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Do you qualify for special-needs adoption assistance?

Adopting a child in New Jersey involves a lot of expenses and fees. Under certain circumstances, however, you can receive assistance when adopting a child with special needs. According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, these are typically older children whose prospects of adoption are otherwise unlikely. If the child qualifies, you can receive a subsidy of up to $2,000 per child to assist with legal fees, etc. 

Eligibility for adoption assistance depends less on you and more on the child you are trying to adopt. A number of different criteria go to determine whether or not the child qualifies, including the following: 

  • Out-of-home placement due to neglect or abuse
  • Diagnosed psychiatric disorder, mental health problem or serious intellectual incapacity
  • Substantial disfigurement
  • Incapacitating physical handicap

In addition to meeting one or several of these criteria, the child must be at least 10 years old. 

The criteria are extensive but do not cover every condition that could classify a child as having special needs. Therefore, there is a stipulation that the director of Child Protection and Permanency in New Jersey can approve adoption assistance for a child with another condition as long as it would not violate any applicable state or federal statute. Examples include children at risk of developing mental illness or developmental problems because of genetic predisposition or prenatal exposure to drugs. 

It can sometimes be difficult to find a home for children of a particular minority group or ethnicity. If there are not adoptive homes readily available within such a group, you may qualify for a subsidy if you adopt one of these children. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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