Adoption Financial Assistance

Written by Jonathan Breeden

December 12, 2016

Deciding to adopt a child can be exhilarating, but the process for adoption is not an easy one. The stress and expenses can become overwhelming. The children waiting to be adopted often spend several years in the care of adoption agencies or foster homes. Older children, siblings, and those with special needs are sometimes dubbed “un-adoptable.” In order to encourage parents to choose children who have special needs, North Carolina offers adoption financial assistance in certain cases.

North Carolina was one of the first states to provide adoption incentives to parents who needed financial assistance in order to complete the adoption process. The State and the federal government, through the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act, now offer a subsidy program to people hoping to adopt.

Who Is Eligible for an Adoption Subsidy

Children who can receive funding from state or federal adoption assistance programs have to meet certain criteria that define them as “special needs.” Children with special needs may require care with varied expenses, such as visits to medical or mental health professionals. Those who are looking to adopt a group of siblings also face the costs of feeding, housing, and clothing three or more children at a time also qualify. In order to receive financial help, adoptive parents of qualifying special needs children can receive monthly stipends from state or federal programs.

State Special Needs Determination

A child who qualifies as “special needs,” according to the state, may meet any of the following criteria:

  • The child is 6 years old or older, or 2 years old if a member of a minority race
  • The child has two or more siblings, and all will be placed together in an adoptive home
  • The child has one or more siblings, all of whom will be placed together in an adoptive home, and one of the siblings meets at least one other item on the special needs criteria list
  • The child has a psychological, behavioral, or emotional disorder, which has been diagnosed by a professional in the behavioral health field
  • The child has been diagnosed as mentally retarded by a professional in the field
  • The child is at risk of developing one of the above disorders due to exposure, neglect, or his or her genetics

Additionally, special needs children must be legally adoptable and be in in the care of an authorized adoption agency or in the home of a person who is pursuing adoption of the child. Monetary amounts depend on factors such as the age of the child and any applicable extraordinary needs of the child. Benefits end when the child turns 18.

Federal Special Needs Determination

There are other requirements for receiving federal benefits for special needs children. Children considered to have special needs under federal law are:

  • Children whom cannot or should not return home to their birth parents
  • Children with a number of significant factors, such as their age, ethnic background, or mental issues, that render them “un-adoptable”
  • Children for whom the state has made a “reasonable effort” to place in adoptive homes without financial assistance

Additionally, children who are funded by either the state or federal programs are eligible for Medicaid benefits.

Contact a North Carolina Adoption Attorney

Adopting a special needs child can be difficult but incredibly rewarding for parents. Because the adoption process is not easy, you may want to enlist the help of a compassionate attorney for adoption to see you through it. Throughout his experience, attorney Jonathan Breeden has helped many North Carolina parents experience the joy of adoption. Call (919) 661-4970 today to let Breeden Law Offices serve you, too.


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