I’m assuming that you probably wouldn’t be too happy.
In the state of Texas (and many other states, I believe), if you adopt a child out of foster care who has been declared a special needs child, you can receive Medicaid benefits and monthly subsidies until the child turns 18. It doesn’t matter…
You have to end the subsidies. And SSI benefits for people under 18. I knew a 7 year old that died of a heart attack that would have been prevented if the girl would have been given her heart medication by her first mother and by the foster parents. The first mother was my Sister in Law. She used the SSI check to buy Cocaine, her kids were eating out the trash and none of her kids had diapers or clean clothes. I live in a different state and got all the facts when I allowed the family to move in for several months to help them get on their feet. When they left my home and went back to Louisiana I sent them with a month worth of food, and my kids old clothes. Mind you both my Sister in law and brother in law are older than me.
SSI should be for adults that need assistance supporting themselves not a reason to adopt handicapped children. There is a lot of abuse in foster care adoption. We have a patient whom is white that adopted a black child and still receives payments and medicaid. They are going to adopt his brother to when the natural parents rights are terminated. They call his brother “my bonus baby”
Yeah people that adopt do it for a reason, some money, some want to parent, some to be heroes. But there is a reason people adopt most reasons led to greed. Just my 2 cents.
Edit to other answers: I like Teresa’s answer. I like the idea that those that receive subsidies keep receipts to help prevent abuse and those that do can not prove what they use the subsidies to help the children shouldn’t get them. I wouldn’t know the extra cost of raising a special needs child as I have only seen those with special needs children that used the money to pay their bills, or buy drugs.
Madonna’s case in particular really bothers me. Not only did she not wait as long as others, she adopted a child from a country that does not normally allow international adoption from a family who did not understand what they were allowing. I have read that Angelina Jolie did use an agency and went through the normal process. Can’t say how long she waited – don’t know. But, it doesn’t seem to be the same kind of thing as Madonna’s – going to a place and just picking up a child while there. I think it’s important that adoptive parents speek out about high profile corruption when they know it, such as Madonna. I always express how horrible it is. However, I certainly don’t want celebrities to be the taken as the representative for all adoptive parents. Would you want an obnoxious celebrity adoptee to be the representative of all adoptees?
I think it is more complicated than you are making it out.
We adopted three children, ages 4,5 & 6. What we may receive, should we need it, is ongoing support, and yes finances if necessary for any and all issues that result in teh adoption process (attachment) or family of origin issues (ADHD, Speech, behaviour, counselling for sexual abuse) etc. etc.
This was NOT a deciding factor for us, but good to know. It is the state’s COMMITTMENT to ensuring that no matter what happens throughout the life of the parents, that the children are taken care of.
It is never black and white in these cases. Adopting a child with special needs at times may require additional income because one may have to stay home when not planned, or medical needs skyrocket or other scenarios. Yes, when it happens to non-adoptive families they do not have that social net, but what you are forgetting is that the state (or Crown here in Canada) is RESPONSIBLE for these children. They are accountable to where they get adopted, and it is up to them to provide some level of support if needed after. Should this be money? Who knows, in some cases yes, in some no. Everythign should be individualized to the individual situation, then no one can take advantage.
There are a lot of serious medical needs that -will- require ongoing therapy, treatment, medication, medical equipment, etc. Sometimes, the need for treatment outlasts the AP’s insurance’s willingness to continue to pay for it. I would hate to see APs discouraged from adopting children with special needs only because they can’t afford the lifelong treatment those children will require. Even SSI has limitations.
Does that mean that some people will abuse the system? Of course! There is always a segment of -any- population that will try to get something for nothing. Does that mean that the families who legitimately use the subsidies for what it was intended should be denied? No.
Wow, that’s horrible. I think I’ve heard that before…that you can get assistance from the State if you have adopted under certain criteria. I don’t think that it is necessarily a bad thing, unless it is done for the wrong reasons, like in your boyfriends case. I was adopted and I know that as long as I was treated well, I would be grateful for my parents. This is a tough one to respond to, but I think that these parents receiving benefits need to be monitored, especially in special needs cases. The parents should be VERY well qualified and the children should be able to let someone know how things are at home once they can do so properly.
Nothing can be done, except to end the subsidies. But then the people that actually use them to help the kids would suffer.
Natural mothers do it to, with child benefits, I’ve seen cases here in the UK where some parents spend all the child benefit money on themselves and not the kids. I’ve heard that child benefits are being renewed and possibly ended? But then I guess if mother’s aren’t going to get benefits, then that could lead to more being unable to parent and choosing adoption. Crappy situation.
Sorry about your boyfriend. It’s nice that you’re so interested in his adoption situation and want to help, but one thing that really annoys me is when my friends treat my life like a soap opera and want to hear all the drama. From what you’ve said he’s suffered quite a bit so make sure you show him how much you care and don’t go on about his adoption unless he brings it up, or you could end up upsetting him. You can’t ever understand how it feels to be an adoptee, however long you spend on Y!A, but you can learn ways to support him. Good luck.
We have the same system here in Alberta Canada but only those who adopt through the government foster care system (vice agency foster care) qualify for the maintenance payments, special needs or not. In the case of a child under 5 it works out to about $800 a month tax free and goes up as they get older.
