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Adoption Myths
The truth about the adoption industry:
The truth about Adoption and who it exploits.
Child Protection Services and Adoption Facilitators go hand and hand.
Adoption is not good. There are far too many adoption horror stories out there than good adoptions.
Adoption is un-natural.
The Adoption Industry{secti
WHAT Industry? | BIG BUSINESS: $1.4 Billion | Adoption Affects Millions | CONSUMER DEMAND | The Industry Admits COERCION | Today's "Modus Operandi"
WHAT Industry?
Like any other industry, adoption is fueled by consumer demand. In this case, the demand of infertile couples to obtain other women's children, and who are often willing to pay from $25,000 to $50,000 for that child.
Adoption Services Valued At $1.4 Billion
Report by Nancy Ashe Copyright  2001, Inc.
"An industry analysis of Fertility Clinics and Adoption Services by Marketdata Enterprises of Tampa, FL, has placed a $1.4 billion value on adoption services in the US, with a projected annual growth rate of 11.5% to 2004. According to a report from PR Newswire, this is the only analysis of this business sector ever undertaken.
Some details:
    * In 1999, there were 138,000 US adoptions;
    * There are 4,500 adoption services providers in the US, which include 2,000 public agencies, 2,000 private agencies, and 500 adoption attorneys;
    * The number of attorneys involved in adoption has doubled over the past 10 years;
    * Gross income for small agencies can come to $400,000 per year, and $10+ million for large agencies.
    * Much of the present and future growth is attributable to the rise in international adoptions. 
Marketdata's analysis places adoption costs between $15,000 - $30,000, and describes adoption as 'complex, and stories of unscrupulous operators abound in this loosely regulated field.' "
From "About.Com:  About Adoption"
Reprinted with Permission of Author
Adoption Affects Millions
There are approximately 6 million adoptees in the United States. We can extrapolate that there are usually 4 sets of parents involved in each adoption (two natural parents and two dopters). This increases the number to 24 million people involved in Adoption. Add siblings, stepparents, facilitators, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and it is not illogical to conclude that there are over 100 million people in the United States involved in Adoption.
There are costs involved in the original adoption - usually fees paid by adopters to a "third party" who acts as a broker. Examples of some fees are:
          Religious Agencies: A few hundred dollars to $10,000.00 or more
          Non-denominational Private Agencies: $10,000 to $20,000
          Independent [Private] Adoption: A few thousand dollars to $50,000 but may be higher if there are extremely high medical bills.
          Public Agencies: None to minimal. There may be attorney fees to finalize the adoption
          International Adoption: $5,000 -$20,000 to the agency plus transportation and lodging fees.
This is why there are entrepreneurs who make their livelihood convincing young parents to relinquish their babies - it is a profitable business. These "baby brokers" include: adoption lawyers maternity homes (often operated by charities and churches) "facilitators" government social workers commercial and "non-profit" agencies

Consumer Demand
Like all industries, the adoption industry is driven by consumer demand. This demand was recognized as far back as 1953:
        "... the tendency growing out of the demand for babies is to regard unmarried mothers as breeding machines...(by people intent) upon securing babies for quick adoptions." - Leontine Young, "Is Money Our Trouble?" (paper presented at the National Conference of Social Workers, Cleveland, 1953) {quote courtesy of Karen WB}
        ". . . babies born out of wedlock [are] no longer considered a social problem . . . white, physically healthy babies are considered by many to be a social boon . . . " (i.e. a valuable commodity..). - Social Work and Social Problems (1964), National Association of Social Workers. {quote courtesy of Karen WB}
        " Because there are many more married couples wanting to adopt newborn white babies than there are babies, it may almost be said that they, rather than out of wedlock babies, are a social problem. (Sometimes social workers in adoption agencies have facetiously suggested setting up social provisions for more 'baby breeding.')" - Social Work and Social Problems (1964), National Association of Social Workers. {quote courtesy of Karen WB}
The Industry Admits Coercion:
When unmarried motherhood was considered shameful to the family, it was easy to convince parents to ship their unwed daughter to maternity homes (assuming that marriage had been ruled out) and adoption lawyers:
        "Parents embraced the idea of maternity homes partly because in the postwar decades, parents themselves needed protection as much as their erring daughters... If the girl disappeared, the problem disappeared with her." - Rickie Solinger, "Wake Up Little Suzie."
