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

Updated December 2017

Provincial Contact

Elaine Babineau
Child & Youth Services Branch
Department of Social Development
551 King St, 2nd floor
Fredericton NB E3B 5H1

NACAC Volunteer

Currently, there is no New Brunswick Subsidy 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 or e-mail

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

New Brunswick Adoption Resources on the Web:

Government of New Brunswick Adoption — Older and Special Needs Children

Who Is Eligible for Adoption Assistance?

1. New Brunswick’s definition of special needs is as follows:

A child is considered to have special needs if they meet any of the following criteria:

  • member of a sibling group to be adopted together
  • a diagnosis of:
    • existing or potential physical/medical condition;
    • existing or potential emotional/mental or developmental condition; or
    • existing or potential behavioral condition based on medical and/or placement
    • history which must be supported by acceptable documentation

What Supports and Services Are Available?

2. If available, the standard adoption assistance rate in New Brunswick is:

There are two components to adoption assistance in New Brunswick.  The first is the Annual Child Maintenance Subsidy and the second are the Services to meet the special needs of the child.  The services are determined on a case-by-case basis.

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 New Brunswick offers special allowances over and above the standard rate, the criteria used to define the higher rates are as follows:

As this relates to the services offered to meet the special needs of the child, every case is dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

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 adoption assistance agreement in New Brunswick?

The services that are to be provided to the child post adoption are to be specified in the subsidy agreement, and the services provided are determined on a case-by-case basis dependent upon the special needs of the child.

5. What medical or dental services are available in New Brunswick?

Medical services are covered by Medicare for all eligible New Brunswick residents.  The special needs of the child are determined on a case by case basis and there are exceptional cases where a health card is provided to adopted children which allows for the government to pay for certain benefits, such as dental, pharmaceutical etc.

6. When my child turns 18, which benefits, if any, are available to our family?

Special services can be provided until the adoptee turns 19.  Those services can be extended until the adoptee reaches the age of 21 when a) the child is enrolled in an educational program; or b) the child has a physical, mental and/or social disability which prevents them from being able to support themselves.

7. Do relatives adopting under the program receive the same benefits as non-relatives?

Subsidies are only available for children in the permanent care of the Minster.  If a family adopts a child whom is in the permanent care of the Minister, who is also a relative, they could be considered for a subsidy.

8. Do children adopted from private agencies in New Brunswick receive the same subsidies as those children adopted from public agencies?

New Brunswick does not allow private adoption agencies at this time.

What Should Families Know About Applying for Adoption Assistance?

9. When do subsidy payments begin?

All subsidized adoptions are eligible for payment once the adoption is finalized.  There are arrangements made to assist the families when the child is placed before the adoption is finalized.

10. Will New Brunswick consider my family income to determine my child’s benefit package?

Family income is a component for determining the Annual Child Maintenance Subsidy.  Services are determined on a case-by-case basis and even if a family does not qualify for the Annual Child Maintenance Subsidy, they may receive assistance to offset the costs of services.

11. Are prospective adoptive families routinely notified of all benefits available to them in New Brunswick?

During the pre-placement process the Child-in-Care Social Worker, the Adoption Social Worker, and the adoptive family determine whether a subsidy is necessary to meet the special needs of the child.  This is a part of the pre-placement process.  New Brunswick publishes a brochure mentioning the subsidy program.

12. Who sets the assistance rates and how are they established?

The subsidy rates are determined provincially.

13. Who makes the final determination of a child’s eligibility in New Brunswick? What roles, if any, do workers and administrators at the agency or regional level play in eligibility determination and/or assistance negotiation?

At this time, regional offices make the decisions on subsidies and forward copies of that decision to the central office.

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 assistance agreements negotiated in New Brunswick?

During the pre-placement process, the Child-in-Care Social Worker, the Adoption Social Worker, and the adoptive family determine whether a subsidy is necessary to meet the special needs of the child.

How Can a Family Adjust an Adoption Assistance Agreement?

16. A child’s adoption assistance agreement may be periodically reviewed by the agency.  What is the typical process used in New Brunswick?

Annual reviews are required of all subsidized adoptions in New Brunswick.  Adoptive parents must submit proof of income for the previous year, and complete an Annual Review Form.  The social worker must obtain appropriate documentation regarding the needs of the child.  Upon review, a decision is made regarding the new information.

17. Can adoption assistance agreements be modified if requested by adoptive parents?

Modifications can be made upon request or any time the situation warrants it.  They can also be performed through the Annual Review process.

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 New Brunswick?


19. What are the exact steps a family must go through to access the appeal process in New Brunswick?

Contact must be made with the appropriate regional office.

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.

Subsidies must be applied for and agreed to prior to the adoption being finalized.  Services may be provided under other departmental programs if no subsidy exists.

What Else Do Families Need to Know?

21. How is the adoption assistance program operated and funded in New Brunswick?

The department is divided into 8 Regions based on geographic location.  Each Region is responsible for budgetary expenditures within their region.

22. Below are other programs that may differentiate New Brunswick’s adoption assistance program from others around the country.


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