Colorado families who adopt high-needs foster kids aren’t getting enough help, ombudsman says |

Colorado families who adopt high-needs foster kids aren’t getting enough help, ombudsman says

Adoption subsidies for kids with similar needs can vary by $500 across counties, investigation finds

By Jennifer Brown / The Denver Post

Families that adopt troubled or high-needs foster kids in Colorado receive inconsistent and often meager financial support from a state program that lacks sufficient oversight, the state’s child protection ombudsman said in an investigative report Wednesday.

“Adoption subsidies,” which are meant to help families adopt foster children with mental health issues, disabilities or behavioral problems, are negotiated by families with the state’s 59 county child welfare departments.

State training and guidelines are inadequate, there is no online portal for families to learn about adoption financial assistance, and some counties are misinterpreting state and federal standards, according to the report from the Office of Colorado’s Child Protection Ombudsman.

Parents who adopt are receiving far less financial support than foster parents, the 16-month investigation found. The average adoption subsidy statewide was 56 percent lower than the average foster care rate.

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