5700. Adoption Support

Original Date: 1971

Revised Date: September 23, 2019

Sunset Review: September 30, 2023

Approved By: Jody Becker, Deputy Secretary


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


This policy applies to child welfare adoption caseworkers and adoption support workers.


RCW 28.B.118.010 Washington College Bound Scholarship

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

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

RCW 74.13A.060 Nonrecurring adoption expenses

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

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

PL 113-183 Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act

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 42 U.S.C. 675 Definitions


  1. Determining Adoption Support Eligibility and Special Needs
    Adoption support workers must:
    1. Determine if 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 of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) and adoptive parents 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 110-80-0050 or federal law 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 if 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 parents able to adopt without adoption support were made.
      3. Determination of the selected adoptive parent’s 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. Determine eligibility for adoption support without regard to income.
  2. Submitting the Application
    Adoption caseworkers must:
    1. Submit separate applications for each child being adopted.
    2. Complete application packets with the following documentation in paper or electronic format. Application materials provided by adoptive parents include:
      1. Application for the Adoption Support Program and/or Reimbursement of Adoption Finalization Costs DCYF 09-998 form
      2. Adoption Support Worksheet DCYF 09-997 form
      3. Federal IRS form 1040
    3. Verify the following documents are in the application packet:
      1. Adoptive Home Study
      2. Child’s special need condition
      3. Child’s original birth certificate or copy from the Department of Health (DOH) website.
      4. Child’s social security number verified from the Social Security Administration or Automated Client Eligibility System (ACES).
      5. Termination of Parental Rights Order
      6. Shared Planning Meeting DCYF 14-474 form
      7. Completed Family Genetic and Medical History DCYF 13-041 form. 
      8. Signed Family Genetic and Medical History-Adoption DCYF 13-041A form.
  3. Reviewing, Negotiating, and Implementing the Initial Adoption Support Agreement
    Adoption support workers must:
    1. Contact the family within 14 calendar days of receiving a completed application packet. This must include reminding the family that the adoption support agreement must be finalized before the adoption occurs.
    2. Negotiate with the adoptive parents to:
      1. Determine the adoption support monthly payment through an agreement between the adoptive parents and DCYF, considering the family circumstances and needs of the child.
      2. Finalize the development of the initial adoption support agreement which is a legally binding document that cannot be altered once the family has signed. The adoption support agreement 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 parents and if the provider meets program requirements.
        4. Monthly payment that is a negotiated amount that may be available to remove barriers to adoption.
      3. Verify the monthly 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 adoption worker to complete an Adoption Request to Exceed Adoption Support Rate Schedule DCYF 15-477 form if the monthly payment request exceeds the statutory cap of the top foster care rate for the child’s age. Requests may include, but are not limited to:
        1. Partial Title I-VE eligible child care costs, that must be negotiated annually, until the child no longer needs child care, enters kindergarten, or reaches age six, whichever comes first; or
        2. Care items for a child, who is no longer a Washington resident, but when residing in Washington the items were covered by Washington Title XX.
    3. Inform the adoptive parents that a youth adopted:
      1. After reaching age 13 will be considered an independent person when submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
      2. Between ages 14 and 17 will have continued eligibility for the Washington College Bound Scholarship if the child resides and attends an institution in Washington State.
      3. Between ages 16 and 17 may be eligible for Extended Adoption Support.
    4. Contact the headquarters (HQ) adoption support supervisor if the adoption support worker and the adoptive parents do not agree on the terms of the adoption support agreement. The HQ adoption support supervisor will assist the adoption support worker in setting the level of support.
    5. Make on-going payments, lump sum payments, or both.
    6. Initiate the Medicaid, pre-authorized counseling, non-recurring costs, or monthly payment after receiving the adoption decree, if applicable.
    7. Continue medical coverage, pre-authorized counseling, and monthly payments if the family moves out of state using the Interstate Compact Agreement for Medical Assistance (ICAMA) Request DCYF 15-416 form.
    8. Notify prospective adoptive parents in writing if the adoption support application is denied and include information about the adoptive parent’s rights if they disagree with DCYF’s decision.
  4. Determining On-Going Eligibility for Adoption Support for a Youth age 18 and Older
    Adoption support workers must only authorize adoption support beyond a youth’s 18th birthday when the adopted youth qualifies for ongoing eligibility. To be eligible:
    1. The adoptive parents must request continued adoption support prior to the youth’s 18th birthday and the youth must be attending a full time instructional program leading to a high school diploma, a General Education Development (GED) certificate, or High School Equivalency Certificate (HSEC); or
    2. The youth was adopted at age 16 or 17 and the youth meets one of the following criteria for post adoption support:
      1. Attending high school or working on GED or HSEC.
      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 barriers to employment.
      5. Unable to participate in the above due to a documented medical condition.
  5. Reviewing a Request to Change Existing Adoption Support
    Adoption support workers must:
    1. Review the following information to negotiate a change in the adoption support agreement:
      1. The Adoption Support Agreement Review DCYF 10-082 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 other medical and treatment recommendations.
      5. Documentation of mental health, educational, or additional supervision supports.
    2. Contact adoptive parents 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 DCYF 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 DCYF received the written request.
    5. Inform the adoptive parents that they have a right to an administrative hearing following the review, if there is no agreement to the modification.
  6. Determining Eligibility for Adoption Support After Adoption Finalization in Extenuating Circumstances
    Adoption support workers must:
    1. Conduct the following when adoptive parents request 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 if the child’s eligibility for federal funding is based on information in the adoption file.
      3. Determine if 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 wrong information or advice.
      4. The parent was not informed of the availability of adoption support.
  7. Suspending Adoption Support
    Adoption support workers must:
    1. Send a notice by certified mail to the adoptive parents when information is received by the adoption support program that the child is no longer supported legally or financially by the adoptive parents. The notice must include:
      1. A request to the parents to provide documentation of legal or financial responsibility for their child.
      2. Notification to the parents that if they are unable to provide documentation of their legal or financial responsibility for their child, the adoption support payment will be suspended on the 30th day. The specific month, day, and year of the 30th day must be included in the notice. 
      3. Information to the parents of their right to have an administrative hearing if they are in disagreement with their adoption support payment being suspended.
      4. Information on when and how to request an administrative hearing.
    2. Continue the adoption support payment if an administrative hearing is requested by adoptive parents on or before the 30th day until the decision is reached in the hearing.
    3. Suspend the adoption support payment if nothing is received from the family on the 30th day. If the adoption support payment is suspended, the child will remain eligible for Title XX Medicaid coverage. 
  8. One-Time Payments for Catastrophic Events for Adoptive Parents
    1. The adoption support worker may provide a one-time payment not to exceed $1500. 
    2. The one-time payment must be approved in advance by the HQ adoption support supervisor. 
    3. Payments are for assistance during a catastrophic family event per PL 113-183, events include but are not limited to:
      1. Death of a child or caregiver;
      2. Damage to a family home caused by a natural disaster or fire; or
      3. A medical or mental health crisis resulting in the family traveling out of region for treatment.
  9. Closing Adoption Support
    Adoption support workers must terminate adoption support and Medicaid:
    1. After the youth reaches age 18, unless they meet eligibility for ongoing support.
    2. Prior to the youth turning age 18 if:
      1. Adoptive parents no longer have legal or financial responsibility for the child.
      2. The child or parent dies.
      3. The child emancipates, or otherwise ceases to need support.
    3. Prior to the youth’s 21st birthday.