Pressure from society, churches, parents, maternity homes, hospitals etc. - plus the virtual non-existance of welfare for young single mothers - virtually guaranteed that a young woman raised to respect authority would surrender her baby. As well, social workers were convinced that unwed equalled unfit, that that they were doing their moral duty in convincing (forcing/coercing) young women to surrender:
        " Unwed mothers should be punished and they should be punished by taking their children away." - Dr. Marion Hilliard of Women's College Hospital, Toronto. Daily Telegraph (November 1956) {quote courtesy of Karen WB}
        " The fact that social work professional attitudes tend to favor the relinquishment of the baby, as the literature shows, should be faced more clearly. Perhaps if it were recognized, workers would be in less conflict and would therefore feel less guilty about their "failures" (the kept cases)." - Social worker Barbara Hansen Costigan, in her dissertation, "The Unmarried Mother--Her Decision Regarding Adoption" (1964) {quote courtesy of Karen WB}
        " The caseworker must then be decisive, firm and unswerving in her pursuit of a healthy solution for the girl's problem. The "I'm going to help you by standing by while you work it through" approach will not do. What is expected from the worker is precisely what the child expected but did not get from her parents--a decisive "No!" .... An ambivalent mother, interfering with her daughter's ability ... to surrender her child, must be dealt with as though she (the girl's mother) were a child herself." - Marcel Heiman, M.D. in "Out-Of-Wedlock Pregnancy In Adolescence," Casework Papers 1960. {quote courtesy of Karen WB}
Governments had (and still do have) their own incentive for encouraging the adoption industry. Every baby surrendered by an unemployed unsupported single mother means one less welfare recipient. An example: if a single parent is eligible for welfare until their child was 7 years old, a government saves $35,000 (7 x $5,000 annually) in welfare payments each time its social workers obtain a surrender. Federal governments also encourage adoption by providing cash bonuses to states for every adoption completed.
        "To the Province generally the great advantage and economy of the Adoption Act can be realized when it is stated that many of the children before their adoption were costing five and six dollars a week for maintenance." - 35th Report of the Superintendent of Neglected and Dependent Children (Ontario, 1928)
Today's Modus Operandi
As divorce rates rose in the 70's and 80's, single parenthood lost its stigma, women no longer experienced the same societal/family pressure to surrender, and the number of babies surrendered in the U.S. and Canada began falling. Consumer demand has, if anything, risen dramatically, as women who have postponed children for careers are now finding themselves infertile (see the April 15, 2002 Time magazine article "Making Time for a Baby"). According to Adoptive Families magazine, "For every healthy newborn available, there are now almost forty potential parents searching." ("Love for Sale," Adoptive Families).
With money to be made from desperate "Family Builders," the industry has had to come up with new ways of obtaining its commodities. They have done this through modern marketing and advertising tactics.
        * Adopters have now formed "consumer groups." Pressure from these consumer groups on government has led to laws changing to vastly decrease the time period in which a woman can revoke her surrender or consent to adoption.
        * Adoption lawyers are promoting the legal idea that, if a child is placed in an adoptive home even before the adoption in consented to, the adopters have the right to retain that child against any challenge from the natural parents (see the "Children's Rights" page by the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys).
        * The Internet has increasing numbers of websites set up to encourage women to "place" their children. Agencies and lawyers fund these websites by purchasing advertising space on them.
"Adoption was created to provide homes for orphans. These by definition are children without parents. Car crashes, war, natural disasters.  It was never created to provide children to 'poor infertile couples'. When did the wires get crossed? I guess when someone started making money. Children are not a commodity!!!! Get a puppy."
