Georgia Center For Resources & Support
Serving Adoptive Families

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DFCS/State Adoption Unit PDF Print E-mail

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Post-Adoption Services/Adoption Assistance Benefits

 

Adoption resents an ongoing commitment for adoptive parent(s) and their adopted child(ren). After a child has been placed into an adoptive family, the family may have questions, concerns, and/or a need for supportive services. The Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS)/Social Services Administration Unit (SSAU) has established post-adoption services to assist adoptive families in meeting their needs and the needs of their adoptive child(ren). These services are designed to enhance the adoption experience and to prevent disruption or dissolution of the adoptive placement.

 

Some post-adoption services are available only for families who have adopted children through Georgia’s Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS). However, there are some supportive services, such as the Georgia Center for Resources & Support, which are available to all adoptive families residing in Georgia.

Please Note:  The availability and amount of Post Adoption Services are subject to State and Federal laws, regulations, and budgetary requirements.

 

Post-Adoption Services Currently Managed Through the DHS/Social Services Administration Unit (SSAU) include:

  • Adoption Assistance
  • Non-recurring Only Adoption Assistance
  • Respite for Medically Fragile Adoptive Children
  • Adopted Teen Empowerment and Mentoring Program (ATEAM)
  • Crisis Intervention Team
  • Georgia Center for Resources & Support
  • Georgia Adoption Reunion Registry

Other Supportive Resources Include:

  • Growing After Adoption: Post-Adoption Support at Bethany Christian Services
  • Camp to Belong - Georgia
  • State of Georgia/Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) Website-Adoptions
  • Georgia State Adoption Tax Credit
  • Federal Adoption Tax Credit

For more information, contact the County DFCS Case Manager. The post-adoption services and other supportive resources listed above are described in more detail as follows:

Adoption Assistance

Adoption Assistance includes monthly financial assistance, medical assistance (Medicaid), and non-recurring one-time funds for legal expenses related to finalizing an adoption. Adoption Assistance is available for families adopting eligible children who meet Federal and State criteria for Special Needs, as well as other eligibility criteria, as determined by the Social Services Administration Unit and the Revenue Maximization Unit. An Adoption Assistance Agreement must be signed prior to finalization. Ongoing Adoption Assistance is available up to age 18 if the adoptive family remains legally and financially responsible for the adopted child.  Adoption Assistance policy can be found at: http://www.odis.dhr.state.ga.us/3000_fam/3120_ado/Manual/109.doc

In a move designed to improve continuity of health care and better health outcomes, the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH), as of March 3, 2014, transitioned children receiving Adoption Assistance Medicaid into a single Care Management Organization (CMO), Amerigroup Community Care of Georgia.  The Program is called Georgia Families 360° and its goals are to:

  • Improve access to health care services, particularly for physical and behavioral health services covered by the Medicaid program
  • Increase continuity of care, including when members transition in and out of foster care
  • Enhance health outcomes, providing additional care coordination and improved physical and behavioral health oversight

Children receiving Adoption Assistance are automatically enrolled in Georgia Families 360°, but adoptive parents may choose to “opt out” within 90 days of enrollment.  Adoptive parents should call (855) 661-2021 (Amerigroup) to get more information about Georgia Families 360°, including opting out requirements. 

Non-recurring Only Adoption Assistance

One-time funds up to $1500.00 per child per adoption are available to go toward expenses related to the finalization of an adoption (legal, pre-placement visit cost & physicals for adoptive parents), and are payable only after the finalization of a child who meets Special Needs Criteria. A Special Needs Determination must be made and an Adoption Assistance Agreement must be signed prior to finalization.

Respite for Medically Fragile Adoptive Children

Children who are receiving ongoing Adoption Assistance and who were adopted while in the permanent custody of DFCS or who were placed from DFCS custody into the permanent custody of a specified individual for the purpose of adoption are potentially eligible for this form of Respite. This respite is approved by the SSAU and the approval period may not last longer than one year from the date of approval.

Please Note: The provision of Respite for Medically Fragile Adoptive Children is dependent upon the availability of State funds and is not available after a child turns age 18.

  •      Respite funds may be available for families where the adoptive child is documented to meet the Medically Fragile criteria by a licensed Medical Provider. The child must meet one of the Medically Fragile criteria listed below:

 

1. A condition that requires dependence upon durable medical equipment (to include, but not limited to, wheelchairs, walkers, etc…)

2. A condition that requires dependence upon medical support equipment (to include, but not limited to, a respirator, feeding pump, suction machine, oxygen, etc…)

3. A life-threatening, acute/chronic infectious disease, acute/chronic noninfectious disease requiring respiratory or other precautions (excluding normal childhood diseases)

4. A terminal illness

5. A condition that requires ongoing administration of intravenous medication or a feeding tube for nutritional support (G tube, etc.)

