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Financial Assistance is Available for Utah Adoptions

by Norris Law Group on May 22, 2014

10873887_sChildren in the care of the state of Utah with “special needs” (as defined by the state) may be eligible to receive financial assistance for their care if they are adopted by qualified families and/or individuals.

According to Utah’s Department of Children and Family Services, financial assistance for adoptions was instituted in the 1980s as a method of encouraging the adoption of children with special needs “who were languishing in the states’ foster care systems.” The children themselves are eligible for such assistance; the financial status of the adoptive families or individuals is not considered.

In order to be eligible for financial assistance, any child in state custody must meet all three of these criteria:

  1. The child cannot or should not be returned to the home of his/her parents (as determined by the state);
  2. Reasonable efforts have been made to place the child for adoption without providing adoption assistance (as documented by the state) OR that the child has developed a significant parent/child relationship with the adoptive parent(s), and;
  3. The child meets the state definition of a special needs child, meaning that:
    1. is age 5 or older; AND
    2. is under the age of 18 with a documented physical, emotional or mental disability, OR
    3. is a member of a sibling group placed together for adoption.

Children adopted through private licensed adoption agencies or through independent adoptions are eligible for adoption assistance only if they are also eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) as determined by the Social Security Administration at the time the adoption petition is filed. If a child received adoption assistance in a previous adoption, this may provide an exception. Additionally, children who were eligible for adoption assistance in a previous adoption may be eligible to receive adoption assistance in a subsequent adoption if they continue to meet the state definition of a child with special needs.

If you have any questions about whether a child or children you are interested in adopting in Utah might be eligible for financial assistance, contact an experienced family law attorney familiar with Utah adoptions.

Attorney Graham Norris and his associates at the Norris Law Group serve the residents of Utah County and throughout Utah in the area of divorce and family law. Contact them today at 801-932-1238 or on
line
 for a free consultation.

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