Updated January 2021

Below you can find information about the adoption assistance benefits that may be available to families who adopt children from foster care in Michigan. 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

Patricia Neitman, Program Manager
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
235 S Grand Ave, Ste 612
Lansing, MI 48909

NACAC Volunteer

Benita Fyan
Twin Lake, MI 49457

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 Michigan. 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.

Michigan’s adoption resources:

Michigan’s state-specific medical assistance information:

Michigan’s adoption assistance information:

Michigan Statutes, Social Welfare Act, Section 400.115f through 400.115m:
http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(use4s445d1ex1045bydrydbo))/documents/mcl/pdf/mcl-280-1939-COUNTY-DEPARTMENT-OF-SOCIAL-SERVICES.pdf (then go to pages 77-81)

Michigan Adoption Subsidy Manual, AAM 100 through AAM 700:
http://www.mfia.state.mi.us/olmweb/ex/AA/Public/AAM/000.pdf#pagemode=bookmarks (This goes to a table of contents; click on the title or the section or manual code/number to access it.)

Who Is Eligible for Adoption Assistance/Subsidy?

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

The requirements for eligibility for adoption subsidy are:

  • The child is under 18 years old
  • The child’s parental rights have been terminated (exceptions to this requirement are made for tribal customary adoptions)
  • The child has one of the following specific factors or conditions:
    • The children is eligible for SSI based solely on the medical and disability requirements, as determined by the Social Security Administration
    • The child has a documented difficulty of care determination of Level II or higher that is supported by the current foster care updated service plan.
    • The child is three years of age or older.
    • The child is being adopted by a relative (within the 5th degree of consanguinity).
    • The child is being adopted to join an already adopted sibling.
    • The child is a member of a sibling group being adopted together and at least one sibling has been determined eligible for adoption support subsidy as an individual.
  • The adoptive parent(s) have signed the section of the Adoption Assistance Intent Statement indicating that they need support to finalize the adoption.

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

To be eligible for state-funded adoption assistance, a child must meet the special needs definition outlined in question 1 and be in state foster care immediately before the eligibility determination for adoption assistance is made.

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

Yes, but they must meet the same eligibility criteria as children in the public child welfare system.

What Supports and Services Are Available?

Monthly Payments

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

Age Rate
0-12 $17.53/day
13+ $20.92/day

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

Yes, based on the determination of care (DOC) rates the child received in foster care.
DOC rates are based on age and the child’s level of medical or behavioral needs. The supplement must be based on one or more of the following situations where additional care is required of the parents or an additional expense exists:

  • Physically disabled children for whom foster care parents must provide measurably greater supervision and care.
  • Children with special psychological or psychiatric needs who require extra time and measurably greater amounts of child care and attention in the home.
  • Children requiring special diets that are more expensive than a normal diet and which require extra time and work to obtain and prepare.
  • Children whose severe acting out or antisocial behavior requires a measurably greater amount of care and attention.

The rates listed below are listed in addition to the basic rate listed in question 4 above.

Age Level I Level II Level III
Age 0-12 $5/day $10/day $15/day
Age 13+ $6/day $11/day $16/day
Medically Fragile $8/day $13/day $18/day

Rates above Level III are granted by exception only.

6. When do adoption assistance payments begin?

Payment of adoption assistance begins the date the child is placed for adoption by the court order as long as the parent(s) and the Director of DHS have signed a written assistance agreement before that date. If the assistance agreement is signed after the adoptive placement (but before the adoption is confirmed), adoption assistance will begin on the date the agreement is signed by the agency staff.

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

Adoption assistance payments typically continue until the child reaches age 18, although there a few exceptions:

  1. For children receiving Title IV-E adoption subsidy, the subsidy can continue to age 19 if the child has a disability that warrants the continuation.
  2. If the child was not receiving Title IV-E adoption subsidy or is not eligible for continuation based on a disability, then the subsidy can be extended until age 19 or when the youth graduates from high school or a GED program, whichever is earlier. To be eligible under this criteria, the adoptee must:
    • Be age 18 and have not completed high school or a GED program.
    • Be regularly attending high school, a GED program, or a program for children with disabilities on a full-time basis and progressing toward achieving a high school diploma, certificate of completion, or GED.
    • Not be eligible for SSI.

    For these adoptees who were not IV-E eligible, the Medicaid provided through the adoption subsidy program will end at age 18.

