Updated June 2020

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

Fran Maldonado
Department of Human Services
Division of Child & Family Services
4126 Technology Way, Third Floor
Carson City, NV 89706

NACAC Volunteer

Judith Neuenkirch
Las Vegas, NV

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 Nevada. 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.

Nevada’s adoption resources:

Nevada’s state-specific medical assistance information:

Nevada’s adoption assistance information:

Nevada Revised Statute §127.186:

Nevada Administrative Code 127:475 to 127:510:

Nevada Policy and Procedure Chapter 0101:

Who is Eligible for Adoption Assistance?

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

A child is determined to have special needs if the child has at least one of the following needs or circumstances that may be a barrier to placement or adoption without financial assistance:

  • Five years of age or older
  • Considered difficult to place because of race
  • Member of a sibling group of two or more children to be placed together and at least one of the children is three years of age or older
  • Diagnosis of a medical, physical, emotional, or mental disability or documented history of abuse/neglect requiring ongoing treatment intervention
  • At risk of developing further problems due to documented factors in his or her background — Children meeting the “at risk” criteria include those genetically related to persons having heritable physical, mental, emotional, or behavioral concerns; prenatal substance abuse exposure; or other factors determined by a treatment professional to potentially result in a future need for treatment or special services.

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

The state-only funded adoption assistance program differs from the Title- IV-E with regard to medical assistance. In the event a family relocates they may not receive Medicaid from the new state but they will continue to have Nevada Medicaid.

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

Yes, the application process and benefits are similar for those who qualify for Title IV-E. Children who are adopted from private agencies are not eligible for state-funded assistance.

What Supports and Services are Available?

Monthly Payments

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

The monthly adoption assistance rate may be negotiated up to but not exceed the family foster care maintenance rate of:

Age Rate
0-12 $682.94
13-18 $773.17

5. Does Nevada 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. Special rates may fall into two categories: The Special Rate Setting adds $30, $90, or $150 per month to the foster care maintenance rate. The Medically Fragile Rate adds $150, $250, or $500 per month to the foster care maintenance payment.

Specialized rates may be considered for children who are medically fragile, and those with significant emotional, behavioral, physical, or mental challenges. Rates must be negotiated.

6. When do adoption assistance payments begin?

Payments begin at finalization.

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

None. Families are encouraged to investigate and apply for Supplemental Security Income through the Social Security Administration for youth who appear eligible.

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

Yes, adoptive parents may elect to defer financial or medical assistance for an otherwise eligible child with special needs until assistance is needed. Eligible children must meet the special needs criteria outlined above at the time of adoption.

Medical Care

9. What Medicaid services are available in Nevada?

Information about covered services and providers are available from the Medicaid Customer Services Information line at 702-668-4200 (southern Nevada) and 775-687-1900 (northern Nevada).

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.)

Children who are not IV-E eligible must meet special needs criteria at the time of the adoption to qualify for Medicaid (known as Medical Assistance). For those that qualify, the benefits are same as for children eligible for IV-E. Depending on the type of agreement signed at the time of the adoption, the child may be eligible for medical assistance at a later date.

11. What mental health services are available?

Public mental health services for children in Nevada are administered through the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) in northern and southern Nevada and by the Division of Public and Behavioral Health (DPBH) in rural Nevada. Services may include psychiatric and psychological evaluations, acute care inpatient hospitalization, community-based residential care, individual, group, or family therapy, clinical case management services, rehabilitative services, day treatment services, outpatient services, and respite care for severely emotionally disturbed children.

Parents can learn more and access services by contacting:

  • Northern Nevada Child and Adolescent Services (Children’s Behavioral Services): 775-688-1600
  • Southern Nevada Child and Adolescent Services: 702-486-6100
  • Rural Clinics, phone: 775-687-10870.

More information is also available at:

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

Other Benefits

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

Adoptive parents of a child with special needs may be reimbursed for up to $250 per child for nonrecurring expenses incurred in connection with the adoption. Reimbursements are not limited to adoptive parents with children eligible for ongoing adoption assistance.

Reimbursements for nonrecurring costs are not paid until the adoption is finalized. Related expenses may include travel for pre- or post-placement visits; home study and post-placement service fees; and legal fees associated with finalizing the adoption.

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

Child care is not provided through the child welfare agency once the adoption is finalized.

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

Families may be able to access respite from other agencies, when the services are available. Funding may be provided to parents or providers to cover respite care costs. Information is available from:

  • Desert Regional Center, 1391 South Jones, Las Vegas, NV (702-486-6200)
  • Sierra Regional Center, 605 South 21st Street, Sparks, NV (775-688-1930)

Private agencies may also provide respite care, and options may be found on the ARCH National Respite Network Respite Locator Service, at https://archrespite.org/respitelocator.

Please note that not all services may be available in all cases. Parents should contact their adoption assistance worker or service provider for information regarding process, eligibility, availability, and duration of services.

