Subsidized Adoption in Fairfax County
Information for Prospective Adoptive Parents
Fairfax County’s Adoption Program offers financial assistance and
support to adoptive families, including subsidies to help with the
costs of adopting and caring for a child with special needs.
Eligibility for assistance is based on the child’s needs;
assistance amounts are determined by state and federal guidelines,
and may be subject to change based on funding availability.
What is subsidized adoption?
Subsidized adoption, also called adoption assistance*, provides financial payment – and, in some cases, services – to adoptive parent(s) on behalf of a child with special physical, emotional or behavioral needs. Adoption assistance helps both adoptable children and adoptive families. It facilitates the adoption of children who are considered hard to place because they have special needs and have few families available to care for them; and it helps adoptive families with the cost of raising a child with special needs. Without the subsidy, these children are likely to remain in long-term foster care.
* Adoption assistance is based on the availability of federal
and state funds appropriated for this purpose. In Virginia, all
jurisdictions must follow the subsidy policy established by
Virginia’s Department of Social Services.
Who is eligible for adoption subsidy?
Children who were adopted through Virginia public social services agencies and certain children adopted through Virginia private agencies may be eligible. Eligibility for basic adoption assistance is based solely on the child’s special needs, not on the financial circumstances of the adoptive family.
A child’s eligibility is determined by the jurisdiction where the child is in foster care and where the adoption of that child is being facilitated – not where the adoptive parents live. For example, if parents from Michigan adopt a child through Fairfax County’s Adoption Program, Fairfax County determines the child’s eligibility assistance.
As a general rule, a child’s eligibility is determined before
his or her final order of adoption is entered. In some cases,
children for who no subsidy was sought before the final order of
adoption may qualify for subsidy after the adoption is
What adoption assistance is available for children in Virginia?
Once a child is found eligible based on his or her special needs, families may be able to receive financial assistance. In Virginia, adoption subsidies include:
Other aspects of adoption assistance:
Adoption assistance or subsidy may continue until a child is 18 years old, provided that the adoptive parent(s) remain financially or legally responsible for supporting the child. For some children with physical or mental disabilities, subsidy may be extended until age 21.
As required by Virginia law, the agency and the adoptive parent(s) sign an adoption assistance agreement. In order to keep the agreement in effect, parents are required to submit an annual affidavit to the agency stating that they remain legally or financially responsible for the child in their care.
Regardless of where the adoptive family lives, the agency
originating the subsidy is responsible for the payments and
management of the subsidy. The adoptive family, however, may need
to locate community resources in the area that can provide needed
services to their child with special needs.