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NC Adoption Assistance Vendor Payments

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hello. I am new to this board and am from North Carolina. We adopted an older child about 5 years ago and had a signed adoption assistance agreement. By federal law, the adoption assistance agreement is considered a contract which can only be amended if both parties agree. When we adopted our daughter, the county DSS agreed that she was eligible for vendor payments of $2400.00 per year. Vendor payments are an adoption assistance subsidy here in NC. Anyway, we've been finding out that NC has been changing the conditions for how we can access the vendor payments and making it more difficult to almost impossible to access them. What I'm curious about are there any other parents in NC that are having this same problem? And if so, what have you done or been told?
post #2 of 25
I'm in NC, as well. My son was awarded regular subsidy at the time of his adoption (in 2008.) and then vendor payments about six months ago. They've definitely limited what you can use them for. I'm thinking of using his for either a tutoring program (if he needs it this year) or to pay for a specialized after school program (with a smaller group than usual.) I'm really lucky. All the doctors and therapists that I've wanted to use accept Medicaid so I don't need to use vendor payments for any of that. My son's older sister (adopted by a different family) uses hers to pay for a special after school program (in another state since they've moved.)

Did they give you the written information about what it could be used for? I was really hoping to get a computer for him to use along with some appropriate software, but that's no longer on the approved list. I tried to find the information online (I've seen it on the DHS website before) but I can't. I've got a paper copy somewhere.

Basically, I was given the written guidelines and a set of sticky labels. I don't need preapproval for things that meet the guidelines. I just need to get the therapist/tutor/etc to write a bill, attach a stickly label, and then submit it to the county.

My soon-to-be-adopted daughter won't qualify for now, but if it's needed later, we can have the agreement amended.

What issues have you been having? What county are you in?
post #3 of 25
DD qualifies for it, but they basically said we will have a really hard time getting to use it. I haven't tried and won't use it this year.
I could see later if she needed it for smaller class size at school. But she hasn't. I had heard stories where people used it for just regular preschool and such but they are cracking down on that I heard.
post #4 of 25
From what I've been told, a lot depends on what qualified your child for the vendor payments in the first place. My DS and his older sister's is pretty broad so a lot qualifies. But, the rules are much more strict now. There was a lot of things that were approved before which really shouldn't have been.
post #5 of 25
What exactly IS a vendor payment? is that in addition to the regular monthly subsidy check, or instead of it?
post #6 of 25
It's a supplemental payment that some children are eligible for. It helps to pay for medical and therapeutic needs and it is separate from the monthly post-adoption subsidy. Some children are eligible at the time of their adoption, but for others (like mine) it can be applied for at a later point in time.

"Vendor payments provide assistance for services or treatment for handicapping conditions which existed prior to the time of the child's placement for adoption. It is not necessary for these conditions to have been identified prior to the placement, but rather to have existed....

Vendor payments may be provided up to a maximum of $2400 per year for any combination of medical and/or non-medical services or treatment not covered by any medical insurance program...

Non-medical services include any services that help to alleviate a condition that existed prior to the adoptive placement. Based on the individual needs of a child, non-medical may include psychological, therapeutic, or any other service that remedies a condition that is a result of a condition that existed prior to the adoptive placement....

Examples include, but are not limited to:

- tutorial services for documented educational delays and remedial needs.

- tuition to facility providing remedial and/or supportive educational services

- child care facility to meet child's documented developmental needs

- orthopedic appliances (braces, special shoes, etc.,) orthodonic appliances (braces, retainers, etc.)

- Repair of broken glasses, eyeglasses, wheelchairs, hearing aids, computers and other learning aids

- Respite care

- Specialized clothing or equipment

Examples of Non-Approved Services:

- Toys

- Clothes

- Computers

- Video games

- Child Care (unless a specialized program is needed)

- After school care (unless a specialized program is needed)

- Summer camp

- Recreational and extra curricular activities/lessons"

I'll probably use some of my son's next summer. His occupational therapy office offers mini camps that combine camp activities (depending on theme) with occupational therapy goals. Because of his IEP for ADHD and Developmental Delays, he would qualify to use some of his vendor funds for those types of programs.
post #7 of 25

