Updated May 2019

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

Jania Hatfield
Adoption Negotiations Program Manager
Child & Family Services Division
PO Box 8005
Helena, MT 59604

Kyla Rock
Post Adoption Services Program Manager

NACAC Volunteer

Pat Llewellyn
MT State Foster Adoptive Parent Assoc.
Missoula MT

April Horvath
Darby, MT

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 Montana. 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:
(Parents can also send specific questions to askaboutadoption@mt.gov.)

Montana’s state-specific medical assistance:

Montana’s adoption assistance:
Montana’s adoption assistance information is found in the Montana Code Annotated 2009, Title 42 Adoption, Chapter 10 Subsidized Adoption link: http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca_toc/42_10_1.htm

Administrative rules of Montana, 37.52.201 through 37.52.220, Subsidized Adoption:

Who is Eligible for Adoption Assistance or Subsidy?

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

A child with special needs is one who is under the placement and responsibility of the state Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) or of a tribe with whom the state has a Title IV-E agreement. The child must also meet all of the following criteria :

  1. The child meets at least one of the following criteria that serve as a barrier to placement or adoption without financial assistance:
    1. Diagnosed as having a physical, mental, or emotional disability
    2. Recognized to be at high risk of developing a physical, mental or emotional disability
      A member of a minority group
    3. Six years of age or older
    4. A member of a sibling group to be placed together for adoption
    5. If an applicable child , meets all medical or disability requirements of SSI*
  2. The child is under age 18 when the subsidized adoption agreement is signed.
  3. The child is legally free for adoption and cannot or should not be returned to the home of his or his parent(s).
  4. Adoptive placement is in the child’s best interest.
  5. Montana has determined that reasonable, but unsuccessful, efforts have been made to place the child with appropriate adoptive parents without adoption assistance, except where it would be against the best interests of the child because of such factors as the existence of significant emotional ties with prospective adoptive parents while in the care of such parents as a foster child.

*An applicable child is a child who is IV-E eligible due to the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008. For information on the definition of an applicable child, visit http://www.fosteringconnections.org/about_the_law?id=0007.

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 definition of special needs above and be under the placement and care responsibility of the Montana DPHHS, a tribe with whom the state has a Title IV-E agreement, or a licensed private adoption agency. The child must be under age 18 at the time the adoption assistance agreement is signed.

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

Yes, if they are either Title IV-E or SSI (Supplemental Security Income) eligible.

What Supports and Services Are Available?

Monthly Payments

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

The maximum basic adoption assistance maintenance payment is $10 less per month than the rate the child received in foster care. Current adoption assistance rates are:

Age Rate
0-12 $18.36/day
13+ $21.94/day

Adoption assistance rates are negotiated on an individual basis based on the child’s needs and the parents’ ability to meet those needs. There is no guarantee that a child will receive the maximum rate.

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

Some children with high needs are eligible to receive higher adoption assistance, with amounts to be negotiated based on the child’s needs and the parents’ ability to meet those needs. As stated above, the adoption assistance cannot exceed $10 less per month than what the child received in foster care. Specialized adoption assistance daily rates are:

Age Rate
0-2 $27.94/day
3-12 $26.42/day
13+ $29.76/day

6. When do adoption assistance payments begin?

Adoption assistance payments and benefits may begin at adoptive placement or upon adoption finalization, depending on the circumstances of the case.

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

Adoption assistance payments and Medicaid will terminate when a child reaches age 18. However, adoptive parents may request approval of continued adoption assistance and Medicaid until the child is 21 (at the latest), if the child has a mental or physical disability that warrants continuation. Parents should contact the state’s Adoption Negotiations Program Manager at the Central Office in Helena (listed at the top of this profile).

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


Medical Care

9. What Medicaid services are available in Montana?

A current list of covered services is available at www.medicaid.mt.gov or from the Medicaid Recipient Hot Line at 800-362-8312. In general, Medicaid covers:

  • Ambulance
  • Birth control (family planning)
  • Chiropractor services
  • Clinics (routine care), clinics (county health department)
  • Dental services
  • Diagnostic clinic (for disabled children)
  • Dialysis
  • Drug/alcohol treatment, drugs
  • Emergency room
  • Eye exams, eyeglasses
  • Hearing aids
  • Home care
  • Hospice
  • Hospital (inpatient), hospital (outpatient)
  • Lab and x-ray
  • Mental health (outpatient—community mental health centers)
  • Mental health (outpatient—psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, and licensed professional counselors)
  • Nursing homes, nursing services (including private duty nursing)
  • Nutrition services
  • Occupational therapy
  • Outpatient surgery
  • Physical therapy
  • Physician services, physician assistant services
  • Podiatry
  • Residential psychiatric treatment
  • Respiratory therapy
  • School-based services
  • Speech therapy
  • Supplies and equipment
  • Targeted case management
  • Transportation (non-emergency)
  • Well child check-ups

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.)

Montana children who are eligible for state-funded adoption assistance are eligible for Montana Medicaid. In addition, Montana provides Medicaid for children receiving state-funded adoption assistance from another state who reside in Montana.

Montana no longer offers State Medical Subsidy. The State Medical Subsidy program will continue to provide reimbursement for those children who have it as part of their existing agreement.

11. What mental health services are available?

Public mental health for children in Montana is administered through the Children’s Mental Health Bureau, Health Policy and Services Division (HPSD), DPHHS, and may include the following services: inpatient and outpatient hospital care, outpatient community mental health centers, outpatient psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors, physician services, residential treatment, and prescription drugs. For more information, visit http://www.medicaid.mt.gov.