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

The Adoption Assistance Program does not provide separate or direct funding to pay for out-of-home care. Information about availability and payment for residential services can be obtained from the Southern Nevada Child and Adolescent Services Program (702-486-6100) or the Northern Nevada Child and Adolescent Services (775-688-0870), or Nevada Medicaid.

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

Nevada does not have a separate program or funding source to provide additional finances or services for medical or therapeutic needs not covered under Medicaid.

Post-adoption services in Nevada are provided by the Department of Health and Human Services and by private agencies and parent groups. Post-adoption services include:

  • Information and referral
  • Parent training
  • Support groups
  • Family preservation services
  • Case management
  • Therapeutic intervention/counseling
  • Respite care
  • Search registries

Services are not administered through one central point of contact in Nevada. Services may not be designated as adoption-specific in all areas of the state, but are available to adoptive families. Families requiring assistance should contact the state or county child welfare agency in their area, where child welfare staff can help identify and provide referrals to existing service providers. Regional offices are listed at http://dcfs.nv.gov/Programs/CWS/CWS_OfficeLocations.

The Adoption Exchange provides post-adoption services. More information is available at http://www.adoptex.org/.

Please note that not all services may be available in all cases. Parents should contact their adoption assistance worker or service provider for information regarding process, eligibility, availability, and duration of services.

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

No, not if services are otherwise available through Medicaid or other funded service providers for an eligible child.

Yes, if payment for the service falls outside the scope of Medicaid or state-approved service provider.

What Should Families Know About Applying for Adoption Assistance?

18. Who initiates the adoption assistance agreement?

The family and the social worker together complete an application packet that is submitted to the local county or state DCFS office for eligibility determination and final approval. Applications must include professional documentation of children’s special needs.

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

The county or state DCFS office has final approval.

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

Families should contact the state or county who handled their adoption assistance agreement for further assistance and eligibility information.

How Can a Family Adjust an Adoption Assistance Agreement?

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

Adoptive parents may request a change in the adoption assistance agreement whenever there is a change in the family’s circumstances or the child’s needs. Modifications to the agreement can be made at the time of annual review or any time. Parents must submit a written request on the annual adoption assistance review form sent to the family. If the change is needed at a time other than at the annual review, families may contact their adoption assistance worker to request a form. Written explanation of the change in the family’s circumstances or documentation of child’s needs must accompany the review form.

An adoption assistance worker will contact the family to discuss the request, negotiate payment amounts, and address any other service-related needs. When the negotiation process is complete, the agency prepares an amended adoption assistance agreement with the new terms and effective date for the family’s review, approval, and signature.

If the request for assistance is denied, the parent may request a conference with the adoption assistance staff to discuss the agency’s decision. If the parents continue to be dissatisfied with the decision after the conference, they may request an administrative review by the agency hearing officer. (See Question 22.)

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

Adoptive parents can request a fair hearing whenever they disagree with a decision that affects their child’s adoption assistance benefits. An adoptive parent may appeal the state or county agency’s decision to deny, reduce, or terminate adoption assistance. To do so, the parent must submit a written request to the state or county agency handling their adoption assistance agreement to initiate the process.

What Else do Families Need to Know?

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

The program is county administered and state supervised. This means that personnel at the state office are responsible for making policy decisions regarding the adoption assistance program and provide guidance to county offices. The counties make decisions related to children’s eligibility.

Federal and state funds are used to support the program. The federal contribution to Title IV-E adoption assistance for eligible children is 64.87% in Nevada. This is known as the Federal Financial Participation (FFP) rate. The remaining cost of the program is funded with state funds.

24. Does Nevada operate a subsidized guardianship program?

The Division of Children and Family Services operates a Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program (KinGap) for relatives who become guardians of a child in the custody of child welfare. The Division of Welfare and Supportive Services has a program available to relatives (age 62+) who take guardianship of a child not in custody of child welfare agency.

25. Does Nevada offer a tuition waiver program?

Nevada offers an Education and Training Voucher Program, which provides funding of up to $5000 per year for college or a vocational or technical training program. Youth may qualify if:

  • They are 18, 19 or 20 years old.
  • They are in foster care or were in foster care as a teenager and are a U.S. citizen or qualified non-citizen.
  • They aged out of the foster care system at age 18 or were adopted from foster care with adoption finalization after their 16th birthday and a legal resident.
  • They have been accepted into or are enrolled in a degree, certificate or other program at a college, university, technical or vocational school and show progress toward that degree or certificate.

Youth can learn more from their caseworker or from Gabriela Villafuerte, Independent Living Specialist Division of Children and Family Services: 702-486-3134; GVillafuerte@dcfs.nv.gov.

26. Does Nevada offer a state adoption tax credit?

Nevada does not offer a state adoption tax credit.

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

Not at this time.

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?

There is a payment schedule and it is dependent on the county in which the child was adopted from. If a payment is not received contact the agency that finalized the adoption. If selected, the subsidy can be directly deposited into a bank account.

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

Not applicable.

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