Vol. 13, No. 2 • May 2009

Supporting Adoption in North Carolina

Most families who adopt children from foster care in our state get some kind of financial assistance. Many children available for adoption are eligible for monthly maintenance payments, medical benefits, and other services.

Adoption Assistance is available for all children whose status and special needs meet certain criteria. Children who are considered special needs include those with physical, mental, developmental, and emotional disabilities as well as sibling groups, older children, and children of color. The child’s county department of social services determines each child’s eligibility based on specific criteria. The agency and adoptive parent then enter into an Adoption Assistance Agreement based on that child’s needs. Typically this includes monthly cash payments, Medicaid, and vendor payments for therapeutic and remedial assistance. Legal expenses are reimbursed if the child has special needs.

The monthly adoption assistance payment in North Carolina is computed on a graduated level based on the child’s age:

$475.00 for children age 0-5

$581.00 for children age 6-12

$634.00 for children age 13-18

Post-Adoption Support. Adoption is a lifelong process and does not conclude with the final decree of adoption. Post-adoption support services play a critical role in maintaining strong adoptive families. To supplement the post-adoption support provided by every public agency, the NC Division of Social Services contracts with private agencies. Adoptive families and children referred for this supplemental service can receive the services at no cost to the family or the referring agency. If you have adopted a child from foster care and would like to learn more, contact your North Carolina county DSS agency.

NC Adoption Q&A

How many children await adoption in our state?
On April 30, 2008, 982 children in foster care in North Carolina were legally free for adoption.

What ages are these children?
All ages: 24% were 0-5, 34% were 6-12, and 42% were 13 and over. Many are siblings and need to be placed together. Most have special needs because they have undergone the trauma of abuse, neglect, and separation from their families.

How many children are adopted from foster care each year in North Carolina?
The annual number varies. In 2007, 1,482 children were adopted from foster care in our state.

Who adopts children from foster care?
Most often it is the children’s foster parents or kin. For example, of the children adopted from foster care in our state in 2005-06, 54.1% were adopted by their foster parents and 23.3% were adopted by a relative. This makes perfect sense: foster families and relatives know the children best and have cared for them day in and day out.

Sources: Duncan, et al., 2009; USDHHS, 2008

Copyright 2009 Jordan Institute for Families