    For more information see Adoption Subsidy Manual 630 at https://dhhs.michigan.gov/OLMWEB/EX/AA/Public/AAM/630.pdf#pagemode=bookmarks

  3. For youth adopted at age 16 or 17, Michigan will continue to provide adoption assistance through their 21st birthday as long as the youth is in school, in job training, or employed, or has a medical condition that prevents such education or employment. In the cases, the youth and parents must request an extension of assistance beyond age 18 and sign a new adoption assistance agreement.

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


Medical Care

9. What Medicaid services are available in Michigan?

Michigan’s Medicaid program is administered by the Department of Community Health. Information about Medicaid-covered services is available through the Medical Assistance Hotline at 800-642-3195 or at http://www.michigan.gov/mdch/0,4612,7-132-2943_4860—,00.html

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.)

Children receiving state-funded adoption assistance will receive the same Medicaid coverage as IV-E-eligible children if they meet all three of the following conditions:

  • Their adoptions were finalized after December 1, 1997,
  • Their special needs for medical, mental health, or rehabilitative care were documented before the adoptive placement,
  • They cannot be adopted without medical assistance.

11. What mental health services are available?

Public mental health services for children in Michigan are administered through the Department of Community Health (DCH), Behavioral Health and Development Disabilities Administration, and are coordinated through local Community Mental Health Services Programs (CMHSPs). Services may include physician visits, inpatient and outpatient hospitalization, medical supplies, prescription drugs, mental health care, personal care services, and substance abuse services.

For more information ,visit the web site at http://www.michigan.gov/mdch/0,1607,7-132-2941_4868_7145—,00.html. Parents can also call the Michigan Medical Assistance Hotline at 800-642-3195.

Community mental health services programs are listed at http://www.michigan.gov/documents/cmh_8_1_02_37492_7.PDF.

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 Michigan, 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 for the nonrecurring adoption expenses directly related to the legal adoption of a child with special needs that cannot be reimbursed from other sources. Nonrecurring expenses may include court filing fees, birth certificate fees, medical (such as adoption physicals) and required psychological evaluations of adoptive family members, transportation and reasonable costs of food and lodging for the child or adoptive family if necessary to complete the adoption process, and fees associated with Michigan children adopted in other states (adoption home study, adoption supervision, and attorney fees).

The signed and dated eligibility application must be received in the Adoption Subsidy Program office on or before the date the adoption is finalized. The claim for expenses must be received in the Adoption Subsidy Program Office within two years of the adoption finalization order.

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


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

Respite care is not provided or funded through the adoption assistance program. Families with Medical Subsidies (see question 28) may be eligible for payment for some in-home services for medically fragile children and children with severe behavior problems. Also, short-term out-of-home care (weekends) can be funded through the Medical Subsidy program as part of a plan to prevent long-term residential placement.

Michigan’s county community mental health boards do administer respite care programs for families with children who have special needs. These programs are available to all families who meet eligibility criteria, including adoptive families.

In addition, many private organizations offer a variety of respite options. Search for Michigan resources in the ARCH National Respite Network Respite Locator Service at https://archrespite.org/respitelocator. The Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE) at http://www.mare.org/ may also have information on respite resources.

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

Residential treatment may be covered under the Medical Subsidy program (see question 28) if the child has been certified to be eligible. Payment must be authorized before treatment, and authorization is time-limited.

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

Post-adoption services in Michigan are administered by the DHS, Child and Family Services Administration and provided by DHS, contracted agencies, and parent organizations. Post-adoption services may include:

  • Information and referral
  • Educational programs
  • Educational materials
  • Support groups
  • Therapeutic intervention
  • Advocacy
  • Confidential intermediary program
  • Tuition incentive program
  • Recreation and training programs

DHS provides Regional Post Adoption Resource Centers (PARC) for families who have adopted children from state foster care. For more information, visit http://www.michigan.gov/dhs/0,4562,7-124-60126_7116_63826_63829—,00.html.

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?


What Should Families Know About Applying for Adoption Assistance?

18. Who initiates the adoption assistance agreement?

Local adoption workers submit applications for adoption assistance.

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

The state Adoption Subsidy Office makes the final determination.

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

Michigan law does not allow for adoption subsidy after finalization unless an error has occurred. Parents who believe such an error has occurred may submit a written request for adoption assistance that identifies the child and pertinent information related to the adoption. The Adoption Subsidy Office will investigate the request and respond in writing to the family.

Families should contact:
Adoption Subsidy Office
Michigan Department of Human Services
Grand Tower, Suite 412
P.O. Box 30037
Lansing, MI 48909

For children who would be receiving IV-E adoption assistance, the family will need to go through the fair hearing process to obtain adoption subsidy benefits after finalization (see question 22).

