Arkansas offers a subsidy for special needs adoptions, but you might be surprised to learn about all the children who fall into that category. A child has special needs in terms of adoption if he or she belongs to a group of children who are hard to place with adoptive families.

What are special needs?

You might have heard the phrase “special needs” in a medical or educational context. The meaning of the term is broader when talking about adoptions.

For example, any child who is nine to seventeen years old may be a special needs child from the point of view of adoption. A child who is two years old and is not white is also considered to have special needs when it comes to adoption. Statistically, infants and young white children are adopted faster than children in other groups. These children would not be considered special needs children in other contexts, but for adoption, they are.

It’s hard to place siblings together in adoptive families. When brothers and sisters share at least one biological parent and have been together long enough to have developed a sibling bond, they are considered to have a special need to be adopted together into one adoptive family. The same is true for a minor with a child who needs to be adopted into a family together with her baby.

Children with particular medical conditions, or with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities can also be considered special needs children for the purposes of adoption.

With all of the children in these groups, attempts to find adoptive families must have been made, but must have been unsuccessful, before the children will be eligible for the subsidy.

Other criteria

Children in these groups will be eligible for the special needs subsidy only if they are legally free for adoption. Their biological parents’ parental rights must have been terminated. They must also be U.S. citizens or legal U.S. residents.

Their adoption cannot be finalized before they are approved for the subsidy. That is, if you have already adopted an older child before you learn about the subsidy, you cannot apply for it retroactively. However, if a child is adopted and later is found to have special  medical needs or serious disabilities, the adoptive family can at that point apply for the subsidy.

How can you apply for the subsidy?

If you fall in love with a child in a special needs group and want to adopt that child, you will need to have an Adoption Assistance Agreement as well as a legal adoption. Heimer Law can assist with the agreement as well as the adoption of the child.

Contact us for a free consultation if this describes your situation. We can help with all the legal and practical steps needed for a special needs adoption.

Special Needs






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