Updated July 2018

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

Provincial Contact

Ethel Dempsey
Department of Health and Community Serivces
Children and Youth Services
PO Box 8700
St. John’s, NL A1B 4J6

NACAC Volunteer

Currently, there is no Newfoundland and Labrador 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 joshk@nacac.org.

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 adoption.assistance@nacac.org.

Newfoundland and Ladrador’s Adoption Resources on the Web:

Department of Children, Seniors and Society Adoption Page

Who Is Eligible for Adoption Assistance?

1. Newfoundland and Labrador’s legal definition of special needs is as follows:

A child in the Continuous Custody of a Director of Child, Youth and Family Services who has a special service need or a special placement need which would otherwise prevent adoption and/or he/she has already been approved for an adoption subsidy.

What Supports and Services Are Available?

2. Please list the standard monthly adoption assistance maintenance rate in Newfoundland and Labrador:

The Adoption Subsidy rate is up to the full amount of the in care (Foster Care) rate for these age groups.

Age Rate
0–12 $498.40
13+ $575.80

3. Specialized rates, if available, are based on the extraordinary needs of the child, and/or the additional parenting skill needed to raise the child. If Newfoundland and Labrador offers special allowances over and above the standard rate, the criteria used to define the higher rates are as follows:

The above rates may be increased depending on the needs of the child.

4. In addition to monthly payments, what sort of post-adoption services (respite, counselling, residential treatment, parent training, etc.) are provided? When available, are these services formally specified in the adoption assistance agreement in Newfoundland and Labrador?

  • A medical service related to the child’s diagnosis;
  • A corrective dental or orthodontic service;
  • Equipment that is needed to accommodate a disability;
  • Occupational, speech, hearing, or psychological therapy;
  • Tutorial services outside the school system;
  • Non-subsidized portion of remedial day care costs;
  • Transportation, by the most economical method, to a needed service and assistance with living expenses while there;
  • Family and individual counselling as it relates to the child. These services maybe provided by a social worker employed with a Regional Health Authority;
  • Home modifications to accommodate a disability (interior and/or exterior);
  • Respite services, as it relates to the needs of the child, or
  • Any other special need approved by a director of adoptions.

All services are formally specified in the agreement if they are not available through the Health and Community services system.

5. What medical or dental services are available in Newfoundland and Labrador?

These are covered under the Medical Care Program. If services are required over and above the Universal Medial Care Program, these are covered either by the couple’s personal Medical Insurance or by the Adoption Subsidy agreement. Dental care in the Province is provided up to a child 12 years of age. Personal insurance or the adoption subsidy would apply if there is no coverage under the Provincial Dental Program

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

The subsidy is available until the child reaches 19 years of age. At age 19 the individual is entitled to any program offered to an adult person in the province.

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

Children receiving a subsidy must be in the custody of a Director of Child, Youth and Family Services under the Child, Youth and Family Services Act to be eligible to receive a subsidy.

8. Do children adopted from private agencies in Newfoundland and Labrador receive the same subsidies as those children adopted from public agencies?

There is no private adoption in Newfoundland and Labrador.

What Should Families Know About Applying for Adoption Assistance?

9. When do subsidy payments begin?

Payments begin when the Adoption Order is granted on behalf of the child.

10. Will Newfoundland and Labrador consider my family income to determine my child’s benefit package?

There is no financial needs assessment for the Adoption Subsidy program.

11. Are prospective adoptive families routinely notified of all benefits available to them in Newfoundland and Labrador?

Yes, as the service becomes available.

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

The subsidy rates are established by the Department of Health and Community Services. The rate is established in accordance with the basic foster care rate.

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

The Regional Director of Child, Youth and Family Services determines the child’s eligibility in conjunction with social workers, other professionals, and the family.

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?

Yes, this is stated in policy.

15. Once eligibility is established, how and by whom are assistance agreements negotiated in Newfoundland and Labrador?

The agreement is negotiated between the Regional Director of Child, Youth and Family Services and the prospective adoptive family.

The adoption coordinator retains the right of approval.

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 Newfoundland and Labrador?

All subsidy agreements are reviewed on an annual basis.

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

The agreement may be modified at the request of the family or the Director of Adoptions.

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 Newfoundland and Labrador?


19. What are the exact steps a family must go through to access the appeal process in Newfoundland and Labrador?

There is no provincial appeal process. Each Regional Health Authority may have its own appeal process.

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.

All Adoption Subsidies must be agreed to prior to finalization. If there is no subsidy agreement, families may access services by requesting a service through the Child, Youth and Family Services Program.

What Else Do Families Need to Know?

21. How is the adoption assistance program operated and funded in Newfoundland and Labrador?

The Adoption Subsidy program is funded by the Department of Health and Community Services and is delivered by four Regional Health Authorities.

22. Below are other programs that may differeniate Newfoundland and Labrador’s adoption assistance program from others around the country.


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