Parents who want to adopt children from the foster care system in Illinois might be eligible for adoption assistance. This type of assistance is a financial subsidy provided to parents once the adoptions are final. Adoption assistance is generally provided to an adoptive parent of a child whose special needs make it less likely that the child would be adopted without assistance.
What can adoption assistance include?
When a parent adopts a child from the foster care system for whom adoption assistance will be provided, the specific types of assistance will be listed in the assistance agreement from the state. Some of the types of assistance that might be available include the following:
- Up to $1,500 per child for adoption expenses
- Monthly assistance payments of up to the rate provided to licensed foster care homes
- Medicaid card for the adopted child
- Payment for non-covered medical, mental health or emotional needs that arose before the adoption
- Daycare for children under 3 years old so that the parent can work
- Therapeutic daycare for children who have disabilities requiring IEPs
Eligibility for and duration of adoption assistance
To be eligible for adoption assistance under Illinois family law, a child must be at least age 1 or older; have an irreversible physical, mental or emotional disability; have a disability that can be corrected with surgeries and treatment; be a member of a group of siblings who is being adopted together; or be adopted by a parent who has previously adopted a sibling of the child. If adoption assistance is granted, it will continue until the child reaches age 18. If the child is still in high school when he or she turns 18, the adoption assistance will continue until he or she reaches age 19.
Parents who are interested in adopting children from the foster care system may want to talk to an experienced adoption attorney about the requirements. A lawyer might help his or her client navigate through the process and help to facilitate the adoption through the court system. Adoption assistance may provide help to parents who would otherwise not be able to afford to add to their families.