The last step when adopting a child from Foster Care, is to finalize your adoption. That is when the court signs an order naming you the child’s legal parents. When adopting children from Florida’s Foster Care system, the law requires an attorney file the case. Your attorney should:
- Represent your legal interests
- Ensure legal requirements have been met to finalize your adoption
- Prepare and file your legal paperwork with the court
- Schedule your hearing
- Attend the hearing with you
- Obtain certified copies of your court order; and
- Apply for your child’s amended birth certificate
When you adopt a child from Foster Care, you are eligible to receive a reimbursement of up to $1,000 per child for nonrecurring expenses such as attorney fees, court costs and birth certificate fees. The Adoption Law Offices of Madonna Finney is registered to directly receive this reimbursement, which means you should have no out-of-pocket expenses to finalize your adoption and you can be represented by the only firm in the Panhandle of Florida with an attorney Board Certified in Adoption Law.
Parents who are in the process of adopting a child with special needs from foster care should know about adoption assistance (also known as adoption subsidy). Federal (Title IV-E) and state (often called non-IV-E) adoption assistance programs are designed to help parents meet their adopted children’s varied, and often costly, needs. Children can qualify for federal adoption assistance or state assistance, depending on the child’s history. Adoption subsidy policies and practices are, for the most part, dependent on the state in which the child was in foster care before the adoption. (IMPORTANT NOTE: Subsidy agreements must be reached and in place prior to your finalization of your adoption.) Children who receive monthly subsidy are eligible to receive health care through Medicaid until age 18, some are eligible until age 21. Moving out of state my change your child’s eligibility.
Tuition Fee Waiver
Children adopted from Florida Foster Care are eligible for free tuition at any of Florida’s state universities, community colleges or vocational schools, until age 28. Some private institutions will also provide free tuition for children adopted from Florida Foster Care.
Road to Independence Scholarships
Children adopted from Florida Foster Care after age 16 may be eligible for Florida’s Road to Independence Scholarship Program which is awarded from age 18 to 21 and a renewal can be awarded until age 23. Program participants also receive Medicaid until age 21.
FASFA (Federal Application for Student Financial Aid)
Children adopted from Florida Foster Care at the age of 13 or older are given special consideration when applying for student financial loans or grants.
State Employee Adoption Benefit
Full or part-time employees of the State of Florida, State Universities, Community Colleges, School Districts, Water Management Districts, instructional personnel paid from regular salary appropriations employed by the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, and qualifying employees of a Florida Charter School or the Florida Virtual School who adopt a child from Florida’s Foster Care system will receive a one-time lump sum of $10,000, for the adoption of a special needs child and $5,000, for the adoption of a non-special needs child.
Adoption Tax Credit
The IRS states that if you have adopted a U.S. child that a state has determined to have a special need, you are generally eligible for the amount of maximum credit in the year the adoption is finalized. This credit is available even if you had little or no expenses. Your adoption tax credit should be claimed in the tax year in which your adoption is finalized. For adoptions finalized in 2019, there is a federal adoption tax credit of up to $14,080 per child. The 2019 adoption tax credit is NOT refundable, which means taxpayers can only use the credit if they have federal income tax liability. For more information look at www.nacac.org and www.irs.gov.
Social Security Number
After you receive the post adoption Birth Certificate, you can apply for your child’s new Social Security Number. This new number will help ensure that no one uses their number and compromises their credit. Take their new, amended Birth Certificate, a certified copy of the Final Judgement, your ID and if old enough your child’s ID to the Social Security Administration to apply for a Social Security Number for your child. All adopted children are entitled to be issued a NEW Social Security Number, even if they had one prior to their adoption.
If you have an issue, ask your Social Security representative to refer to Social Security RM 10225.060 and RM 10225.066.
If you are in need of a Social Security number for tax purposes prior to the finalization of your adoption, you can apply for a Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions using IRS Form W-7A.
Post Adoption Services
Post-adoption services in Florida are administered by the Community Based Care Agencies or their subcontracted agencies. The Department of Children and Families and contracted agencies provide various services, depending on location. Post-adoption services may include the following:
- Information and referral
- Adoptive parent support groups
- Adoption-related libraries (through 1-800-96-ADOPT)
- Temporary case management
- Targeted case management
- Trainings for adoptive parents every January and May
- Florida Adoption Reunion Registry (FARR)
- Services from mental health professionals who have completed adoption competency training
- Assistance when requesting an increase in an adoption subsidy
- Assistance when requesting financial medical assistance when the child has a medical need that Medicaid and other community resources will not cover