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Adoption Assistance for Nevada

1. What specific factors or conditions does your State consider to determine that a child cannot be placed with adoptive parents without providing financial assistance? ("What is your State definition of special needs?")

A child with special needs is defined as a child that has at least one of the following needs or circumstances that may be a barrier to placement or adoption without financial assistance:

  • Five years of age or older (if age is the only factor)
  • Race
  • Member of a sibling group of two or more children to be placed together and at least one of the children is three years of age or older,
  • Diagnosis of a medical, physical, emotional, or mental disability or documented history of abuse/neglect requiring ongoing treatment intervention
  • At risk of developing further problems due to documented factors in his/her background

Note: Children meeting the “at risk” criteria include those genetically related to persons having heritable physical, mental, emotional, or behavioral concerns; prenatal substance abuse exposure; or other factors determined by a treatment professional to potentially result in a future need for treatment or special services.

2. What are the eligibility criteria for your State-funded adoption assistance program?

In order to be eligible for state-funded adoption assistance a child must be a special needs child as defined above and in the custody of the State or County agency which provides child welfare services or other Nevada Licensed Child Placing Agency.

3. What is the maximum amount a family may receive in non-recurring adoption expenses from your State? (Adoptive parents can receive reimbursement of certain approved, "one-time" adoption expenses incurred in the process of finalizing a special needs adoption.)

$250.00 per child

4. Does your State enter into deferred adoption assistance agreements? (In some States, adoptive parents can enter into an agreement in which they choose to defer the receipt of a Medicaid card, the monthly monetary payment, or both and can elect to receive the Medicaid card and/or monetary payment at another time.)

Nevada offers deferred adoption assistance agreements. Adoptive parents may elect to defer financial or medical assistance for an otherwise eligible special needs child until assistance is needed. Eligible children must meet the special needs criteria outlined above at the time of adoption.

5. When may adoption assistance payments and benefits begin in your State?

Adoption assistance payments and benefits may begin in Nevada at adoption finalization.

6. How are changes made to the adoption assistance agreement in your State?

Adoptive parents may request a change in the adoption assistance agreement whenever there is a change in the circumstances of the family or the needs of the child. Modifications to the agreement can be made at the time of annual review or any time. The written request must be made on the annual adoption assistance review form that is sent to the family each year. The form is an annual opportunity to update the adoption assistance worker of any changes in the living or school arrangements, family circumstances, or needs of the child. If the change is needed at a time other than at the annual review, families may contact their adoption assistance worker to request a form. Written explanation of the change in the family’s circumstances and/or documentation of child’s needs must accompany the review form. An adoption assistance worker will contact the family to discuss the request, negotiate payment amounts, and address any other service related needs. When the negotiation process is complete, an amended adoption assistance agreement containing the new terms and effective date of the benefits is prepared by the agency for the family’s review, approval, and signature.

If the request for assistance is denied, the parent may request a conference with the adoption assistance staff to discuss the basis of the agency’s decision. If the parents continue to be dissatisfied with the decision after the conference, they may request an administrative review by the agency hearing officer. The written request for the hearing must be received by the agency, or postmarked if mailed, no later than thirty calendar days after the date on which the denial notice is received by the parent. Written requests for hearings must be directed to the state or county agency handling the family’s adoption assistance request. DCFS Regional Service Area contact

7. What types of post adoption services are available in your State and how do you find out more about them?

Post-adoption services in Nevada are administered by the Department of Human Resources through DHR and separately through private agencies and parent groups. Post adoption services include the following examples:

  1. Information and referral
  2. Educational programs (parent training)
  3. Support groups
  4. Family Preservation
  5. Case management
  6. Therapeutic intervention/counseling
  7. Respite
  8. Search registries

Services are not administered through one central point of contact in Nevada. Services may not be designated as adoption-specific in all areas of the state, but are available to adoptive families. Families requiring assistance should contact the state or county child welfare agency in their area. Child welfare staff can help identify and provide referrals to existing service providers able to assist with specific service needs. DCFS Regional Service Area contact See also the Adoption Exchange For the Colorado Post Adoption Resource Center

Parent groups offer a variety of post adoption supports. A current grant to the Nevada’s Children’s Center provides transportation expenses for families that cannot afford to attend support group trainings/meetings. The Center is located at 2929 South Decatur Boulevard; Las Vegas, Nevada 89102, phone: 702.221.4900 or 702.349.7085. E-mail the Center.

Many private organizations offer a variety of respite options. See the ARCH National Respite Network Respite Locator Service, search by state to locate Nevada’s respite programs.

Note: Not all services may be available in all cases. Contact your adoption assistance worker or post adoption services contact for information regarding process, eligibility, availability, and duration of services.

8. What mental health services are provided by your State?

Public mental health services for children in Nevada are administered through the Department of Human Resources (DHR), Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) in northern and southern Nevada and by the Mental Health & Developmental Services Division (MHDSD) in rural Nevada. Services include the following examples: psychiatric and psychological evaluations, acute care inpatient hospitalization, community based residential care, individual/group/family therapy, clinical case management services, rehabilitative services, day treatment services, outpatient services, respite care for severe emotionally disturbed children.

Access mental health services by contacting: Northern Nevada Child and Adolescent Services (Children’s Behavioral Services), phone: 775.688.1600; Southern Nevada Child and Adolescent Services, phone: 702. 486.6100, and Rural Clinics, phone: 775.687.1000. MHDS, Nevada Mental Health Services and the Nevada Developmental Services. See also DHR’s Division of Health Care Financing and Policy (Medicaid).

Note: Not all services may be available in all cases. Contact your adoption assistance worker or medical assistance specialist for information regarding process, eligibility, availability, and duration of services.

9. Does your State provide additional finances or services for medical or therapeutic needs not covered under your State medical plan to children receiving adoption assistance?

Nevada does not have a separate program or funding source to provide additional finances or services for medical or therapeutic needs not covered under the state medical plan (Medicaid) to children receiving adoption assistance. Children with exceptional medical or behavioral needs may qualify for special payment rates, as determined by the agency, to help cover the cost of a child’s exceptional care. Parents are directed to contact the adoption assistance worker to determine if their child is eligible for exceptional care rates.

Note: Not all services may be available in all cases. Contact your adoption assistance worker for information regarding process, eligibility, availability, and duration of services.

10. What is your State's process for applying for a fair hearing? (A fair hearing is a legal, administrative procedure that provides a forum to address disagreements with agency decisions.)

Adoptive parents can request a fair hearing whenever there is disagreement with a DHR or County Child Welfare Agency decision that affects their child’s adoption assistance benefits. An adoptive parent may appeal the state or county agency’s decision to deny, reduce or terminate adoption assistance. To do so, the parent must submit a written request to the state or county agency handling their adoption assistance agreement to initiate the process. The request must be received by the agency, or postmarked if mailed, no later than thirty calendar days after the date on which the written decision to deny, reduce or terminate assistance is received by the parent. The agency will schedule a hearing within thirty calendar days of receipt of the parent’s request; and a decision will be rendered by the agency within thirty days after the hearing is held. For fair hearing information, contact your local DCFS Regional Service Area

11. What is your State Web address for general adoption information?

Nevada’s general adoption

12. What is your State Web address for adoption assistance information?

Nevada’s adoption assistance

13. What is your State Web address for State-specific medical assistance information for children?

Nevada’s state-specific medical assistance

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