Adoption Assistance Programs

Florida’s Adoption Assistance Program for Children Adopted from the Child Welfare System

The State of Florida offers adoption assistance to prospective adoptive parents to enable them to adopt a child in the state’s foster care system.

The Adoption Assistance Program is designed for children that were removed from their caregiver due to abuse or neglect and the permanent custody of the child has been awarded to the Department of Children and Families or a licensed child- placing agency.

 In addition, the child must meet one of the following criteria:

1. Eight years of age or older

2. Developmentally disabled

3. Physically or emotionally handicapped

4. Siblings being placed together

5. Black or Bi-Racial

Except for foster parent and relative adoptions of children from foster care, a reasonable but unsuccessful effort will have been made to place the child without a maintenance subsidy. Foster Parents and relatives must be asked if they are willing to adopt the child without subsidy.

Maintenance Subsidy:

The amount of the maintenance subsidy is $5,000 per year paid monthly ($417). If the amount is different, the Department of Children and Families and the adoptive family must be in agreement. The subsidy amount may be adjusted based on the needs of the child and circumstances of the family. The amount may not exceed the amount compensated for the child in Family Foster Care.

NOTE: Adoption Assistance is subject to Legislative appropriation.

Reimbursement for Expenses:

The department is authorized to reimburse up to $1,000 in nonrecurring expenses related to the adoption of a child which have been incurred by the adoptive parents. For purposes of this subsection, “nonrecurring expenses” means one-time expenses, such as attorney’s fees, court costs, birth certificate fees, travel expenses, agency fees, and physical examination fees.

College Assistance for Children Adopted from Foster Care

College Tuition Exemption: Children that are adopted through the Department of Children and Families after May 5, 1997, may be eligible to receive a college tuition waiver at Florida public universities, colleges and vocational training schools until they are 28 years old (Florida Statute F.S. 1009.25)

Extended Adoption Maintenance Subsidy: Families that adopt a young person at ages of 16 or 17 may be eligible for an extended maintenance subsidy until the age of 21.

FASFA (Federal Application for Student Financial Aid): Children adopted from foster care at the age of thirteen or older, are given special consideration when applying for student financial loans or grants. (FAFSA.ED.GOV)

Federal Tax Credit:

Families that adopt children from  foster care are eligible for a tax credit on their federal income tax credit. A tax credit is a reduction in the amount of taxes you pay the government. - Form 8839

Medical Assistance:

The medical assistance is designed to help cover the costs of treating physical, mental, or emotional conditions that existed prior to the adoption. It is expected that if the adoptive families health insurance will cover these conditions, that it should be used first. Many of the children are Medicaid eligible and will continue their eligibility even after the adoption. Medicaid should be used before attempting to secure help through medical assistance. The need for medical assistance must be established before finalization of the adoption, although the service may not be needed until a later date. Prior approval by Community Based Care or Department of Children and Families Post Adoption Services is required before   treatment is sought using a medical assistance.

Children receiving care through Children’s Medical Services are eligible to continue those services after the adoption.

Qualifying Adoptive Employee Benefit Program

Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law an expansion of the “State Employee  Adoption Benefit” program (F.S. 409.1664). The program provides state employees, school district employees, and charter school employees a one time benefit of up to $10,000 per child that a family adopts from Florida’s Child Welfare System after July 1, 2015. The expansion of the law allows eligibility for active military service members and veterans that live in Florida and adopt from Florida’s Foster Care System. The expansion of the law goes into effect July 1, 2020. For additional information contact: Florida’s Adoption Information Center 1-800-96-ADOPT (1-800-962-3678)

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