I did some research and some of the arguments that were made when the legislation was changed (these payments are law here) were the following:
1) These children adopted through foster care were in the care of the Province who, if the children were not adopted, would have to pay much more if they remained in foster care.
2) The children were removed from their initial situations due to prenatal drug and alcohol exposure, abuse, neglect, abandonment…. As such, these children can (will) develop issues that will need to be addressed as they get older.
3) Families know the issues at adoption but nobody can tell what else may develop and the simple fact is they may or may not be able to deal with these childrens special needs that may develop. It can happen with a natural child too. Some of these children may end up back in the child welfare system which would of course create a deplorable situation for the child as well as great cost and strains on the system.
4) If they do not get the treatments or therapies that they require (natural or adopted) hey may (will) become entangled in the criminal justice system, mental health system, social welfare system, homeless….. once they turn 18.
The bottom line is that the government (at least here) felt it was more cost effective to assist in the support of the children adopted through foster care then it was to try to correct their issues later on in life when the damages were too ingrained to correct. Because of the payments we receive for our two children we are able to afford the early intervention day care they receive, the swimming lessons and other occupational therapy type activities they receive, the speech therapy for our 3 year old who still doesn’t talk and other supports.
We didn’t have any of that for our 17 year old we adopted at a time when the supports were not available. She has learning delays that we have worked hard to correct. We did it on our own because we had to and nobody else was going to do it. We did it without hesitation or reservation and it was a struggle but one we were willing to undertake and, thank God, we were able to undertake. We could do the same thing for these two children as well but I have no trouble at all accepting the payments to assist us in doing so.
Do I know of adoptive parents who use it to buy a new car, pay for a vacation trip, buy a new home theater system….sure I do. At the end of the day though it’s their call what they do with the money. I can also rattle off families who use the money for a bigger home, which benefits all children in their family….for a bigger car or a van which benefits all children in their family….or for any number of other aids to help in their raising of the children they have accepted responsibility for. Without the payments these children would most likely not have been adopted.
I really don’t know what could be done to mitigate any abuses of the system, short of having social services and/or the police investigate when there are reports of abused children. I know of enough cases where parents have had biological children for the tax breaks and bonus payments (“baby bonus” here in Canada) or to help take care of them when they get older. Abuses are going to happen regardless of the presence of adoption subsidies and supports but I think the elimination of supports harms more children overall and has great potential to negatively impact their quality of life..
Abuse and “profit seeking” happens all over.
Welfare recipients have been busted using their benefit cards in casinos. There are several scams and “loopholes” that allow welfare benefits to be used for drugs and other things not beneficial to the child.
“Natural” parents of special needs kids have been caught abusing those children. Abuse is not just in foster care. Adoptees are not the only people abused by parents.
I don’t think “cutting off the subsidies” is the answer.
I think cracking down on abusers is the answer. I think making people accountable for fraud is the answer.
“Special needs” are expensive. It could be doctor bills. It could be expensive medicine. Some kids need special equipment just to stay alive. Most people can’t afford any of that.
The “special needs” child still wants a family. They still want to feel like they belong. They want the stability adoption brings. Sure, they can remain foster kids and live with the uncertainty of being taken out of the families they love.
And – let me tell you…
It’s HEARTBREAKING to explain to a child that the only reason you can’t adopt them is because their care is too expensive.
They already deal with what ever medical problem they have, and knowing they’ll never be “normal”. Then for the people they love to say they can’t afford them…
There should be close monitoring of subsidies for foster and adoptive parents. Parents should have to provide receipts to prove the money has been used for the child. I receive subsdies for my children, and could very easily do that ( I do, in fact, save receipts as to be above reproach)
I am against ending subsidies though, because without it more children would be bounced around foster care and never adopted. NOT ALL ADOPTIVE PARENTS ARE IN IT FOR $$- but average income foster homes would never be able to adopt sibling groups larger than 2 or 3 without some assistance. That means sibling groups of 5 or 6 (which are very common in foster care) would be separated at adoption. SSI and Medicaid benefits for special needs children still require (at least here in NY) that the adoptive parents keep medical insurance on the child and Medicaid is co-insurance to pay what regular policies don’t. If you get rid of subsidies, people with good hearts who love special needs children would have to work 3 & 4 jobs and take out 2nd mortgages on their homes to pay for medical and mental health bills that aren’t covered by their own insurance. This would not allow for appropriate care for the child. SSI is mostly used (from what I know of families in my social circle) to pay for independant or group living facilities once the child becomes an adult and wants to live on their own. Personally, my family would not be able to remain financially secure and pay for a proper group home facility for our adult child if there was no support. Therefore, we would not be able to adopt a child with severe special needs, and that child would have to stay in foster care until they age out. This is not healthy for the child who never has security and permanency, and it would keep foster homes who are equipped to care of these kids full. That would lead in as little as a few years to placement option for special needs kids being so limited, the government would have to open institutions to warehouse these kids while they spend millions of dollars advertising for new foster homes.
I am very sorry to your boyfriend for the hurt he’s suffered, but being angry at an entire system and everyone in it will not help him heal. Nor will cutting of these kids make their lives any better.
I was in foster care and that was the case. I felt used, abused, and uncared for. I felt like I was dispensable. It is a horrible feeling.