Updated November 2007
Below you can find information about the adoption assistance benefits that may be available to families who adopt children from Alberta foster care.
Provincial Contact Person
Alberta Children’s Services
11th Floor, Sterling Place
9940 – 106th Street
Edmonton, AB T5K 2N2
Currently, there is no Alberta Representative. If you or someone you know would like to volunteer to help families learn more about adoption assistance, please call Josh Kroll at NACAC, 651-644-3036 or 800-470-6665.
What Is Adoption Assistance?
Adoption assistance may be available for children with special needs. Often, assistance is provided to encourage the adoption of special needs children and remove the financial disincentives to adoption for the families. If you have questions, please call the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) at 651-644-3036 or our subsidy help line at 800-470-6665, or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who is Eligible for Adoption Assistance?
1. Please describe Alberta’s program of providing assistance?
The following are eligible for assistance under the Supports for Permanency Program:
- Families who adopted or obtained Private Guardianship of a child with Permanent Guardianship Agreement (PGA) or Permanent Guardianship Order (PGO) status on or after November 1, 2004; and
- Families who adopted a child with Permanent Guardianship Agreement (PGA) or Permanent Guardianship Order (PGO) status between April 1, 1990 and November 1, 2004 and have an “Acknowledgement of Special Need” or a letter confirming the child they adopted had special needs.
Eligibility for the Supports for Permanency Program is based on financial need. Therefore, families must demonstrate that adopting or obtaining private guardianship of a child with Permanent Guardianship Agreement (PGA) or Permanent Guardianship Order (PGO) status would create an undue financial burden on the family.
To determine financial burden, the family must provide a letter which:
- declares that the family would experience financial burden; and
- states the gross family income
Maintenance and financial assistance for purchasing services may be provided to eligible families at any time after the adoption or private guardianship order has been granted and up until the child’s 18th birthday. Maintenance or payment for services can only be negotiated on a go forward and non-retroactive basis.
What Supports and Services are Available?
2. The Supports for Permanency Agreement is renewed annually and the following can be provided:
Maintenance equal to the basic daily foster care rate. These are:
3. Specialized rates or payments, if available, are based on the extraordinary needs of the child, and/or the additional parenting skill needed to raise the child. If Alberta offers special allowances over and above the standard rate, the criteria used to define the higher rates are as follows:
4. In addition to monthly payments, what sort of post-adoption services (respite, counseling, residential treatment, parent training, etc.) are provided? When available, are these services formally specified in the Supports for Permanency Agreement in Alberta?
Financial Assistance is available for:
- child care to provide parental relief to a maximum of 576 hours per family (at regionally approved rates), and
- reimbursement for the cost of transportation (at regionally approved rates) to maintain an Indian child’s cultural ties with their band of origin.
In addition to the above, children who have emotional or behavioural problems are eligible for financial assistance to cover:
- Counseling to a maximum of 10 sessions a year;
- Treatment in an Alberta residential facility that is approved by a director if a director believes the placement will break down if such treatment is not provided;
- Additional needs funding of up to $70.00 per week (adoptive and private guardianship families write a brief proposal outlining how the funds will be used) examples: day care for remedial purposes, athletic, musical or artistic activities, including equipment, specialized educational support/tutoring and equipment, including computers, transportation and subsistence for treatment purposes; and
- Speech therapy, occupational therapy, orthodontics and other services necessary to maintain the placement (family counseling, in home assistance).
In addition, the Family Support for Children with Disabilities Program, Child Intervention Services and Aids to Daily Living are also available to support the family.
5. What medical or dental services are available in Alberta?
Provincial medical coverage is available to everyone. Specific to adoption, see Question #4.
6. When my child turns 18, which benefits, if any, are available to our family?
The Supports for Permanency Program applies only to children under age 18.
7. Do relatives adopting under the program receive the same benefits as non-relatives?
If a relative adopts or obtains private guardianship of a child who has permanent guardianship status, the same maintenance and services are available. If the child did not have permanent guardianship status with the Ministry prior to the adoption or private guardianship placement, the Supports for Permanency Program does not apply.
8. Do children adopted from private agencies in Alberta receive the same subsidies as those children adopted from public agencies?
What Should Families Know about Applying for Adoption Assistance?
9. When do Supports for Permanency payments begin?
Maintenance and payment for services may begin upon finalization of the adoption order.
10. Will Alberta consider my family income to determine my child’s benefit package?
There is no income cap. However, the family must provide a letter indicating that adopting or obtaining private guardianship of the child will place undue burden on the family’s income. The family must also provide a statement of their total gross annual income.
11. Are prospective adoptive families routinely notified of all benefits available to them in Alberta?
Adoptive parents are advised of the Supports for Permanency Program when they are approved and when they receive an adoptive placements. Information on the program is posted on our website at www.adoptionalberta.gov.ab.ca.
12. Who sets the Supports for Permanency assistance rates and how are they established?
Maintenance rates are set at 100 percent of basic foster care rates. Services are paid for at the same rate as for other children in government care.
13. Who makes the final determination of a child’s eligibility in Alberta? What roles, if any, do workers and administrators at the agency or regional level play in eligibility determination and/or assistance negotiation?
The Child and Family Services Authority makes eligibility decisions, based on the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act and Adoption Regulations. Refusal of a director to enter into a Supports for Permanency Agreement may be appealed to an Appeal Panel.
14. Once a child is determined eligible for assistance, is there any requirement to look for an adoptive family who will accept a placement without assistance?
15. Once eligibility is established, how (and by whom) are Supports for Permanency assistance agreements negotiated in Alberta?
The Child and Family Services Authority negotiates the agreement. Agreements are service specific and are negotiated annually, or when there are significant changes.
How Can a Family Adjust an Adoption Assistance Agreement?
16. A child’s Supports for Permanency agreement may be periodically reviewed by the agency. What is the typical process used in Alberta?
Reviews are done annually or when there are significant changes in the child’s special needs.
17. Can Supports for Permanency agreements be modified if requested by adoptive parents?
Yes, when there are significant changes.
18. A deferred or nil agreement is one in which the initial monthly assistance payment is $0. If a child’s needs are listed as high risk and symptoms later manifest, the payment is renegotiated. Are deferred agreements offered in Alberta?
Yes, services can be provided when the child needs them.
19. What are the exact steps a family must go through to access the appeal process in Alberta?
A person who is affected by a decision regarding a refusal or failure to enter into an agreement under Post Adoption Supports or regarding the terms or the termination of that agreement may request an Administrative Review and may then appeal that decision to an Appeal Panel in accordance with the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act.
20. Families may request assistance after the finalization of an adoption under certain circumstances. Below is the process by which families access adoption benefits after finalization.
What Else Do Families Need to Know?
21. How is the adoption assistance program operated and funded in Alberta?
Adoption service delivery is the responsibility of Child and Family Services Authorities. There are ten Authorities in Alberta. The Authorities determine the child’s permanency plan. If the plan is adoption, the child is referred for provincial matching to Adoption Services. Adoption Services is also responsible for media recruitment, which includes the Wednesday’s Child Television Program, Newspapers, Newsletters and Adoption Website.
The Supports for Permanency Program is provided out of the Child and Family Services Authority’s Fund.
22. Below are other programs that may differentiate Alberta’s assistance program from others around the country.