Adoption Assistance

The Adoption Assistance program provides financial aid to all adopted children who have special needs in an effort to help meet those needs. As defined by the State of Georgia (for the purpose of adoption), children with special needs include those who meet at least one of the following criteria at the time of placement:

  • A child who has been in the care of a public or private agency or individual other than the legal or biological parent for more than 24 consecutive months.
  • A child with a physical, mental or emotional disability as validated by a licensed physician or psychologist.
  • A child who is a member of a sibling group of two or more placed in the same home.

The Adoption Assistance agreement must occur prior to finalization of the adoption. A child not in permanent state custody might still be eligible for assistance if he or she meets specific Title IV-E criteria. In all cases, it must be documented that such an adoption would not be possible without assistance.

Types of Assistance

Monthly Adoption Assistance Benefits:
Help to assist adoptive parent(s) in meeting the special needs of the child.

Special Services:
The Special Services Adoption Assistance program will no longer be offered through the Social Services Administration Unit, Post Adoption Services Program, due to budget constraints. This includes, but is not limited to, childcare, respite care, and orthodontic services. Families with existing Special Services agreements in place prior to July 1, 2010, will be honored through the expiration of that agreement; however, DFCS will not be able to approve any subsequent or new requests.  Private or independent adoptions where there was not a transfer of custody from DHS to a relative or an individual for the purpose of adoption are not eligible for Special Services Adoption Assistance funds.

Child Care:
Families in need of continued childcare services are encouraged to apply for the Childcare and Parent Services program via Georgia Gateway.

Respite Care:
Respite for medically fragile adoptive children serves children who currently receive ongoing adoption assistance benefits and are deemed medically fragile by a licensed medical provider. This class of children must meet one (1) of the following criteria:

  • A condition that requires dependence upon durable medical equipment (to include, but not limited to, wheelchairs, walkers, etc.); 
  • A condition that requires dependence upon medical support equipment (to include, but not limited to, a respirator, a feeding pump, a suction machine, oxygen, etc.);
  • A life-threatening, acute or chronic infectious disease or an acute or chronic noninfectious disease requiring respiratory or other precautions (excluding normal childhood diseases);
  • A terminal illness;
  • A condition that requires the ongoing administration of intravenous medication or a feeding tube for nutritional support (e.g., a G tube); 
  • A condition that requires intensive rehabilitation and/or developmental disability services.

Each family, if approved, will receive up to five hours of respite care per month at a rate of $6.00 per hour for the first child, and $2.00 per hour for siblings, until the child or children, reach the age of 18. The approval time frame is one year from the approval date, and will only be available for children who are placed in adoptive status while in the permanent custody of DFCS or who are transferred to a relative or individual for the purpose of adoption from DFCS custody.

Families in need of respite care should visit the ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center or contact the Georgia Center for Resources and Support or call 1.866.272.7368.

Other Resources:

Non-Recurring Adoption Assistance:
This type of assistance covers legal fees, court costs, and other one-time expenses directly related to the finalization of the adoption of a child with special needs. Georgia‘s maximum non-recurring adoption assistance reimbursement is capped at $1,500 per child and is applicable to all children determined to meet the criteria for special needs after this date.

Medicaid assistance is available to any child who eligible for monthly adoption assistance benefits. For Title IV-E eligible children, medical coverage will continue if the child is placed for adoption in another state or if the child moves with an adoptive family to another state, per the procedures of the Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance. The state of Georgia is not responsible for medical coverage for Title IV-B/state funded eligible children when the child is placed with an adoptive family in another state or when the child moves with the adoptive family to another state. For more information about Medicaid as adoption assistance, please visit Transition of Health Care Coverage to Managed Care and/or Georgia Families 360° – Adoption Assistance Opt-out Information.