Ask AF: Post-Adoption Services

If your child has special needs, when do you need to apply for post-adoption services?

Q: When our son was first placed in our care by the state, we were told that he’d qualify for a certain amount in subsidy payments due to his special needs. But now, two years later, as we’re finalizing his adoption, we’ve been told that we have done such an incredible job with him that he will not qualify for that amount. His disability hasn’t vanished, however, and his needs will extend beyond high school. What can be done?


A: Unfortunately, states are not required to provide much in the way of post-adoption services. And the more expensive (residential treatment) or adult-oriented (vocational training) the service, the less likely a state is to provide it. Adoptive parents must make the best arrangement possible at the time that they negotiate the adoption subsidy — that is, before the adoption is finalized.

Once it has been finalized, there is extremely limited leverage with regard to expanding the services that their child needs or increasing the subsidy. To determine whether you have any recourse in this case, contact your state adoption program manager.