Wisconsin Waiver Services for Children Post Adoption

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Families of children with developmental disabilities, physical disabilities and severe emotional disturbances are often the best support and the most appropriate caregivers for their children.

There are services available to assist and support you (even post-adoption) with caring for your child with special needs so that your child can remain in the home. These services are part of Wisconsin’s Waiver Programs.

Waivers are funded through Medicare and Medicaid services and are called Medicaid Waivers because the federal government “waives” certain regulations so that Medicaid dollars can pay for services in the community.

There are several different Waiver Programs available in Wisconsin that your family may qualify for, including:

  • The Katie Beckett Program allows children with long-term developmental disabilities, severe emotional disturbances, physical disabilities or chronic medical illnesses living in the home to acquire a Wisconsin Medicaid card, regardless of income. 
  • Family Support Program provides individual services and supports to families with children who have severe disabilities. Families work with a Family Support Coordinator who develops an individualized service plan specific to each family. 
  • Community Options Program (COP) provides support through different community services that are not available through other programs with the assistance of Community Options Care Managers. Services are offered to individuals with developmental and physical disabilities and severe emotional disturbances. 
  • Brain Injury Waiver Program provides home and community based services for people with brain injuries who need significant supports. 
  • Children’s Long-Term Support Medicaid Waiver Programs (CLTS) Federal, state, and county funded Medical Assistance waiver programs for children and youth under the age of 22 who have severe developmental or physical disabilities or severe emotional disturbances.

    The CLTS Waiver Programs are available in all counties throughout the state and can include services such as education and training, respite care, intensive autistic services, home modifications, communication aids, supportive home care, and specialized transportation. 
  • Intensive In-Home Treatment Services for Children with Autism Provided under the CLTS Waiver Program, this service provides in-home treatment using intense behavioral methods and one-on-one support to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

    The goal of this service is to make significant gains toward normal development, including an increase in social, behavioral and communication skills that the child can use in the home and community. This intensive service can be provided up to 35 hours a week. 

To learn more and find out if your child is eligible for any of the waiver programs it is highly recommended that you speak with the waiver representative in your county.

One Example of How These Services Can Help
A Wisconsin couple adopted a child with severe autism and shared their story. They had cared for Mathew for over three years prior to adopting him. As much as they loved Mathew, they had to think hard before committing to adopting him because his needs were intense.

Like many families, Mathew’s adoptive family had the compassion, commitment and patience to care for Mathew. However, the waiver services allowed them to provide for Mathew in ways they couldn’t before.

After the family fully understood that the waiver services would continue after the adoption and that additional waiver services would be available to Mathew as an adult, the family was able to feel confident about adopting Mathew and providing for all his needs.

Fortunately, Mathew was able to receive waiver funding when he was in the foster care system, which gave him opportunities for:
  • music therapy
  • swim therapy
  • therapeutic horseback riding
  • summer camps and respite care
  • an electronic talker in order to increase Mathew’s communication abilities.

Waivers are funded through Medicare and Medicaid services and are called Medicaid Waivers because the federal government “waives” certain regulations so that Medicaid dollars can pay for services in the community.

Mathew’s story provides a good example of the benefits and reasons why waiver services exist and how they provide an incredible service to not only the child, but to the entire family. 

If you are a family caring for a child with severe needs, please know that you are not alone and that there are resources and funding available to help your family meet the needs of your child. Most families that care for children with severe needs have incredible endurance and compassion, but it can be a stressful journey and the need for additional help may be necessary in order to preserve the family. 

Wisconsin’s Waiver Programs are meant to empower families so that children can remain in the home where they belong, and for the family providing the care to get the assistance they need.


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Copyright © 2017 Coalition for Children | Youth | Families, formerly Adoption Resources of WI