- An adoptee
 "Follow the money"  - Deep Throat
Here is a site for birth mothers
The practice, which is widespread among private adoption facilitators, of charging prospective parents different fees depending on the race or ethnicity of the child they adopt is one that Hutcherson is fighting to change from his Redmond, Wash., church. The Antioch Bible Church has established its own adoption agency, and is lobbying state legislators to change Washington's laws.
"I've got championship Rottweilers. I sell them by supply and demand," Hutcherson said. "I raise thoroughbred racehorses. I sell them by supply and demand. I'm not going to let people sell children by supply and demand. What's the difference between that and slavery?"
The campaign to change the law is directed at Washington state legislators, but Hutcherson said he would prefer to see the federal government step in and create one set of regulations governing adoption, rather than leaving the issue to the states to decide.
Current Washington law bans payments to a birth mother for placing a child for adoption, but does not address payments for arranging an adoption or the fees that may be charged.
"I think it's an issue that Americans have not looked at closely enough, because if they had, things wouldn't be the way they are," he said.
He hopes to get attention around Washington with a billboard campaign as soon as he can raise the $70,000 to $80,000 he needs. The billboards will feature a white baby, a latino baby and a black baby and next to each, the fees some adoption facilitators might charge for them: $35,000, $10,000 and $4,000.
He said that besides putting a price on children, the practice discriminates against white babies and people who seek to adopt them an issue he said has been overlooked because white people, particularly those who can afford the high adoption fees charged, are not used to considering themselves victims of discrimination.
"I know about discrimination," said Hutcherson, who is black. "I don't care who it's against, it's wrong. Tell me that if it was black babies that cost $50,000 and white babies that cost $4,000, people would be screaming their heads off."
Disparity in Fees It is all about one thing? Federal Money to The States.
Some adoption professionals said the reason for the difference in cost for adopting white babies as opposed to babies of other races or ethnicities is that there are fewer white infants available and there is more demand for them.
"Often the justification may be that children of some ethnic groups are more difficult to place," said Gregory Franklin, an attorney who said that 90 percent of his business is providing legal representation for people involved in the adoption process.
"Obviously, any time that somebody brings up the word discrimination, everybody's going to take notice and draw attention to the issue, whether or not there's an issue there," said Sean Lance, the director of American Adoptions, which has a fee structure that results in prospective parents paying more to adopt white babies than to adopt black babies. "It's not set up as discriminatory. The difference is in the cost of the process living expenses, medical expenses. Our agency fee for all adoptions are identical."
He said that minority mothers often qualify for Medicaid or other financial support that pays their expenses while they are carrying their babies, and sometimes will cover the cost of the delivery, whereas white mothers often do not, so those costs are paid by the prospective parents of the baby.
In some states the birth mother's living expenses can also be passed on to the adoptive parents, and that can create a disparity in cost for different adoptions. If a birth mother does not have other support, laws in some states allow the cost of her rent, maternity clothes and food to be passed on to the couple seeking to adopt her child.
One Web site for a licensed, non-profit adoption agency says it will wind up costing prospective parents about $19,000 to $35,000 to adopt "non-African American (i.e. Caucasian, Hispanic, Native American etc. or any non-African American combination of races) healthy newborns and infants" through the "Traditional Programs."
In the "Minority Program," prospective parents can expect to pay an average of $8,000 to $15,000.
The difference between the costs for black and non-black babies is explained by the "subsidies to help offset the costs of these adoptions" and because more advertising is needed to find non-black babies.
There is also a difference in cost depending on whether a family is willing to wait nine to 18 months for a non-black baby ($19,000-$24,000) or wants an infant in three to nine months ($27,000-$35,000).
"The fee difference results from higher living expenses and medical expenses for the birth parents," the site explains. "Also, because there are fewer familes that can afford these higher cost adoptions, the waiting times are significantly reduced."
Hutcherson and some adoption experts said the range and disparity of fees seen on the site are representative of the fees of many private adoption agencies as well.
Money Should Not Be Driving Factor But it is.
Every state prohibits the buying and selling of children, but agencies and facilitators are allowed to charge fees that are deemed to be reasonable.
