Updated June 2016
Below you will find information about the adoption assistance benefits that may be available to families who adopt children from foster care in Wyoming. 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 of Family Services (DFS)
Hathaway Building, 3rd Floor
2300 Capitol Avenue
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Currently, there is no Wyoming Volunteer. If you or someone you know would like to volunteer to help families learn more about adoption assistance, please call Josh Kroll at NACAC, 800-470-6665 x15 or e-mail email@example.com.
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 Wyoming. 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:
Wyoming’s state-specific medical assistance information:
Wyoming Statute 1-22-115
Wyoming Rules—Current Adoption Rules
(search for adoption assistance)
Who Is Eligible for Adoption Assistance?
1. How does Wyoming 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:
- The child is six years of age or older.
- The child is a member of a racial minority.
- The child is a member of a sibling group that needs to be placed in the same home.
- The child has irreversible or non-correctable physical or mental disabilities.
- The child has physical, mental, or emotional disabilities correctable through surgery, treatment, or other specialized services.
- The child has lived in the same foster family home for a long period of time, has developed emotional ties with the foster family, and adoption assistance is necessary to facilitate an adoption.
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 have special needs as defined above, and the child must also meet the following conditions at the time of adoption placement:
- Legally free for adoption
- In the legal custody of the Wyoming Department of Family Services (DFS) or a child placement agency certified by the State of Wyoming
- The financial responsibility of the Wyoming Department of Family Services or a Wyoming certified, private child placement agency
- DFS has determined the adoptive parent can provide for the non-financial needs of the child
- Reasonable efforts to place the child without adoption assistance have proven unsuccessful
3. Are children adopted from private agencies in Wyoming eligible for adoption assistance?
If the child meets Title IV-E eligibility criteria and the state definition of special needs.
What Supports and Services Are Available?
4. What is the maximum basic monthly adoption assistance maintenance payment in Wyoming?
5. Does Wyoming provide specialized rates (based on the extraordinary needs of the child or the additional parenting skill needed to raise the child)?
Based on the needs of a child, the adoption subsidy amount may be negotiated up to the foster care rate for the child.
6. When do adoption assistance payments begin?
Adoption assistance payments and benefits may begin at adoption placement if certain requirements are met. In the case of foster parent adoptions, adoption assistance payments and benefits begin at adoption finalization.
7. When a child turns 18, which benefits, if any, continue?
All benefits terminate at age 18, unless the adopted youth is classified as disabled. In that case, benefits are extended until the youth turns 21.
8. Does Wyoming offer deferred adoption assistance agreements (agreements where initial monthly maintenance amount is $0 for children at risk of developing special needs later)?
Wyoming does not offer deferred adoption assistance based on a child’s risk factors. However, the state does approve Medicaid only agreements where the family receives no monthly payment. However, if the child was adopted from the State of Wyoming foster care system, a minimal adoption assistance agreement is already in place and can be adjusted in the future if necessary.
9. What Medicaid services are available in Wyoming?
For questions regarding Medicaid services, parents should call Consultec at 800-251-1269.
Or visit, http://www.wyhealth.net/
Wyoming does not provide additional finances or services for medical or therapeutic needs not covered under their state medical plan to children receiving adoption assistance.
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 receiving state-funded adoption assistance benefits also receive Medicaid.
11. What mental health services are available?
Public mental health services for children in Wyoming are administered by the Department of Health, Mental Health Division. Community mental health and physician outpatient mental health services are available. Parents can contact Lisa Brockman at 307-777-7326 for information about mental health services.
Children may also be eligible for services under the Children’s Special Health Program (CSH). More information is available by calling CSH at 800-438-5795 or 307-777-7941 or visiting https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/mch/index-4/.
Additional information is available at:
Wyoming’s Department of Health: https://health.wyo.gov/
Not all services may be available in all cases. Parents sould contact their adoption assistance worker or medical assistance specialist for information regarding process, eligibility, availability, and duration of services.
12. In Wyoming, what nonrecurring adoption expenses directly related to the finalization of an adoption may be reimbursed?
Parents whose children have been determined to have special needs may receive reimbursement of up to $2,000 per child for nonrecurring expenses such as reasonable and necessary adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, and other expenses that are directly related to the adoption.
