California Adoption Subsidy

Even though the cost of adoption can be a lot for families to handle, the California adoption subsidy and the federal Adoption Tax Credit can make adopting more affordable.

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Like with other adoption processes, adoptive parents pursuing foster care adoption in California wonder about the cost of adoption through foster care, and in particular, the California adoption subsidy.

Because every foster care adoption is different, the cost of adopting a child from foster care and any applicable California adoption subsidy will be determined by the specific situation. Our adoption professionals are happy to give as much basic information as we can before you start the process, but it’s important to keep in mind that you won’t receive specific financial details for the adoption subsidy until you are approved to adopt a specific child.

The best way to learn about the cost of adoption through foster care is by speaking to our adoption professionals, who will also work with you throughout your adoption process to help you understand what your adoption costs will be. We’ve also provided some basic information for you in this article.

How Much Does it Cost to Adopt a Foster Child?

The foster care adoption cost is, for many adoptive parents, a huge advantage of this kind of adoption process in California. While every adoption is different, prospective adoptive parents can expect to pay an average of $2,000 to complete a fos-adopt process with FCCA. This makes foster care adoption one of the most affordable adoption processes available — more so than private domestic infant adoption or international adoption.

To complete an adoption with FCCA, adoptive parents are charged a $1,500 home study fee, which covers the cost of all of the services we provide, including:

Adoptive parents who adopt through other foster care agencies may have to complete each of these services through a different professional, potentially raising their overall foster care adoption cost in California. So, although some foster care agencies do not charge anything at all for their “fos-adopt” services, a quick comparison shows that the low fees charged by FCCA are more than offset by the additional services and protections received in our programs.

For instance, most foster care agencies do not assist you with finalizing the adoption, leaving you to hire private legal counsel at the average cost of $1,500 or more. Also, most foster care agencies will require that you accept a series of “regular” foster care placements, rather than allowing you to accept placement of just the child you want to adopt. Such agencies use their “regular” foster care program to offset the costs of running an adoption program – and their adoption programs are not low-legal-risk, like FCCA’s fos-adopt program.

In addition to the home study fee, adoptive parents can also expect to pay these minimal extra costs to adopt from foster care:

  • Fingerprint and medical exam costs (required for licensing purposes)
  • Mileage for the initial home visit (mileage for post-placement visits is waived)
  • Miscellaneous costs for expedited document delivery and court filing fees (typically less than $100)

Our adoption professionals can always speak in more detail about the costs of our fos-adopt program and what you might expect to pay throughout your adoption journey.

How Does the CA Adoption Subsidy Work?

How much it costs to adopt a child from foster care is often offset by the California adoption subsidy, a common form of public financial assistance for those adopting a child from foster care.

The adoption subsidy in California is known as the Adoption Assistance Program (AAP). This program is designed to encourage adoption of children who might otherwise remain in long-term foster care.

The amount of aid a family receives for a foster care adoption will depend upon the adoptee’s personal needs and age; it includes a cash grant, MediCal coverage to age 18, and reimbursements for certain expenses.

The adoption subsidy payments may not exceed the rate the child would have received if the child had remained in foster care, a base rate that is currently $445 a month. The California adoption subsidy is negotiated between the adoptive family and the county with legal custody of the child, so it cannot be estimated before the child is actually placed for adoption with the family.

Adoption subsidy rates by state vary, and in California, rates also vary from county to county.
Talk to your adoption professional after finding an adoption opportunity to learn more about what your child’s adoption subsidy payments may be. You may also learn more about the educational assistance available for your foster child’s future college education.

What About the Adoption Tax Credit?

The California adoption subsidy is not the only financial aid that adoptive parents can receive for a foster care adoption. Like anyone who completes an adoption, a parent who adopts a child from foster care can also receive the federal adoption tax credit.

The maximum a parent can receive from the tax credit changes each year but averages around $14,000. Even though a foster care adoption costs less than other adoption processes, most adoptive parents can receive the whole federal adoption tax credit, no matter what they spend on their individual adoption. Some income limitations do apply.

Adoptive parents who want to learn more about the federal adoption tax credit should utilize the excellent free adoption tax credit resources found on NACAC.

Learn More About the Cost of Adopting a Child from Foster Care

Because of the adoption subsidy and the adoption tax credit, a foster care adoption in California is usually of minimal cost — or even free — for adoptive parents. When you work with FCCA to complete your fos-adopt program, you will receive support throughout your foster care adoption process, including the added benefit of a low-risk fos-adopt placement. By choosing to invest in our foster care adoption program, you can build your family with little financial risk.

To learn more about the cost of adopting a child from foster care in California, please contact our adoption professionals.