6. A condition that requires intensive rehabilitation and/or developmental disability services.

 

·       Respite is available up to 5 hours per month per family at the rate of $6.00 per hour for the first child and $2.00 per hour for each sibling.

·       Prior to finalization of an adoption, Respite Providers must meet the background standards of a Supplemental Supervision provider.

·   Respite hours may not be accumulated from month to month or borrowed from future months without prior approval from the County Director, Regional Director, or SSAU Director.

·       Approval of funds cannot be made for services that have already been provided.

 

Adopted Teen Empowerment and Mentoring Program (ATEAM)

The Adopted Teen Empowerment & Mentoring Program (ATEAM) is designed for adopted teens in 6th through 12th grades. ATEAM provides participants with an opportunity for mutual support and self-expression through group interactions with other adopted teens. This group consists of teens and mentors who meet monthly at host sites in each region across the state. Meeting times are generally from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. one Saturday per month, with two weekend retreats planned each year.  Parent transportation is required. Parent training/support groups are offered, as well. Pre-registration is required for the program, as each site is limited to 30 youth participants. ATEAM also provides an annual adoptive family and youth training seminar. 

Eligible teens are youth receiving adoption assistance who had been in the custody of a state agency. This program may not be well suited for teens who experience difficulties interacting within a large group setting. Please contact the ATEAM Program Administrator for more information about ATEAM, including local activities and contact numbers for each region of the state. Below is the contact information:

ATEAM Program Administrator

Family Matters Consulting, Inc. Chris Greer

Telephone: 770.965.9336  Fax: 770-818-5815  E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Crisis Intervention Team

The Crisis Intervention Team provides services to adoptive families in need of professional help to improve overall family functioning, preserve the family unit, and provide links to community resources. The team assists adoptive families of special needs children who have been placed in the home and approved for Adoption Assistance benefits.

When a parenting challenge becomes a serious problem, the Crisis Intervention Team can provide early intervention services designed to prevent disruptions, dissolutions and to preserve the family unit. The program consists of Mobile Intervention Teams, including a Team Leader and an Intervention Specialist, who provide in-home family assessments and counseling to families on a statewide basis. All Team members understand the dynamics of the adoption process as well as the unique problems of attachment, trauma and loss which are common in children with multiple placements. They are trained in the prevention of aggressive behaviors, the de-escalation of crisis situations and the development of therapeutic intervention plans to address interpersonal relationships, school performance and physical/emotional health issues.

While the Intervention Team is not designed to replace medical or therapeutic care, it does help the child and family identify and resolve problematic issues. Contact with the Team is for a limited time only (60-90 days). When Intervention services are discontinued, families are then referred to community resources coordinated by the Intervention Team.

In order to be considered for Crisis Intervention Services, the County DFCS office must refer the family’s application to the Social Services Administration Unit (SSAU) for review.

To learn more about this service and apply, the adoptive family should first contact its County DFCS Adoption or Adoption Assistance Case Manager. If unable to contact the County DFCS Case Manager, the family may contact Adrian J. Owens, Program Director, Social Services Administration Unit at (404) 657-3558.

To find out more about this service, the adoptive family may visit the Georgia Mentor web site at http://www.ga-mentor.com or call Georgia Mentor at 478-785-0005.

 

Georgia Center for Resources & Support

Georgia Center for Resources & Support (GACRS)

The mission of the Georgia Center for Resources & Support is to establish a seamless, comprehensive support network of post-placement services to strengthen adoptive and foster families in Georgia. The Center’s services are offered free to all adoptive and foster families living in Georgia. In addition, adoptive families residing in Georgia can use GACRS services regardless of the origin of their adoption

 How We Serve Georgia’s Adoptive and Foster Families

 Resource Advisors

There are Resource Advisors available to assist families access resources and services to meet the needs of their child. Resource Advisors coordinate and provide workshops and trainings that enhance adoptive and foster parents’ ability to parent children who were in foster care.  Resource Advisors provide support to families when needed either s a “listening ear” or via connection to local community organizations.

Training 

GACRS offers a variety of informative trainings for adoptive and foster parents. All trainings are free and provide training hours for participation. The types of trainings we provide are: regional instructor-led workshops; Web ‘N Chats, Video Conferences, Online Training and Podcasts. To learn more about GACRS training visit the website

Lending Library

The Lending Library, is a free service and offers a unique collection of books, magazines, videotapes, articles, and DVDs covering a variety of            pre – and post- adoption concerns. 

  The GACRS Forum

 We invite you to “Join Our Conversation.” Learn more about the Forum by visiting the website.

Adoptive and foster families can also benefit from the current directory of community resources available on the website. The website is found at www.gacrs.org, and the statewide phone number is 1 866.A.PARENT or 1-866-272-7368.

