Updated July 2014
Below you can find information about the adoption assistance benefits that may be available to families who adopt children from foster care in Kansas. Adoption subsidy policies and practices are, for the most part, dependent on the state where the child was in foster care before the adoption.
Department for Children and Family Services (DCF)
555 S. Kansas Ave, 4th Floor
Topeka KS, 66603
Kansas Foster and Adoptive Parent Association
What is Adoption Assistance?
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 Kansas. 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 firstname.lastname@example.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:
Kansas’ state-specific medical assistance:
Kansas’ adoption assistance:
Kansas Statutes §38-319 to 38-329:
Kansas Policy and Procedure Manual 6200-6290:
Who is Elligible for Adoption Assistance?
1. How does Kansas define special needs to determine eligibility?
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:
- Twelve years of age or older (if age is the only special needs factor)
- Member of a sibling group of two or more children placed for adoption together, where one of the siblings has one of the special needs factors or conditions listed here
- Member of a sibling group of three or more children placed for adoption together (no other factors are necessary)
- Medically diagnosed physical disability (diagnosed by a physician, hospital, clinic or other qualified medical practitioner) that requires professional treatment, impairs normal functioning, requires assistance in self-care or the purchase of special equipment
- Significant developmental disabilities and/or delays with demonstrated need for intensive adult supervision beyond chronological age, determined through an evaluation by a licensed psychologist, diagnostic center, special education services, or other qualified professional individual
- Diagnosed as having a behavioral or emotional disability (psychiatric condition) that impairs the child’s intellectual, behavioral or social functioning (a physician, psychologist or clinical social worker must establish diagnosis and prognosis)
- Factors in the child’s genetic, health, and/or social background exist that are indicators that the child may develop physical, emotional or developmental problems at a later date (“guarded prognosis”). [Note: When a child’s eligibility for adoption assistance is based on this factor, a monthly assistance payment may not be made until the potential disability manifests itself and is documented by an appropriate health care professional.]
The presence of one or more of these factors does not, in and of itself, render a child a special needs child. It is the linking of one or more of these factors with the conclusion that it is reasonable to believe such child cannot be placed without providing adoption support.
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 be a special needs child as defined above and legally free for adoption. Eligible children in custody of the Secretary of DCF or a licensed nonprofit child placing agency may receive one or more of the following types of adoption assistance: medical assistance, Title XIX (Medicaid), monthly adoption assistance payment, special adoption assistance payment, and non-recurring adoption expenses.
These children may be eligible for non-recurring adoption expenses. The following criteria must be met when determining a child’s eligibility for state-funded adoption assistance:
- There has been a judicial determination that the child cannot or should not be returned not to the parents’ home and the child is legally free for adoption;
- The state has made reasonable efforts to place the child without assistance, unless the child is being adopted by a relative or resource parent with whom a significant relationship has already been established; and
- It has been determined that, based on a specific factor or condition, it is reasonable to conclude that a child cannot be placed without adoption assistance.
3. Are children adopted from private agencies in Kansas eligible for adoption assistance?
Yes. An application and procedures have been developed for licensed nonprofit child placing agency staff to document eligibility requirements for adoption assistance.
Children placed by the courts, adoption brokers, parents, and other individuals are rarely eligible for adoption assistance, even if they were previously in state custody.
What Supports and Services are Available?
4. What is the maximum basic monthly adoption assistance maintenance payment in Kansas?
Basic rates range from $0 to $500. Children receiving SSI may receive from $0 to the SSI rate.
5. Does Kansas provide specialized rates (based on the extraordinary needs of the child or the additional parenting skill needed to raise the child)?
Exceptions based on extraordinary needs of the child and beyond the scope of the program may be considered on a case-by-case basis, and require approval of Central Office Prevention and Protection Services. More information on the process is in Kansas Policy and Procedure Manual 6262.
Adoption Assistance Exceptions
A request for an adoption assistance exception may be sent to the PPS Adoption Assistance Program Manager when the family requests over the subsidy rate per PPM 6202 or needs goods or services beyond the scope of the program. Per federal requirements the amount of adoption assistance cannot exceed the amount a child receives if he or she had been in a family foster home. The following dispute resolution procedures may be utilized for original subsidy negotiations and renegotiations.
Regional DCF staff shall collect, and review all supporting documentation for an adoption assistance exception. The family shall request the exception in writing explaining the current needs of the child and the reason for the request. DCF shall obtain information from the CWCMP if the child is in the custody of the Secretary.
6. When do adoption assistance payments begin?
Adoption assistance payments and benefits may begin at adoption placement, following the signing of the adoption placement agreement.
7. When a child turns 18, which benefits, if any, continue?
Adoption assistance ends when the child turns 18, unless the child has a specific mental or physical disability that warrants continuation until age 21. For those youth without such a disability, payments may continue beyond age 18 with state money until the youth completes high school.
8. Does Kansas offer deferred adoption assistance agreements (agreements where initial monthly maintenance amount is $0 for children at risk of developing special needs later)?
