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Wisconsin's Adoption Assistance Program Available for Families Adopting Children with Special Needs

Many potential adoptive parents are unaware that the State of Wisconsin has an Adoption Assistance Program that is available to families who adopt children with special needs. Factors that may qualify a child for a special needs adoption include:

  • Being age 10 or older;
  • Being a member of a sibling group of three or more that must be placed together;
  • Having five or more moderate or intensive qualifying needs, from categories including adjustment to trauma, physical and mental health, family relationships, social skills, functioning in school or child care, behavioral and emotional needs, risk behaviors and language;
  • Belonging to a minority race and children of that minority race cannot be readily placed due to a lack of appropriate placement resources.

Children who qualify for special needs adoption are often involved in the foster-care system. The Adoption Assistance Program is intended to assist with the placement of children for whom permanent homes might be otherwise more difficult to locate.

The benefits available through the Adoption Assistance Program include:

  • Assistance with some of the child’s medical expenses that are not covered by the family’s health insurance;
  • A monthly stipend of up to $2,000 to assist the family in meeting the financial demands of caring for a child’s special needs;
  • Reimbursement of up to $2,000 in fees incurred through work with the adoption agency and/or attorney in order to complete the adoption.

Applications for adoption assistance must be made and approved prior to or at the time of the adoptive placement.

The family lawyers of DeWitt Ross & Stevens S.C. can answer any questions you may have about special needs adoption. The family lawyers of DeWitt Ross & Stevens S.C. handle also handle step-parent, independent, and international adoptions. If you are considering an independent or international adoption, we will work with you and an adoption agency from start to finish. Step-parent adoptions are less complex than other adoptions, but clients welcome the assistance of our experienced attorneys who can help ensure that the legal requirements are met.

If you are a birth parent considering putting your child up for adoption, we will meet with you at no cost to discuss your legal options and, if desired, refer you to an adoption agency to learn more.

About the Author

Lori Hickman is an attorney practicing out of our Madison office. She is a member of the Family Law practice group. Contact Lori by email or by phone at 608-252-9313.

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