How Can a Family Adjust an Adoption Assistance Agreement?

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

Families can request modification of adoption assistance at any time provided the request does not exceed the maximum allowable rate in the agreement. Typically, however, families choose to receive the maximum allowable rate at adoptive placement, which means there is no way to request an increase. Even if a child’s needs change after finalization, it does not affect the maximum the child can receive. The maximum rate is based on the child’s actual DOC determination at finalization.

Otherwise, changes to the adoption assistance agreement are only possible when state legislative changes are made to the foster care maintenance rates for children the same age of the child receiving adoption assistance. In this case, adoption assistance rates can increase to reflect the increased foster care rates. Adoption assistance rates are capped at the rate the child would receive if they in state foster care.

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

After adoptive placement, the adoptee or the family may appeal decisions regarding subsidy whenever they believe the decision is incorrect. DHS provides an administrative hearing to review the decision and determine its appropriateness. Families must submit hearing requests in writing within 90 days of being notified or informed of the decision regarding approval or denial of a certification request or a negative decision regarding payment of a subsidy or case closure. Parents may represent themselves at the hearing, or may be represented (at their own expense) by an attorney, relative, friend or other spokesperson. An appeal request shall not stay any action taken or decision by the Agency unless the request is submitted within 10 days of being informed of the decision.

Parents should send a written request for fair hearing to:

Adoption Subsidy Office, Hearings Coordinator
Michigan Department of Human Services
Grand Tower Building, Suite 413
P.O. Box 30037
Lansing, MI, 48909

Adoption Subsidy Manual 700 has more information on Administrative Hearings, http://www.mfia.state.mi.us/olmweb/ex/gdm/gdm.pdf

What Else Do Families Need to Know?

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

The program is state supervised/state administered, which means that both policy and eligibility decisions are made by personnel at the state office.

The federal contribution to Title IV-E-eligible children (the Federal Financial Participation or FFP rate) is 64.45% in Michigan. The remaining cost of the program is funded with TANF and state funds. Counties are not responsible for funding any portion of the adoption assistance program.

24. Does Michigan operate a subsidized guardianship program?

Yes. More information about the program can be found in the Child Guardianship Manual at http://www.mfia.state.mi.us/OLMWeb/ex/GD/Public/GDM/000.pdf#pagemode=bookmarks

The Michigan State University School of Social Work has a kinship navigator program as part of their Kinship Care Resource Center. 

25. Does Michigan offer a tuition waiver program?

Michigan offers the Tuition Incentive Program (TIP), which helps pay college tuition and mandatory fees for students from low-income families. Eligibility includes students who: (1) are identified by DHS as Medicaid eligible; (2) apply before graduation from high school or receiving a GED; and (3) are under age 20 at the time of graduation or GED completion. Families should call 888-4GRANTS (888-447-2687) for more information. The TIP brochure is on the web at http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mistudentaid/2013TIPbrochure_408329_7.pdf.

26. Does Michigan offer a state adoption tax credit?

Not any more. Michigan’s adoption tax credit ended in 2011.

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

Yes. If a child’s adoptive parent(s) die, the guardian can receive the adoption subsidy and/or medical subsidy benfits as long as the guardian is appointed as provided in section 5202 or 5204 of the Estates and Protected Individuals Code, 1998 PA 386, MCL 700.5202 and 700.5204. In these situations the subsidy will be state funded (not IV-E) and the state will no longer provide Medicaid for the child through the adoption subsidy program.

28. What else differentiates Michigan’s adoption assistance program from others around the country?

Michigan’s Medical Subsidy program provides support to some children adopted from foster care. The program’s purpose is to provide support for medical conditions when families have exhausted all other sources of funding. Medical Subsidy program services must be directly related to a physical, mental, or emotional condition that existed, or the cause of which existed, before the adoption.

A child does not need to receive adoption subsidy benefits to be eligible for Medical Subsidy.

If the child has already been placed for adoption, the parents must apply for the benefit. If it is before the adoption, the worker will make the application. For more information, visit https://dhhs.michigan.gov/OLMWEB/EX/AA/Public/AAM/400.pdf#pagemode=bookmarks

The Adoption Subsidy Office must approve any services in advance. Medical Subsidy payments are made after parents or providers submit bills to the Adoption Subsidy Office. For more information about how to use Medical Subsidy benefits, visit https://dhhs.michigan.gov/OLMWEB/EX/AA/Public/AAM/640.pdf#pagemode=bookmarks

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