Only four states Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts and Minnesota ban adoptions by independent facilitators or attorneys, though Connecticut, Massachusetts and Minnesota will all waive the requirement that adoptions be done through an agency if the child's interests are better served by an independent adoption.
"It is interesting that states have never looked at why the fees for a white newborn might be $30,000 and why the fee for a black 5-year-old with slight retardation should be $2,000," Adoption Insitute executive director Cindy Friedmutter said. "The costs of adopting either child shouldn't be any different.
"The laws are in some cases not strong enough and in some cases are not enforced well enough," she added. "Money should not be the driving factor."
Some states allow independent adoption agencies, facilitators or even families who want to adopt to place advertisements in newspapers, magazines, on the Internet or other means to find birth mothers who want to give up their babies. Unscrupulous facilitators will sometimes try to pressure pregnant young women into giving up their child for adoption by holding out the promise of money for their "product," Friedmutter said.
"For poor families, for young, unwed mothers, that creates untoward pressure," she said. "That's not the way adoption is supposed to work.
"When money's involved, ethics go out the window," she added.
Is High Cost a Guarantee?
Friedmutter said she draws a distinction between facilitators or agencies that charge prospective parents more or less depending on the race or ethnicity of the baby that they want to adopt, and those who charge on a sliding scale based on the family's income.
She said charging people according to what they can afford is a way for agencies to make adoption a viable choice for more families, and still let them balance the books.
But she rejected the argument put forward by some facilitators that charging higher fees for healthy white babies who are in short supply and high demand allows them to charge less for youngsters who are not in such high demand.
She said that practice could create a sense in parents who spend more money on an adoption that they are buying a product with an implicit guarantee that this child will be everything they want in a child.
"The thing that is scary to me is that children aren't perfect," she said. "People who are willing to pay high fees for healthy kids don't always get perfect children. If you pay $50,000, it doesn't mean that child is going to be healthy, gorgeous and smart."
According to Hutcherson, the answer is to take money out of the equation. The adoption agency he started at his church is run by volunteers and funded by contributions, and that is the model he would ultimately like to see adopted nationwide.
This is what adopters get in Illinois if the real parents got this then maybe DCFS would never get involved  It is terrible what they do to parents
Adoption offers a chance at a new beginning for many children cared for by the Department. Families constitute the building blocks of society. They provide children with the love and security needed to grow into healthy adults.
The Department helps thousands of adoptable children to find a new home each year. Most children placed by DCFS were from homes so abusive or neglectful that it would be unsafe for them to return.
In 1997, President Clinton challenged the states to double the number of adoptions and permanent placements in five years. DCFS exceeded the President's challenge in just one year and received the national Adoption 2002 Excellence Award for increasing the number of permanent placements from 2,229 in Fiscal Year 1997 to 5,422 in Fiscal Year 1998, including 4,293 adoptions and 1,129 subsidized guardianships.
In Fiscal Year 1999, for the second consecutive year, DCFS moved a record number of children into permanent homes through adoption and legal guardianship. State efforts to improve permanency for foster children resulted in a remarkable 294 percent increase in adoptions and guardianships, from 2,414 in Fiscal Year 1997 to 9,514 in Fiscal Year 1999. This included 7,315 adoptions and 2,199 subsidized guardianships.
While overall adoptions in Fiscal Year 2000 were lower (6,281 adoptions), the proportion of foster children adopted and moved to other kinds of permanency is actually higher. This is partly due to success in reducing the Department's substitute care population from nearly 52,000 children in Fiscal Year 1997 to fewer than 20,000 children today.
In Fiscal Year 2001, some 4,208 foster children were placed into adoptive homes. An additional 1,131 children were also placed into permanent homes through the state's unique subsidized guardianship program, and another 2,813 children were reunified with their birth parents. In all, more than 8,100 children -- or about one-third of all foster children -- were moved into permanency during Fiscal Year 2001.