Yes. If a child has been determined to have a “guarded prognosis” and may need assistance at a later date, eligibility for assistance may be determined with a zero payment. A medical card may not be issued unless a problem arises later. Normally, children in the “guarded prognosis” category are not currently being treated for a specific disability or condition but have factors in their genetic, health, or social background that indicate the child may develop physical, emotional or developmental problems at a later date.
9. What Medicaid services are available in Kansas?
A KAN Be Healthy Screenng is required for all Medicaid patients. Medicaid covers traditional medical services including:
- Office visits
- Therapy (drug and alcohol)
- Durable goods (wheelchairs, etc.)
- Hearing aids
- Outpatient therapy
- Mental health treatment
- Regular dental
For more information on Medicaid, visit https://www.kmap-state-ks.us/Public/Beneficiary/default.asp
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.)
Non-IV-E eligible children are eligible for Medicaid. Benefits for IV-E and non-IV-E children do not differ.
11. What mental health services are available?
Kansas public mental health services are administered through the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) and may include outpatient clinical services, 24-hour emergency services, consultation and education, screening, aftercare, case management, prescription drugs, medication management, residential treatment, and in-home family treatment. See Kansas Behavioral Health Services, a program of KDADS: http://www.kansasbehavioralhealthservices.org/Bhs1.0/Consumer_And_Families/Programs_And_Services.aspx
Not all services may be available in all cases. Parents should contact their adoption assistance worker or medical assistance contact for information regarding process, eligibility, availability, and duration of services.
12. In Kansas, what nonrecurring adoption expenses directly related to the finalization of an adoption may be reimbursed?
Parents may be reimbursed up to $2,000 for reasonable and necessary adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, and other expenses directly related to the legal adoption of an eligible child, such as the costs incurred for the adoption study (including health and psychological examinations), as well as transportation costs and the reasonable costs of lodging and food for the child and/or adoptive parents when necessary to complete the adoption process.
To be eligible, a child must be a Kansas child, meaning the petition to adopt is filed in a Kansas court or the adopting parents are Kansas residents, and adoption assistance is not being provided by another state. International children are rarely eligible for reimbursement.
The reimbursement is payable upon finalization of the adoption.
13. Is child care available? If yes, who is eligible and how do families access child care?
Child care is normally included as part of the regular adoption assistance payment to the family.
14. Is respite care available? If yes, who is eligible and how do families access respite care?
If respite care is needed, it is normally included as a part of the regular adoption assistance payment to the family.
In addition, some private organizations offer a variety of respite options. Use the ARCH National Respite Network Respite Locator Service (http://archrespite.org/respitelocator) to locate Kansas respite programs.
15. Is residential treatment available? If yes, who is eligible and how do families access residential treatment services?
Residential care is not covered under adoption assistance, although any child with a medical card may access mental health services through the local Mental Health Center, for locations select your county on this web page, http://www.acmhck.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/CommunityMentalHealthCentersofKS_2014.pdf. Residential treatment may or may not be a part of each child’s treatment plan.
16. What other post-adoption services are available in Kansas and how do families find out more about them?
Post-adoption services in Kansas are for children previously in Kansas state custody, administered by PPS , and contracted through outside agencies. Services may include:
- Case management
- Support groups
- Parenting education
- Family preservation
Aftercare services are provided by Child Welfare Case Management Providers for children who were adopted from state custody after adoption finalization (children adopted before July 1, 2013 were limited to 12 months of services). These services are available on an on-going basis, and are not limited to crisis situations. Children not being served by a Provider can access services through the local DCF service center until their adoption assistance ends.
All families can access services on an as-needed basis in their home communities via the local area social service office. County DCF offices can be found at http://www.dcf.ks.gov/services/Pages/DCFOfficeLocatorMap.aspx
Not all services may be available in all cases. Parents should contact their adoption assistance worker or regional PPS office for information regarding process, eligibility, availability, and duration of services.
17. If the assistance listed above in questions 13 to 16 are for specific services, must these services be explicitly identified in the adoption assistance agreement?
Yes, the specific service payment must be identified in the adoption assistance agreement.
What Should Families Know about Applying for Adoption Assistance?
18. Who initiates the adoption assistance agreement?
DCF administers the Adoption Assistance program. Determination of eligibility and negotiation of the amount and type of assistance is the responsibility of local DCF Service Center Staff
19. Who makes the final determination on an adoption assistance agreement?
The regional PPS Adoption Assistance Specialist makes the determination, which is then approved by the supervisor. The PPS central office approves exceptions and reviews disputed cases if needed, and serve as consultants in the process.
20. How do families request adoption assistance after finalization of an adoption?
Families must request assistance in writing, and the agency will deny the request based on federal guidelines. Parents then submit a written request for an administrative fair hearing. Hearings are usually non-adversarial and handled by telephone. To start the process, families should contact their local PPS office. Families who live outside Kansas should contact Karen Wahlmeier, Prevention and Protection Serivces Services (316-337-6355).
How Can a Family Adjust an Adoption Assistanc Agreement?
