Thinking about adopting a child in the state’s care but not sure if you can afford all of the related expenses?

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has an adoption assistance program to help with some of the costs when adopting children with special needs.

The program includes benefits such as:

  • Medicaid health care coverage for the child;
  • Reimbursement for certain one-time expenses relating to completing the adoption process (non-recurring adoption expenses).
  • Monthly payments to assist with the child’s needs.

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Who is a “special needs” child?

In order to qualify, the child who is being adopted must be considered “special needs.” A special needs child:

  • Is at least 6 years old;
  • Is at least 2 years old and a member of a racial or ethnic group that exits foster care at a slower pace than other racial or ethnic groups;
  • Is part of a sibling group or is joining a sibling; or
  • Has a verifiable physical, mental, or emotional disabling condition, as established by an appropriately qualified professional through a diagnosis that addresses: (a) what the condition is; and (b) that the condition is disabling.

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Additional Eligibility Requirements

There are some other criteria, too. In order to be considered “special needs,” the agency must determine the children cannot or should not be returned to their parents’ homes. The agency must also make a reasonable effort to place the children without providing adoption assistance unless doing so is against their best interest.

The following groups of special needs children may be eligible for adoption assistance:

  • Children in the agency’s managing conservatorship regardless of where they are being placed;
  • Children in the legal care of a licensed or certified , non-profit child-placing agency in or outside of Texas that is placing them with families residing in Texas.
  • Children receiving SSI benefits at the time their adoption petition is filed;
  • Children who:
    • previously received Title IV-E adoption assistance and whose adoption ended because their adoptive parents died or had their parental rights terminated; and
    • are not in the care of another state’s public child welfare agency and whose adoptive parents reside in Texas at the time of the adoptive placement
  • Children who:
    • previously received Texas state adoption assistance and whose adoption ended because their adoptive parents died or had their parental rights terminated; and
    • are not in the care of another state’s public child welfare agency and will be subsequently adopted regardless where their adoptive parents reside; or
    • children living with their minor parent in foster care and whose cost of care is included in the foster care payment being made on behalf of their parent.

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Application Process

Requests for adoption assistance are made through the PRS region placing the child. Ask your worker for Form 2250, Request for Adoption Assistance. The request for assistance and eligibility decision should be made as close to the date of adoptive placement as possible.

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Determining Amount of Benefits

The PRS Board determines the maximum monthly adoption assistance payment at least every two years. The amount you receive will be based upon the child’s needs and your circumstances and need for assistance. Assistance is available to help with the costs of extraordinary placement expenses, medical care, child care, supportive educational needs, maintaining contact with siblings and other family members, and routine costs associated with raising children.

Reimbursement for non-recurring adoption expenses cannot exceed $1,200 per adoption. Nonrecurring adoption expenses include reasonable and necessary adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, fees for the adoption home study, unreimbursed costs of health and psychological exams, placement supervision, transportation, and reasonable lodging and food costs incurred to make the placement. The agency will reimburse you after the adoption is consummated.

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The Medicaid program provides a variety of health care benefits, including the Texas Health Steps Program.

That program provides screening, diagnostics and treatment of mental and dental health problems for persons under age 21. More detailed information about Medicaid and Texas Health Steps is available by calling (512) 338-6569, (877) 847-8377 or Medicaid online at

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Adoption Assistance Agreement

In order to be eligible for the program, your adoption assistance agreement must be negotiated and signed before the adoption is consummated. The agreement remains in effect through the month of the child’s 18th birthday unless you agree to an earlier date.

You have the right to request a hearing whenever your adoption assistance benefits are denied, delayed, suspended, reduced, or terminated.

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Requests for Adoption Assistance

Requests for adoption assistance are made through the regional adoption assistance eligibility units. Ask your worker for the Request for Adoption Assistance forms.

For more information go to: Texas Administrative Code - Adoption Assistance Program

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State Adoption Assistance Contact

Latasha Henry
Texas Department of Family & Protective Services
2525 Ridgepoint Drive M/C Y-934
Austin, Texas 78754
Phone (713) 767-2651
Toll free (800) 233-3405 option 3
Fax (512) 339-5927

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