Adoption is a life long process and the need for support and guidance does not end when a child is placed in an adoptive home. There are a variety of services and resources available to families after placement and once again after the adoption is legalized in court. The following is a list of resources that are intended for families at all stages of the adoption process as well as professionals. The list is divided by whether the services are available before or after legalization. Please note that this is in no way intended to be an exhaustive list of adoption resources. To view any of the following files, you will need Acrobat Reader.
Services available prior to adoption legalization
Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (MSPCC)/ Kid’s Net Program is a private, nonprofit agency with a legacy of strengthening families and preventing child abuse through essential child welfare and mental health treatment and effective public advocacy. Through the Kid's Net Program, under contract with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, MSPCC gives support to foster, adoptive and kinship parents who care for children in DCF custody. Included are family respite, training opportunities, support groups, conferences, child care, and the Kid’s Net Connection Helpline.
Services available both before & after adoption legalization
Adoptive Families Together (AFT), a program of MSPCC, is a network of adoptive families founded in Massachusetts by parents who understand the benefit of peer support while raising families with complex issues. Their parent support meetings, held in the New England area, provide post-adoptive information, education and support for people touched by adoption. These groups are available to families pre and post legalization. For a schedule of local support groups, please click here.
Services available after adoption legalization
Adoption Tax Credit
Adoptions before 2010: Most families that adopted foster children who received adoption assistance between 2005 and 2009, and a few who adopted earlier, should be able to take advantage of the federal adoption tax credit, even if they had no expenses related to the adoption. A new law and guidance have now made the tax credit refundable for the first time. Click here for details.
Adoptions during 2010: Families who adopt a child with special needs from foster care can claim a federal adoption tax credit without needing to incur or document expenses. Click here for details.
Adoption Journeys provides post adoption support services to families throughout Massachusetts. All adoptive families in the Commonwealth are eligible to receive Adoption Journeys services, which include support groups for parents and children, adoption counseling, respite services, parent liaisons, adoption competency training and regional intensive crisis response teams. Adoption Journeys is also able to provide information about services providers that have been utilized by other adoptive families.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-97-CARE-4.
Massachusetts Department of Children and Families
Adoption Subsidy -Adoption subsidies are available to parents who adopt children who have ongoing physical, emotional, and/or intellectual needs. The subsidy programs are intended to remove financial barriers to the adoption of children with special needs, but they are not intended to cover the full cost of raising a child.
The benefits available through the adoption subsidy programs are determined on an individual basis and may include monthly care and maintenance payments, health insurance coverage (Mass Health is intended to supplement the family’s insurance and includes medical, dental and mental health services), or reimbursements for the cost of special services. All children who are adopted through DCF are eligible to apply for a subsidy, but adoption subsidy is not guaranteed. Subsidy programs, as administered via the Department of Children and Families, are not based upon the income of the family. The subsidy approval is solely based upon the special need(s) of the child being adopted. Families can also apply for PACT (Parent and Children Together) funding. PACT provides an hourly rate to be paid for certain medical and/or mental health (behavioral) services for parents who provide such services to an adopted child that are above and beyond the routine care of a child. All PACT hours must be documented by a professional provider. Contact the Subsidy Unit and/or your Subsidy Administrator regarding any subsidy related concerns at 1-800-835-0838.
Tuition Waiver Program: Free undergraduate tuition to most of Massachusetts’ state and community colleges and universities is available for children adopted from foster care, if they are admitted. The child must be adopted by a family residing in, or employed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Room and board are not included in this waiver. Some fees are included. Applicants must be full-time students under the age of 25 who are residents of Massachusetts. A FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) must be filed as well. To learn more about the Adoptive Child Tuition Waiver program or to apply, please contact DCF at 617-748-2267.
Other Services/Resources available to Adoptive Families
Camp to Belong and Sibling Connections: Creating enduring relationships for siblings who experience foster care. Through innovative programs and practices, year-round connection opportunities are provided for brothers and sisters who are separated when placed in foster care. Camp To Belong is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to reuniting siblings separated when placed in foster care. Summer campers take part in events designed to help deepen the sibling connection.
Massachusetts Department of Children and Families - Search Unit: Please contact the Search Unit at 617-748-2240 (if the adoption was done through a private agency and that agency is known, you can contact the agency directly).