We are having the same problem.  Our daughter was adopted in 2006 and told we could use the vender payments for our daughters care.  Now it has been denied.  Every hoop we try does not work and it is frustrating.  If anyone has any ideas let me know.  We are a unusual case where a couple ask us to raise this baby and we did not know them at all but we took her in as our own. We were told one thing and now others.  We love our girl and want the best for her.  I feel they are not taking the best interest of children.  I know there are many cutbacks but they should honor what they said. Any suggestions?

post #8 of 25

What qualified your child for the vendor payments in the first place? What type of services are you trying to get for her that Medicaid/your insurance won't pay for?

post #9 of 25

DD qualified and I can't think of anything yet that would actually be approved for her using that list. Not a big deal, if she needs tutoring or somthing 4 years from now, maybe the program will still be funded.

I do know people used to get computers, preschool (regular not special), etc. I do understand that while those are *nice* to have the state doesn't have the funds to pay for that stuff.

post #10 of 25

Yep, at the end of the year people were encouraged to buy computers and stuff like that to use up the annual amount. That was before I finalized my first adoption.


If Chris gets accepted to a private school for next year, I think DSS will approve vendor payments for that. Smaller classes, different style of teaching, etc. But, his vendor payments were granted because of the stuff in his IEP.


DD might get approved now that she needs glasses. But, they don't pay for glasses so I'm not sure that we'd ever be able to use it.

post #11 of 25

I am a local reporter and I am doing a news story on vendor payments for adopted children and the state legislation to do away with the program. I am looking for a NC family in or near the Triangle who has adopted a child and can speak about their experience with the vendor payment program... Or a family who is looking to adopt and would be partly relying on vendor payments.

The children can remain anonymous.

If anyone is willing to visit with me or knows someone who might be willing ... Please contact me ASAP at chuffman@wncn.com. Thank you very much.

post #12 of 25

Honestly, although the vendor payments are a nice thing to have (my DS quallifies, my DD doesn't,) it's not the end of the world if they go away. The proposed cuts to Smart Start, More at Four, and the public schools bother me WAY more. However, you may want to contact the NC Foster and Adoptive Parents Association, if you haven't already.  I think the web address is www.ncfapa.org.


post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 

I thought this was an interesting proposal about vendor payments and wanted to share.



Edited by sileeno - 5/31/11 at 3:59pm
post #14 of 25

Eliminating Vendor Payments really isn't that big of a deal since the funds are pretty hard to access and so many medical and therapeutic services are already covered by Medicaid. I do hope that tutoring services continue to be an allowable service for chose children already authorized for Vendor Payments.


I need to read the document more closely when the kids go to school. It looks like post-adoption subsidy isn't being eliminated but that the eligibility is being tightened and federal and local AAP will still be available.

post #15 of 25

My son is seven years old and he has many problems with learning, but dss want allow me to use after school program for tuitoring.

post #16 of 25

Hello.  My DS was adopted in 2007, back when everyone adopting from foster care got the vendor payments. Last year we tried to use it to help pay for his private school (smaller class size due to his sensory processing problems, etc) and it was denied.  I wish I had a more hopeful comment! I have heard of braces being covered, but that's the only real-life example I've heard in several years. 

post #17 of 25

 My son's sister's after school/tutoring program is still being covered.

post #18 of 25
Thread Starter 


Edited by sileeno - 8/15/11 at 7:37am
post #19 of 25
Thread Starter 

Are the problems you were trying to use the vendor payments for listed on the Adoption Assistance Agreement?

post #20 of 25

So glad I found this thread. 


We have kids from 2 different counties and the "rules" for using vendor payment vary greatly between each.  One county pays for everything we submit: computer, contact lenses (not covered by Medicaid), horseback riding (therapeutic) while the other county has said no, No, NO, to almost everything. 


The NO county lectured me about my unrealistic hope that the contract would remain the same despite huge budget problems.  ["Unfortunately, everything in our lives can be taken “away”, and adoption assistance vendor is not excluded."]  The hoops they expect us to jump through for the payments are humiliating.  I have had to ask several doctors to write letters explaining *specifically* why x, y and z are necessary for our son.  I feel like I am begging for money and it is a horrible feeling. 


Isn't it our job to advocate for our kids, expecting the best that we can get?  Yet we are being fought every step of the way.


I have spent too much time in the past year feeling angry and frustrated over vendor payments. 


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