Updated April 2008
Below you can find information about the adoption assistance benefits that may be available to families who adopt children from Yukon foster care.
Territorial Contact Person
Department of Health and Social Services
Family and Children’s Services
Box 2703, H-10
Whitehorse, YK Y1A 2C6
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 email@example.com.
Yukon Territories’ Adoption Resources on the Web:
Who is Eligible for Adoption Assistance?
1. Yukon Territories definition of special needs is as follows:
A child’s special needs may be medical, psychological, social, cognitive, developmental or behavioral. The type and extent of special needs are determined at the time of adoption placement and documented in an Acknowledgement of Special Need.
What Supports and Services are Available?
2. If available, the standard adoption assistance rate in Yukon Territory is:
Subsidized adoption is only available to families adopting children-in-care. There are 2 aspects of the subsidy program: financial, and goods and services. The amount of financial subsidy is determined through income testing of the adoptive parents; the provision of goods and services is determined based on a child’s special needs.
The maximum amount of financial subsidy is the foster care maintenance rate, and is pro-rated based on household income and number of dependents.
The maximum foster care rates are:
|Area I, Whitehorse||$26.97/day|
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 Yukon Territory offers special allowances over and above the standard rate, the criteria used to define the higher rates are as follows:
Currently, a child’s extraordinary needs are provided for through the goods and services aspect of the adoption subsidy program.
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 Yukon Territory?
As noted, payment for or provision of specific goods and services are based on the child’s recognized special needs. Examples of goods provided include hearing aids or customized orthotic devices. Examples of services provided include speech therapy or counseling.
5. What medical or dental services are available in Yukon Territory?
Yukon has a full range of medical and dental services.
6. When my child turns 18, which benefits, if any, are available to our family?
The adoption subsidy program is accessible to families until the child turns 19. At that time, the adoptee can apply for services provided by the Adult Services Branch of Health and Social Services.
7. Do relatives adopting under the program receive the same benefits as non-relatives?
8. Do children adopted from private agencies in Yukon Territory receive the same subsidies as those children adopted from public agencies?
Currently, there are no private agencies operating in the Yukon. Only families adopting children from the Yukon foster care system are eligible to apply for adoption subsidy.
What Should Families Know about Applying for Adoption Assistance?
9. When do subsidy payments begin?
The foster care maintenance rate is available from the time of placement until legal finalization. Eligibility and amount of adoption subsidy is determined at the time that legal finalization takes place. These procedures are currently under review.
10. Will Yukon Territory consider my family income to determine my child’s benefit package?
Yes. Family income and number of dependents are taken into consideration when determining eligibility. Yukon’s childcare subsidy is used as a guide.
11. Are prospective adoptive families routinely notified of all benefits available to them in Yukon Territory?
12. Who sets the assistance rates and how are they established?
Rates are set by the Director of Family and children’s servies and are based on child care subsidy guidelines.
13. Who makes the final determination of a child’s eligibility in Yukon Territory? What roles, if any, do workers and administrators at the agency or regional level play in eligibility determination and/or assistance negotiation?
The Assistant Director of Family and Children’s Services makes the final decision based on recommendations from the Adoption Coordinator.
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?
No. The best interest of the child is the primary consideration. A family environment is selected based on child best interest regardless of whether post adoption assistance is necessary.
15. Once eligibility is established, how and by whom are assistance agreements negotiated in Yukon Territory?
Social workers assess financial eligibility annually based on income testing. Goods and services related to a child’s special needs are provided on an as needed basis until the child’s 19th birthday.
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 Yukon Territory?
As noted, financial eligibility is assessed annually. Adoptive families apply for adoption subsidy through the Child Placement Services Unit.
17. Can adoption assistance agreements be modified if requested by adoptive parents?
Adoption assistance agreements can be modified provided that documentation supporting the change is available.
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 Yukon Territory?
Yes. In the Acknowledgement of Special Needs, completed at the time of the adoption, a child can be identified as being “at risk” to develop challenges in the future.
19. What are the exact steps a family must go through to access the appeal process in Yukon Territory?
Adoptive parents can appeal an adoption subsidy decision made by the Assistant Director to the Director of Family and Children’s Services.
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.
Current practice allows for adoptive families to request specific types of assistance following the legal finalization of the adoption.
The process is as follows:
- The anticipated need for future services is documented by the social worker at the time of adoption placement through an Acknowledgement of Special Needs.
- The Acknowledgement of Special Need recognizes that certain types of services may be required in the future, based on known information contained in the file. For example:
- Child welfare history (which may include abuse, neglect, multiple placements, witness to family violence, etc);
- Pre-natal history. If alcohol or drug use is known or strongly suspected during pregnancy, this will be documented; Diagnosed Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).
- Mental Health, hereditary or acquired medical issues—such as Down’s Syndrome, cleft palate, club foot, etc.
- The Assistant Director of Family and Children’s Services reviews the Acknowledgement of Special Needs.
- The types of services that may be needed in the future are itemized (i.e., counselling, assessment, medical, respite care, tutoring).
- The adoptive family is then invited to sign a subsidy agreement with Family and Children’s Services that formalizes the agreement for service in the areas specified.
What Else Do Families Need to Know?
21. How is the adoption assistance program operated and funded in Yukon Territory?
Adoption is operated and funded through the Family and Children’s Services Branch, of the department of Health and Social Services, Government of Yukon.
22. Below are other programs that may differentiate Yukon Territory’s adoption assistance program from others around the country.