LJWorld.com weblogs Notes from John
Do adoptions really cost between $10,000 and $40,000 as stated in a LJW article of February 8? That was a long time ago but life intervened and caused this delayed response.
Well some adoptions are expensive. Adopting a child from another country or working with an attorney for what is called a private adoption like the one in the film Juno can be very expensive.
Adoption from one of the agencies that have contracts from the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) is virtually free according to the adoption coordinator of one of these agencies. She recommends that someone wanting to adopt might want to have a few hundred dollars available for miscellaneous costs. However most of these expenses will ultimately be reimbursed. Her agencies public relations people never got back to me about this piece so I can’t use her name. That is too bad because she does good work.
So there are affordable adoptions in Kansas and nearly 900 children waiting to be adopted. Kansans like citizens of most states provide financial assistance for adoption of children from the child welfare system. Much of this financial help is from federal funds.
Available financial assistance is detailed in Section 6000 of the SRS Policy Manual (http://www.srskansas.org/CFS/robohelp/PPMGenerate/). Examples include reimbursement of non-recurring adoption expenses of up to $2,000. This can be used for such items as attorney’s fees and travel expenses to court hearings. There is reimbursement for one-time only purchases limited to $1,000 per child for things like special equipment for children with disabilities, home modifications to make the house handicapped accessible and lifts for vans if needed.
Health care through Medicaid is available for special needs children. In addition, there is a possibility of a monthly cash subsidy to help meet the costs of providing for the child’s special and ordinary needs. The monthly payments are based upon the needs of the child and the resources of the family and range from $0 to $500 per month.
Not only are these adoptions affordable but they may be the most common type of adoption in the United States. The Children’s Bureau latest report shows that there were 50,379 child welfare adoptions during the 2006 federal fiscal year. While international adoptions are frequently in the press, the number of these pales in comparison. The United States Department of State reports 17,438 international adoptions in 2008.
In Kansas there were 712 child welfare adoptions during the state’s 2008 fiscal year. 53% of these children were adopted by foster parents. Foster parents have always stepped up and adopted children in their care. Increasingly relatives are coming forward to adopt children in the extended family and they represented 39% of last year’s adoptions.
There is still a great need for families to adoption children through public child welfare. SRS reports that as of 12/31/2008 there were 870 children waiting for adoption. These children have had their parental rights terminated or relinquished and are ready for a new family.
Adoption in Kansas can be inexpensive and is very rewarding. Let’s celebrate those foster parents and relatives who adopt child welfare children and encourage others interested in adoption to call one of the agencies contracting with SRS.