Other Benefits

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

Nonrecurring adoption expenses can include up to $2,000 per child of reasonable and necessary adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, and other expenses directly related to the legal adoption of a child with special needs (such as costs of the adoption study, including health and psychological examinations, supervision of the placement before the adoption, and reasonable costs of transportation, food, and lodging for the child or adoptive parents when necessary to complete the adoption process). The amount available for a particular child should be negotiated before the adoption assistance agreement is signed.

Requests for reimbursement for nonrecurring expenses can be submitted with requests for financial and medical assistance or separately.

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


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

The adoption assistance program does not specifically cover respite care. Parents may be able to find respite providers through:

The Montana Foster/Adoptive Parent Association—http://msfapa.onefireplace.com/
The local Child and Family Services Division office—http://dphhs.mt.gov/childrenandfamilies
ARCH National Respite Network Respite Locator Service—http://archrespite.org/state-respite-coalitions#Coalition Listing (then search for Montana)
Lifespan Respite Grant—http://dphhs.mt.gov/respite

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

Residential treatment is covered through Medicaid. Covered services are limited to licensed inpatient treatment centers for those under age 21. The child must be screened and approved for admission prior to treatment, and duration is limited to what is medically necessary.

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

For information post-adoption services in the State of Montana, parents should contact the state’s Post Adoption Services Program Manager listed in at the top of the profile.

17. If the assistance listed above in questions 13 to 16 is for specific services, must these services be explicitly identified in the adoption assistance agreement?

Yes, if they are not covered by Medicaid.

What Should Families Know About Applying for Subsidy?

18. Who initiates the adoption assistance agreement?

The child protective services (CPS) worker assigned to the child’s case initiates the adoption assistance agreement with the prospective adoptive family.

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

The final determination is made by the Adoption Negotiations Program Manager at CFSD/Central Office in Helena. .

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

Parents should contact the Post Adoption Services Program Manager, Kyla Rock, 406-841-2464 or krock@mt.gov or send a request in writing to:

Child and Family Service Division
PO Box 8005
Helena, MT 59604

How Can a Family Adjust an Adoption Assistance Agreement?

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

Adoptive parents or CFSD can request a change in the adoption assistance agreement any time there is a change in the child’s needs or family’s circumstance or an increase in the foster care rate the child would have received in foster care. Families who want to modify an adoption assistance agreement should call the Post Adoption Services Program Manager, and then follow up with a written request that clearly identifies the child’s continued special needs.

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

Adoptive parents who have applied for or been granted adoption assistance for their child can appeal a denial or any decision that denies, reduces, changes, or terminates benefits that affect the adoption assistance agreement. Within 90 days of the mailing date of the notice of the contested action, parents must send a written request for hearing to:

DPHHS, Office of Fair Hearings
Division of Quality Assurance
2401 Colonial Drive, 3rd floor
Helena, MT 59620-2953

The Office of Fair Hearings will assign a hearing examiner and send a notice giving the date, time, and place of the hearing, which will be held by phone or in person. The notice will provide additional information on what is needed to prepare for the hearing and whom to contact if the family needs to change the date or time of the hearing. Parents can represent themselves or have a lawyer or another individual assist them in presenting their case and are permitted to bring witnesses. The written decision will explain how to appeal the decision if the family disagrees with the decision.

The hearing examiner will record the hearing so that the facts are taken down correctly. After the hearing decision is issued, parents can request a free copy of the tape by contacting the Office of Fair Hearing.

What Else do Families Need to Know?

23. How is the adoption assistance program operated and funded in Montana?

The adoption system is a combination of state/regional supervision and administration. Policies are developed at the state level and adoption assistance is negotiated at the state level. Funding is provided to the department and then allocated to the five regions.

The federal contribution to Title IV-E-eligible children (the Federal Financial Participation/FFP rate) is 65.24% in Montana. The remaining cost of the program is funded entirely with state funds.

24. Does Montana operate a subsidized guardianship program?

Montana operates a Title IV-E guardianship program. For more information, parents can contact Mark Girdler, at 406-841-2411 or mgridler@mt.gov.

25. Does Montana offer a tuition waiver program?

Montana does not offer a specific tuition waiver program for foster youth or youth adopted from care. Through the Montana Education Training Voucher (ETV) Program, children who were adopted at 16 or older may be eligible for up to $5,000 per year while they are in college or a vocational or technical training program. To qualify, adopted youth must be:

  1. 18, 19 or 20 years old,
  2. adopted from foster care with finalization after their 16th birthday, and
  3. accepted into or enrolled in a degree, certificate or other program at a college, university, technical or vocational school and progressing toward that degree or certificate.

Parents and youth can find out more from their caseworker or:

Erin Kintop
MFCIP Coordinator
Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services
PO Box 8005
Helena, MT 59604-8005

26. Does Montana offer a state adoption tax credit?


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

There is no program outside of licensed foster care or licensed kinship care.

28. What is the payment schedule for adoption assistance? Who do I contact if I haven’t received my payment? Can I receive my adoption assistance through direct deposit?

Adoption Assistance payments go out on the 4th working day of the month. If you have signed up for direct deposit, you should see it within 2-3 days depending upon the processing time for your banking institution. If you receive a paper check, you should receive it soon after, depending upon how long mail delivery takes. If you do not receive your payment, please contact:

Kyla Rock, Post Adoption Services Program Manager

If you would like to be enrolled in direct deposit, please visit this link and complete the form:

Once you have completed the form, please send it to:
DPHHS-Accounts Payable
PO Box 4210
Helena, MT 59604-4210

29. What else differentiates Montana’s adoption assistance program from others around the country?


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