Section 409.1664, Florida Statutes, authorizes monetary benefits to certain employees who adopt a child from the Florida child welfare system.
The Department of Children and Families, Office of Child Welfare, administers the program. The Adoption Unit of the Office of Child Welfare is responsible for accepting applications, determining the benefit award for each eligible applicant and transferring the budget to each agency or school district that has an eligible employee.
A full-time or part-time employee of the State (Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Branches, including the Department of Lottery), the State Universities, Community Colleges, School Districts, Water Management Districts and instructional personnel employed by the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, provided the employee is paid from regular salary appropriations (not OPS or otherwise “temporary” or casual labor). Effective July 1, 2017, a qualifying adoptive employee of a charter school or the Florida Virtual School may retroactively apply for the adoption benefit. The employee must meet all eligibility criteria in order to receive the benefit.
If, prior to the adoption, the child was in the permanent custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families and the final order of adoption was granted on or after July 1, 2015 (inception date of program), the child may be eligible. Children adopted internationally, through interventions, or privately do not qualify.
The Office of Child Welfare will accept applications during the annual open enrollment period, beginning the first business day of March and concluding on the last business day of April. To be considered for benefits, applicants must submit a completed Application for Adoption Benefits. It is the employee’s responsibility to obtain all necessary signatures prior to submission of the application. Employees who apply and are determined to be qualified but are not awarded a benefit must re-apply the next year.
The funding of the program varies each year and the amount of the annual appropriation affects how many applicants will receive the benefit. By law, payments must be made in a lump sum and are considered supplemental wages and applicable payroll taxes must be deducted.
Once the application has been developed and the Florida Administrative Rule promulgated, a memo will be sent out to all applicable Human Resource offices and the Adoption Information Center detailing how individuals can access the application. (Applications from the prior program are not valid.)
Contact your Human Resources Office, the Adoption Information Center at 1-800-96-ADOPT, or StateEmployee.Adoption@myflfamilies.com for additional information regarding the State Employee Adoption Benefit Program.