Many people who consider adoption are concerned with the financial costs associated with the adoption process and the many services which children with special needs may require.

The costs of adopting a child from the public foster care system are typically kept to a bare minimum and may be eligible for reimbursement. Incurred costs are generally limited to:

  • Attorney fees
  • Adoption home studies (if completed by someone other than DCYF)
  • Applicant medical co-pays
  • Pet immunizations
  • Safety changes to households
Options outside DCYF

Private adoption. Ranges from $4,000 to $40,000.

Independent adoption. Ranges from $8,000 to $40,000

Resources Providing Families with Financial Assistance

Adoption Support

Families adopting special needs children through the public child welfare system may qualify for adoption support (adoption subsidy), a negotiated monthly cash payment provided to adoptive families to help pay for some of the expense involved in raising a child with special needs.

Non-Recurring Adoption Expense Reimbursement

In Washington State, before finalizing the adoption of a child with special needs from the public child welfare system, families may apply for reimbursement of adoption costs. Maximum reimbursable costs are $1500.00 per child. See Adoption Support Program.


All children participating in the Adoption Support Program are eligible to receive medical, dental and mental health services through Medicaid.

Federal Tax Credit

You may be eligible to take the Special Needs Adoption Tax credit of up to $14,300 (in 2020) for qualifying expenses paid to adopt an eligible child. The adoption credit is an amount subtracted from your tax liability.

To find information about tax rules and changes to those rules, you can link to the Internal Revenue Website for information about the IRS Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number, and for Publication 968 on the Adoption Tax Credit and Tax Exclusion.

Employer Benefits

Many employers provide a range of benefits for families who adopt (including paid or unpaid leave when a child arrives in the home, reimbursement of some portion of adoption expenses, assistance with adoption information and referral services, etc.). Corporate human resource departments will provide employees with information if benefits are available.

To find out if your employer is "adoption friendly", visit the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoptions.