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What Is The Importance Of The Maryland Adoption Subsidy Act?

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Originally enacted in 1984 and later amended in 2020, the Maryland Adoption Subsidy Act provides public subsidies to ensure the adoption of eligible children throughout the state. In this context, the term subsidy can refer to monetary payment, medical assistance or care, or special services. Without this type of financial assistance, it can be difficult to ensure adoption of children with special circumstances.

Which Children are Eligible for the Maryland Adoption Subsidy Act?

Maryland Code of Family Law Section 5-401 outlines which children are eligible under the Adoption Subsidy Act. In order to qualify for a subsidy under this Act, the minor child in question must be subject to:

  • Guardianship of a child placement agency; or
  • Consensual adoption, if there is a determination that a subsidy is necessary to ensure placement because of the child’s special circumstances.

Which Special Circumstances Trigger the Maryland Adoption Subsidy Act?

Maryland Code of Family Law Section 5-403 explains which special circumstances trigger the Adoption Subsidy Act. In order to qualify for a subsidy under this Act, the minor child in question must have special circumstances, including:

  • Mental or physical disability;
  • Emotional disturbance or similar issues;
  • Heightened risk of mental or physical disease;
  • Ethnic or racial factors; or
  • Age or sibling relationship.

How is Assistance Determined Under the Maryland Adoption Subsidy Act?

Maryland Code of Family Law Section 5-410 details the nature, amount, and duration of subsidies under the Adoption Subsidy Act. Under this section, the nature, amount, and duration of the subsidy are determined by:

  • The needs of the minor child based on their special circumstances; and
  • The availability of other resources that could satisfy the minor child’s needs.

Subsidies under the Act can be temporary or long-lasting in duration. That being said, there is an upper limit on the amount of this benefit. Subsidies under the Adoption Subsidy Act cannot exceed:

  • The allowable amount for a child in foster care in Maryland or another state, whichever is higher;
  • For medically fragile children in treatment foster care homes, no more than $2,000 per month; or
  • In the case of subsidies for special services, no more than a reasonable fee for the special services in question.

How is the Maryland Adoption Subsidy Act Financed?

Maryland Code of Family Law Section 5-407 provides the financing guidelines for the Adoption Subsidy Act. Under this section, there is a multifaceted system that provides funds for adoption subsidies:

  • Monetary Payments & Special Services Funded through a combination of appropriations for the maintenance of children in foster care and other sources of funds made available to the Department of Human Services.
  • Medical Assistance & Care C Funded through a combination of appropriations for the adoption subsidy program and fiscal year savings attributable to adoptions across multiple departments.

Do You Need Legal Help?

If you have legal questions about adoption laws, contact the Bel Air family law attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered. We can assist you throughout each step of your case.

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