21. Can adoptive parents ask to change an adoption assistance agreement?
Both the adoptive parents and the regional Adoption Assistance Specialist may request to renegotiate the adoption assistance agreement. PPS or the parents may request a renegotiation any time there are significant changes in the child’s or family’s circumstances. Adoptive parents may request an increase in the adoption assistance payment at any time to correspond to changes in the child’s needs or when the child’s needs were underestimated during initial negotiations. Parents must provide the adoption assistance specialist with documentation substantiating the changes in the child’s needs. The terms of the agreement cannot be terminated, suspended, or changed without the concurrence of the adoptive family and PPS. A change in the terms of the agreement requires that a new agreement be signed.
22. What steps does a family go through to appeal an adoption assistance decision in Kansas?
Adoptive parents must submit a written, signed fair hearing request to the local PPS office or the Office of Administrative Hearing within 30 days of the date of the agency’s notice of action affecting services; an additional three days shall be allowed if this notice of final decision is mailed. Such a request may relate to an agency action or a failure to act with reasonable promptness on a social service case. Examples include undue delay in reaching a decision on eligibility or making a payment, refusal to consider a request for payment, undue delay in adjustment of payment, and rejection or termination of services.
An attorney is not required. PPS adoption assistance specialists prepare a response to the request and PPS management staff may review the decision to determine whether proper procedures were followed. A fair hearing is held, sometimes by teleconference, and fair hearing decision is made. Adoptive parents can appeal the decision or final action of any agent or employee of the Department of Children and Family Services.
Requests for fair hearing should go to:
Office of Administrative Hearings
1020 S Kansas Avenue
Topeka, Kansas 66612-1311
The fair hearing process and the state laws outlining the process can be accessed at: http://oah.ks.gov/hearings-SRS.htm. A fair hearing request form can be accessed at: http://oah.ks.gov/forms.htm
What Else do Families Need to Know?
23. How is the adoption assistance program operated and funded in Kansas?
In Kansas, the federal contribution to Title IV-E-eligible children is 56.91 percent (known as the Federal Financial Participation or FFP rate). The remaining cost of the program is funded with state general funds.
24. Does Kansas operate a subsidized guardianship program?
Yes, Kansas has limited funding for permanent custodianship subsidy to assist families willing to assume this responsibility, but it is only for those children who have been in Kansas state custody. For information, contact Prevention and Protection Services at 785-296-4653 or visit http://www.dcf.ks.gov/services/PPS/Pages/PermanentCustodianship.aspx
25. Does Kansas offer a tuition waiver program?
The Foster Child Education Assistance Act waives tuition and fees at state schools for youth who are adopted or placed into permanent guardianships from DCF foster care at age 16 or after. The waiver is available until the youth turns 23. It is also available to youth who are in DCF custody foster care when they turn 18.
The Education and Training Voucher program offers eligible youth up to $3,500 per year while in college or a vocational or technical training program. Youth must have been adopted or placed into permanent guardianship from foster care at or after age 16. Other qualifications include:
- Youth must h ave a high school diploma or GED
- Youth have been accepted into or are enrolled in a dgree, certificate or other program at a college, university, technical or vocational school and show progress toward that degree or certificate.
- Youth in custody of DCF, tribal custody, or KS Department of Corrections-Juvenile Services foster care when they turn 18 or, 19 or 20 years old may also be eligible.
To find out more about specific eligibility requirements, youth or parents should contact their caseworker or:
Jaymee Metzenthin, State Independent Living Manager or,
Stacy Tidwell, State Indpendent Living Coordinator
Department for Children and Families
Docking State Office Building
919 SW Harrison, 5th Floor
Topeka, KS 66612
Jaymee.Metzenthin@dcf.ks.gov or 785-368-8192
Stacy.Tidwell@dcf.ks.gov or 785-296-0392
26. Does Kansas offer a state adoption tax credit?
Kansas offers a 25 percent tax credit (up to $1,500) for adoption expenses for a Kansas resident who adopts a child in the custody of DCF or a child with special needs, whether or not the parent is reimbursed for all or part of qualified adoption expenses or has received a public or private grant for the expenses. For more information, visit https://www.ksrevenue.org/prtaxcredits-adoption.html.
To download the form K-47, visit http://www.ksrevenue.org/pdf/k-47.pdf
27. Does Kansas have any program to support an adoptee whose adoptive parents die until the child is adopted again?
If a child is eligible for IV-E adoption assistance and becomes available for adoption because of the dissolution of a prior adoption or the death of their adoptive parents. Then only determination that shall be made by DCF prior to the finalization of the subsequent adoption is whether the child continues to have special needs. The agency in the subsequent adoptive parent’s State of residence is responsible for determining whether the child meets the definition of special needs, entering into the adoption assistance agreement, and paying the adoption assistance. The child does not have to be in the custody of the Secretary.
28. What else differentiates Kansas’s adoption assistance program from others around the country?
Kansas has a Special Service Payment Program that provides families with one-time or time-limited payments when a specific need cannot be met by another resource, such as Medicaid, the monthly support payment, etc. The program has a six-month limit and a maximum payment of $1,000. Plans of longer duration or more than $1,000 require central office approval.