DCFS is able to provide adoption subsidies to some special needs children who are not wards of the Department. There are five ways in which children who are not under the responsibility of DCFS, who are being adopted, may be eligible for an adoption subsidy.
who qualify for subsidies by virtue of their SSI eligibility can be adopted without
the assistance of a non-profit adoption agency. All other non-ward adoptions,
in order to be subsidy eligible, must be facilitated by a non-profit adoption
agency that is licensed in Illinois.
SSI eligible children who are not wards of DCFS, who are being adopted are eligible for subsidies. The adoption does not need to be facilitated by an adoption agency. The only criterion is that the child must have been deemed eligible for SSI (Supplemental Security Income) BEFORE the adoption petition or interim order for adoption is filed in court.
Former Wards: Children who have been adopted and whose adoptive parents already receive subsidies remain subsidy eligible in subsequent adoptions. These are non-ward adoptions, since the children do not automatically become DCFS wards again when their adoptive parents pass away. Usually, another family member or designated family friend steps forward and the Department's Post Adoption Unit facilitates and assists with the subsequent adoption.
In these cases, if adoptive parents wish to voluntarily relinquish their own parental rights as part of an adoption proceeding in which their children are adopted by subsequent adoptive parents, they may do so in adoption court by signing general consents to adoption (subject to the approval of the Court). The Department would then provide the subsequently adopting parent with the subsidy. DCFS will write a new subsidy for the new adoptive parent prior to the finalization of the subsequent adoption.
An AFDC-eligible child who is voluntarily relinquished to a private non-profit agency, who is not a ward, can be eligible for a subsidy in the following circumstance: the child is relinquished, there must be a petition to the court to remove the child from the home within 6 months of the time the child lived with a specified relative, and there must be a subsequent judicial determination to the effect that remaining in the home would be contrary to the child's welfare. Under these circumstances, the AFDC-eligible child will be treated as though he or she has been judicially removed rather than voluntarily relinquished. If the child meets DCFS special needs criteria, the child is then eligible for a subsidy. The child must also be AFDC eligible at the time the adoption petition is filed.
Child of a minor parent: When a minor parent, who is a ward of DCFS who is title IV-E eligible, has a baby who meets DCFS special needs criteria and the minor parent enters into a voluntary adoption plan to place the baby for adoption through a non-profit adoption agency, the baby is subsidy eligible.
Non-recurring expenses-only subsidies for special needs children: The Department will provide a subsidy to adoptive parents of a non-ward child and provide for/reimburse for nonrecurring adoption expenses, up to $1500, with a parent who adopts a child who meets the DCFS special needs criteria. These subsidies, as with all other subsidies, must be arranged for and completed prior to the adoption finalization.
Questions regarding non-ward subsidies may be directed to the DCFS Advocacy Office for Children and Families, 800-232-3798, or 217-524-2029.