The first step in processing an agreement is for the family to contact the county children and youth agency, CCYA that has placement care and responsibility of the child being adopted to request assistance. If a private agency licensed by the Department is assisting an adoptive family in the adoption process, it is the responsibility of the adoptive family to contact the CCYA to determine if the child is eligible for adoption assistance to process an agreement.
The CCYA is the only agency that can determine if a child is eligible to receive adoption assistance. Once determined eligible, the CCYA and the prospective adoptive family negotiate an adoption assistance agreement. The agreement is prepared and then presented to the family by the CCYA worker.
**Note: The adoption agreement must be executed prior to or during the time of adoption finalization to be eligible for adoption assistance.
What terms are specified in the agreement?
The adoption assistance agreement should specify all the benefits and conditions of the assistance, including but not limited to the following:
- The duration of the agreement.
- The circumstances that would alter or terminate the adoption assistance agreement.
- Details outlining the payment of the nonrecurring expenses incurred by the adoptive family during the adoption process which have not been paid by other sources or funds.
- The dollar amount of the monthly adoption subsidy, the schedule for making payments, and the date on which the payments will begin, if applicable.
- A statement about the continued availability of medical assistance if the family relocates outside of Pennsylvania, if applicable.
- Information about additional services that are available to the child such as post-permanency services, mental health/mental retardation services, etc.
- Acknowledgement that the adoption assistance agreement remains in effect if the family relocates outside of the certifying county.
Is a family’s income considered when determining if a child can receive adoption assistance?
No. Eligibility for adoption assistance is based on the special needs of the child and the adopting family’s ability to support those needs and incorporate the child into their household in relation to their lifestyle, standard of living and future plans. A “means test” of the prospective adoptive family cannot be used to determine a child’s eligibility for adoption assistance or the subsidy amount the adoptive family will receive.