In Fiscal Year 2002, some 3,393 foster children were placed into adoptive homes. An additional 1,084 children were also placed into permanent homes through the state's unique subsidized guardianship program, and another 2,740 children were reunified with their birth parents. In all, more than 7,200 children -- or about one-third of all foster children -- were moved into permanency during Fiscal Year 2002.
In Fiscal Year 2003, some 2,795 foster children were placed into adoptive homes. An additional 919 children were also placed into permanent homes through the state's unique subsidized guardianship program, and another 2,456 children were reunified with their birth parents. In all, more than 6,170 children -- or about one-third of all foster children -- were moved into permanency during Fiscal Year 2003.
DCFS serves many children for whom finding adoptive families has been difficult. These children have come to be known as "the waiting children." They may be older children, sibling groups, or they may have special medical or behavioral needs.
In Novermber 2002, Illinois led the nation in Adoption Excellence Award recipients announced by HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson. Presented annually since 1997, the awards honor individuals and groups helping move abandoned, neglected or abused children into loving and safe permanent homes. Five of the 18 recipients chosen this year were from Illinois. the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and then Director Jess McDonald received Adoption Excellence Awards for their outstanding achievements in helping foster children find adoptive homes from the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. Also recognized by HHS were NBC News Anchor Allison Rosati, Peoria foster parents Tom and Elizabeth Richmond, and adoptive parent/founder of Hope Meadows, Brenda Krause Eheart. Sixteen Adoption Excellence Awards have been given to Illinois recipients since its inception, including five awards going to DCFS and its staff.
In November 2003, the DCFS co-founded One Church One Child minority adoption program was among three Illinois-based Adoption Excellence Award recipients announced by HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson.(Public Awareness Category). Nominated by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, the One Church One Child (OCOC) has become a national leader in special needs adoption. The program was created in the state of Illinois in 1980 with leadership provided by Father George Clements, along with a group of ministers, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, and other governmental officials.
DCFS provides and funds a variety of financial and non-financial benefits after adoption or guardianship, including subsidies for families who adopt waiting children or become guardians of children in DCFS care. Subsidy agreements are entered into prior to court finalization of adoptions or approval of guardianships and begin after the adoptions (adoption assistance agreements) or guardianships (subsidized guardianship agreements) are finalized.
Subsidies may include any or all of the following:
*Ongoing monthly payments equal to what the child's foster care payment was, or would have been.
*Medicaid card to cover medical expenses not covered by family insurance or other public resources.
*Counseling services for the family and child, if needed.
*Therapeutic day care.
*Reimbursement for costs associated with the adoption or guardianship, such as attorney fees and court costs, with a maximum reimbursement for non-recurring expenses of $1,500 for adoption and $500 for guardianship.
There are also a number of other post adoption and guardianship services available including information and referral, educational services, non-identifying
Illinois State Subsidy Profile
Updated October 2001
State Subsidy Contact Person
June Dorn
Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS)
100 W. Randolph, Suite 6-100
Chicago, IL. 60601
Phone: (312) 814-6858
NACAC Subsidy Representative (parent/volunteer)
Judy Pence
2426 Austin Drive
Springfield, IL 62704
Home: 217-787-7367
Office: 217-557-5677; Fax: 217-524-3966

Adoption subsidies are available for children with special needs.
Federal subsidies were created by Congress (through Public Law 96-272–
the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980) to encourage
the adoption of special needs children and remove the financial
disincentives to adoption for the families. Children may receive a
federally funded subsidy under Title IV-E or a state-funded subsidy
as per state guidelines. Below we have outlined information related
to definitions of special needs, benefits available, and procedures
in your state. If you have additional 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 If you have state-specific questions,
please call your state subsidy contact person or the NACAC subsidy
representative (both listed above) for more information.