13. Is respite care available? If yes, who is eligible and how do families access respite care?
Respite care may be funded through service dollars, which are a combination of Title XX, IV-E, and Economic Assistance funds. The process for accessing respite care is:
- The family should contact the social worker who helped finalize the adoption, or that person’s supervisor.
- The family will be required to explain the need and give details as to the severity of need.
- The decision to grant respite is made on a case-by-case basis by the social worker and his or her supervisor.
- Sometimes respite is built into adoption assistance agreements if the child has severe special needs.
- Another option for respite is the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities. Parents can call 307-777-7230 or 800-438-5791 (in Wyoming) for more information.
Many private organizations offer respite options in the more populous regions of the state. Parents can search for Wyoming programs using the ARCH National Respite Network Respite Locator Service at http://archrespite.org/respitelocator.
14. Is residential treatment available? If yes, who is eligible and how do families access residential treatment services?
For the Department to place a child whose adoption has been finalized in residential treatment, custody must be determined by the court. The court must declare the child “in need of supervision” or must file a delinquency petition or an abuse and neglect petition.
15. What other post-adoption services are available in Wyoming and how do families find out more about them?
Post-adoption services in Wyoming are administered by the Department of Family Services (DFS), Protective Services Division through DFS, contracted agencies, and parent/private organizations. Post-adoption services may include:
- Information and referral
- Educational materials
- Support groups
- Therapeutic intervention
- Intermediary search program
More information on access adoption records is available at http://dfsweb.wyo.gov/social-services/adoption
Not all services may be available in all cases. Parents should contact their adoption assistance worker or post adoption services contact for information regarding process, eligibility, availability, and duration of services.
16. If the assistance listed above in questions 13 to 15 is for specific services, must these services be explicitly identified in the adoption assistance agreement?
What Should Families Know about Applying for Adoption assistance?
17. Who initiates the adoption assistance agreement?
18. Who makes the final determination on an adoption assistance agreement?
The worker and his or her supervisor make the eligibility determination. Officials at the state level are only consulted if an approval outside of policy is required.
19. How do families request adoption assistance after finalization of an adoption?
Families should submit their request in writing to the county agency. The county office will then automatically deny the request, and the family should request a fair hearing in writing. The agency will review the child’s file to determine if the child was Title IV-E eligible. If the IV-E eligibility is confirmed and the situation warrants, the Department will recommend negotiation of adoption assistance between the adoptive family and the county office.
How Can a Family Adjust an Adoption Assistance Agreement?
20. Can adoptive parents ask to change an adoption assistance agreement?
Wyoming reviews adoption assistance agreements on an annual basis, and parents can request a change at the annual review. At this time, parents can speak to the state adoption assistance worker and supervisor at the local Department of Family Services (DFS) office where the adoption agreement was made and explain their child’s needs. Parents can also contact the manager of the local DFS office to further discuss any change to the adoption assistance agreement. Local offerse are listed at http://dfsweb.state.wy.us/districts/base2.htm .
21. What steps does a family go through to appeal an adoption assistance decision in Wyoming?
Adoptive parents have the right to request a fair hearing any time a DFS decision affects their child’s adoption assistance benefits. Parents make the requests for reviews by contacting the manager of the local Department of Family Services office (offices locations are listed at http://dfsweb.state.wy.us/districts/base2.htm).
What Else Do Families Need to Know?
22. How is the adoption assistance program operated and funded in Wyoming?
The program is state supervised/county administered. This means that both policy and eligibility decisions are made by personnel at the state office. All adoptions and adoption assistance agreements are done by county offices using state guidelines.
The federal contribution to Title IV-E-eligible children—known as the Federal Financial Participation or FFP rate—is 50 percent in Wyoming. The remaining programs costs are funded with state funds.
23. Does Wyoming operate a subsidized guardianship program?
24. Does Wyoming offer a tuition waiver program?
Wyoming does not have specific programs for adopted children’s college tuition. However, the state does have the Hathaway Scholarship, which is accessible to all seniors who graduate from a Wyoming high school and attend a Wyoming college. More information is available at http://www.hathawayscholarships.com.
25. Does Wyoming offer a state adoption tax credit?