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Recognize the Warning Signs

Nervousness around adults
Aggression toward adults or other children
Sudden, dramatic changes in personality or activities
Frequent or unexplained bruises or injuries
Low self-esteem

If you see these signs in any children you know, offer your help.

 

 

Adoption Assistance Program


WHAT IS THE ADOPTION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

The Adoption Assistance Program (AAP) provides financial assistance, including help with medical care, to families who adopt children who would otherwise remain in long-term foster care.

WHO ARE THE CHILDREN WHO QUALIFY FOR AAP?

Children who have one or more of the following characteristics which are a barrier to their adoption without financial assistance include:

member of a sibling group to be adopted by one family;

ethnic background, race, color, language;

mental, physical, medical or emotional handicap;

age of three years or more;

adverse parental background (e.g., drug addiction, mental or physical illness.

 

WHAT KIND OF FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE IS PROVIDED?

Medical assistance (Medi-Cal), and

A monthly cash benefit to help pay the added expense of raising the child.

 

WHO DETERMINES IF FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR AN ADOPTION WILL BE PROVIDED?

The public adoption agency determines whether or not a child is eligible for AAP benefits. The adoptive parents and the public adoption agency negotiate a payment amount which the county social services department pays. The adoptive parent(s) are not subject to an income eligibility requirement in order to apply for AAP. However, when determining the amount of the AAP grant, the family's income and the resources available in the community are considered. The payment amount cannot exceed what it would have cost to maintain the child in foster care.

In a cooperative placement, the family's and child's agencies work together to assess the needs of the child, determine the amount of assistance and the length of time assistance will be provided.

WHEN DO AAP PAYMENTS BEGIN?

Adoption assistance payments may begin immediately after the adoptive placement is made and adoption assistance agreements have been signed.

WHAT IF THE CHILD HAS A DISABILITY, WHICH DOES NOT REQUIRE ASSISTANCE NOW, BUT MAY REQUIRE ASSISTANCE IN THE FUTURE?

It is very important for an adoptive parent to complete and sign a Deferred Payment Agreement with the agency for an eligible child before a final decree of adoption is entered  ordered.   If the disability presents problems that require assistance after the adoption has been finalized, the agreement will allow for financial assistance to help with additional expenses.

Remember, the Deferred Payment Agreement must be signed prior to the finalization of the adoption in order to be effective and must specify those conditions for which AAP benefits may be paid.

CAN THE PAYMENT AGREEMENT BE REVISED IF THE CONDITION OF THE CHILD OR THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE FAMILY CHANGE?

The initial AAP agreement must be signed before the finalization of the adoption and each child's case is reviewed at least every two years by the county agency which granted AAP initially. The adoption assistance payment can be adjusted at any time if the family's circumstances have changed. However, any change in the amount or duration of AAP benefits requires the agreement of the adopting family and the county agency.

HOW LONG MAY A CHILD RECEIVE AAP?

Normally, AAP eligibility continues until the child reaches the age of 18. Eligibility may continue until the child reaches the age of 21, if the child has a mental or physical handicap which warrants the continuation of assistance.

WILL ADOPTION ASSISTANCE CONTINUE IF THE CHILD MOVES TO ANOTHER STATE?

Federal laws require that eligibility for AAP benefits, including cash grant and medical assistance, continue when the family moves to another state. The original state in which adoption assistance was received continues to make adoption assistance payments. In many instances, the new state of residence will provide medical assistance. If not, the original state will continue to provide this coverage.

WHAT KIND OF PARENT(S) ADOPT THESE CHILDREN?

Adoption caseworkers seek mature adult(s) who have a stable family life, regular income, good health and a willingness to accept an adopted child as their own.

Adoptive parents should be flexible, patient and capable of dealing with changes in their expectations and life styles.

Most importantly, adoptive parents should be able to value their special child for what he or she can accomplish and to appreciate the child's unique qualities.

HOW EFFECTIVE IS THE ADOPTION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM?

The Adoption Assistance Program provides advantages to both children and adoptive parents. The program encourages the adoption of children who otherwise might not have lifelong families. Children are placed in families where they receive support and love. This kind of environment allows the children to develop a positive self-image and eventually become productive members of our society. The children no longer have to risk transfer from one foster home to another, with no hope of a permanent home.

The AAP enables more prospective adoptive parents to pursue adoption without the fear of being unable to meet the additional expenses involved with raising a child. The family can then concentrate on providing emotional support and a healthy environment for the child.

PHOTOLISTING ALBUM

The California's Waiting Children Photo Album includes children who are available for adoption. The album may be viewed at a licensed adoption agency in your area.

 



 




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