1. Illinois's legal definition of special needs is as follows:
Adoption assistance may be provided to those persons adopting
children who are: (1) legally free for adoption; (2) residents of
Illinois, and (3) who the Department has determined have special
needs because of which it is reasonable to conclude that the child
cannot be adopted unless adoption assistance is provided. A child
shall not be considered to have special needs unless the Department
has first determined that:
the child cannot or should not be returned to the home of his or her
parents, as determined by: (a) a judicial adjudication that the child
is abused, neglected or dependent or other judicial determination
that there is probable cause to believe that a child is abused,
neglected or dependent; and (b) a determination by the Department
that the child is likely to suffer further abuse or neglect or will
not be adequately cared for if returned to the parent(s); and

the child meets one of the following criteria: (a) has an
irreversible or non-correctable physical, mental or emotional
disability; or (b) has a physical, mental or emotional disability
correctable through surgery, treatment, or other specialized
services; or (c) is one year of age or older; or (d) is a member of a
sibling group being adopted together where at least one child meets
one of the above criteria, or; (e) is a child being adopted by
adoptive parents who have previously adopted, with adoption
assistance, another child(ren) born of the same mother or father; and

a reasonable, but unsuccessful, effort has been made to place the
child with adoptive parents without providing adoption assistance and
the prospective adoptive parents are either unwilling or unable to
adopt the child without adoption assistance, as evidenced by a
written statement from the adoptive parents. A documented search for
alternative adoptive placements without adoption assistance shall be
made unless the Department determines that such a search is not in
the best interests of the child because the child has developed
significant emotional ties with the prospective adoptive parents
while in their foster care.
2. The maximum basic monthly adoption assistance maintenance payment
in Illinois is:
Basic rates:
0-11 mos.

Children receive the rate they received in foster care or would have
received if they had been in foster care.
Intensive rates:
Specialized rates are determined based on a special rate that would
have been established for the child in foster care.
3. Are there any unique aspects or guidelines surrounding Illinois's
maintenance payment program?
4. Specialized rates are based on the extraordinary needs of the
child, and/or the additional parenting skill needed to raise the
child. If Illinois offers these rates, the criteria used to define
them are as follows:
Specialized rates relate to the individual needs of the child.
Decisions are made on a case-by-case, agency-by-agency basis.
However, to qualify for specialized rates, children must generally
have multiple medical needs. Rates are established while the child is
in foster care using a "Level of Care" Assessment Form (for more
information, obtain CFS 418 IL 418-0613 form from your worker or call
Judith Pence at 217-787-7367).
5. What Medicaid services are available in Illinois? Who is the
Medicaid contact person in Illinois?
Services include:
Independent Laboratory
Physical rehabilitation
Psychological tests
Psychiatric care
Dental—Payment is made for those services essential to prevent dental
disease and to restore and maintain adequate dental function to
assure good bodily health of the patient.
Optician and optometrist—Covered services include the provision of
glasses and other materials which are required to restore and
conserve vision. Only one pair of glasses will be provided in a 12-
month period.
Therapy providers include physical therapists, occupational
therapists, and speech therapists/pathologists.
Medical equipment/supplies—A written recommendation of patient care
plan authorized by the individual's physician is required in the
provision of medical supplies and equipment. Medical items/services
covered are: a) non-durable medical supplies, b) durable medical
equipment, c) prosthesis and orthoses, d) respiratory
equipment/supplies and e) repair, alteration, and maintenance of
necessary durable medical equipment, prosthesis and orthoses.
Medical transportation services—If the transportation is not
available without charge.
Inpatient hospital—Providers include general hospitals, psychiatric
hospitals, and physical rehabilitation hospitals. General inpatient
hospital services include medical, surgical, pediatric orthopedic,
maternity and intensive care services. Inpatient psychiatric hospital
enrolled with DPA for this category of service. Inpatient psychiatric
services provided by psychiatric hospitals are covered services for
recipients under age 21. Regardless of where inpatient psychiatric
services are provided, Medicaid coverage is limited to a maximum of
twenty (20) days per admission and forty-five (45) days in any
calendar year.
Outpatient hospital—General outpatient hospital services include
referred services (physician referral) for lab tests, x-rays, etc.,
and emergency services.
Clinic—Included are general clinic services, psychiatric clinic
services and physical rehabilitation clinic services.
(NOTE: Services may change.)
