5700. Adoption Support

Approval: Connie Lambert-Eckel, Acting Assistant Secretary

Original Date: 1971

Revised Date: October 19, 2017

Sunset Review: October 1, 2021


To provide support to adoptive families interested in adopting children with special needs in order to remove the barriers that would prevent adoption.


RCW 74.13A.005  Adoption support, state policy enunciated

RCW 74.13A.007 Adoption support expenditures, findings, intent

RCW 74.13A.020 Adoption support program administration, rules and regulations, disbursements from general fund criteria, limits

RCW 74.13A.030 Both continuing payments and lump sums payments authorized

RCW 74.13.031 Duties of department, child welfare services, children’s services advisory committee

RCW 74.13A.055 Voluntary amendments to agreements, procedure when adoptive parties disagree

RCW 74.13A.060 Nonrecurring adoption expenses

RCW 28.B.118.010 Washington College Bound Scholarship

PL 96-272  Adoption support and Child Welfare Act of 1980

PL 110-351 Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008

42 U.S.C. 671 State plan for foster care and adoption assistance

42 U.S.C. 673 Adoption and guardianship assistance program

42 U.S.C. 675 Definitions


This policy applies to all Children’s Administration (CA) adoption caseworkers and adoption support workers.


  1. Determining Adoption Support Eligibility and Special Needs
    The adoption support worker will:
    1. Determine the child is eligible for adoption support when it is in the child’s best interest and the child:
      1. Is younger than age 18 when the department and the adoptive parent sign the adoption support agreement and the adoption is finalized.
      2. Is legally free for adoption or eligible for a customary adoption.
      3. Has a special condition according to WAC 388-27-0140 that creates a barrier to adoption for one or more of the following reasons:
        1. A diagnosis of a physical, mental, developmental, cognitive or emotional disability;
        2. Race or ethnicity;
        3. Six years of age or older at the time of adoption;
        4. Is a part of a sibling group (three or more); or if a sibling group of two, at least one sibling has a disability or meets the special needs criteria;
        5. Was previously adopted and eligible for Title IV-E reimbursement; or
        6. At risk for a physical, emotional or disabling condition.
      4. Is not the biological child of the adopting family whose rights were previously terminated.
    2. Determine the child meets one of the following Washington state or federal eligibility criterion:
      1. Is in state-funded foster care or child caring institution, or likely to be placed in out-of-home care; or
      2. Is eligible for federally funded adoption support as defined in Title IV-E of the Social Security Act.
    3. Identify reasonable efforts were made to adopt the child without adoption support. Efforts include, but are not limited to:
      1. Registration with Washington Adoption Resource Exchange (WARE) for 90 days or longer without an appropriate family being identified.
      2. Efforts to find adoptive parent able to adopt without adoption support were made.
      3. Determination of the selected adoptive parent inability to adopt without assistance.
      4. Determination that it is against the child’s best interest to search for another adoptive parent, i.e., relative of specified degree, etc.
    4. Complete the adoption support negotiation and provide a copy of the signed document to the adoption worker for placement in the court’s adoptive legal file prior to adoption finalization.
    5. Eligibility for adoption support is determined without regard to income.
  2. Reviewing, Negotiating and Implementing the Initial Adoption Support Agreement
    1. Within 30 calendar days of receiving a completed application packet, the adoption support worker will contact the family to begin the negotiation process. This contact will include reminding the family that the adoption support agreement must be finalized before the adoption occurs.
    2. The adoption caseworker will:
      1. Submit separate applications for each child being adopted.
      2. Complete application packets with the following documentation in paper format. Application materials provided by the adoptive parent include:
        1. Application for Adoption Support Program and/or Reimbursement of Adoption Finalization Costs form DSHS 09-998
        2. Adoption Support Worksheet DSHS 09-997
        3. Federal IRS form 1040
      3. Verify the following documents are in the application packet:
        1. Adoption Support Child Registration form DSHS 10-061 completed by the assigned adoption worker,
        2. Adoptive Home Study
        3. Termination of Parental Rights Order
        4. Child’s birth (Birth Certificate or Department of Health)
        5. Child’s social security number (Social Security Administration) or Automated Client Eligibility System (ACES)
        6. Child’s special needs condition
        7. Signed Child’s Medical and Family Background Report form DSHS 13-041 without attachments.
    3. The adoption support worker will:
      1. Negotiate with the adoptive parent to:
        1. Determine the adoption support monthly cash payment through an agreement between the adoptive parent and the agency, considering the family circumstances and needs of the child.
        2. Finalize the development of the initial adoption support agreement which includes:
          1. Medicaid
          2. Non-Recurring costs (Reimbursed up to $1500 for specified adoption related expenses)
          3. Pre-Authorized counseling (available upon request of the parent and if the provider meets program requirements)
          4. Monthly cash payment (a negotiated amount that may be available to remove barriers to adoption).
        3. Verify the monthly cash payment does not exceed the statutory cap for the foster care maintenance payment the child would have received if in a foster family home.