Georgia Adoption Reunion Registry

Adoptees, birthparents, or siblings who have been permanently separated through adoption often reach a time in their lives when they want more information about their biological family. This “need to know” may be due to medical, genetic, genealogical, or personal reasons. The Georgia Adoption Reunion Registry provides the following services:

  •      Assistance to an adult adoptee in order to establish contact with the adoptee’s biological parents with the expressed consent of the biological parent(s).
  •           Assistance to adult siblings in establishing contact with each other (provided at least one of them is an adoptee) with the expressed consent of the sibling who is being sought.
  •      Provides an adult adoptee or adoptive parents of an adoptee under age 18 with non-identifying information from the sealed adoption record without having to obtain a court order.
  •      Assistance to biological parents in registering their consent to contact/release birth family identifying information or to register their desire not to have contact and preventing the release of birth family identifying information from the sealed adoption record.
  •          Assistance to siblings in registering their consent to have contact or to register their desire not to have contact with the searcher. 

For more information, call the Georgia Adoption Reunion Registry at 1-888-328-0055 or visit their website at www.ga-adoptionreunion.com.

Growing After Adoption – Post Adoption Support at Bethany Christian Services

Growing After Adoption provides a range of supportive services for adoptive families as a part of Bethany Christian Services’ Promoting Safe & Stable Families program.  The program develops a customized plan with individualized services to address the needs of newly formed adoptive families.  The following services are currently offered:

Trauma-Informed Counseling Services Specific to Adoption (ADOPTS)

Support Groups for Parents

Support Groups for Children

Parent Coaching

Tutoring (limited slots available)

To be eligible for “Growing After Adoption” services, all of the criteria below must be met:

      ·       The child/adolescent is (or was) placed into the current foster/adoptive or adoptive home while in DFCS legal custody.

      ·       The adoption must have been finalized less than six (6) months prior to the referral.

      ·       The adoptive family must live in Barrow, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, Dekalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Hall, Henry, Newton, Paulding, Rockdale, or Walton County.

Inquiries/referrals may be received directly from the adoptive family or by agency referral. Inquiries/referrals should be sent by phone or e-mail to:

Katie Smith, LCSW  Post-Adoption Coordinator / Family Therapist

Telephone: 770-274-3015 or 770-455-7111     E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Camp to Belong – Georgia

Camp to Belong-Georgia is a nonprofit organization dedicated to reuniting brothers and sisters placed in separate foster, adoptive or kinship homes through Summer Camp Programs and year-round events. Summer Camp programs include:

·       Traditional camp activities: horseback riding, swimming, canoeing, and rock climbing

·       Trained counselors and special programs which help siblings to connect and to learn the value of relationships

·       Life Seminar for older children, to address education/career planning and adult living skills (conflict resolution, anger management, diversity tolerance, and relationship building)

·       Special help for siblings whose relationships have been strained by separation

·       Birthday celebrations for siblings unable to share birthdays during the year

·       Teaching children how to become their own best advocates

Children from age 8 to18 who are in foster care, kinship care, or adoptive placements and who live apart from one or more of their siblings are eligible to attend Camp to Belong.  DHS/DFCS Case Managers and Supervisors, as well as foster and adoptive parents may refer children to Camp to Belong-Georgia.

Inquiries should be directed to:

Traci Bensley, Executive Director

Telephone: 678-521-7670   E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

State of Georgia/Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) Website -Adoptions

This website is found at http://dfcs.dhs.georgia.gov/adoption and contains a photo listing of children available for adoption, information on upcoming events related to adoption, educational information, description of adoption services, and links to other adoption-related sites.

 

Georgia State Adoption Tax Credit

The State of Georgia offers a Tax Credit of $2000 to parents for the adoption of a qualified foster child. A qualified child is defined as a child who is under 18 years of age, and is in a foster home or otherwise in the foster care system under the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS). This credit will be available beginning the tax year the adoption becomes final and ending with the year the child turns age 18. Adoptive parents should consult with their tax professional before filing. For more information, please visit the website for the Georgia Department of Revenue at: https://etax.dor.ga.gov/. GA Form IND-CR is used for claiming this tax credit in Georgia and is found at the following link: https://etax.dor.ga.gov/SearchResults.aspx?q=adoption+tax+credit

 

Federal Adoption Tax Credit

The Federal Adoption Tax Credit is available to families who meet eligibility requirements, which includes the adoption of a child who has been determined to meet “Special Needs” criteria by DFCS.

Adoptive families interested in finding out more information about the Federal Adoption Tax Credit should consult with their tax professional before filing taxes. Families may also go to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website listed below, which has information about the Federal Adoption Tax Credit:

http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc607.html

 

The North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) has information regarding the Federal Adoption Tax Credit in their website, which is listed below:

http://www.nacac.org/taxcredit/taxcredit.html

 

 

 

 

 

1105 West Peachtree St. NE · Atlanta, Georgia 30309

Toll free telephone: 1.866.A.PARENT · Atlanta telephone: 404.929.0401 · Fax: 404.929.0405