What is Adoption Subsidy & Subsidized Guardianship?

Adoption Subsidy and Subsidized Guardianship is a collaborative agreement between the Children's Division staff and the adoptive/guardianship family to help with meeting the needs of the child. 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, but Subsidized Guardianship may be an option in cases where adoption may not be a possibility for the child.

How does it work?

Financial, medical and support services may be available to the adopting/guardianship family through subsidy until the child is 18. Families receiving Adoption Subsidy may be able to extend services on a yearly contract until the child is 21 when a specific medical, mental health or dental need exists.
Subsidized Guardianship offers children the opportunity to live as a part of a stable and permanent family who is also a relative of the child. Subsidy services are available to support families adopting or providing guardianship to children.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for help, a child 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 or who have been adopted by a step-parent are not eligible for adoption subsidy.

Only qualified relatives or close, nonrelated individuals are eligible for help through Subsidized Guardianship services for children. A close, nonrelated individual includes anyone who is involved enough with the child to be considered similar to a family member. According to Missouri statute, a qualified relative includes:

  • Grandparents
  • Aunts
  • Uncles
  • Adult siblings
  • First cousins to the child
  • Any other person related to the child by blood or affinity

What services are available?

The following services are available to eligible families who ask for help:

  • Payments to help the family with day-to-day living expenses for the child such as food, clothing and shelter. This payment cannot exceed the rate which would have been paid if the child had remained in out-of-home care.
  • Payment for medical, dental or other care through Missouri Medicaid (MO HealthNet) as a supplement to the adoptive/guardianship families' private medical or dental insurance plan. MO HealthNet may be able to help with medical, medically necessary dental or other care for the adoptive child in cases where a family does not have private insurance.
  • Help with payments for child care for children up to age 13 for families where both parents are working. Child care costs are covered at the rate locally contracted by the Children's Division to a provider who is contracted or registered with the Department of Social Services.
  • Other subsidy services may be available based on the individual needs of the child, as long as there is documentation of need by appropriate professionals.


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