Missouri Adoption Subsidy & Subsidized Guardianship Programs

The Goal of Adoption Subsidy & Subsidized Guardianship

 In accordance with the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, the Children’s Division believes every child has the right to a stable and permanent family. Adoption is the most desired outcome for children who cannot be reunified with their families. Subsidized Guardianship also offers children the opportunity to live as a part of a stable and permanent family who is also a relative of the child. Subsidized Guardianship may be utilized in cases where adoption may not be a possibility for the child. Subsidy services are available to support families adopting or providing guardianship to children.

What is Adoption Subsidy & Subsidized Guardianship?

Subsidy is a collaborative agreement between the Children’s Division staff and the adoptive/guardianship family to assist in meeting the needs of the child. Financial, medical and support services may be available to the adopting/guardianship family through subsidy until the child is 18.

The option exists with adoption subsidy only to extend services on a yearly contract to a maximum age 21 when a specific medical, mental health or dental need exists.

Child Eligibility

Children must have been in the custody of the Children’s Division, Division of Youth Services, Department of Mental Health, or a licensed child placing agency. This is the minimum requirement, other requirements also apply.

Children who have been adopted internationally are not eligible for adoption subsidy, as well as children adopted by a step-parent.

Guardian Eligibility

Only qualified relatives or qualified nonrelated persons are eligible to receive subsidized guardianship services for their relative children. By Missouri statute, qualified relatives include grandparents, aunts, uncles, adult siblings, first cousins to the child, or any other person related to the child by blood or affinity.   A close nonrelated person includes any other person related to the child by blood or affinity or any close nonrelated person whose life is so intermingled with the child such that the relationship is similar to a family relationship.

Basic Subsidy Services

If the family adopting or receiving guardianship of a child requests assistance, the following services are available:

Monthly maintenance:

Cash payments, which cannot exceed the rate, which would have been paid if the child had remained in out-of-home care. This payment is to assist the family with day-to-day living expenses for the child such as food, clothing and shelter.

MO HealthNet:

Payment for medical, dental or other care can be obtained from the MO HealthNet program as a supplement to the adoptive/guardianship families’ private medical or dental insurance plan; and

may assist with medical, medically necessary dental or other care for the adoptive child in cases where no private medical or dental insurance exists.

Daycare Payment for Services:

Available to families where both parents are working for children up to age 13.

Daycare costs are provided at the rate locally contracted by the Children’s Division. to licensed/contracted or registered providers.

Other Subsidy Services

Additional services may be available based on the individual needs of the child. Documentation of need for services is necessary by appropriate professionals.

Support Services:

treatment services;

crisis intervention;


rehabilitative services; and

other services as identified by the needs of the child.

Nonrecurring expenses:

legal fees;

pre-placement visit costs

Please contact your local Children’s Division office for more information about Missouri’s subsidy programs.