        4. Coordinate with the assigned adoption worker to complete a Request to Exceed Adoption Support Rate Schedule DSHS 15-477 if the monthly cash payment request exceeds the statutory cap of the top foster care rate for the child’s age.
      2. Inform the adoptive parents that a child adopted:
        1. After reaching age 13 years will be considered an independent person when submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
        2. Between age 14 and 18 years will have continued eligibility for the Washington College Bound Scholarship.
        3. Between age 16 and 18 years may be eligible for Extended Adoption Support.
        4. Contact the adoption support program manager if the adoption support worker and the adoptive parent do not agree on the terms of the adoption support agreement. The adoption support program manager will assist the adoption support worker in setting the level of support.
      3. Send the adoptive parent a determination notice when there is a disagreement on the adoption support agreement.
      4. Make continuing payments, lump sum payments, or both.
      5. Initiate the Medicaid, pre-authorized counseling, non-recurring costs, and/or monthly cash payment after receiving the adoption decree, if applicable.
      6. Continue medical coverage, pre-authorized counseling, and monthly cash payments if the family moves out of state.
      7. Notify the prospective adoptive parent in writing if the adoption support application is denied and include information about the adoptive parent rights if they disagree with CA’s decision.
  3. Determining On-Going Eligibility for Adoption Support for a Youth age 18 and Older
    The adoption support worker will only authorize adoption support beyond a child’s 18th birthday when the adopted child qualifies for ongoing eligibility. To be eligible, the child must:
    1. Be attending a full time instructional program leading to a high school diploma or a General Education Development certificate (G.E.D.)/High School Equivalency Certificate (HSEC) and a request for continued adoption support is made by the adoptive parents prior to the child’s 18th birthday, or
    2. Been adopted at or after the age 16 and the child meets one of the following criteria for post adoption support:
      1. Attending high school or working on high school equivalency certificate.
      2. Enrolled in college or vocational education program.
      3. Employed at least 80 hours per month.
      4. Participating in a program designed to promote or eliminate barrier to employment.
      5. Unable to participate in the above due to a documented medical condition.
  4. Reviewing a Request to Change Existing Adoption Support
    The adoption support worker will:
    1. Review the following information to negotiate a change in the adoption support agreement when a request to change the existing agreement is received:
      1. The Adoption Support Agreement Review Form.
      2. Most recent IRS Form 1040 or financial statement.
      3. Documentation of any change in the child’s diagnosis or treatment recommendations.
      4. Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) or medical and treatment recommendations.
      5. Documentation of mental health, educational, or additional supervision supports.
    2. Contact the adoptive parent no later than 30 calendar days after a request to change the existing agreement is received.
    3. Sign a new agreement with the adoptive parents if CA and all adoptive parents agree to modify the initial adoption support agreement.
    4. Make changes in the terms of the agreement retroactive to the first day of the month in which CA received the written request.
    5. Inform the adoptive parent that he or she has a right to an adjudicative proceeding after completing the review and there is no agreement to the modification.
  5. Determining Eligibility for Adoption Support After Adoption Finalization 
    1. The adoption support worker will conduct the following when an adoptive parent requests adoption support after the adoption has been finalized:
      1. Identify if the child was adopted prior to the adoption support agreement being negotiated and approved.
      2. Determine the child’s eligibility for federal funding is based on information in the adoption file.
      3. Determine the child has special needs.
      4. Determine if the child meets Title IV-E eligibility.
    2. Deny an adoption support application unless an administrative law judge finds extenuating circumstances. These include:
      1. Known information about the child or family was not provided to the family prior to adoption.
      2. Adoption support was denied based on a means test.
      3. The family was denied adoption support based on erroneous information or advice.
      4. The parent was not informed of the availability of adoption support.
  6. Closing Adoption Support
    The adoption support worker will:
    1. Close adoption support after the child reaches age 18 unless he or she meets eligibility for ongoing support.
    2. Terminate adoption support prior to the child turning age 18 if:
      1. The adoptive parent no longer has legal or financial responsibility for the child.
      2. The child or parent dies.
      3. The child emancipates, or otherwise ceases to need support.
    3. Terminate all adoption support when the child is age 21.

Forms and Tools

Forms below not linked are located on the CA intranet

Information for Eligibility

Completing the Initial Adoption Support Agreement

Ongoing Adoption Support Age 18 years and older

Request to Change Existing Adoption Support

Determining Eligibility after Adoption  

  • Same forms listed above in Completing the Initial Adoption Support Agreement
  • Initial Adoption support Agreement DSHS 10-228 (located on the CA intranet)


In FamLink:

  • Post Adoption Questions and Answers Booklet 
  • Adoption Support Program Practice Tips (located on the CA intranet)
  • Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) Guides (located on the CA intranet)
  • FamLink Quick Help Guides (located on the CA intranet)
  • FamLink User Manual (located on the CA intranet)
  • Preauthorized Counseling Protocol (located on the CA intranet)