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Adoption Services

The SWHHS Adoption Program provides services for:

  • Children in the Child Protection Welfare/Protection system who are waiting to be adopted
  • Families who are interested in adopting these children

The children are under State guardianship because their birth parents’ rights have been legally terminated. The children have likely experienced abuse and/or neglect, trauma, and have special needs because of these experiences. Their needs include physical, emotional, developmental, and mental health. Any of these children may require extra support.


  • Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Pipestone, Redwood, and Rock County residents

  • Age 18 and older; no upper age limit

  • Single, married, or partnered

  • Renters or homeowners

  • Live in an apartment or house with a minimum of two bedrooms

  • Must meet licensing standards including passing criminal and Social Service background checks

  • Must be two years from completion of Chemical Dependency Treatment

  • Non Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Pipestone, Redwood or Rock County residents: If you are from a different county or state, please contact your local Human Services agency.

Adoption Process

  • 1 Pre-adoption training process
  • 2 Complete SWHHS adoption application
  • 3 Adoption home study
  • 4 Matching process
  • 5 Pre-placement
  • 6 Pre-finalization phase after children move in
  • 7 Finalization of adoption
  • 8 Post finalization of adoption

Diversity and Non-Discrimination

SWHHS does not discriminate based on an individual’s race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or public assistance status.

Adoption Assistance Program

Adoption assistance is a reimbursement program based on the extra care needed to meet the child’s individual needs. This program is run by the State of Minnesota to assist families who have adopted children who were under State guardianship. The assistance includes Medical Assistance, reimbursement for some expenses to address the children’s special needs, and some non-medical costs. In some cases, Day Care Assistance and monthly financial assistance may be available.

Overview of Minnesota Adoption Assistance Program Benefits

Up to a maximum of $2000 nonrecurring expenses can be reimbursed following finalization of a special needs child. If prior approved, send the copies of all receipts for payments made or outstanding bills for out-of-pocket expenses incurred in the adoption of the child(ren) to Department of Human Services (DHS). This could include: adoption agency costs for the adoption, transportation, food and lodging necessary to complete the placement or the adoption, legal fees, Court adoption fees, attorney’s adoption fees, and replacement birth certification fees. You can use this program even if you do no receive Adoption Assistance (DHS-4426A and B-ENG).

Monthly stipend/payment to assist adoptive families with the financial cost of the adopted child. This is based on the child’s age at the time of adoption finalization and the extra care that is required based on the child’s individual needs. This amount varies accordingly. In some cases, children may not be eligible for this type of assistance. 

These benefits are not available with “Special Needs High Risk Only:

  • Extension of MA benefits
  • Child care for employed parents; employment training limited to the level the local Social Service agency would pay. Parents must apply through their county for subsidized child care and either be ineligible due to their income or be placed on a waiting list if there is one. Families need a letter from their county’s Child Care Program indicating they are not eligible or their placement on a waiting list if there is one.
  • Respite care reimbursement for 504 hours per year (equivalent of 21 days maximum), in or out of home, rate set by local county. Does not need to be licensed provider. Contact the DHS Adoption Assistance Line for more information: 651-296-2210
  • Specialized camping programs for two weeks/year with prior DHS authorization
  • 12 Post-Adoption Family Counseling sessions in the first year after finalization
  • Alterations to the home or vehicle due to child’s special needs

Annual Affidavit

The family must turn in a notarized affidavit every year within thirty days of the mailing notice to keep the Adoption Assistance in effect.

Have Questions or Need Help?

We are available to provide you with guidance and support.

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