Updated February 2018

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

Provincial Contact Person

June McKinnon
Provincial Adoption Coordinator
Department of Social Services & Seniors
161 St. Peters Rd.,
P.O. Box 2000
Charlottetown, PE   C1A 7N8

NACAC Subsidy Volunteer

Currently, there is no Prince Edward Island 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.

Prince Edward Islands’ Adoption Resources on the Web:


Adoption Pamphlet



Who Is Eligible for Adoption Assistance?

  1. Prince Edward Island definition of special needs is as follows:

The child has one or more special needs which may significantly impede normal development and could include one or more of the following conditions:

  • diagnosed medical condition / disability
  • diagnosed developmental delays
  • emotional disturbance
  • significant behavioral issues
  • diagnosed cognitive delay, learning disability or Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)
  • diagnosed speech or hearing disorder
  • serious attachment issues


the child is at risk of developing one or more of the above special needs due to the following risk factors:

  • history of abuse or neglect
  • parents with known genetic mental or physical illness
  • multiple placements, multiple losses
  • pre-natal exposure to drugs or alcohol
  • information on the child’s background is very limited or not known
  • other risk factors


  • the child is part of a sibling group being adopted by the same family
  • the child has a positive emotional tie of a significant duration with the prospective adoptive parents

What Supports and Services Are Available?

  1. If available, the standard adoption assistance rate in Prince Edward Island is:

The standard adoption assistance rate in Prince Edward Island is a monthly maintenance cost for ongoing basic needs that shall not exceed “Age Related Foster Care Fees” that reimburse foster care givers for the day to day expenses of caring for a child.

  1. 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 Prince Edward Island offers special allowances over and above the standard rate, the criteria used to define the higher rates are as follows:

Not available.

  1. 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 Prince Edward Island?

These are referred to as Special Costs or costs, supports and services that would be available if the child had remained in permanent care and are not available in a timely manner without cost from other community sources.  These may include, but are not limited to payment for the provision of:

  • medical expenses that the child incurs, not covered in the provincial health plan or in the adoptive parents private health and dental plans
  • home renovations to accommodate an identified special need, including sibling placements
  • specialized equipment as identified by professionals necessary for the daily functioning of the child
  • counseling or therapy, including psychological, physical, occupational, play or speech therapy
  • educational supports
  • transportation costs related to out of province medical appointments or treatments
  • in home respite care costs
  • adoption supports and information services
  • parenting or other training programs
  • assistance for a parent to stay at home for an extended period of time if not covered in employee benefits or federal government insurance programs
  • any other costs, supports, or services related to the identified special needs of the child
  1. What medical or dental services are available in Prince Edward Island?

Medical services are covered through the Provincial medical services plan via the Canada’s Health Services Act (Medicare).  Dental services are privately funded by the family.

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

An Adoption Support Agreement may be extended, with the approval of the Director of Child Welfare, until the child reaches the age of 21. This follows consultation with the Provincial Adoption Coordinator, or Supported Adoption Committee and if the Director considers it important and necessary in terms of the best interests of the child, and provided certain factors have not occurred (Regulation 7 (2)).

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

If the child has been deemed eligible for the program, and the family has been approved to adopt under the Provincial Adoption Program.

  1. Do children adopted from private agencies in Prince Edward Island receive the same subsidies as those children adopted from public agencies?

No, the only children that qualify are those who are in the Permanent Guardianship and Custody of the Director of Child Welfare.  Prince Edward Island does not license private agencies.

What Should Families Know About Applying for Adoption Assistance?

  1. When do subsidy payments begin?

Payments begin once the Adoption Support Agreement has been signed between the Adoptive parent(s) and the Director of Child Welfare.

  1. Will Prince Edward Island consider my family income to determine my child’s benefit package?

Yes, there are net income guidelines that are dependant on the family size, including birth and adopted children. The Family Net Income must fall at or below the Guidelines based on the family’s last Income Tax Return.

  1. Are prospective adoptive families routinely notified of all benefits available to them in Prince Edward Island?

This is part of the Parent Preparation Program, as well as the responsibility of the family’s social worker (if the child has been deemed eligible for the program).

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

The rates are established by the Director of Child Welfare, and are based on basic foster care rates after consultation with other provinces and territories.

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

An Application for Child Eligibility is submitted by the child’s social worker. The Application is reviewed by a three-person Supported Adoption committee, chaired by the Provincial Adoption Coordinator. The Committee makes recommendations to the Regional Coordinator as well as to the Director of Child Welfare, both of whom must approve the child as eligible.

Once the child is deemed eligible, the adoptive family, with the assistance of their social worker, applies to the program. The same process of approval is followed. The adoptive family must be an approved family to apply.

  1. 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?

No. However, there are guiding principles that state children in the Permanent Care and Guardianship should not be denied adoption because of lack of reasonable supports to adoptive families willing to deal with the challenges of meeting their special needs.

  1. Once eligibility is established, how and by whom are assistance agreements negotiated in Prince Edward Island?

The Provincial Adoption Coordinator prepares an Adoption Support Agreement, which is signed first by the adoptive parent(s) and witnessed by their social worker. The agreement is then signed by the Director of Child Welfare.

How Can a Family Adjust an Adoption Assistance Agreement?

  1. A child’s adoption assistance agreement may be periodically reviewed by the agency. What is the typical process used in Prince Edward Island?

The Agreements are written with a two year review date after the signing of the Agreement, and every two years after that until the Agreement is terminated, however they can be reviewed earlier if there are changes in the child’s or family’s circumstances, and at the request of either party. There are also suspension and termination clauses written into the Agreement.

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


  1. 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 Prince Edward Island?

We can and have entered into Agreements where there are no costs , supports or services at the time, but the option is there to provide services in the future.

  1. What are the exact steps a family must go through to access the appeal process in Prince Edward Island?

There is no appeal process.

  1. 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 agreements must be signed prior to the legal finalization of the adoption. No Agreements can be negotiated after legal finalization.

What Else Do Families Need to Know?

  1. How is the adoption assistance program operated and funded in Prince Edward Island?

The Supported Adoption Program budget is funded through the Director of Child Welfare’s budget, which is in turn funded by the government of Prince Edward Island. Signing authority rests with the Director, delegated to the Provincial Adoption Coordinator and Administrative Assistant. All payments are made to adoptive parents directly, based on submission of pre-approved receipts for costs, supports and services agreed to in the Adoption Support Agreement. There are no third party payments.

  1. Below are other programs that may differentiate Prince Edward Island’s adoption assistance program from others around the country.


Prince Edward Island Legal Resources:

The Supported Adoption Regulations (Scroll down to Adoption Act for the link)


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