Letters we recently mailed to adoptive parents on Dec. 8, 2016 summarizing process changes for Difficulty of Care (DOC) payments have created a lot of concern. We are writing this post to clarify the information in the letter and the reason for the changes.
A recent audit of our Post Adoption Services Unit revealed a need to update the process for determining eligibility for children receiving DOC payments to ensure compliance with federal regulations. Much of the adoption assistance is federally funded and the DOC payments help to offset the costs of caring for children with special needs.
Previously, updates to DOC payments were only completed when an extension request was submitted. It was determined, however, that an annual review of families receiving DOC payments will ensure we are better serving our families by determining whether children are still eligible to receive services at their current levels or if they may have overcome the condition that originally qualified them for DOC. Additionally, this annual review can determine if DOC needs to be increased based on the children’s medical, mental or emotional conditions.
Post Adoption Services will contact families annually, 60 days prior to their DOC anniversary to mutually determine whether the children are still eligible to receive at their current DOC level or if the level needs to be changed. Medical documentation will be collected annually to review the children for eligibility and to ensure they are receiving services at the appropriate level for their conditions. The required documentation will include a letter from the adoptive family requesting the DOC payments and documenting the child's specific needs and medical documentation. The medical documentation should be within the last 12 months (revised from six months in the letter you received) or a letter from your child's licensed physician, therapist or counselor including the child's diagnosis, prognosis, treatment plan and medication management, if applicable.
Should you have further questions or concerns, please contact your Post Adoption Services worker. Find your worker on the Post Adoption Services Personnel.
Please refer to Post Adoption Services Personnel for whom to contact regarding your adoption assistance case.