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Adopting A Child from the Foster Care System, pg 6

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WHAT SERVICES AND SUPPORTS CAN I ACCESS ONCE A CHILD IS PLACED IN MY HOME?

By law, after placement of child in your home, agencies are required to provide post-placement supervision and support for six months to a year, depending on your state of residence. This supervision can last longer if you or your Case Worker feel continued support is necessary. Other support services you may need can include individual and family counseling. Extending the supervision period is particularly critical if the child was receiving therapy in the foster care placement.

Forming a good relationship with your adopted child's teachers is also important. You may want to have your Case Worker attend a meeting with your child's teachers. Schools can be a great source of support and intervention for children and families in helping with education, special needs, and social issues.

Adoptive parent groups can be very valuable resources both before and after a child is placed with you. Parent groups vary in both their composition and activities. Some groups are general while others focus on one specific type of adoption, such as special needs or inter-country. Many groups hold regular support meetings and have activities for children and families. No matter what type of group, there are almost always families available to share their experiences and offer insights to new adopters.

Support from other adoptive parents, many of whom have faced the same challenges you are facing, is also available at chat.adoption.com.

WHAT WILL IT COST TO ADOPT AND IS THERE ASSISTANCE TO HELP COVER THE COSTS?

The cost of adopting a child from the foster care system varies based on agencies' guidelines. Public adoption agencies don't usually charge fees. Private adoption agencies' fees can range from none to moderate costs. Sometimes private agencies have homestudy fee paid by the agency that has custody of the child you are adopting. If you use a private agency for your homestudy, make sure you clearly understand their fee and payment structure in advance.

There are a number of ways initial adoption costs for a child from the foster care system may be reimbursed. Also, some of the special services that your child may need after adoption can also be covered. There are several resources that may be useful.

Government Assistance
There are state and federal assistance programs for parents who adopt children with special needs (mental, physical, emotional or developmental problems). Those adopting a child who meets the criteria are eligible for a one-time payment to cover the cost of non-recurring adoption expenses. Some expenses that can be covered include reasonable adoption fees, legal and court costs, and home adaptations to accommodate the needs of children with physical disabilities. The maximum amount varies by state but is generally $2,000.

Income Tax Credit
Under the Hope for Children Act (PL 107-16), there is a tax credit of an amount over $10,000 for families adopting a U.S. child with special needs. Unlike families adopting other children, those adopting a U.S. child with special needs do not need to document their expenses to take the full credit. Children considered as special needs are those who, as determined by their state of residence prior to adoption, qualify for Title IV-E Adoption Assistance. For more information see tax-credit.adoption.com.

Employee Benefits
A growing number of corporations and government agencies offer adoption benefits to their employees. These benefits are usually in the form of a lump-sum payment once the adoption as been finalized, or a reimbursement of adoption-related expenses up to a maximum pre-determined amount. Under the Hope for Children Act, there is a tax exclusion of up to $10,000 for employer provided benefits. Some employers offer paid time off to their employees to conduct adoption related business. Check with your Human Resource department to find out if your employer offers any adoption benefits, and see benefits.adoption.com.

Loans
Some lenders offer loans to cover adoption costs. For information on loans for adoption see loans.adoption.com.

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