Adopting a child through Hamilton County is not costly. In fact, there are financial supports and other services that are available during and after the adoption process.
Federal/State Tax Credit
Adoptive families may qualify for a federal adoption tax credit as well as a state adoption credit.
Title IV-E Adoption Assistance Subsidy
The Title IV-E subsidy program provides federal financial support for adopted children through a monthly monetary payment negotiated between the adoptive family and HCJFS. It is based on the child’s special and ordinary needs, and on the adoptive family’s circumstances.
In addition to a monthly payment, most children also receive Medicaid coverage. While most youth are IV-E eligible, this is determined on a case-by-case basis.
If the needs of your adopted child increase over time and are related to their abuse, neglect or family history, you can contact the agency to renegotiate your adoption assistance subsidy.
State Adoption Maintenance Subsidy (SAMS)
If a youth is ineligible for Title IV-E assistance, the adoptive family may be eligible for the SAMS program. SAMS is a financial assistance program providing a small, non-negotiable monthly payment to families that qualify based on income and family size (including adopted child or children). Based on medical needs, the family may be eligible for a medical card for the adopted child in addition to the monthly subsidy.
This subsidy reimburses adoptive families for expenses incurred during the adoption process – up to $1,000 in Ohio. The application must be filed before adoption finalization, and all receipts or needed documentation must be submitted at the time of the adoption hearing.
In general, adoption expenses incurred by families adopting a child through HCJFS include expenses related to pre-placement visits, home study fees, the court filing fee and new birth certificate fee.
Post Adoption Special Services Subsidy Program (PASSS)
PASSS is a program that may be accessed to cover special services after adoption finalization. PASSS funds may be available to cover necessary medical or psychological services not covered by Medicaid. Respite care and the maintenance costs of residential treatment programs may also be covered under the PASSS program. PASSS will not cover educational services or activities solely designed to improve self-esteem.
This program is county-administered and adoptive families need to apply in the county in which they reside.
To see a more detailed report of these adoption subsidies, consult the ODJFS Adoption Subsidies Guide.
Some employers offer adoption assistance to employees, possibly reimbursing them for adoption expenses. Families are encouraged to find out if their employer offers such a benefit or is interested in starting an adoption assistance benefit.
Employers can learn about becoming an adoption friendly workplace for free on the Dave Thomas Foundation website.
Assistance with Higher Education
College Financial Aid
Youth who are adopted after their 13th birthday do not have to include their adoptive parent’s income in the calculations for determining their need for financial aid and can identify as “independent student” on the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
For more information, read the College Financial Aid Resource Sheet.
Education and Training Voucher Program
If you adopt a child after their 16th birthday, the child may be eligible for these funds. This can include up to $5,000 a year for foster and former foster youth to cover tuition, books, and qualified living expense for those planning to attend college, universities, and vocational training schools. Students must be 18, 19, or 20 when they first apply and be accepted into or be enrolled in a degree, certificate or other accredited college, university, technical or vocational school. To remain eligible, the student must progress towards a degree or certificate. Students receiving funds prior to their 21st birthday may continue to receive support until age 23.
You can learn more about the ETV program on their website Foster Care to Success.
Families who receive a medical card for their adopted child can access Medicaid eligible providers for general medical needs, mental health therapy and psychotropic medication, speech, occupational and physical therapy. If your adopted child is in need of an evaluation for services or needs to be referred to services, you can contact Mental Health Access Point (MHAP) to have the needed evaluation set up or be directly referred to a service provider that can meet your child’s particular needs.
NET – Non-Emergency Transportation
Adoptive families may be eligible for NET to help with transportation of their adopted child to and from Medicaid appointments or reimbursement for their transportation expenses taking their adopted child to and from Medicaid appointments.
NET is a county administered program. Adoptive families must contact the JFS agency in the county in which they reside. You can access NET requests and more information about the service on the HCJFS website.
Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services (DD Services)
Families living in Hamilton County who adopt children with identified developmental disabilities can access services through Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services (DD Services). There are programs and services that your adopted child may be eligible based on their developmental disability.
For more information visit the Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services website.
Families are encouraged to seek out needed services for their adopted child as needs arise. If you feel uncertain about what services are needed or need more support or advocacy with service providers, families can call 241-KIDS and request a post adoption services case be opened.
This is not a typical children’s services case that involves abuse/neglect. This service helps connect families to needed resources and/or provide support during difficult times. We encourage families to contact us when they begin to feel overwhelmed rather than when they are “at their wit’s end.”
Needing post-adoption services does not reflect negatively on your parenting skill or ability. As professionals in the child welfare field, we understand that children adopted from the foster care system often have additional needs above and beyond children that have not experienced abuse/neglect and trauma and additional help may be needed.
After adoption, families can stay connected to the agency through the monthly newsletter, Family Matters, by signing up through our website.
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