance benefits. A written letter detailing the fair hearing process is included with every adverse decision notice sent to the adoptive family and includes an application for fair hearing.

The written request for fair hearing must be filed with the Administrative Hearings Office within 30 days of the mailing of the denial of benefits or services. The hearing itself can be conducted in the local Children and Family Services office or by telephone. Families may represent themselves or may choose to bring an advocate(s) to the hearing. The hearing officer receives written and verbal testimony from all parties and then sends a written decision to the adoptive family.

Requests for fair hearing are made by written request to:

Department of Health and Welfare
Administrative Hearings Section
450 W. State Street, 10th Floor
Boise, ID 83720-0036

What Else do Families Need to Know?

21. How is the adoption assistance program operated and funded in Idaho?

The Idaho adoption system has seven regions that are supervised and administered by the state office. 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 71.75% in Idaho, which is known as the Federal Financial Participation or FFP rate. The remaining cost of the program is funded entirely with state dollars.

22. Does Idaho operate a subsidized guardianship program?

Yes. Subsidized guardianship is only available to children who are currently in the guardianship of the state and whose parental rights have been terminated. Documented efforts must have been made to place the child for adoption.


23. Does Idaho offer a tuition waiver program?

Idaho foster youth who were adopted at age 16 or older may qualify for
the Education and Training Voucher Program (ETV) which offers financial assistance for post-secondary education and training. For more information, parents can contact the Idaho CareLine at 211 or 800-926-2588

24.  Does Idaho offer a state adoption tax credit?

Idaho has an adoption expense deduction of legal and medical expenses.  The credit is up to $10,000 which is claimed on line 12 of form 39R.  Travel expenses are not eligible for this credit.  Expenses can be claimed in the year paid, however unsuccessful adoptions are not eligible for this credit.  If you had an unsuccessful adoption, you will need to amend your prior year return to add back in the amount that was deducted.  

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