Skip to main content

Library: Policy

340:75-15-128.4. Special needs determination

Revised 9-15-22

          A child is determined to have special needs by meeting all criteria in (A) through (C) of this subsection and, to be eligible for:

(1) federally-funded adoption assistance, per Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:75-15-128.2;

(2) state-funded adoption assistance, per OAC 340:75-15-128.3; or

(3) reimbursement of non-recurring adoption expenses, per OAC 340:75-15-128.1.

(A) The child cannot return home.  When Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) recommends the child not return to his or her parent's home, it is documented with:

(i) a Petition for Termination of Parental Rights;

(ii) an Order of Termination of Parental Rights from a court of competent jurisdiction;

(iii) a signed Relinquishment of Parental Rights, when the child is under the jurisdiction of the court;

(iv) other official documentation when a child can be adopted per state or tribal law without parental rights termination or relinquishment; or

(v) verification of the parent's death, when the child is orphaned.

(B) Special factors or conditions exist.  OKDHS determines that one or more of the factors or conditions listed in (i) through (vii) of this subparagraph exists, and that the child may not be placed with the adoptive parent without adoption assistance.

(i) Physical disability.  The child has a physical condition that adversely affects his or her day-to-day motor functioning.

(ii) Intellectual disability.  The child has significantly sub-average, general cognitive capacity, motor-functioning, or both existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior, manifested during the developmental period adversely affecting a child's or youth's socialization and learning.

(iii) Age and type of placement.  Eligibility based on the child's age and type of placement is determined according to (I) and (II) of this unit.

(I) Kinship placement.  There is no age requirement when the child is placed with a relative who meets the specified degree of relationship per OAC 340:10-9-1.

(II) Non-related placement.  When no other special needs are determined and the child must be 8 years of age and older.

(iv) Sibling relationship.

(I) A child of any age and at least one sibling are placed in trial adoption status in the same home.

(II) A child younger than 3 years of age, not determined eligible to receive an adoption assistance payment at the time of the adoption assistance application, becomes eligible when there is a sibling relationship.

(III) When an adoptive child was not adoption-assistance eligible at the time of adoption and the adoptive parent accepts a sibling's placement within one year of the original child's adoption finalization date, the original child becomes eligible for an adoption assistance payment.

(IV) The effective date the adoption assistance payment begins for the original child is the eligibility date for the sibling.

 (v) Emotional disorder.  A child with an emotional disorder exhibits one or more of the characteristics in (I) through (IV) of this unit over an extended period of time and to a marked degree:

(I) an inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships;

(II) inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances;

(III) a general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; or

(IV) a tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal problems.

(vi) Racial or ethnic factor.  The child is American Indian, Hispanic or Latino, Asian, or African American and 3 years of age and older.

(vii) High risk of emotional disorder or physical or intellectual disability.  The child who has a high risk of emotional disorder or physical or intellectual disability for conditions not currently being treated may qualify for adoption assistance.  When no other special factors or conditions exist, a monthly payment is not approved until there are documented symptoms of emotional disorder or physical or intellectual disability.  Indicators of high risk for emotional disorder or physical or intellectual disability are:

(I) social and medical histories, such as the biological parents' or family member's emotional disorder;

(II) events or life experiences, such as severe sexual abuse; or

(III) prenatal exposure to drugs or alcohol.

(C) Unsuccessful efforts to place the child without assistance.  A reasonable, but unsuccessful effort is made to place the child without adoption assistance, except where it is not in the child's best interests due to factors, such as a strong emotional tie to a foster parent who plans to adopt the child or placing the child with a relative.

(i) Documentation of efforts to place the child without adoption assistance is required and includes specific recruitment efforts for an adoptive parent who can meet the child's special needs.  Examples of specific recruitment efforts include:

(I) adoption events;

(II) adoption exchanges; and

(III) media and Internet efforts.

(ii) Per OAC 340:75-15-128.5, Form 04AN001E, Adoption Assistance Application, must state why the child may not be placed in an adoptive home without adoption assistance and include the:

(I) specific factors that make it difficult to place the child;

(II) efforts made to place the child without assistance; and

(III) reasons it is not in the child's best interests to attempt to place the child for adoption without assistance.

Back to Top