Forms and Tools

Information for Eligibility

IV-E Eligibility Determination for an Adoption Support Application DCYF 14-319 

Completing the Initial Adoption Support Agreement

Adoption Support Agreement DCYF 10-228

Adoption Support Program Application Checklist DCYF 10-477

Adoption Support Worksheet DCYF 09-997  

Application for the Adoption Support Program and/or Reimbursement of Adoption Finalization Costs DCYF 09-998   

Family Genetic and Medical History DCYF 13-041

Family Genetic and Medical History-Adoption DCYF 13-041A (located in the Forms repository on the DCYF intranet)

Child's Registration DCYF 10-061   

DCYF Provider File Action Request form DCYF 06-097

ICAMA Request form DCYF 15-416

IRS 1040

Request to Exceed Adoption Support Rate Schedule DCYF 15-477

Shared Planning Meeting (Noting Adoption as Plan) DCYF 14-474  

Waiver of Right to Receive Written Information on Adoption Support Program Limitation DCYF 09-121.

Ongoing Adoption Support Age 18 years and older

Disability Verification for Youth Over Age 18 DCYF 15-412

Letter for 18-Year-Old DCYF 15-413

Request to Change Existing Adoption Support

Adoption Support Agreement Review DCYF 10-082 

IRS 1040

Revised Adoption Support Agreement DCYF 10-227

Determining Eligibility After Adoption

See Forms in Completing the Initial Adoption Support Agreement

Initial Adoption Support Agreement DCYF 10-228


Post Adoption: Questions and Answers DCYF 22-1211  

In FamLink Knowledge Web 

Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) Guides

FamLink Quick Help Guides

FamLink User Manual