NACAC's subsidy representative Judy Pence (217-787-7367 or 217-524-
2409) can provide a current listing of regional Medicaid liaisons
upon request.
6. Children who have federally funded (Title IV-E) subsidy are
automatically eligible for Medicaid benefits. However, it is the
state's decision whether state-funded (non-Title IV-E) children are
eligible for Medicaid benefits in Illinois. Below is information on
the Medicaid benefits available for state-funded children.
Every child adopted with adoption assistance (state or federal)
receives a Medicaid card. As such, all children have access to
identical medical coverage.
7. Parents can receive payment or reimbursement for certain
nonrecurring adoption expenses directly related to the finalization
of an adoption. Below are the allowed expenses and the limit per
Payment for nonrecurring costs are available to any family who adopts
a child who qualifies as having special needs. Reimbursements can
cover expenses related to the following: adoption fees, court costs,
attorney fees, travel expenses related to preplacement visits, health
and psychological examinations, and any other costs associated with
the adoption finalization.
Families must apply for reimbursement prior to adoption finalization.
The reimbursement limit is $1500 per child.
8. What specific (if any) Title XX social services (e.g., day care,
respite care, etc.) are available to adopted children and their
families in Illinois? How do I access them?
The Department of Public Aid is the state agency in Illinois
identified as the administering agency for Title XX social services.
Services are delivered through local agencies. Any family adopting a
special needs child and receiving adoption assistance is eligible to
apply for Title XX services. Day care is the most commonly delivered
service. However, since there is a cap on reimbursement received by
the state from the federal government, all services may not always be
available. Families should contact their local or regional DCFS
office for further information.
9. In addition to monthly payments and health coverage, Illinois has
indicated that the following services are available for children with
special needs.
Health Care Payments—In addition to the medical card, the Department
assumes responsibility for any medical services related to a child's
pre-existing condition(s) when such services are not covered by
another funding source (i.e., family's insurance, or other public
Other Special Services—The Department provides counseling services
for the child and the adoptive family following adoption
finalization, regular day care for any child up to age three if the
parent is working or in school, and therapeutic daycare. Any
additional service costs are reflected in the "specialized rate."
10. If the additional assistance (listed above in question #9) is to
cover specific services (e.g., counseling/mental health services,
respite care, etc.), must these services be explicitly identified in
the adoption assistance agreement?
All services should be identified in the original agreement. However,
amendments may be made to the original agreement to add services that
relate to a pre-existing condition.
11. Is respite care provided through the adoption assistance program?
Respite care is not available through the Adoption Assistance
Program. Families may be able to access respite through the state's
Adoption Preservation Program in their area. The Adoption
Preservation Program is available to families who are experiencing
problems in the adoption and who may require intensive services to
support the adoption.
12. How are residential treatment costs covered (if at all) for
adoptive families? What procedures must a family follow to receive
these services?
Residential Care: The Department's Adoption Assistance does not
include a provision for the payment of residential care. Families of
children adopted through the Department of Children and Family
Services who later request residential care are assisted in exploring
funding resources for such residential care. The Adoption
Preservation Programs and the Clinical Division of the Department
help the family explore funding options such as an Individual Care
Grant through the school system, funding through Local Area Networks
(LANS) and any other sources. If funding is not located through these
sources, assistance is provided in working with the Residential
Services Authority that negotiates funding between the Department of
Mental Health, the Department of Children and Family Services, and
the Board of Education.
13. A deferred adoption assistance agreement is one in which the
initial monthly maintenance amount is $0. Does Illinois offer such
Illinois initiated a "conditional" adoption assistance program in
November 1995. The "conditional" agreement goes into effect at such
time as the child's condition manifests itself. The maintenance
portion of the subsidy is based on rates at the time the subsidy is
14. Does Illinois operate a subsidized guardianship program?
Yes. Subsidized guardianship is available upon the recommendation of
the child's caseworker for those children who meet the following
The child must have been in the legal custody of the state for one
year or more immediately prior to establishing subsidized
The child must have resided with the prospective private guardian
(relative caregiver or licensed foster parent) for at least one year
immediately prior to establishing the subsidized guardianship.
However, the one year placement requirement may be waived for sibling
groups when at least one sibling meets all subsidized guardianship
Reunification of the child with his or her parents and adoption must
have been ruled out as permanency goals despite reasonable efforts
having been made to reunite the family or seek adoption of the child;
A child living in the home of an unrelated foster parent must be at
least 12 years of age. Younger children may qualify for subsidized
guardianship with a non-relative if they are a sibling of a child 12
years or older who meets all subsidized guardianship requirements or
if the worker determines that private guardianship is in the best
interest of the child due to the length of time in the home, the age
of the child, the characteristics, responsibilities, and limitations
of the caregiver including their health and mobility, or the special
needs of the child;
The prospective guardian must have no record of felony convictions;
A child 14 years of age of older must consent to the subsidized
guardianship living arrangement.

Programmatic Procedures
15. Who makes the final determination of a child's subsidy
eligibility in Illinois? What roles, if any, do workers and
administrators at the county, district, or regional level play in
eligibility determination and/or assistance negotiation?
The Regional Administrator or his/her designee makes the final
determination of a child's subsidy eligibility based on official
Department rule and procedure.
16. Will Illinois consider my family income to determine my child's
subsidy package?
Income is not considered when determining payment amount. The monthly
payment is equal to the amount the child received in foster care.
17. When do subsidy payments begin?
All subsidy payments are effective the date of adoption finalization.
18. Do children adopted from private agencies in Illinois receive the
same subsidies as those children adopted from public agencies?
Any non-department child who meets IV-E eligibility, meets the IDCFS
requirements, and is under the custody/guardianship of a private
agency, is eligible for IV-E adoption assistance. State adoption
assistance requires that the child be under the guardianship of the
19. When my child turns 18, which benefits, if any, are available to
our family?
All benefits may continue up to the age of 21 for children who are
mentally, emotionally, intellectually, or physically handicapped.
Children can also receive adoption assistance up to age 19 if still
in high school.
20. A child's adoption assistance agreement may be periodically
reviewed by the state. What is the typical process used in Illinois?
Adoption assistance is reviewed every two years and continued if the
family continues to remain legally and financially responsible for
the child.
21. Can adoption assistance agreements be modified if requested by
adoptive parents?
Assistance agreements may be modified at any time in writing if
signed by the adoptive parents and the Regional Administrator or
his/her designee.
22. What are the exact steps a family must go through to access the
fair hearing/appeal process in Illinois?
Adoptive parents may appeal the Department's decision to reduce,
change, or terminate adoption assistance. Appeals go through a number
of levels beginning with the worker, the administrator, and then to
an appeal panel.
23. Families may request a subsidy after the finalization of an
adoption under certain circumstances. Below is the process by which
families access a subsidy after finalization.
Families should contact the DCFS office where the child was served
prior to the adoption finalization. Families must file an application
for subsidy and be denied benefits before they can file for an
administrative appeal. Families must provide documentation of the
child's pre-existing conditions; this information may be contained in
the child's file.
A family should contact the DCFS office that handles the geographic
area where the child was adopted or call the Post Adoption and
Guardianship Information and Referral Service at 312-346-1516, or in
Illinois 800-572-2390
System Operation and Program Funding
24. How is the subsidy program operated and funded in Illinois?
The program is state supervised/state administered. This means that
both policy and eligibility decisions are made by personnel at the
state office.
The federal contribution to Title IV-E-eligible children is 50.00% in
Illinois. This is known as the Federal Financial Participation (FFP)
rate. The remaining cost of the program is funded entirely with state
general revenue funds.
25. Below are other programs that may delineate Illinois' adoption
assistance program from others around the country.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
provides/funds a number of post-adoption services to families after
adoption. Included in these services are:
Post adoption information and referral services
Non-identifying information, and search and reunion services
Support groups and information and referral services provided by
private adoption agencies and DCFS regions
Educational advocacy services
Lending library
Training and conferences
Local area networks providing post adoption services, and
Adoption preservation services

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